Guinea pigs make great pets, and if you want to have a perfect relationship with them, you have to consider how to take care of them properly to keep them healthy and happy.
Most guinea pig owners are concerned about their cavy shedding, and as an owner, you may ask yourself, why do guinea pigs shed? Is it normal?
Shedding is normal for cavies, especially if you have a Peruvian guinea pig or other long-haired cavies.
Let’s find out more about why guinea pigs shed and what causes shedding.
What Are The Causes Of Guinea Pigs Shedding?
There are so many reasons why do guinea pigs shed.
It may be annoying for some owners but sometimes shedding is the cause of guinea pigs’ illness and serious medical issues.
These are the different causes why do guinea pigs shed:
Mites are very annoying, they can cause skin irritation, unbearable itching, dandruff, scabs, and even seizures because of too much itchiness, and this may be the start of your cavy’s shedding.
You should take measures to save your pet from ectoparasites. Guinea pigs can get Mites which can lead to serious skin problems.
If you find all symptoms like itching, skin irritation, etc. which are pretty obvious, you should consult the vet right away.
Prevention is the best thing to do, and you can do so by cleaning your pet regularly with the use of the best shampoo for guinea pigs.
If treating mites does not resolve the itchiness, then maybe there is another issue causing it.
Ringworms are also one of the reasons why guinea pigs shed. The fungus from ringworms can cause scaly skin, bald patches on your guinea pig’s skin.
#3. Ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts are more likely to affect unsprayed female guinea pigs and can cause guinea pigs’ hair loss because of the hormones.
Other symptoms of ovarian cysts are having crusty nipples and irritable or moody behavior.
Barbering in guinea pigs is a kind of hair loss when they eat or chew their hair or their cage mate’s hair.
Guinea pigs do some stuff like this, and cavies may “barber” themselves as a sign of stress or if other parts of their body are hurt.
Old guinea pigs barber themselves because of some medical problems like arthritis and tooth problems. The teeth of guinea pigs should be worn down regularly to prevent overgrowth. Have your veterinarian do this or you can trim Guinea pig teeth at home.
Find the bald areas if it has swelling, lumps, or signs of tenderness.
Also, when you have more than one guinea pig in one cage, it is possible to barber him by his cage mate; this may be bullying and dominance.
If you ever see your guinea pigs doing this, immediately put the guinea pig in another cage or put a partition to their cage.
Some reasons why guinea pigs shed include inappropriate diet, lack of vitamin C, and no grooming routine.
How To Stop Guinea Pigs From Shedding?
Guinea pigs usually have a lot of hair, especially when you have a long-haired Peruvian guinea pig.
You would notice your guinea pig shedding a lot in springtime, but it is normal, and your cavy wants to shed some unwanted hair to remain fresh and cool during summer.
If you notice that your guinea pig is shedding too much and excessively, these are the things you need to do in order to reduce and stop it.
Step #1. Regularly brush your guinea pig
Brushing your pet may help reduce the amount of hair shed. But you have to make sure to brush the skin gently and never brush the bald spots, guinea pigs have very sensitive skin, and this can really help them.
You can use a soft hairbrush or some greyhound comb to remove the hair gently. And most importantly, brush your guinea pig often; remember that they have long hair!
Step #2. Clean their cage
Cleaning is essential for guinea pigs to prevent irritation. Regular cleaning is a must because this can prevent several health problems that could trigger hair loss.
And since guinea pigs don’t need to get regular immunizations, unlike some pets like dogs and cats, properly taking care of them can keep them stay healthy.
Step #3. Give them vitamin C
Lack of vitamin can lead to excessive shedding in guinea pigs. Even though guinea pig pellets are rich with vitamin C, they could degrade over time.
The best way to ensure that you are providing your lovely cavy with enough vitamin c is to give healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables with high vitamin C in them.
Take note, too much fruit as a treat for guinea pigs can be harmful to them.
Step #4. Give them the right amount of protein
Even though your cavy is a herbivore, you have to make sure that it still requires enough protein.
Low protein intake can cause shedding and hair loss. Give them at least 15% of their daily diet as protein.
I make sure to feed Ginger, my cavy, the right amount of protein every day; I use to feed her ⅛ cup per day of good pellets that is free of sugar and seeds, timothy-based food.
Step #5. Look for the things that are stressing them out
Your cavy may shed a lot more if it is irritated and feeling stressed out.
Guinea pigs are sensitive animals. Stress and not feeling good are just a few factors why your guinea pig may be shedding.
Ginger once experienced excessive shedding, and then I figured out that guinea pigs are susceptible, and she used to be stressed out with other guinea pigs in her cage.
Now I made a new cage with partitions in it.
Step #6. Pregnancy might be a possible cause
If you have a female cavy who used to be with a male guinea pig, consider and think that pregnancy might be a possible cause of her shedding.
Just like humans, female cavies experience changes, especially if they are pregnant. Your cavy’s shedding would be gone once she delivers the babies.
Shedding and changing coats are pretty normal for some pets and animals in the wild. The good thing is, guinea pigs are light to moderate shedders.
But if your lovely guinea pig is experiencing extreme shedding, you have to make sure you know the reason for this shedding.
In addition to that, taking care of guinea pigs helps them stay healthy and safe from any harm.
I suggest seeing the vet if your guinea pig has any of the symptoms.
Gladly you found this article; I hope that this has helped you know why do guinea pigs shed. I also hope that now you’ll be better able to take care of your pet’s skin after reading this article.
Delbert Curtis is a senior writer at Petcosset, a leading online resource for pet care information. With over 10 years of experience in the pet industry, Delbert is passionate about helping pet owners provide the best care possible. He has written extensively on pet health, nutrition, training, and behavior. Delbert is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the pet industry to provide the most accurate and helpful information to Petcosset’s readers. Delbert enjoys spending time with his pets and exploring the great outdoors when he’s not writing.