Fleas are a pest, there is no doubt about that. It’s not a nice idea to think that these little insects may find their way onto our Guinea Pigs. But is this even possible? After owning Guinea Pigs and doing some diligent research. Here is what I can tell you.
So, can Guinea Pigs get fleas? Guinea Pigs can get fleas. This is because of the type of fur that they have and the conditions that they live in. Keeping your Guinea Pig and their environment clean is the best way to prevent fleas.
If you suspect your Guinea Pig has fleas, the best thing you can do is consult your Vet and use a safe, approved Flea and Tick Spray/Guinea Pig safe Shampoo.
Unfortunately, Guinea Pigs are some of those pets that can pick up fleas and it can happen for a multitude of reasons.
Let us get into the causes, and later the techniques that you can use to get rid of them if they do contract them.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Fleas?
You typically think of Dogs and Cats when it comes to fleas. However, Guinea Pigs are also susceptible and it is indeed possible for your Guinea Pigs to contract them.
Guinea Pigs can get fleas for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps the most common are: dirt habitats and other pets that may not have been treated.
It is in fact possible, that if you own a pet Dog or Cat, that they bring them into the home and pass them onto your Guinea Pigs.
A clear and obvious sign that you Guinea Pig is suffering from a bout of fleas is itching, scratching and in some cases biting.
Guinea Pigs will be largely uncomfortable in the presence of fleas, and will try to reduce any itching as much as they can.
Fleas can be dangerous when they breed and multiply, so it is important to get them under control as soon as you notice them. Fleas can cause allergies to your Guinea Pigs which can eventually lead to Dermatitis and Anemia if enough blood is drawn over time.
How To Check For Fleas On Your Guinea Pig
There are too ways to go about checking for fleas on your Guinea Pigs; you can ask your Vet to inspect on your behalf or you can go ahead and do this yourself at home.
Vets will ultimately perform the same tests. Its just whether you are happy and feel confident enough to do so.
Also consider that this may be a challenge to do by yourself. It depends how comfortable your Guinea Pigs are with you and how much trust you have built with them. They need to be confident with you picking them up or otherwise this can cause stress and anxiety.
If it is possible, you are going to want to approach your Guinea Pigs slowly. Let them come to you. You may need some veggies or food to entice them over.
You can either pick them up and place them gently on your lap, or you can conduct the following with them still in the cage. Ultimately it is down to preference.
What To Look For
When checking for fleas, the main thing you are investigating is the cleanliness and consistency of their fur. This will give you a good ideas as to what is happening and what the appropriate course of action is.
Well, since identifying the the fleas outright is pretty much impossible, you can look for other signs.
Perhaps the best way to start is by looking for flea dirt/dust. This will look like dry coffee ground/dry blood or tiny black pieces of dirt on your Guinea Pig’s fur.
Now, if you have a dark-haired Guinea Pig, this may be a challenge. If so, you can always use a brush (like this one on Amazon). You can slowly brush and gently peel back your Guinea Pigs fur. Then, review what remains on the brush.
A good time to do this is when you are cleaning out your Guinea Pig cage, as it enables you to see what kind of debris and dirt naturally forms in the cage.
During your examination you are also going to want to check your Guinea Pigs skin – it should look pink and be soft to touch.
If it is course, or If there are any signs of excess scratching – this would imply a persistent itch which would most likely indicate fleas. Signs of balding or patchy fur also go hand in hand with excessive scratching.
Sometimes fleas can be noticed through your Guinea Pigs behavior. Do they look in discomfort or are they moving around/shaking more than usual?
If this looks to be happening more than usual, this could be a clear signs that your Guinea Pig has fleas.
If you do not want to inspect your Guinea Pig(s), again I would suggest you contact a Vet who can carry out this investigation on your behalf.
Treating Guinea Pig Fleas
Lets say you suspect that fleas have made their way onto your Guinea Pigs coat. What should you do?
Now first of it is important to state that the best course of action is to speak with your Vet. They will have specific products that they recommend and that will minimize the risk of causing any adverse health affects to your Guinea Pigs.
That being said, you can get special Guinea-Pig friendly Flea Spray and/or Shampoo from Amazon. They work synergistically together, or you can opt for one over the other.
It ultimately depends on whether you plan on washing your Guinea Pig or not (recommended) and how often you want to apply the treatment.
Its important that you get a safe spray or shampoo because you need to ensure there are no dangerous chemicals which can be toxic.
You also want to ensure you never use human shampoo as this can cause irritation to your Guinea Pigs skin.
Before using the spray, it is advised to give your Guinea Pig a gentle bath which is perfectly safe (when done correctly).
This will prevent dirt from getting in the way of the treatment. Be sure to apply the spray to all of your Guinea Pigs at the same time, as well as any other pets that you may have that may have contracted fleas.
If you decide to bath and shampoo them, be sure to make the bathing experience as stress free and gentle as you can.
Be sure to use a shallow bowl and water that is only mildly warm. Place your Guinea Pig into the bowl being gentle but holding them tight enough to prevent them for wriggling out.
Pour some water on them gently, and slowly apply and massage in the shampoo. Ensure that all of the shampoo is washed out and any dirt is completely removed.
If you Guinea Pig shows signs of distress stop the bath immediately. If you subject your Guinea Pig to too much stress it can suffer a heart attack.
How To Prevent Fleas On Your Guinea Pig
There are a few ways that you can help prevent your Guinea Pigs from contracting fleas.
First and foremost, clean your Guinea Pig cage often.
Your Guinea Pig(s) will wee and poop on the shavings in the cage unless they are toilet trained to use a litter box.
Either way, you will need to routinely and thoroughly clean their cage. Daily is always preferable, but you should do a deep clean every 3-5 days at most.
Essentially, you want to be sure to reduce germs and bacteria which can be a breeding ground for parasites like fleas.
Cleaning their water bottles and food bowls in between refills is also part of this. This is another way to limit exposure to bacteria that will undoubtedly collect over time.
You want to be keeping a clean environment for your Guinea Pig as far as you can; this includes clean airs, the right temperatures and all space around the cages.
You want to ensure that the air is not damp and moist, and consider a de-humidifier if this seems appropriate.
Along with this, be sure to examine your Guinea Pigs fur regularly and look for evidence of poor hygiene and fleas like flea dirt.
You will also want to make sure any other pets are not carrying fleas; and to regularly check them out too.
Taking all these active steps is only going to help your Guinea Pig(s) to avoid fleas and other parasites from occurring.
Its always best to be be proactive with your care, in doing so the chances of any of your pets getting fleas will be greatly diminished.
Guinea Pigs can definitely get fleas, but hopefully by now you know how it can occur and how to prevent it.
If you notice any of the signs we discussed such as biting, itching or scratching, speaking to your vet is the recommended first port of call.
You can always get some special Guinea-Pig friendly Flea Spray and/or Shampoo in the meantime.
Beyond this, be sure to clean your cage, water bottles and food bowls regularly and provide a clean environment for your Guinea Pigs. This should be enough to prevent fleas from ever happening in the first place!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.