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How Do Guinea Pigs Get Fleas? (Treatment & Prevention Tips)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: August 13, 2021

Fleas are always a cause of concern regardless of the species and the breed of your pet. Let’s see how guinea pigs can get fleas and what to do.

Guinea pigs in a hutch outside can get fleas by coming into contact with animals that frequent your garden. They could be flea carriers that pass them on to your guinea pigs and other pets. Guinea pigs living indoors can also get fleas from your other pets that are allowed outside.

Before we continue, check out these best anti-flea guinea pig products:

Johnsons Veterinary Products Small Animal Cleansing Shampoo, White, 125 ml
  • Cleanses and deodorises
  • Mild and non irritant
  • For small animals over 12 weeks of age
  • Model number: 19-0260

Last update on 2023-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

a small white guinea pig

How Do Guinea Pigs Get Fleas?

Most of us forget that warm-blooded animals with hairs and furs can get fleas; guinea pigs get fleas as well.

a cat outside, scratching its headGuinea pigs get fleas by simply walking around in a flea-infested area in your backyard or garden.

Likewise, they can get them in your household by coming into contact with other animals carrying fleas such as cats and dogs.

It’s best to keep your guinea pigs away from other animals, regardless of how well they might get along with your dogs and cats.

When dealing with fleas, make sure to thoroughly examine all your pets. Take preventive measures as much as you can.

What Are Fleas?

a microscopic image of a flea taken in 1968 in IndonesiaIt’s easy to identify these tiny parasites when you see even a single flea.

They look like they are easy to get rid of, but that’s not the case because sometimes you just cannot notice them on your pet.

If you think your guinea pig has fleas, look for a few signs that will clean your dilemma.

You can notice that your guinea pig has fleas only because your pet scratches a lot and the guinea pig’s irritated skin is very red.

Excessive scratching can cause hair loss in your guinea pig and create wounds that can be seriously infected if the flea problem remains untreated.

These small crawling bugs hide in your guinea pig’s hair and attach themselves deep to the skin. A flea can be very small, merely as big as the tip of a pointed paintbrush.

Fleas are dark, either black or brown, and they have a flat body with a hard shell for protection. These features are what makes it quite difficult to remove them.

Although fleas don’t have wings, unfortunately, they are great jumpers, which allows them to jump onto other pets and other guinea pigs easily through a great distance.

What makes fleas even more annoying to remove is that they reproduce at a rapid pace. This is the main reason why simply killing these creatures often won’t help in getting rid of them entirely.

Flea bites can cause skin damage from vigorous itching and scratching, which lays opportunities for infections.

Besides, Flea dirt may appear as small black spots but they are actually dark red. Flea dirt is made of dried blood that fleas sucked from your guinea pig’s skin. It is not only a sure sign of flea presence but also can irritate your pet’s skin.

If a guinea pig has fleas, it has a greater risk of developing dermatitis and anemia. Pets with untreated fleas carry a big risk to both themselves and people.

Once they get into your home, fleas can be anywhere. Flea eggs can reside in your carpets and your guinea pig’s bedding.

Fleas are particularly bothersome because they can be transmitted through contact with flea eggs and larvae. Then again, flea eggs and larvae can also be transmitted through contact with bedding, carpeting, clothing, and even people who have come into contact with an infested animal.

Not only that, but grass areas can also be flea-infested, so if you’re one to let your guinea pigs roam around in the garden, fleas can cling onto your guinea pig’s coat easily even with a slight brush of wind among the grass.

However, people can also be at fault as they can also carry fleas. Guinea pigs get fleas even from people who can also become flea carriers by petting an infected animal and handing it down to their other pets.

How To Spot Fleas on Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs get fleas outdoors while they roam, and fleas may leave debris. Spotting guinea pig’s fleas can be relatively easy, as they are visible with the naked eye.

A clear indication of a flea infestation in guinea pigs is excessive scratching.

You’ll need to immediately check your pet’s fur for black spots or bites on the skin. Identifying flea bites can be relatively easy as these bites look like a small red bump and may come in pairs or groups.

Some bite marks can also come with a red circle around them.

As flea bites are incredibly uncomfortable for your pet, you should begin treating the fleas itching your guinea pig before it can cause any form of a rash that may appear.

Preventive Measures

Hygiene is a priority when it comes to flea prevention.

Getting rid of fleas is a continuous cycle of diligence and not just a one-time routine.

Understanding how guinea pigs get fleas and how to treat them is the first step toward getting you and your guinea pigs a flea-ridden home.

Regularly Wash Your Hands

You need to keep your hands clean before handling your guinea pigs. That is the first and most important step in preventing flea infestation.

People usually wash their hands just after handling guinea pigs and neglect the health risks that unwashed hands pose to their pets.

Don’t Take Your Guinea Pig Outdoors

Giving your guinea pig the most tempting opportunity to roam outdoors may seem like a good idea.

However, new crawling friends might appear in your guinea pig’s hair.

While letting your guinea pig enjoy a good time outside, remember that treating fleas also requires patience and effort.

Regularly Check Your Guinea Pig for Fleas

Even if your little friend is not itching as much as it is expected to during a flea infestation, it is always best to check your guinea pig’s fur and skin daily.

By checking your guinea pigs regularly, you can Identify flea bites before your pet begins to scratch too much and create skin problems.

Keep a Clean Environment for Your Guinea Pig

Keep your pet’s cage and your own living space clean.

Start by regularly changing the cage bedding. Remove it to prevent infestations and infections. Also, you will prevent fleas from populating the area and spreading to the entirety of the cage.

A clean environment doesn’t necessarily protect your guinea pig from malicious infections, but it significantly reduces serious health issues that invite parasitic problems.

Keeping your entire home clean makes it a much healthier and more comfortable living space for you, your guinea pigs, and other pets.

Preventive Measures on Other Household Pets

a cat on a sofa: fleas get into furniture and carpetsIf you have other pets in your home, applying the necessary preventive measures helps to solve the flea problem you’re having.

Preventative treatments such as flea collars, baths, and routine check-ups of your other pets improve the overall health and environment of your home.

Currently, spot-on treatments are unavailable for guinea pigs.

How To Treat Fleas on Guinea Pigs?

Finding fleas on your pet can be alarming at first, but once you’ve gotten the hang of removing fleas, you’ll be able to keep your guinea pig clean and happy like a pro.

You have two main goals. The first is to eliminate fleas for good and the second is to prevent fleas from ever showing up on your doorstep again.

If your guinea pig has fleas, killing them can be easily done with a bath.

Shampoos are not the main weapons that kill fleas on your guinea pig, but the water provides the largest impact in making sure these annoying crawlers drown.

Unfortunately, bathing may be a very stressful time for your pet. You will need to be extremely gentle and try to make the bath time session short and efficient.

A shallow bowl that has been filled with warm water will be a sufficient bathing space for your guinea pig.

Then, proceed to pick your pet with a gentle grasp and begin bathing. Remember, the key here to making sure the fleas are washed away during the bath is that you need to be gentle yet firm with your guinea pig as much as possible.

When it comes to parasites and treatment, it may take some time to spot them and get rid of them.

It may take some roaming around the fur to find lice. They will most likely be concentrated on the back and neck, the only place guinea pigs can’t reach.

Please contact your vet as soon as your guinea pig gets lice. The vet will provide the necessary information to solve the problem. 

Choosing the Right Shampoos

When it comes to bathing your guinea pig with flea shampoo, never use shampoos made for humans as this will greatly irritate your guinea pig’s skin and eyes.

In the case of an emergency, natural baby shampoos with herbal qualities can be used as a substitute, but it is best to enquire from a veterinarian before applying such treatments to your pet.

Shampoos that contain compounds like pyrethrins are effective in treating fleas in both cats and dogs, as well as guinea pigs as it is a natural ingredient extracted from chrysanthemum flowers.

Here are the top guinea pig shampoos:

Johnsons Veterinary Products Small Animal Cleansing Shampoo, White, 125 ml
  • Cleanses and deodorises
  • Mild and non irritant
  • For small animals over 12 weeks of age
  • Model number: 19-0260
Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Pet Shampoo - Vanilla & Almond, Itchy & Dry Skin Relief, Soap-Free, for...
  • ADDRESS DRY, ITCHY, AND FLAKY SKIN - Colloidal Oatmeal and Organic Aloe Vera help combat skin irritation, promote...
  • BRILLIANTLY CLEAN & SOFT - This luxurious shampoo is soap free and pH-balanced to clean and deodorize safely and...
  • SAFETY FIRST - Our Oatmeal & Aloe, Vanilla & Almond Shampoo will not wash off topical flea applications. Safe for...
  • KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING - What goes into our products is just as important as what doesn't. This product contains...
  • 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - We are so sure you will love this product that we will refund your money if you are not...
TropiClean Oxymed Medicated Cat & Dog Shampoo For Itchy Skin, Skin Soothing Oatmeal Shampoo For Dogs...
  • FAST ACTING RELIEF: Oxymed's cat & dog anti itch shampoo is formulated to help with dandruff, scaling, flaking,...
  • DEFEND & RESTORE: Our oatmeal pet shampoo is a blend of vitamins and aloe that nourish the skin and provide itch...
  • RELIEF MADE EASY: Relief in three steps. Use our cat and dog oatmeal shampoo and conditioner with our spray for max...
  • MINDFULLY MADE: Our vet recommended cat & dog wash is made in the USA with effective ingredients for a good clean...
  • OXYMED: For total care use with Oxymed’s ear cleaner, soothing lotion, tear stain remover and wipes.

Last update on 2023-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Always make sure that the water stays away from your guinea pig’s eyes and ears. Give your guinea pig a bath by washing its body slowly and gently.

A good tip when it comes to bathing your pet is to bathe it somewhere that is close to the ground just like in case it was to hop out of the bowl from stress, it will not hurt itself from any possible impact.

Keep in mind that flea baths aren’t meant to be short as you’ll want the fleas to drown in the water.

Flea shampoo for guinea pigs helps in collecting the fleas together so that they would drop easily into the water away from the hairs.

Before placing your clean guinea pig into its living space, have the cage cleaned and change its bedding to ensure no fleas are attached around its area.

two hands petting a guinea pig

Final Thoughts

Flea infestations are a serious thing you should prevent before it occurs.

However, it’s not always possible to protect your pets, as fleas can be anywhere and anyone can be a flee carrier.

In the first place, make sure to follow all preventive measures to have your entire home free from fleas. Regularly check your dogs and cats, as well as any other animal you’re housing.

Guinea pigs can get fleas not only from other pets but also from humans. Thus, make sure to wash your hands both before and after handling your guinea pigs.


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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Check out these most popular guinea pig products on the market:

Last update on 2023-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API