So this post is about grooming your guinea pig!
I am going to split this into 2 parts- general care and bathing.
So grooming is a fantastic way to bond while also making sure your boy or girl has a healthy coat and nails. You may need to spend quite alot of time grooming your guineas coat, especially if you have a long hair breed and most guineas will enjoy being brushed after a while as it means some one on one time with you!
The more time you do spend doing this the easier it also is to check over for any problems with the skin. Short hair guineas you can probably brush once a week but long hair breeds may need daily brushing. If you do come across any knots you should cut them out rather than try to brush them out as the skin is super delicate and it may hurt them.
Keep an eye on those long hairs as you dont want them to ingest alot of hair while cleaning themselves, especially when they are shedding!
Best thing to do is invest in good quality brushes and combs specifically for this and I have found a few good ones online!
Nails are the stress for most of us owners. If you're unsure I would book a trip to the vet but if you can do it at home it does relieve some of the stress for the guinea as they are not having to make a stressful trip! I took mine to the vets for quite a while until a kind vet showed me how to do it myself properly and gave me the confidence which was great- from then on I was able to do at home. You do need to trim thier nails regularly as overgrown nails will curl and make it hard for your little one to walk around and can be painful. You want to cut the nail avoiding the quick. This is easy to see in guineas with clear nails but a bit trickier with those with black nails. Best thing if it's your first time is to ask your vet for a demo like I did and if possible have one person hold the guinea while the other cuts the nails. I promise over time it gets easier!
..this was my boy Fatman drying off after a bath!
First just to be clear- you must never bathe a rabbit! This article is about guineas only!
There is still alot of debate between various experts about bathing guinea pigs and while some say guineas should not have a bath at all, the general consensus suggests that twice a year is a good ammount and this is probably what I did personally.
Try not to over bathe your babies as too much can strip thier fur of thier natual oils and dry out the coat, so it's about finding a good balance. You will need to bathe them more if they have a skin condition requiring bathing e.g. fungal or parasitic, or they are dirty, especially the long-haired breeds.
There are times when bathing guinea pigs is not advised. Specific times include when a guinea pig is suffering a respiratory illness or undiagnosed illness, and during the winter if they live outdoors. The risk of the guinea pig falling ill or having their condition deteriorate is too high in these situations, as they are more susceptible to illness when they are damp. (-Source the guinea pig forum)
Use a washing up bowl or something similar on a waterproof surface ie shower tray. Please don't use a bathroom sink or anything like that- reason is if the piggie panics and jumps it's a very dangerous height!
I will not list the entire proccess on here however I am going to link you to an absolutely fantastic article which will provide you with a step by step.
I would highly recommend this guide as a fantastic walk through and feel free to let me know your thoughts.
Also I know it may sound obvious- but please take care drying your guinea pig too- especially in winter time.
..and here was Pickles drying off after hers!
If you do need any advice please let me know!