How to Treat Skin Irritation on Guinea Pigs

Written by carrie ann wilcox
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How to Treat Skin Irritation on Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are prone to skin irritation. (Dumby image by Rose Flores from

Guinea pigs are resilient creatures but they are prone to skin irritation. This is because they lie in bedding that can easily become damp through urinating, and they like to play in their water bowls. As a result, fungus, parasites and mouth sores can occur.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bowl
  • Towels
  • Small plastic jug
  • Medicated shampoo
  • Tweezers
  • Flea and tick shampoo
  • Medicated lice shampoo
  • Anti-fungus lotion
  • Helper

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  1. 1

    Wash the guinea pig in medicated shampoo before its normal four- to six-week week bath if it suffers with dry, sore skin. If your guinea pig has mites, it is important to wash it in normal animal shampoo first. This removes any grease and dirt, allowing the medicated shampoo to be absorbed into the skin. Wash your guinea pig in medicated shampoo weekly for six to eight weeks.

    Mites are harder to kill than other parasites, as they can burrow deep into the skin. Veterinary treatment might be required if large sores and scabs start to form as a result of mites. Skin irritation from parasites can be treated with a topical application of lice spray weekly, every six to eight weeks. If this doesn't work, washing your guinea with medicated lice shampoo, usually every week, should do the trick.

    How to Treat Skin Irritation on Guinea Pigs
    Make sure you have plenty of towels for drying your guinea pig. (Meerschweinchen image by Gregor Czernilofsky from
  2. 2

    Wash the guinea pig in medicated shampoo only if it has a fungal infection. If large parts of the pig's body are affected, wash in medicated shampoo every two to four days. Where small areas of the skin are affected, use medicated shampoo twice a day on those areas.

    To help alleviate skin irritation from a fungal infection, lower the humidity in the guinea pig's cage. This prevents sweating and discourages scratching.

  3. 3

    Treat skin irritation from fungal infections by anti-fungal lotion. Apply twice daily to affected areas and after bathing. If your guinea pig suffers from mouth sores, apply an anti-inflammatory cream to the affected area after bathing.

    Skin irritation from sores usually occurs because of a diet rich in acidic foods. To prevent this, avoid feeding your guinea too much fruit.

  4. 4

    Apply flea and tick shampoo to any area afflicted with these parasites. They cause itching, which makes the skin sore. Avoid the ears, eyes and nose to prevent further irritation. Check ingredients, as shampoo can contain pesticides that might harm your guinea pig. Always use a pesticide-free shampoo. Application is usually repeated every two weeks.

  5. 5

    Pluck any fleas and ticks from the guinea's fur; that sometimes solves this problem. Use special flea-removal tweezers, being careful not to scratch the skin. Follow by washing the guinea in medicated shampoo to ensure that all fleas and ticks are gone.

Tips and warnings

  • Some medicated shampoo can turn a white guinea pig slightly green. Fur will return to normal colour after a non-medicated wash.
  • Some medicated shampoos should not be used on pregnant sows or on the same day as worming.

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