Guinea pig fur: What you need to know & care tips
That guinea pigs have fur, we all agree with certainty.
If you have always asked yourself these questions, then you will finally find the answers here!
In addition, there are proven tips for a healthy coat for your guinea pig.
Do guinea pigs have a summer and a winter coat?
In short, no, compared to rabbits and other rodents, guinea pigs do not have a winter and summer coat.
Guinea pigs shed hair throughout the year and always replace their old coat with a new one once the hair reaches its natural length. However, the coat of guinea pigs also grows a little thicker in winter than in summer – at least when the animals are kept outdoors.
However, this is not enough for the animals to feel comfortable in winter.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for guinea pigs to freeze to death outdoors in the cold in winter due to ignorance! Also keep in mind that guinea pigs have bare feet that do not tolerate snow, ice and cold well!
To prevent freezing, it is advisable that you move your guinea pigs to a warmer place – such as indoors – when the temperatures drop below 10°C at night. Usually this temperature threshold is reached in October. As soon as the winter months are over and the temperatures climb back above the 10°C mark at night, you can bring your animals back outside into the garden.
If you keep the animals indoors during the cold winter months, it is advisable to gradually accustom them to the temperatures, which can still be quite cool in spring. Put your mullets in the first 1 – 2 weeks only during the day for a few hours outside and then bring them back into the warm.
So the animals can acclimatize bit by bit.
Guinea pig breeds and differences in coat structure
The variety of breeds of the popular rodents is as wide as their color spectrum.
Since the coat of the different breeds of guinea pigs can differ greatly from each other, it is almost impossible to make generally valid statements about the texture of the coat.
Here you will find a list of the different breeds of guinea pigs and a short overview of the most common coat structures.
Smooth-haired guinea pigs
Rosette Guinea Pig
American Crested Guinea Pig
English Crested Guinea Pig
Rex Guinea Pig
Teddy Guinea Pig
Sheltie guinea pig
Coronet guinea pig
Angora guinea pig
Peruvian guinea pig
Texel guinea pig
Merino guinea pig
Alpaca guinea pig
Mohair guinea pig
All these breeds show differences in their coat structure.
The rosette guinea pig, for example, is characterized by its shaggy swirls, while the fur of the teddy guinea pig has no swirls and looks very fluffy.
In addition, there are also a few very special color varieties of guinea pigs, such as the gray or Dalmatian guinea pig.
If you are a fan of particularly shiny fur, satin guinea pigs might take your heart by storm. This coloration is available in almost all guinea pig breeds.
Here is what to look out for when grooming the coat
Especially shorthaired breeds are remarkably undemanding when it comes to coat care. Compared to dogs, they do not need to be bathed regularly with water, and compared to other rodents – such as chinchillas or hamsters – they also do not need a sand bath.
On the contrary, while sand bathing is simply ignored, forced bathing with water can even have health consequences!
The contact with the water causes a washing out of the natural fat layer, which changes the surface structure of the animal’s skin. Regular bathing therefore leads to drying out of the skin and not infrequently to severe itching or skin rashes.
Therefore, you should never force your pet to bathe just for fun!
However, the specific bathing of the animal with water can be quite useful, if it suffers, for example, from a fungal disease. Here, bathing with water and special medicines is even absolutely necessary. However, bathing should never be done on your own. Only after consultation and an introduction from the treating veterinarian you can treat your guinea pig with the help of the water bath.
Longhaired guinea pigs are somewhat more demanding in their coat care than their shorthaired counterparts.
The long coat of the animals attracts dirt and grime almost magically. Especially when kept outside, it is not uncommon for small twigs or other things to get tangled in the animals’ fur.
Therefore, check the fur of the mullets regularly and remove disturbing elements from the fur. In the course of combing, you can also see directly if parasites have taken up residence in the fluffy long fur and can take countermeasures before the pests multiply further.
In addition, there is also the problem that the fur of the longhaired guinea pigs becomes matted quite quickly. Smaller and larger nodules form, which not only damage the coat, but also disrupt the circulation of air through the skin. Regular combing is therefore mandatory for longhaired guinea pig owners.
In the course of this, you should cut out smaller and larger matted areas that can no longer be combed out of the coat as quickly as possible. This will help limit the damage and prevent the knot from enlarging.
Depending on how advanced the matting is and how much it affects the skin, severe matting can also lead to skin inflammation. If you own a Meeri specimen, which tends very strongly to felting, a regular short haircut is important and correct – a pity for the beautiful fur, however, good for the health of the animal!
Especially at the rear end of the guinea pigs the fur should always be shortened a little, otherwise it can be stuck together by excrement remains – this is not only unhygienic, but can also promote infections!
How the fur can give you information about the health condition of your guinea pig
Healthy guinea pig fur is strong and shiny. Dull or even broken fur, on the other hand, indicates that something is wrong with the animal.
The cause of the coat change can be a harmless nutrient deficiency, which can be corrected within a very short time by means of nutritional supplements – or it can also indicate a more serious illness.
Another clear sign that something is wrong with the animal is excessive hair loss. If you observe that your pet is losing so much fur that real bald patches are forming in the coat, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.
The same applies to sticky fur or crusting on the skin.
This is how you support your guinea pigs during the change of coat
Since the change of coat in guinea pigs does not take place at certain times, but continuously, it is of course not possible to support it at certain times. However, there are things that can facilitate the change of coat of the animals throughout the year.
- balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential to make all the processes of the organism as easy as possible.
A guinea pig that is optimally supplied with all the nutrients that the body needs will have a much easier time with the change of coat. Therefore, inform yourself thoroughly about the topic of guinea pig nutrition and adjust the diet of the animals, if necessary, to be able to offer the animals an optimal supply of nutrients.
- regular brushing
Especially old animals with a weakened immune system have a hard time with the coat change.
This is where you come in: make it easier for them to change their coat by brushing your mullets regularly to remove shedding fur. If you have built up a good bond with your animals and carefully get your guinea pigs used to brushing, many animals will even enjoy this special form of attention!
Brush your guinea pigs with a soft brush in the beginning to make brushing as comfortable as possible.
If you do everything right, brushing will feel like a massage for the animals, which they find so great that after a few sessions they may even run towards you when they see you coming with the brush 😉.
When brushing, however, make sure that you never brush against the direction of the coat, because especially with the long-haired representatives you encourage matting – and besides, the animals feel this kind of brushing as extremely unpleasant! And after all, you want your animals to feel comfortable, don’t you 😉 .
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
There is a lot of information on the internet so it may be hard to know where exactly is the best place to start learning. But we will write articles that get straight to the point, and give you all the information that you need with no fluff!
If you have any questions please leave a comment on the article, and i will reply to you!