Do Guinea Pigs Clean Themselves? (5 Incredible Reasons Why!)

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Keeping a pet clean is a good way to keep them healthy. However, most pets are known to do more hygiene on their own.

As a guinea pig owner,  you wonder – Do guinea pigs clean themselves?

Yes, guinea pigs do clean themselves. It helps keep their skin and coat healthy. These creatures are very good at staying neat all the time. 

So, they do most of the cleaning by themselves. This means cleaning them is something you wouldn’t have to be doing regularly. 

Now you know that your furry friends do clean themselves, you might also wonder – Why do guinea pigs clean themselves?

Let’s find out…

Why Do Guinea Pigs Clean Themselves?

Just like self-cleaning pets like cats and rabbits,  guinea pigs naturally clean themselves to stay neat all the time. They don’t like when their fur is in a mess. 

Cleaning or grooming themselves is the best way they like to take a bath. 

However, there are some other reasons why you might see guinea pigs cleaning themselves. 

Let’s look at the reasons below:

To Stay Safe

As prey animals, they clean themselves to keep their scents hidden from predators.

This is common for them in the wild. Even while safe in your home, they are still careful about this and still practice it.

To Stay Cool

Hot weather can be terrible for guinea pigs as they can’t sweat to regulate heat. So, cleaning themselves often is the only way they cool their bodies. 

As they lick their furs and keep damp, they won’t feel too hot.

To Reduce Stress

Also, they groom themselves to reduce stress and stay calm. Just like us, bathing helps relax the body, especially the nervous system. 

In all, it helps us to get into a  good mood and that’s just the same case with guinea pigs.

To Prove Dominance

Guinea pigs living together in a cage can take grooming to another level. Most guinea pigs will normally groom ones that are higher in status. 

This is a way of showing their status as the weaker ones.

To Show Affection

If they’re not trying to prove who’s in charge, then they groom one another to show affection. Guinea pigs even extend this behavior to their owners. 

You’ll sometimes see your guinea pigs licking you.

As you now know why they clean themselves, let’s discuss how guinea pigs clean themselves as you read on…

How Do Guinea Pigs Clean Themselves?

Interestingly, these little pets are good at finding dirt or stains on their fur. They just love it when their beautiful furs are spotless.

Once they spot dirt, they always make sure they get it off. 

Interestingly, they do this by licking and gently chewing on the areas with dirt on them. These cute creatures will keep doing this till the dirt is gone. 

This is why you might see dirt on them and later on wouldn’t find it again.

Naturally, they learn to groom themselves. Unlike litter box training, this isn’t something you have to train them to do.

However, as babies, they stay clean with the help of their moms. 

Also, you might wonder how they reach up to their faces while cleaning. Come to think of it, they can’t lick or nibble on their faces. That’s impossible!

Guinea pigs have a way of reaching up to their faces. It’s amazing how they do it. 

Normally, guinea pigs will first lick their front paws to make them wet. Afterward, they’ll then rub their faces with it to clean them.

Remember, all these cleanings happen each time something doesn’t look right on their fur.

Once your cavies notice them, they quickly get right down to the cleaning business.

Do Guinea Pigs Clean Themselves A Lot?

Of course! Guinea pigs clean themselves a lot. They often do it as long as they find the need to keep any area of their body clean. It’s very easy for them to do.

Interestingly, they can even help clean each other.

How about the times when they get very dirty? Can they clean up themselves easily?

In these cases, this is where bathing them comes in handy!

Remember, it’s not something your cavy might like, so don’t do long baths. It should be short with little water. They shouldn’t be swimming in it!

It’s however a faster way of getting rid of the dirt and stains on them.

Also, It’s mostly better in smelly situations; otherwise, your furry friends are fine grooming themselves. 

They can take their time and get rid of all the dirt just on their own.

How Often Do Guinea Pigs Need Cleaning Out?

It’s advisable not to bathe them regularly. If you bathe them, wait for a couple of months, like 3-4 months, before bathing them again. 

This is because these baths can be really bad for them at times. It could create risks for their health, especially giving your cavies cold. 

In addition, using the right cleaning products to clean them is very important. You should know that guinea pigs have sensitive bodies. 

Their skin can easily react to ingredients in cleaning materials, like shampoo, that aren’t mild. 

However, let’s look at the things that should make you give your little pet a wash

The Kind of Fur

Also, the number of times to clean them depends on the kind of breed you have. Long-haired and short-haired guinea pigs have different needs when it comes to grooming them.

Interestingly, guinea pigs with shorter furs do great in cleaning themselves. If you ever get to clean them, it’s mostly the times they get pretty dirty or smelly.

However, the breeds with longer hairs, like the Peruvian guinea pigs, might find it difficult to groom themselves.

Having furs, about 20 inches long, might be a lot to handle. 

Peruvian Guinea Pig - Long-haired Breed

So, they need you to brush them every day, to keep their furs in good shape. Also, they’ll need a bath, but not often. It should be like every 4 months. 

Additionally, you would need to wash these long hairs with shampoo. And when their furs get mats, hair detanglers can help.

Baths are also not important for guinea pigs, like Silkies and Texels with curly long hairs that are about 3 inches. Regular brushing, combing, and trimming would do.

Health conditions

Certain health issues that may happen might be a reason to give your cavy a quick bath. If your little pet gets infections from parasites or fungi, you might need to wash them.

Guinea pigs are rodents so parasites like fleas, mites, and lice are common for them to catch.

Unlike fleas, mites and lice are harder to spot, so they’ll need a wash with medicated shampoos recommended by a vet.

How to Clean Your Guinea Pigs (Step-By-Step)

In cases where your guinea pigs are too messed up and need extra cleaning, then you might want to give them a bath. 

Here are the things you may need while performing this task:

  • Shampoo (guinea-pig-friendly)
  • Deep tray
  • Towels
  • Blow drier

However, to make sure you do it the proper way, follow these easy steps we’ve provided below.

Step 1: Fill the Tray with Water

Preferably in a sink, place the deep tray and fill it with water. Using the sink ensures you don’t spill water all over the surrounding area. 

Also, the tap on it serves as a nearby water source. 

In addition, make sure that the water level in the bowl is pretty low – about an inch deep. Remember, the water should be warm so your cavy doesn’t catch a cold.

Step 2: Add Shampoo to the Water

Add a decent amount of shampoo to the water in a bowl. Then shake to mix it with the water. 

Remember, the shampoo has to be a mild one for guinea pigs. 

However, there are recommended ones you can get just for your guinea pigs.

Step 3: Wash Guinea Pigs in Bowl

Dip your cavy into the bowl to wash them. At first, you should allow their feet first into the bowl, so they could get used to the water. 

Then, with a cup, pour water gently over their bodies. 

Remember, the water is mixed with shampoo, so you shouldn’t pour it on their faces directly. This way, it won’t get into sensitive parts like their eyes and ears. 

Afterward, start scrubbing them using your hands only. As you do this, try to place one hand under them to control their position. 

This helps your guinea pigs stay balanced and prevents them from falling, especially with their faces in soapy water.

As you pour the soapy water on them and scrub all parts of their body; You should reach their butt area too. 

For their faces, you should just use your wet hand to clean them. 

Freely wash around their feet and leg pits. And don’t forget their belly too! 

Step 4: Rinse Guinea Pigs Thoroughly

After washing and allowing the soap water to drip off, you should rinse them thoroughly. 

Under running water, rinse every part of your guinea pig’s body aside from their faces.

Afterward, refill the deep tray again with water for rinsing this time. Dip your little pet in it and then scrub to rinse this time. 

As you pour water on them, you should gently massage them in between their furs and deep into their skin.

Again, when you get to their faces, just use your wet hands.

This thorough rinsing is important to get all the shampoo off their body.

Step 5: Dry them Up

After rinsing, place your cavy on a clean napkin on a table. Putting them directly on a table or floor can contribute to giving them a cold. 

Wrap a towel around them and gently use a part of it to wipe all around their bodies. Wiping them with a towel first makes blow-drying them quicker. 

Afterward, using a blow dryer, go around every area of their body to dry them up.

Pro Tip: set the blow drier to be warm before use. It shouldn’t be hot as it can burn their sensitive skin.

Also, cold air from drivers could make your cavy chilly. So, set it at a warmer temperature.

An easy way to check for the right temperature is by testing it on the back of your hands. This way, you should be able to know how hot, cold, or warm it feels.

Do I Have to Clean My Guinea Pigs Bottom?

It depends. You don’t have to clean it all the time.

However, there are cases where you might notice your guinea pigs scratching their bottoms in a cage.

Remember, they love to stay spotless and will continue doing this till whatever dirt or poop gets off. 

In this situation, help them wipe their bottom with a clean cloth or a tissue. Also, the times you’re giving them a bath, you always need to scrub their bottom.

Are Baby Wipes Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Baby Wipes - Not Safe for Guinea Pigs

No, baby wipes aren’t safe for cleaning guinea pigs. These wipes can remove natural oil from your guinea pigs’ skin and hair.

These oils are important so you won’t want to. 

Also, the fragrance it comes with is something your guinea pigs might not like. Guinea pigs hate the smell of most things and perfumes are one of them. 

They’ll get pretty uncomfortable, especially if they can still smell it on themselves after using it.

In addition, as guinea pigs have a stronger sense of smell than humans, the fragrance might be too harsh for them. 

This can in turn affect their respiratory health.

Use wipes that are suitable for tiny pets like guinea pigs. 

Can I Use Dawn Dish Soap to Wash My Guinea Pig?

Not at all! You shouldn’t use dawn dish soap on guinea pigs.

Though this soap is popular and can be used to clean many other different things besides dishes, it’s not ideal for guinea pigs. 

However, you should also know that this soap is good at removing grease so it will do the same to the natural oils on your guinea pigs’ hair. 

These oils are very important both to your cavy’s hair and skin. 

Washing your guinea pigs with dish soap could result in dryness of hair and skin. And this isn’t a healthy condition for guinea pigs. 

So, stick to using safe shampoos for guinea pigs.

Is it Okay to Wash Guinea Pigs with Human Shampoo?

No, you shouldn’t use human shampoo on guinea pigs. They have sensitive skin and this might be harsh for them. 

The ingredients and chemicals in human shampoo can make their skin dry. Some compounds like sulfates irritate their skin and cause it itchiness.

So, when washing them, it’s ideal to use special shampoos for them.

Can I Give My Guinea Pig a Bath Without Water?

Yes, you can give your guinea pigs a bath without water. You can do this by using no-rinse dry shampoos for them. 

This allows you to clean your guinea pigs without getting them wet. Also, it does more work than just cleaning. It helps to straighten their fur, untangle twisted hairs.

Your furry friends will definitely prefer this idea to getting wet. However, as you do this, you still need to give them baths on rare occasions.

Final Thoughts  

To sum up, guinea pigs do clean themselves. It’s a very common thing for them. And they do it so often that they don’t need a regular bath.

You already know that they clean themselves for different reasons aside from personal grooming.

So, if your guinea pig isn’t cleaning itself regularly, then something might be wrong.

Remember, for short-haired guinea pigs, bathing them is not important as long as their cages are clean.

However, you can give them some quick wash, but months after months.

Guinea pigs with longer furs might need regular grooming to keep their furs in good shape. This way, they won’t have matted furs that are common to them. 

Most importantly, you should be careful about what you use to clean your guinea pigs. Always check how safe the material or product is before use.

You can read more articles on your cavy’s well-being on our blog.

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