Guinea pig hair requires varying degrees of care based on length and texture. Caring for guinea pig hair may need to become part of your daily routine if you have a long-haired guinea pig, for example, while an English variety only needs care with each nail clipping.
Distinguishing Guinea Pig Hair Textures
Guinea pigs are usually classified into breeds based on their hair. This distinction refers to how it grows, the length, the texture, and more. If you’re adopting a guinea pig, chances are you aren’t paying for a pedigree. Therefore, you’ll need to handle your guinea pig to get a feel for its fur.
Before you go further, bear in mind that any sort of long-haired guinea pig will need more care, as will a guinea pig with denser fur. Whether that’s help with grooming or haircuts is up to you and your family.
A smooth-haired guinea pig does not necessarily need as much help with hair management. This hair tends not to be as prone to tangling in the same way it works with humans. There will, of course, still be times when caring for your guinea pig’s hair is necessary.
The tricky hair textures are curly, kinky, and wiry, especially if they’re dense. These guinea pigs require almost daily assistance in keeping their hair neat. If you do not help your guinea pig, the hair will mat with debris from their cage bottom. This debris, in turn, is bad for your guinea pig’s health, not to mention the cage smell.
Generally, guinea pig grooming is pretty straightforward. You will need a comb, preferably plastic. For many guinea pigs, the flexibility of plastic prevents some of the pulling involved in grooming. A metal implement can also pull more hair out, which can also make your guinea pig uncomfortable.
Another important note is not to use human products on guinea pigs. Some of the ingredients have negative health consequences for guinea pigs since guinea pigs groom with their mouths. Also, be leery of using any product that is not specially formulated for guinea pigs and recommended by your veterinarian.
Grooming a Long Hair Guinea Pig
To begin, catch the guinea pig. You’ll want to let the guinea pig explore the surface you’re working on for a few minutes. This comfort means it will be easier to pull the guinea pig the next time you want to do a brushing. Additionally, let your guinea pig smell the tools you’ll use.
Once the guinea pig is comfortable, pick up the comb. You’re going to start at the end of your guinea pig’s hair, not close to their bodies. This distinction prevents the hair knots from compounding and making the process more difficult. You’ll want to work in chunks as well. Keep going until your guinea pig is tangle-free.
Providing Hair Cuts
Sometimes, caring for the guinea pig hair in your home is difficult or too time-consuming. It is okay to give your guinea pigs haircuts in order to allow them to take care of themselves. However, you’ll need to be careful while doing so since guinea pigs can wiggle unexpectedly.
For this, you’ll want to use a small pair of sharp scissors, so something like nail clipping scissors works well. These scissors let you have more control than longer varieties. To begin, place your guinea pig on whatever surface you’re using and allow them to smell the tools. Give them a few pets and make sure they’re not freaked out by the picking up step.
The first step in a guinea pig haircut is clipping to about an inch from the body all around. You’ll want to do this in chunks for more evenness. Once the guinea pig hair is the same length, it’s easier to snip in closer if you’re going to. How short you get the hair determines how often you need to repeat the process.
A Word on Guinea Pig Baths
Guinea pigs can technically swim. However, they did not evolve to do so, and most find it intensely uncomfortable to be in the water. Fortunately, caring for guinea pig hair does not require washing, so it’s best to skip the idea entirely.