You won't need to bathe your guinea pig more than about once every three months unless he gets exceptionally dirty or starts to smell bad - he will stay fairly clean as long as you keep his cage clean. Some guinea pigs love to have a bath; others find the process stressful. Find out which category your pet falls into by trying out a bath on him. Even if he does like it, you shouldn't bathe him too frequently. Here's what you'll need for your guinea pig's bath:
- Several fluffy towels
- Shampoo made for guinea pigs, rabbits or kittens (not cats!)
- Hand-held hair dryer (one that can operate on a low or gentle setting)
- Brush and comb
A Step-by-Step Guide
- If you're going to bathe him in the sink, place a washcloth in the bottom of the sink so he'll have some traction. Then turn the water on to a gentle flow and adjust the temperature to be warm to the touch. Hold your guinea pig under the running water as close to the faucet as possible so the water will not hit him too hard.
- If you're using a small tub or other "guinea pig bathtub," you still need to provide a washcloth on the bottom of the tub to provide your guinea pig with some traction. Place him in the tub, and then pour warm water over his back. Be careful to avoid getting water in his ears or eyes.
- Thoroughly wet his back, feet and underside. Keep his head dry in order to prevent getting water in his eyes or ears - he'll take care of washing his face himself.
- Use a small amount of shampoo and work it into his fur, starting at his rump and working toward his neck, again avoiding his head. Be sure to lather all other areas of his body, including his belly.
- After you have worked up a good lather, rinse him well with warm water and be sure to get all the shampoo out of his fur.
- Wrap him in a towel and hold him close to let the towel absorb as much of the water as possible. He may shiver a bit, but this is normal. Just keep him wrapped in the towel, changing it when it becomes too soaked, until he stops shivering.
- If your guinea pig has long fur, you should carefully brush it to prevent knots as you continue to dry him. Be very careful not to pull his fur.
After you've absorbed most of the water with the towels, you can then use the hair dryer to finish the job. Be sure it is on the low-temperature and low-speed settings and continue to brush gently while drying your pet. There are alternatives to bathing your guinea pig:
- Powder baths using dusting powders made especially for rabbits or guinea pigs work nicely. You just sprinkle the powder on your guinea pig, work it into his fur and then brush it out with a stiff-bristle brush.
- If your guinea pig has a dirty rear end, moisten a washcloth with hydrogen peroxide and sponge away any dirt or stains.
- You can also give him a "sponge bath" using a washcloth and warm water to wipe away stains or dirt.