Are you curious to know how to groom a guinea pig?
Probably you are a guinea pig pet owner, and this is the information you have been waiting for eagerly.
Guinea pigs are adorable small animals you can’t help but love. But since they can’t understand “I love you” words, convey the words through action.
Grooming will convey the love message loud and clear than words can.
How Can You Groom a Guinea Pig?
It is simple. All you need to do is to improve their looks and their health status. There are several grooming activities that are essential in the life of a guinea pig.
- Nail clipping
- Brushing hair
- Hair trimming
- Ear cleaning
- Cleaning grease gland
- Dental health
You may wonder where you might get the time to do all these. You will be surprised how little time each activity takes.
For a first-timer, you might take a bit longer, but as you gain experience, it won’t use much of your time.
The best approach to all these activities is to group them into two categories so that you allocate them two days in a month. For instance; bathing, ear cleaning, grease gland cleaning, and dental care may take a day. Then the rest you allocate another day.
Get to know how to handle each activity in these step by step guidelines.
Bathing you piggy pet on a set time such as once in a month is essential to control pests and parasites such as mites. Even though a guinea pig may not find the activity to be pleasant, nevertheless make it a routine to maintain its health and habit.
Tools for bathing
- One big towel
- Face towel
- Two basins of warm water
- One small cup or bowl
- Hair dryer
- Favorite treat
Locate the activity in a warm room away from any draft.
Fill two basins with warm water. Check the temperature to avoid scalding your pet.
Place the warm water basins on a table or on the floor if you will feel more comfortable that way.
Place your piggy in the warm water with hindquarters going first. The level of water should be lower than its head.
Dampen the coat by pouring water on its back, over the shoulders, and the behind part using the cup or the bowl, whichever you have.
Rub in shampoo while being careful to avoid having it get in the face and eyes. Avoid using regular shampoos since they are not gentle on guinea pig skin. Such shampoos can cause skin irritation and also dry skin.
You may then be wondering which shampoo works best for a guinea pig.
Try using Arm & Hammer Shampoos
. It does not only leave the piggy’s coat shining, but it nourishes the coat and skin as well. It will also leave your piggy smelling fresh.
Another best choice of shampoo is Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo
which has baby powder fragrance, and also it does not sting the eyes.
Wipe the face and the head with a dampened face towel. You should avoid going very close to the eyes to avoid stinging the eyes with shampoo residues in the water. Rinse the face towel in the clean water 2nd basin and wipe to rinse off the face and the head.
Change the piggy to the rinsing bowl of water. Make sure the water is still warm and if not, you should warm it up. Rinse off the shampoo and then lift your piggy off the basin to where you have set the big towel.
Wrap the towel around it to prevent catching a chill. Wipe off all water from its coat using the towel until it is dry.
Run a slightly warm hair dryer to make sure the coat is completely dry.
Place it back in its cage and remember to give it its treat or/and its favorite toy.
Grease Gland Cleaning
- Cotton swabs to add to the others you had for bathing.
- Coconut oil or baby oil
You can combine grease gland cleaning activity with the bathing one to save time and save your pet from being stressed due to many handlings.
When bathing your piggy and you get to the stage of shampooing, it is at this point that you clean grease gland.
After shampooing the area, work on it by removing the grease buildup. If still sticky you can use Raw Paws Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
which you can buy from Amazon or baby oil if any. But, the coconut oil works better.
You will find grease gland where the tail of a guinea pig should have been if it had it. There are times it can be raw and hot to touch due to inflammation caused by infection. If you notice that, please inform your vet for treatment.
After you are through with cleaning the grease gland, you may continue wiping it using the towel gently and continue with the rest of bathing procedure after here.
You can clean ears after you are through with bathing and your pet is completely dry. That way, you wouldn’t have to schedule another time for ear-cleaning.
But, between bathing and ear cleaning, you can give your guinea pig a break to nibble at its best treat.
Tools You Need
- A clean, dry towel (different from the one you were using while bathing it)
- Cotton swabs
- Cotton Earbuds
- Ear cleaning solution
After drying your pet and you have made sure it is dry, instead of lifting it back to its cage, you may continue with the ear cleaning process.
Remember, you are doing this to save your time and also to avoid your pet get more stressed from another day of the ear cleaning routine.
Place the towel in the position you will be most comfortable while cleaning the ear
If your pet cannot stay still probably from being agitated by the whole process, calm it down with a nibble of its favorite treat.
Then, wrap it with a towel. That way, it will stay still. Keep on giving it a bite of the treat when you notice restlessness.
Moisten cotton swab in the ear solution at the tip and use it to wipe the outer ear. You may want to try using New All Natural Pet Ear Cleaner
as your ear cleaning solution.
The ear cleaning solution made from eucalyptus extracts is effective in removing dirt, odor, and wax even for the inner ear.
While wiping the outer ear, you should be careful to check whether there are any ear mites or any scratches that may need antiseptic or treatment.
Clean the outer ear thoroughly but gently. Once you are through with that part, you may proceed with the inner one.
Moisten an earbud in the ear-cleaning solution and start working by carefully wiping the inner ear without going far inside. Use the outward strokes while removing the wax.
The solution will help you remove the sticky wax buildup by loosening it. With a few outward strokes, you will surely have cleaned and removed the wax.
Please note, to keep changing the swabs and the earbuds with clean ones as you continue cleaning.
Go to the next ear and do the same.
Have you ever wondered whether guinea pigs have other teeth other than the four front ones? The fact is, it has twenty teeth including premolars and molars.
The surprising thing about this small animal’s teeth is that they don’t stop to grow. If the growing is not controlled, then they can end up hurting their mouths and causing mouth wounds which can interfere with feeding.
Your contribution to guinea pig dental health is then significant.
It is your responsibility as the pet owner to regularly check your piggy’s dental status probably once in a week for their wellbeing.
What Would You Be Checking?
The guinea pigs teeth are continually growing because as they say they are “open rooted.”
The incisors of a guinea pig may grow up to a length of 1.5 cm. Both the top and the bottom should be of the same size.
If you see your pet is struggling to eat, it is a sign of a dental problem. The teeth may not be wearing in the right way. Consult your vet to arrange for filing the teeth in such a case.
Provide your pet with a chew toy such as Kaytee Nut Knot Nibbler for Small Animals
and feeding the right food that it can gnaw at to help it wear its teeth. You can try out Small Pet Select 2ND Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food
. It is the best feed that will not only wear its teeth, but also provide fiber which is ideal for digestion.
Check for bumps at the jaw-line by touching the cheeks from outside. If you notice a bump, then it is an indication of an elongated root. Elongated root is when the tooth root grows to push the jaw.
A cavy with elongated root will have tearing and bulging eyes from the pressure caused by the root. It can also cause infection and therefore inflammation. Your vet can take care of the situation if it happens.
Maloccluded is a dental condition where the teeth for some reasons don’t wear properly, and therefore they overgrow.
An overgrowing bottom molar will grow towards the mouth causing injuries to the tongue. The bottom molars will grow towards the cheeks leaving painful sores.
Signs of Maloccluded Teeth
- Persistent chew-like action as if removing something stuck in the mouth
- Ear movement when chewing
- Chewing on one side
- Slow chewing
- Unable to eat
- Unlined front teeth
- Unable to hold a pellet in the mouth
These are some of the signs of maloccluded teeth. If you notice such symptoms, then you should know your guinea pig has a dental problem and should get urgent vet dentist attention.
Overgrown incisors can injure the mouth causing painful laceration. A guinea pig with overgrown incisors will have difficulties in feeding since it cannot pick up food and neither can it gnaw.
The solution is filing the teeth using specialized equipment that only your vet dentist is allowed to perform such a process.
Feeding your piggy pet the right chewy food such as hay, abrasive foods such as carrots, and grass will help in wearing off teeth.
Also, add chewy toys such as Kaytee Superpet (Pets International) SSR61126 Wood – Apple Orchard Chew Sticks or Ware Manufacturing Ware Willow Critters Pretzel Sticks Small Pet Chew to keep it busy to prevent cage boredom while wearing its teeth.
There is nothing that can give you a sense of completion like grooming your guinea pig. You will enjoy the results of each activity. Despite adding looks to your piggy friend, you have also relieved your pet of some health issues, and that is more than you had bargained for when you set to grooming it.
Keep on doing without tiring as you will improve and offer a comfortable life to your best companion pet.
Is this information helpful? Do you have something to add to it? Leave your comments in the section below.