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Why Does My Guinea Pig Have Dry Skin? (Causes & Treatment)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: December 5, 2021

What could be the cause of guinea pig dry skin?

Do you own a little hairy friend that is experiencing issues with its skin?

If so, then this article is for you as it will provide the reasons why your guinea pig is uncomfortable and then offer solutions to cure their difficulties.

This article will also be useful in increasing your knowledge on the subject of why guinea pigs have dry skin and how to get rid of their dry skin if they do happen to have it.

So, if you’ve been wondering what could be the reason for guinea pigs’ dry skin conditions, let’s not waste any more time.

Fungal Infections and Your Guinea Pig’s Health

There are several reasons why your guinea pig could have dry skin.

The most common reason for your pet’s dry skin is fungal infections.

This is where the top layer of the guinea pig’s skin is affected by a fungal infection.

You can easily analyze this by observing the hair and body of your guinea pig.

Common evidence for your guinea pig struggling with a fungal infection is dry skin and scaly skin on the ears, nose, and feet.

In certain circumstances, your guinea pig can develop dandruff-like skin on their precious coat.

Multiple factors usually cause these unfortunate symptoms for your guinea pig.

Such examples include high humidity, age, and stress.

These are the most regular experiences for a guinea pig encountering a fungal infection.

However, other factors may cause your beloved pet to battle with a fungal infection.

After a more detailed explanation of these challenges, we will discuss how they can be solved.

After all, what good is there in acknowledging the issue if no effort is made to solve the problem?

High Humidity And The Comfort of your Guinea Pig

We can confidently agree that humidity is a buzz kill.

Unfortunately, though, it appears that it may be the root cause of your pet’s dry skin.

Whilst we may not be able to control the external weather, we can control the environment that our guinea pig lives in.

Here are a few helpful ways to minimize the humidity in your home and maximize the health of your guinea pig.

First of all, make use of an air conditioner (AC).

If you have access to this appliance, it may prove useful in improving the state of your friend’s dry skin.

Secondly, take cooler showers.

Whilst a hot shower may be enjoyable for us, it may be the root cause of your pet’s discomfort.

Lastly, be wary of your house plants.

The process of transpiration that plants undergo may be the reason your house is humid.

Therefore, move your plants away from your guinea pig.

You may see a drastic improvement in the health of your pet after you do this.

How The Living Environment Of Your Guinea Pig Can Affect Its Skin?

It’s very common for a guinea pig living amongst others of its kind to develop infectious diseases.

Thus, if you own several guinea pigs, and all are battling dry skin, then it’s probable that it’s an infectious disease.

The best way to avoid this issue is to ensure that your pet has a proper diet.

A proper diet is a diet that does not change daily.

Thus, a consistent diet is a good diet for a guinea pig.

It’s also important that your pet has access to clean water regularly.

The water provided should be changed daily and the container holding the water should be cleaned every so often.

Another important aspect to remember is to clean the bedding of your guinea pig.

The bedding material should be soft and comfortable.

Likely, the most important feature of maintaining a healthy environment for your guinea pig is disinfecting the cage.

It’s recommended that the cage be cleaned every week to ensure the best environment for your guinea pig.

Following these protocols is key to keeping your pet’s skin soft and friendly.

Stress And Its Immense Impact On Your Guinea Pig

Stress is something we all battle with and your guinea pig is not excluded.

There are two important ways in which this stress should be dealt with.

The first thing to do for your guinea pig is to provide it with an opportunity to exercise.

To allow your guinea pig to exercise, you should make sure that its cage is big enough to accommodate this activity.

Exercise is vital for freeing your guinea pig of stress as it provides an outlet for this stress.

To improve your guinea pig’s fitness, you could get an exercise ball for your guinea pig.

This will allow your hairy creature to explore your house and go on a crazy adventure.

An extra benefit is that you can have company wherever you go, rather than being restricted to a single room so you can enjoy the company of your beloved guinea pig.

Another way to deal with stress is to ensure your pet has a cozy environment and does not feel threatened by anything outside its cage.

This will allow your pet to grasp a good rest and feel more cheerful.

Sickness And How To Help Your Guinea Pig

It’s incredibly important that when your pet is sick you hold it as little as possible.

Guinea pigs are sensitive animals and several issues can cause them varying levels of discomfort.

Antibiotics can cause issues in guinea pigs and possibly lead to them becoming dehydrated.

For obvious reasons, this can lead to your guinea pig struggling with skin issues.

The vet can provide a fluid treatment which should lead to your pet feeling less agitated.

Another factor that can cause sickness is overwhelming stress on your guinea pig.

Thus, you must remember to make your little friend exercise.

If you aren’t able to obtain an ‘adventure ball’ for whatever reason, a guinea pig wheel is a close second choice.

A wheel will allow your pet to exercise on its own and doesn’t require your attention.

This is brilliant for individuals who work long hours and aren’t always able to spend ample time overseeing the activities of their little ones.

The WWE Contest That Your Pets May Be Having Without Your Consent

The next point is only for those who own multiple guinea pigs.

The reasons why your pets may be fighting vary.

Some reasons include mating, boredom, and the cage being too small.

This links to the previous point on excess stress felt by the guinea pig.

Often these fights can cause the guinea pig’s skin to become dry.

Furthermore, you must provide your guinea pigs with other activities to partake in.

This can lower the amount of fighting amongst the group and cause the guinea pigs to be more comfortable in their skin.

A helpful hint; before you intervene, make sure that your guinea pigs are fighting.

More often than not, what they are displaying is domination behaviors.

This is crucial in their world, as they need to establish a hierarchy.

Treatment: How To Restore Your Guinea Pig’s Health?

Now that we have an idea of where our pet’s issues stem from, we can elaborate on the measures to implement to cure our buddies.

Although we have already discovered treatment plans, we have a few more to have a look at, in case the previous solutions were unsuccessful.

Coconut Oil and Papaya Ointment

There are different courses of action you can take to improve your guinea pig’s skin.

If you can spot the symptoms early enough, a combination of coconut oil and papaya ointment could prove useful.

This is an effective answer to your pet’s nose, feet, and ears problems.

Another benefit of this treatment is that it’s a cheap remedy for the painful issue.

Coconut oil is vital and has shown itself to be useful in hydrating the skin and providing antioxidants.

It may be really useful because of its ability to be absorbed easily.

This allows for the guinea pig’s skin to be rejuvenated as quickly as possible.

This is key as it allows for your guinea pig to return to its former healthy state quickly.

Papaya ointment has proven instrumental in healing minor cuts and grazes.

This is perfect for those who own a group of guinea pigs that are always engaging in fights.

Papaya ointment is well known for its relief of fungal infection pain.

This is great because it means that it’s trusted and has helped many guinea pigs before yours.

This hopefully will ease your anxiety as you can rest knowing you’re using effective treatment plans to cure your pet.

A Combination of Coconut Oil And Betadine

The next avenue you could explore is a combination of coconut oil and Betadine.

The recommended dosage of coconut oil and Betadine is twice daily.

This is a strategy that is commonly used in the treatment of itchiness and dry skin.

This path should be taken if the fungal has spread or appears severe.

Betadine is an antiseptic cream that provides infection protection against a wide range of germs that cause infection in grazes and minor cuts.

Bathing Your Guinea Pig

If the last two options haven’t helped, do not despair as bathing can be a remedy for guinea pig dry skin.

This option has been shown to help many guinea pigs struggling with agitated skin.

Bathing guinea pigs in Malaseb shampoo has helped many recover from their itchiness.

If you’re considering implementing this method, you should bathe your guinea pig twice a week.

A Visit to the Vet

If you still haven’t managed to solve your pet’s issues, it’s time to consider a stronger force – the vet.

Seeking professional advice is imperative when large areas of the body display infection and other parts of the guinea pig are refusing to heal.

The vet can prescribe prescription cream which will almost certainly relieve your pet’s agony.

After your buddy visits the vet, you must remember to sterilize the cage before they return to their home.

This is a fundamental step in removing the fungal infection from your guinea pig’s skin permanently.

It’s also important you remember to continually keep your hairy creature’s cage neat.

Mites And Guinea Pigs

There is something you may not have considered yet and that is the effect of mites on your guinea pigs.

For those who are unsure what a mite is, it’s a small insect parasite that can cause serious skin problems for your little ones.

Guinea pigs may acquire these fur mites from other infested guinea pigs that live in their circle.

Another way in which they may come to be infested is through contaminated bedding.

The degree of itchiness plaguing the gentle fellow is dependent on how hypersensitive he or she is to mite bites.

Two main types of mites wreak havoc for guinea pigs: the first being Chirodiscoides caviae and the second is the Trixacarus caviae mite.

The latter is the one that causes the worst itchiness.

How Will The Vet Diagnose Mites In My Guinea Pig?

This is a valid question and one that deserves attention.

First, your veterinarian will analyze your pet’s fur and skin for the necessary evidence of other external parasites and mites.

If the vet discovers proof of a skin issue, the vet will take cultures for bacteria and there is also a possibility of the vet taking cultures of fungus.

Another procedure your vet may use is to run diagnostic tests to make sure the itching and scratching are not caused by other diseases.

How Are Guinea Pigs With Mite Problems Treated?

If your guinea pig is severely infected, your vet may suggest hospitalization for your little guy.

This is important if your guinea pig is debilitated and requires supportive care to build up strength.

Also, your vet may suggest a set of drugs to aid in your guinea pig’s recovery.

Don’t be alarmed if your vet claims that they are normally used for cats and dogs; there is no specific drug specifically formulated for managing mites in guinea pigs.

Certain products should never be used on guinea pigs.

However, examples include but are not limited to: mite collars, organophosphates, straight permethrin sprays, or permethrin spot-on treatments.

You mustn’t use any of these products as it’s likely that they are toxic to your pet and will cause harm.

It’s worth noting that adult mites can survive in bedding, carpets, or any other fabrics for a short space of time.

Thus, you must clean your home or any other area where your pet has access.

If you’re still unsure about how to eradicate mites from your living space or wish to implement more measures, you should consult your vet.

They are probably experienced in these matters and can provide you with the appropriate strategy to get rid of the mites in your home.

Should I be Concerned About Mites Affecting My Family?

Most mites that infect guinea pigs do not infect humans as many guinea pig mites do not like living on humans.

There is an exception however, the Trixacarus caviae mites have proven to be infectious to us humans.

If you don’t have anyone in your family that is sensitive to mice, then there is a good chance that you’ll be perfectly fine.

If a member of your family has previously shown that they are sensitive to mites, however, they may develop a mild skin infection from coming into contact with them.

Individuals who experience discomfort and pain should seek the help of a doctor.

A doctor will be able to alleviate your symptoms and guide you on your path to recovery from the agitation and irritation provoked by the mice.

Final Thoughts

It’s always unfortunate to see your loved pets experiencing discomfort.

As their owner and protector, you almost always feel an overwhelming urge to come to their aid- to be their hero in a time of distress.

As parents of these cute, hairy, and curious creatures there are practical steps that can be followed.

Through a clean cage and easy access to nutritional food, many issues faced by your little friend can be avoided.

If you have a case of guinea pig dry skin on your hands, you now know what to do.


Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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