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How to Bathe a Guinea Pig

Four Parts:Setting Up the Guinea Pig BathWashing Your Guinea PigDrying Your Guinea PigFinishing Touches!

Is your guinea pig sick and the vet has recommended giving it a bath? Not sure where to start? No worries—this article will guide you through the ins and outs of washing your guinea pig!

Part 1
Setting Up the Guinea Pig Bath

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    Calm your guinea pig before you wash him or her. Guinea pigs generally do not like water, and may become anxious or afraid if unceremoniously dropped in a tub. Be gentle with your guinea pig, stroking and talking to him or her before taking him/her to the bathing area.
    • Only wash one guinea pig at a time. If the guinea pigs get frustrated, they could hurt/aggravate the other. While doing this makes the process longer, it is a much safer way to go through the washing process. You may not be able to keep your eyes on both guinea pigs at once if you wash them together, which could result in injury.
    • If your guinea pig is too terrified of the water, there are other options for bathing him. You could purchase a dusting powder made especially for guinea pigs and give him a powder bath. You can purchase this powder at pet stores. After you apply some powder to your piggy’s fur, rub it in, and then brush it out with a brush.
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    If this method also does not work for your guinea pig, get some wet wipes and gently dab a little guinea pig pet cleaning shampoo and gently smother your guinea pig with the wet towel. If it seems to get frustrated, put it on a towel to keep him warm and give him/her some lettuce maybe. [1]
    • If your guinea pig only has one or a few dirty spots (such as on his rump) you can use a wet washcloth to wipe the dirt away. Towel the wet spots off until they are dry before replacing him in his cage. This could help reduce the need to get them in a full bath and drive them mad.
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    Get the right kind of shampoo. Guinea pigs have very sensitive skin, meaning that if you use the wrong shampoo it could cause skin irritation or even illness. You should only use shampoo specifically made for guinea pigs, rabbits, or kittens (this is all the same kind of shampoo.) Do not use baby shampoo or shampoo for any other larger animal, as it will be too rough on your guinea pig’s skin. You can purchase the proper small animal shampoo at your local pet store. Don't use Johnson's baby shampoo! While it is soft and soothing and gentle for a baby, it's not meant for your guinea pig. Stay on the safe side and purchase a guinea pig shampoo.[2]
    • If you are still uncertain as to what kind of shampoo to get, or are worried because your guinea pig is particularly sensitive, call your vet. They will most likely have a recommendation for you.
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    Select the right bathtub. There are several options for where you can bathe your guinea pig including in the sink, in the tub, or in a bin. Whatever you choose to use, make sure the sides are tall enough that your guinea pig will not be able to jump out.
    • Using the Sink or Tub: If you decide to wash your guinea pig in the sink or tub, plug the drain. Place a small towel down on the bottom of the sink or tub so that your guinea pig will have some grip or traction (porcelain bottoms and guinea pig feet don’t work well together.)
    • Using a Bin: If you decide to use a bin, place it somewhere you do not mind getting wet (like on flattened towel or in the bathtub or shower.) Again, place a towel in the bin so that your guinea pig will have some traction.
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    Bring your guinea pig over to the tub (or place you are going to wash him.) Remember to gently stroke and soothe him as you bring him over. You could also bring your guinea pig over in a small box, but make sure you do not bring him back to his cage in the same box unless you wash it out first--it will get as dirty as your guinea pig when you bring him over to the bath.
    • Have treats at the ready. Treats will help to calm your guinea pig’s nerves and will make the experience more pleasant for him or her. Just use your normal treats that you have around the house. Vegetables or fruits will work just fine.

Part 2
Washing Your Guinea Pig

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    Add a small amount of water to whatever you are washing your guinea pig in (this will be referred to as the bathtub.) You should only add about one inch of warm water. The water should not be hot, as this could hurt your guinea pig. But also make sure it is not cold! Guinea pigs could get sick from cool water. Find a perfect medium temperature.
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    Gently place the guinea pig in the middle of the bath. Allow your guinea pig to get adjusted to this new, wet environment. Never leave your guinea pig unattended once you have place him in the water as he could injure himself.
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    Pour warm water over your guinea pig until his or her body is wet. Avoid the eye, nose and, ear areas. You can cup your hand and place it on the guinea pig's neck to ensure water doesn't get near their head. You can use a small cup to pour the warm water over your guinea pig, or you can turn the sink on to a very low volume and hold your guinea pig under the stream. You could also get your hands wet and stroke your guinea pig to calm it, while getting it wet.[3]
    • If your guinea pig’s face is especially dirty, you can wipe it with a damp washcloth, but do not ever run it under the water as this could cause your guinea pig to panic or drown. Make sure to avoid his eyes and nose.
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    Shampoo your guinea pig. You should pour a little bit of shampoo along your guinea pig’s back. Rub the shampoo into his fur and skin, starting at the back and working your way towards his head (but do not wash his head.) You should continue to rub until you have developed a nice lather all over his fur, including his belly.
    • Your guinea pig’s fur should start to stick up and the shampoo should become bubbly. (There should be bubbles).
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    Rinse your guinea pig. Either pour warm water over your guinea pig or hold him under a gentle stream of water. Make sure that all of the suds are gone and the shampoo has been washed from his skin. (Dried shampoo could cause skin irritation.)

Part 3
Drying Your Guinea Pig

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    Place your guinea pig on a large, dry towel. Wrap him up so that the towel absorbs most of the moisture. Do not be alarmed if your guinea pig starts shivering--this is natural and he will stop after he is fully dry.[4]
    • When the towel gets wet all the way through, place him in a new, dry towel until he is just damp and no longer wet.
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    Brush your guinea pig’s fur. This is especially important if you have a long-haired guinea pig. You want to make sure to get all the tangles out of his fur he may develop matted fur, which is much harder to untangle and may need to be cut off.
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    Wipe the guinea pig's eyes, ears, and nose. You should do this very gently and only if your guinea pig’s eyes, ears or nose are particularly dirty. Use a damp cloth to get rid of gunky bits collected there. If you have never done this before, ask your vet to show you how to properly remove any dirt in your guinea pig's eyes, ears, or nose.
    • Make sure not to press too hard or poke your guinea pig in the eye. He will not appreciate that.
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    Use a hairdryer to fully dry your guinea pig. Put the hairdryer on the lowest temperature and the lowest speed. Make sure you do not hold the dryer too close to your guinea pig. Continue to brush your guinea pig while you use the hairdryer.

Part 4
Finishing Touches!

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    Your guinea pig should now feel better with his treats! Clean out the cage, out in the houses, refill its water, give him treats and give him your love.


  • When brushing, use a light brush gently, so it won't hurt the guinea pig's back.
  • Your guinea pigs would love to have a lovely clean cage to go back to so before you wash them, if the cage is dirty, clean it!
  • If your long-haired pig gets very dirty around his or her rear end, carefully trim the hair there, and if necessary, do a regular 'butt bath' - where you only wet and wash the hind regions. It may also help to cut the guinea pigs hair in general.
  • Make your guinea pig feel safe when washing him or her.
  • Get an old toothbrush for a long hair guinea!
  • Don't use a hair dryer. The sound may spook your guinea pig and make their bathing experience very stressful. Just dry them with a towel!
  • Only bathe your guinea pig 1-2 times a year as they have sensitive skin (unless your vet tells you otherwise)


  • Be gentle when drying the guinea pig. They have fragile bones.
  • Keep an eye on your guinea pig: pigs have been known to make a flying leap out of bathtubs!
  • Guinea pig skin isn't suitable for regular washing. Normally, a good brush every so often, combined with a clean cage, will keep a guinea pig fresh and soft.
  • Do not wash your guinea pig unless it is sick. If it smells bad, this is probably because the cage isn't clean. Clean out the cage first. If your guinea pig still smells bad one or two days later, take it to the vet.

Things You'll Need

  • A Guinea Pig
  • Warm water and bathtub [use a container if needed],
  • Towel and washcloth,
  • Small animal shampoo
  • Brush and comb,
  • A small cup [to pour water on them].
  • Treats
  • A warm place for him/her to get dry after,
  • A helper (if needed),
  • A hair dryer set on low (if your piggy(s) will tolerate it).

Article Info

Categories: Guinea Pigs