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Can Guinea Pigs Get Wet? [What You Need To Know]

Becoming a new guinea pig owner can be a confusing time. There is a lot to consider and to take into account. But what about getting wet? Is this possible or problematic; do they need bathing? This is what the research says.

So, can Guinea Pigs get wet? Guinea Pigs should not get wet. They have very dense fur which can collect a lot of water; resulting in drastic temperature changes, stress, hyperthermia or potential fungal and respiratory infections if left to dry naturally. Bathing may be required in certain contexts, but this must be done with limited amounts of water and in specific ways.

The truth is, there may be some times when your guinea pig does get wet unintentionally.

It may be due to weather, it may be a small spill here and there.

Either way, a small amount of water here and there should not be a concern.

But, submerging and repetitive exposure for what is not good.

Let us now take a closer look at why this is the case, before looking at when and how you should look to bathe your guinea pig to keep them happy, healthy and safe!

Why Guinea Pigs Should Not Get Wet

Guinea pigs should not get wet because it can lead to colds, respiratory infections, and stress. Their dense fur takes long to dry, increasing the risk of hypothermia and skin infections, making it essential to keep them dry.

Risk of Colds and Respiratory Infections

When guinea pigs get wet, their susceptibility to colds and respiratory infections significantly increases. These small animals are prone to developing respiratory issues, which can be exacerbated by dampness and chills.

The common cold in guinea pigs is not just a mild inconvenience; it can quickly escalate into more serious respiratory complications like pneumonia.

Their delicate respiratory systems are not equipped to handle the stress of being wet and cold, which can lead to severe health problems that require urgent veterinary care.

Long Drying Time Due to Dense Fur

Guinea pigs have dense fur that takes a long time to dry. This extended drying period is problematic for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, staying damp for a long time can cause discomfort and stress to the animal.

Secondly, and more importantly, it creates an ideal environment for fungal infections and skin irritations.

These skin issues are not only uncomfortable for the guinea pig but can also be challenging to treat, requiring specific medications and sometimes changes in habitat and diet.

Increased Risk of Hypothermia

Being wet can lead to hypothermia in guinea pigs, especially in cooler environments.

Their small bodies lose heat rapidly when wet, and they cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature under these conditions.

Hypothermia in guinea pigs is a serious condition that can lead to lethargy, weakness, and in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

It is crucial to ensure that guinea pigs are kept in a warm, dry environment to avoid the risk of hypothermia.

Potential for Stress and Anxiety

Getting wet can be a highly stressful experience for guinea pigs. These animals are naturally skittish and prefer to feel secure in their environment.

An unexpected event like getting wet can cause anxiety, leading to behavioral changes such as hiding, decreased appetite, or aggression.

Stress in guinea pigs should not be underestimated, as it can impact their overall health and well-being, leading to a weakened immune system and making them more susceptible to other illnesses.

Natural Preference

Lastly it’s important to note that Guinea Pigs do not naturally like to be wet. It’s not a natural or comfortable feeling for them.

Remember, these rodents are native to the warm and dry conditions of the Andes of South America. Water is not something they have to navigate in their wild environments too often!

When And If To Bathe A Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are very clean animals. They naturally clean themselves and are excellent self-groomers. For this reason baths are not usually required or even necessary.

However, there may be certain situations where bathing is necessary.

The first to be aware of is the type of Guinea Pig that you have. For all short-haired Guinea Pigs, as long as you are regularly cleaning their cage, a bath should not really ever be required.

Long-haired pigs on the other hand, have different needs and requirements. The Peruvian Guinea Pig as an example does not really have a fur but instead a hair which can grow to up to 20″.

As such, long-haired Guinea Pigs require daily grooming with a brush and may need a special bath from time to time to remove dirt and feces which can get matted around their bottoms.

Another reason why a Guinea Pig may need bathing, is if your Guinea Pig has a severe case of lice.

You should always consult with a registered Vet to confirm that this is the case and ask for their expertise if you did decide to go ahead.

How To Bath Your Guinea Pig (If You Must)

Hopefully by now you understand that baths are generally not required for most Guinea Pigs.

But let say that you have identified that yours may need one. How would you go about even doing this?

If you must bathe them, then you’re going to need to take extreme care to prevent your Guinea Pig from becoming chilled or stressed.

As they are susceptible to Respiratory Infections which can lead to more severe cases of Pneumonia, you need to ensure you keep your Guinea Pig warm during bathing and should always opt for mildly warm water.

Specialized Animal Shampoo is going to be required too, as they have sensitive skin which can become itchy and blemished if the wrong products are used.

I am personally a huge advocate of the Arm & Hammer Tearless Shampoo (available for a great price on Amazon) for Guinea Pigs.

It prevents excess drying and is very gentle on their skin.

With these considerations in mind, this is how to bath your Guinea Pig most safely:

Fill a small, shallow bowl of warm water. Wash only your Guinea Pigs body; and be sure not to get any of the Specialized Shampoo in their Eyes or Ears.

Once you have gently cleaned your Guinea Pig, you will then need to slowly and carefully dry your Guinea Pig with a towel.

Its imperative that you keep them warm at all times and keep them in a room with a warmer environment until they are completely dry.

You cannot leave them damp or wet! By doing so your Guinea Pig will not succumb to a chill.

Never Use a Blow Dryer on Your Guinea Pig If They Get Wet

You should always thoroughly towel dry your Guinea Pig if it gets wet or following any bath.

While you may hear about using Blow Dryers to dry their wet fur, but even if it is on low heat the hot temperatures can cause severe discomfort and even burns.

A lot of blow dryers are also very noisy which can scare and worry your Guinea Pig.

Its always safer and better to towel dry in a warm room, keeping them close to you and your warm body until they are completely dry.

Additional Guinea Pig Grooming Tips

As we have established, bathing should be the exception rather than the norm. Guinea Pigs do however require regular grooming and brushing to prevent matted fur.

With time and with handling, you’ll soon learn to realize what their fur should naturally look and feel like and when it is not in optimal condition.

While I would always advise that you seek out a specialist to learn how to groom appropriately, you should find that as long as you are gentle, your Guinea Pig will liked to be brushed.

Typically, shorter hair Guinea Pig will need brushing one every 7 days. The longer the hair, the more brushing will be required as it will get matted more often and more easily.

The Dasksha Grooming Kit is particularly effective and its very gentle on your Guinea Pig. It also makes the whole process a lot easier and quicker, and you can even hold your pet Guinea Pig at the same time which is a nice bonus.

If you have a longer haired Guinea Pig, watch out for any shedding or changes to their grooming habits as this could be an indicator that they are unwell .

Another thing to prioritize is to you will want to keep up with regular cage cleanings as often possible.

Trust me, your Guinea Pig wants to be clean and would rather not sleep in their own waste!

Summary: Can Guinea Pigs Get Wet?

Ultimately, your Guinea Pig needn’t have to get wet nor is it ideal for them. In fact, it can pose quite a few risks.

It is only on rare occasions and in specific situations where a bath is truly appropriate, and if you do decide to go ahead you should take the appropriate cautions.

Guinea Pigs are clean, self-grooming pets that just need a bit of extra support from time to time. Keeping their environment clean is perhaps the most important thing that you can do.