The kind of bedding that you choose for your guineas can affect their skin. Wood shavings / sawdust are not recommended, especially any that are scented (usually Lavender, Lemograss or Citronella) as these may cause allergies or skin sensitisation. Whilst shavings are great for absorbing urine, they can also absorb the natural oils from your guinea’s skin, leaving them more prone to skin problems. Dust / oils in the wood can also lead to respiratory disease that can be fatal to guineas, and irritating to their Humans. You only have to put your nose into a bag of shavings so see how strong the smell is, and your guineas have to put up with this every day of their life:( If you have long haired guineas, it can also get caught up in their hair leading to tangles if they aren't groomed daily. Many guinea pig rescues will not rehome guineas where shavings are being used as bedding, as they have seen so many skin and respiratory problems caused by it. So what else can you use?
Cages need to be cleaned and thoroughly disinfected at least twice a week, especially when it is very hot or very cold. Damp bedding should be removed and replaced once or twice a day - depending on the number of guineas in the cage. When the weather is hot, bacteria, fungi and viruses can grow very fast, and in cold weather, damp bedding can freeze. Recommended cleaning products include:
All of these products are far more effective than the usual "pet shop sprays" and work against a wide variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Conficlean 2 and Virkon are available online from The Hay Experts.
After bathing your guinea, always remember to put him back into a CLEAN cage!
If your guinea is kept outside in a cage during the winter without any protection from the cold (not recommended), damp bedding can freeze. We recommend that as a minimum, guineas are kept in a shed / outbuilding and protected from the elements. Keeping them indoors or in a heated shed is even better. Guinea pigs are originally from Peru where the climate is warm and dry. Here in the UK they can suffer from skin / respiratory problems in particular, mainly due to the climate which is always humid.
Regular inspection of your guinea’s hair, skin, ears, nose, mouth, and an awareness of what “normal” scratching is will help you to catch any skin problems sooner rather than later. Look for any signs of redness, dry / flaky skin, hair coming out in clumps with dead skin on the end, cuts, bites, open sores etc. If you find anything suspicious, take action straight away – skin problems can kill guineas if left untreated.
We recommend that you shampoo your guineas every 4 - 6 weeks with one of the range of Gorgeous Guineas shampoos. This can help to minimise the possibility of skin problems occurring in the first place. Unless your guinea has a skin problem, they do not need shampooing more often. Too much shampooing can cause their skin to become dry and irritated. Always remember to put your clean guinea back into a clean cage!
Gorgeous Guineas have a range of shampoos for piggies of all ages, all hair types, and for common skin problems so why not start pampurring your piggy?
If you have a guinea with skin problems, find out more about identifying skin problems and how to help your guinea. We've also got recommendations for specific products to use for the most common types of skin problems found in guineas.