Guinea Pig Grooming Tips

Your guinea pig will do some parts of grooming of her own but she still needs your help. Although this cute creature is not so high-maintenance pet in terms of grooming there are some things you should help her with in order to stay a healthy and happy pet.

Guinea pig grooming includes hair brushing, nail clipping, and occasional bathing. As a part of the grooming routine always check your Cavy’s ears, eyes, and nose looking for possible discharge. Even though guinea pig’s teeth don’t require brushing, they keep growing constantly so they do require your attention.

Check if some tooth is overgrown or broken. Don’t forget to keep your eye on your Cavy’s weight. Prevent obesity in your pet on time.

How Often Do I need To Groom My Guinea Pig?

Depends on which type of guinea pig you have. If you have a short-haired Cavy, then hair brushing is something that you need to do once or twice a week. Unlike brushing, haircutting is not required.

In case you have a long-haired guinea pig, then coat brushing will be your everyday task. Long hair can easily get matted and tangled so to avoid this, regular brushing on daily basis is necessary.

Along with brushing, haircutting is also needed. Not every day but occasionally you will have to play a hairdresser role and do the haircut.

Long hairs can pick up all kinds of dirt, become soiled and wet, especially in the bottom area so it’s important to keep them short enough to avoid dragging on the floor.

How often you will perform a haircut depends on how fast the hair grows. If it is long enough that tends to pick up bits of hay and other food that gets stuck and your pet cannot remove it by himself, become very knotted and matted, it’s the time for a haircut.

Nail trimming is also part of a regular grooming routine. You need to trim your Cavy’s nails every 6-8 weeks. How often you do that depends on the guinea pig’s age, diet, activity level, and cage substrate.

If you have younger Cavy, you will notice that her nails are growing faster so more frequent trimming will be necessary comparing to an older guinea pig whose nails are growing much slower.

The guinea pig that has a good quality, balanced diet will also have nails that grow faster. Cavy that is very active will wear down her nails faster than her friend which is a more passive one.

If she is walking on a hard surface even better as she will keep her nails shorter than a guinea pig that spends most of her time in soft bedding. The bottom line, the more active the guinea pig is the less often you will need to trim her nails.

Regular grooming is also very important as you can spot some health issues such as mites or excessive hair loss which can be an indicator of some disease. Grooming can also be a fun way to make an even tighter bond with your pet.

Another advantage of regular grooming is that you will get rid of excessive hairs in your guinea pig and prevent your pet from ingesting hairballs which can lead to severe digestive issues.

How Often do Guinea Pigs Need a bath?

Guinea pigs are self-cleaning animals so you don’t need to think about bathing them as a part of regular grooming. It doesn’t mean that they don’t need a bath as they do but on rare occasions.

Most of guinea pig don’t like bathing neither to be in the water so luckily you don’t have to expose them to this grooming activity too often.

There is a big difference between long and short-haired guinea pigs.

Short-hair ones are excellent self-groomers and most probably you won’t have to wash them at all. If they get especially dirty, you can try to remove dirt with unscented baby wipes or a simple cotton pad with little water.

Long-haired guinea pigs are totally different story. As we already told, their long hair can pick up all kinds of dirt or become soiled. If you notice that your pet’s end area is messy because of urine and feces, you need to perform a butt bath. 

Put some towel in the sink and gently place your guinea pig on it ( towel should provide a non-slippery surface). Use lukewarm water and mild shampoo ( for small animals) to remove the dirt from the butt area, rinse it well and use a towel to dry it.

In case the whole coat of your furry pal is dirty, then a butt bath is just not enough. Even in that situation don’t submerge your pet in the water.

Place her in very shallow water ( 1-2 inches ) and bathe her. Again, use a mild shampoo for small animals ( for rabbits for example). Never use shampoos for humans as they can dry out your pet’s sensitive skin. Dogs shampoos are also not a good idea.

If you have a male guinea pig you might notice that the area just above the anus ( at the bottom of the spine) becomes stinky, greasy, and craves for a good bath.

A grease gland is placed there and sometimes this area really can become messy. If this happens, you can do the butt bath or you can clean only this tiny area with a cotton swab soaked in a cleaning agent.

Never wash your friend as you think it’s time for a bath. You need to see ( or to smell ) the dirty and messy spots. Guinea pigs’ skin is very sensitive and washing it can leave it dried, itchy, and hot spots. 

Also when you bathe your furry friend do it in a nice warm room and use lukewarm water ( never hot). They are prone to respiratory infections, and can easily catch pneumonia so it’s quite important to keep them warm during and after bath.

Usually towel dry is just enough. Some experts suggest using blow-dryers. If you do that, keep it low and put your hand between the blow-dryer and your Cavy so you can control the temperature all the time. Blow-dryers can burn your pal’s sensitive skin. So use it with caution.

The reason for the more frequent bath is when your pal catches some fungal or parasite infection. Guinea pigs can suffer from rodent lice, mites, cat, dog, or rodent fleas. You can notice only fleas but a mite, lice, or parasite might be diagnosed by the vet only.

In case some of these infections occur to your Cavy, the vet will prescribe baths with medicated shampoos and will explain to you the bathing process. Apart from the bath, he can also prescribe some medications or injections.

How To Trim a Guinea Pig’s Hair?

Haircut is necessary in case you have a long-haired guinea pig.

Place your guinea pig wherever you think is convenient for you ( on a table with a towel below your furry pal for example). First, try to relax your pet as guinea pigs are prey animals and therefore very timid creatures.

Just cuddle your furry friend and speak to him slowly. Offer some nice treats, hay, or fresh vegetable to keep him happy and busy. After she calms down and gets busy with tasty bites start with a grooming session.

Always use a pair of scissors that are designed for cutting hair. The regular scissors you use in your household won’t work.

Start with the butt area and top layers of hair, always keeping the hair between your two fingers and cut off the excess hair. Never cut too close to the skin and make sure you don’t cut the hair too short. You just need to cut those parts that drag on the floor. Go around and cut off the excess hair evenly.

After you have finished with the top layers, you check underneath. If you run into some clumpy, grease stuff the easiest way to get rid of them is simple to cut them off. The same goes for matted fur. If you find a rough mat that is hard to comb out, you need to cut it off.

You also need to trim the hair around your guinea pig’s legs. This is a bit more demanding, as you cannot leave your pet sitting on a table while you do this.

It’s necessary to keep your Cavy in your arms ( placing her head towards your elbow and putting your hand under her belly, she actually should lie on your arm ). This way her legs will hang over your arm, so you can carefully cut off the excess hair around them.

You will also need to cut the hair in the face area. Be super careful around your pet’s ears.

This shouldn’t be a big deal and most guinea pig’s owners do haircut perfectly well, no need to ask for the help of a professional groomer.

If you are at the age of 11 or 12, we don’t recommend you to this on your own. Ask some adults for help.

Can I Shave My Guinea Pig?

Although not being a part of regular grooming routine, shaving a guinea pig is something that some people do.

There are people who claim that shaving a guinea pig is rather cruel and unnecessary and some other who see some advantages of this act.

First of all, hair in long-haired guinea pigs can be really long. If you don’t trim it regularly it can grow and become quite dirty. The hair around your pet’s feet and ankles can grow long enough to cause a problem with walking.

Guinea pigs pee and poop frequently. They can sit in their waste, making the bedding also dirty. Combining that with lunchtime, a piece of food can mix with feces and they all together finish in your pet’s hair. Disgusting!

That is why some people prefer to shave their guinea pig’s butt area, this way they can keep them cleaner.

Some people do it as they think that their guinea pig is feeling too hot with all that hair if the temperatures are high, while some others shave their pets to avoid allergies their hair provokes in humans.

In some occasions even vets will require shaving, as a preparation for some surgery. Another reason could be if a vet suspect of some tumor or a lump so as he want to be certain, you need to shave your guinea pig.

So where is the truth? The truth is that shaving guinea pigs have many more disadvantages than advantages. Guinea pig’s skin is very sensitive and if you remove all hair she has, then your pet is totally exposed, she easily hurt herself or scratch.

Exposure to the sun can burn her skin. She won’t cool down if she doesn’t have hair, as precisely hair is made to keep her cool when outside temperatures are high. But also to keep her warm when the weather is cold.

Not to mention how shaving is a horrific experience for a guinea pig. The sound of an electric shaver creates high -pitched noise and your pet will be scared to death.

In addition, no guinea pig will stand still while you are shaving her so even the staff in the vet’s clinic has to be super careful not to hurt a guinea pig during this process.

How To Trim Your Guinea Pig’s Nails?

Trimming nails is part of a regular grooming routine in the life of one guinea pig. Usually, it must be done once every 6-8 weeks.

It is important to use the right equipment for this process. Grooming scissors are a must in this case, don’t use the regular one as they can damage the nail.

If you feel insecure to do this on your own, you can ask your vet or professional guinea pig groomer to show you or do it instead of you.

If your pet has light-colored nails, this task is a bit easier as you can easily spot the quick ( blood vessel at the center of the nail). You mustn’t cut the quick under any circumstances otherwise your pet will be bleeding and feeling a lot of pain.

So, it is crucial to cut only the tip of the nail, just above the quick. In case your pet has dark-colored nails, it’s harder for you to see the quick. You can use a flashlight in this case.

Besides scissors, you need to have a styptic powder or corn starch near you, just in case you cut the quick. A small amount of this powder should minimize the bleeding.

Dental Care

Guinea pigs have never-stop growing teeth which means just that, they grow continuously during your pet’s whole life.

Guinea pig’s teeth don’t require any special care, you don’t have to brush them at your home, nor to take your pet to the groomer or vet for a professional dental cleaning.

The most important thing you can do for your pet’s teeth is to provide a proper diet, rich in hay. Hay helps your Cavy to wear down her teeth and keep them healthy and short. Also, vitamin C is crucial as it keeps your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

In case your pet is not eating enough hay but pellets and other food, she might not wear down teeth as she should and overgrown teeth can be big trouble.

Teeth that are not kept short may cause pain on chewing, drooling, decreased appetite. This is called tooth root impaction and requires a vet’s help.

How To Clean Your Guinea Pig’s Ears?

Check your pet’s ear once a week. Seek for extreme wax buildup, ear mites, or signs of bacterial infection. If you notice any strange smell, reddish-brown crusty matter, do consult a vet.

If everything appears normal, no irritation nor infection, regular monthly cleaning would be just fine.

Take a cotton swab and soak it in mineral oil. Gently clean the outer area only, don’t try to go deeper into the ear canal as you hurt your pet. Repeat this action until you remove all wax and visible dirt.

Guinea Pig Grooming Kit

As you’ve already figured out long-haired guinea pigs require more of your attention in terms of grooming. In order to keep your pet looking the best she can you need some grooming products and equipment.

  • Pin brush – to remove excess of hair
  • Soft bristle brush – to help your furry friend’s coat stay shiny and good looking
  • Bath brush – to help shampoo go deeper, all the way to the skin
  • Detangling comb – if your Cavy has problems with matter fur and tangled hair, this tool is very useful.
  • Grooming scissors – irreplaceable for keeping your long-haired Cavy’s coat short enough.
  • Nail clippers – for cutting the sharp tip of nails safely.
  • Grooming wipes – to maintain hygiene between baths. Instead of these ( which can be rather expensive), a cheaper alternative like unscented baby wipes will do the work
  • Small pet shampoo – to keep your Cavy clean, always use the shampoo designed for small animals.
  • Pet ear cleaning solution or mineral oil – both are good, if you decide on oils, coconut oil is highly recommended. Coconut oil has anti-fungal properties, can help soothing inflamed skin and healing wounds. This fantastic moisturizer will also help with dry and curly toenails in your guinea pig, just apply it 2-3 times a week to keep your pal’s toenails healthy.


Grooming your guinea pig is very important. Not only for her health and hygiene but also for the relationship between the two of you. The grooming time is one-to-one attention time. Use to make a tighter bond with your furry friend.

During the grooming session, examine your Cavy’s skin, look for lump, bumps, wounds, irritation, inflamed skin, or whatever that can be a red flag. Many issues discovered on time can be solved very easily.

If you want to have a guinea pig but you think that she is a high-maintenance animal in terms of grooming, do consider having a short-haired guinea pig.

Recent Posts