Grooming is a natural behavior in guinea pigs, and they groom themselves on a daily basis, often several times. If they have formed a strong bond with their cage mates, they will groom them as well. However, you should take care to avoid turning their grooming into barbering, as this can be painful for your guinea pigs.
Grooming is important for guinea pigs for a variety of reasons, including keeping them clean. It also serves as a means of remaining calm and safe.
Guinea pigs used to clean themselves on a regular basis in the wild to remove any food particles that had become stuck to their fur.
This is a preventative measure to keep predators away from the area. Even in modern times, they retain the same instinct.
Grooming is also used by guinea pigs to maintain their social status. Within the confines of their cage, the submissive guinea pig will always groom the dominant guinea pig.
This also assists them in comprehending their position within the cage. Occasionally, guinea pigs groom each other out of love and affection.
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Why guinea pigs groom
If you have pet guinea pigs, you must have noticed that they are meticulous groomers.
Guinea pigs also groom their cage mates and human companion as well. Some common types of grooming prevalent in guinea pigs are:
- Self-grooming: when guinea pigs groom themselves.
- All grooming: when two or more guinea pigs groom each other.
- Social grooming: when guinea pigs try to groom their owner or human companion.
But why do guinea pigs take grooming so seriously?
- Safety: Guinea pigs are prey animals, and they do need to keep themselves incognito from predators. Grooming plays a vital role in neutralizing the scent and keeping them safe from predators.
- Maintaining Body Temperature: Guinea pigs do not sweat. This means that, in hot weather conditions, guinea pigs need to groom themselves to keep their body cool.
- Shedding: Grooming also helps in getting rid of any excess fur from the body. This is crucial for keeping their body temperature in control.
- Reducing Stress: Grooming is also helpful in self-soothing your guinea pigs. They groom themselves to reduce their stress.
- Love And Affection: Guinea pigs groom their companion to share their passion and affection with each other. It can be compared to a hug.
- Dominance or Hierarchy: Grooming is also helpful in establishing dominance or hierarchy in the cage. The subordinate guinea pig will groom the dominant guinea pig regularly.
Grooming is a vital part of the guinea pig’s routine. If your guinea pig is not grooming correctly, then it might be a sign of some medical concern.
What does it mean when guinea pigs groom each other?
They will almost certainly groom each other when you keep two or more adult guinea pigs in the same cage at the same time.
They do benefit from self-grooming in terms of keeping themselves clean. They are, however, unable to reach every part of their body.
By grooming each other, they are also able to clean away the parts of their bodies that they were unable to clean on their own.
Grooming is also a sign of affection between a couple who has formed a strong bond. Grooming, on the other hand, can be a sign of social hierarchy in guinea pigs.
The submissive guinea pig is responsible for cleaning the dominant guinea pigs on a regular basis. In guinea pigs, this is analogous to the natural power balance in the animal, and you should not be concerned about it as well.
Guinea pig licks another guinea pig
When a group of guinea pigs is closely bonded, this is a common occurrence in their behavior.
In order to show their affection for their cagemate, one or both guinea pigs will attempt to lick the other or both guinea pigs.
They also assist their cagemate in grooming some areas of the body that a guinea pig is unable to reach on his or her own.
If a mother guinea pig is licking their baby, it is likely that they are doing so as part of their nursing behavior to protect their babies while also teaching their babies how to clean themselves.
In addition, you may notice that one guinea pig is excessively cleaning the fur or skin of other guinea pigs; this is most often the case when they discover something in their fur or skin.
This type of behavior in guinea pigs can be triggered by something as simple as mites.
You should try to keep them apart at this point because excessive grooming can cause fur loss, leaving the skin exposed and vulnerable to infection.
Why do guinea pigs nibble each others ears
Guinea pigs have been known to nibble on each other’s ears while cleaning each other’s droppings. If your guinea pig is acting affectionately towards you, this is completely normal.
guinea pigs, on the other hand, have been known to attack each other’s ears when they fight.
In the cage, ear biting is a common method of establishing hierarchy among the animals. It is common for dominant guinea pigs to bite their subordinate counterpart. This aids them in determining and comprehending their position within the cage environment.
However, it can become severe and leave an injury mark on your guinea pigs if not treated immediately.
If you have reason to believe that your guinea pigs are fighting and acting aggressively while you are away, look for signs of this behavior.
Scars, bite marks, and scratches around the ear, face, nose, and other areas of the body are some of the most common signs to look for.
Barbering in guinea pigs
Barbering is a common cause of hair loss in guinea pigs.
It usually happens when one guinea pig chews on the hair of other guinea pigs or sometimes even chew on to their own fur resulting in a patch of fur missing.
Some common causes of barbering include:
- Conflicts among guinea pigs
- A way to show physical dominance (When both guinea pigs don’t want to give up)
- Over Grooming themselves or other guinea pigs
- Boredom and loneliness
- Stress in guinea pigs
It can be difficult to tell if your guinea pig is grooming or barbering itself at certain times. Often, what appears to be aggressive and dangerous to us in guinea pigs is simply fun or a sign of play in their eyes.
If, on the other hand, you notice that one guinea pig is aggressively grooming the others, keep a close eye on the situation with the other.
If you notice that any guinea pig has a patch of fur missing, it is almost certainly because they have been barbered.
If the behavior persists, you may need to intervene to protect the guinea pig from harm. Keep an eye on their behavior and the reaction of the guinea pig who is being barbered.
It is possible for submissive guinea pigs to tolerate being barbered by dominant guinea pigs without expressing any disapproval. At other times, they flee and take refuge in hiding.
As a result, you may need to separate the barbered guinea pigs and give them extra attention to help them recover from their condition.
You will be able to tell the difference between grooming and barbering in guinea pigs after observing their behavior for a period of time.
If they are grooming each other on a regular basis, it is possible that they are doing so out of affection.
However, if your guinea pigs only interact to groom each other and this interaction does not last long, it is most likely a sign of barbering.
Guinea pig pulling its fur out
Guinea pigs have been known to pull out their own fur, or you could say that they have started barbering themselves.
Many different factors can contribute to this, and you must determine the root cause before attempting to find a possible solution for it.
Some of the most common causes are as follows:
- Stress or depression are two different things.
- In the fur, there are mites or parasites.
- Itchiness as a result of dry skin
- Injuries to the body
Here are a few of the most frequently cited reasons for self-barbecuing. If you notice that your guinea pig is barbering their own hair, you should seek advice from a veterinarian immediately.
They can conduct a thorough examination to determine whether or not they have any physical or medical issues that are causing the behavior.
If the veterinarian is unable to identify any physical trauma, it is likely that the problem is psychological in nature.
Then you have to look for signs of stress and depression in the guinea pigs themselves.
Do they seem to be alone? Do they get enough time on the floor and physical activity? Is there a sufficient number of toys for them to play with?
These are some of the most frequently asked questions for which you will need an answer.
Once you’ve determined the source of the problem, you can take the necessary steps to resolve it in your guinea pigs’ fur pulling.
Do guinea pigs groom themselves?
Yes, guinea pigs can take care of most of their grooming needs. They will clean every part of their body multiple time a day.
However, there are sometimes when they cannot clean themselves and will require some help.
For example:- An overweight guinea pig will struggle to clean their bum and legs. Also, old guinea pigs have a hard time keeping up with their grooming needs.
Thus, under such circumstances, you should not rely on your guinea pigs to groom themselves, and you should reach out to them for help.
But how will you know when does your guinea pig needs help in grooming?
I know it can be challenging to understand the same, so, here is a simple checklist that can help you determine when your guinea pig need help:
- Is your guinea pig’s fur bright and shiny?
- Did you notice any matt in the hair?
- Are your guinea pig’s legs and tummy clean? (look for stains of pee)
- Does your guinea pig have a wet bottom?
- Is your guinea pig missing a patch of fur?
A dirty guinea pig can attract pests like flies, rats, etc. It also increases the chances of flystrike, which can be deadly for them.
Thus, It is essential to look out for these signs and help your guinea pigs out in grooming them. Most guinea pigs enjoy grooming.
It also helps you build a bond with your guinea pigs.
If you don’t groom your guinea pigs, they might feel sad and get depressed. It can make them aggressive or ill in the long run.
Do guinea pigs need to be groomed?
As we discussed earlier, most of the basic grooming can be taken care of by our guinea pigs.
However, there is some aspect that we need to help them out with.
In captivity, guinea pigs cannot file their nails, and they cannot take a bath on their own.
So, you must take care of these basic hygiene needs of your guinea pigs.
These needs include:
- Nail clipping: It needs to be done on a bi-weekly basis.
- Brushing: Once a month for the short-haired breed and One-Two times a week for the Long-haired breed.
- Bathing: Only when needed for the short-haired breed and once in 2-3 months for the Long-haired breed.
- Hair clipping: Once a month or whenever needed for the Long-haired breed.
Although grooming is essential, you need not groom them daily. Most of these can be done on a weekly or monthly basis.
So, you can set a routine for grooming your guinea pigs and follow the same to ensure your guinea pigs look fresh and clean.
How to groom your guinea pig?
Cleaning and grooming guinea pigs is an absolute must, and you will undoubtedly require some specific tools for this purpose.
Check out our essential supply list to find all of the grooming supplies you’ll need to keep your guinea pigs looking their best.
When you are ready to groom your guinea pigs, you should follow the steps outlined below:
- To begin, make sure you have a firm grip on your guinea pigs. You can use a towel to get a firm and easy grip on the object.
- Begin brushing your guinea pigs with the brush that you just purchased. Begin at the top of their head and work your way down to their bottom. It is recommended that you brush them once a week, or more frequently as necessary.
- Examine the bum, belly, and legs of your guinea pig. If all of the body parts are clean and free of any dirt or stains, you can leave it as is; however, if you notice any urine or dirt stains, you should clean them with a damp cotton pad.
- After that, you can take a look at their nails. If you notice that your nails have grown too long, you can file them down.
- After that, we’ll move on to their grease glands. If you discover that the grease glands are clogged, you should thoroughly rinse the unit.
- It is possible that you will need to clip the hairs of your guinea pigs. This step is dependent on the breed of guinea pigs that you have. Only long-haired guinea pigs require clipping of their manes.
- Last but not least, you may want to look for signs of foul odor. If you believe your guinea pig’s fur has become soiled and they are smelling bad, you should bathe them. If you don’t want to bathe them, don’t.