Are your guinea pigs constantly scratching their bodies? This might be because some parasites have attacked them. And, these parasites can actually be fleas. But can guinea pigs get fleas? Well, sadly, yes! Even if you are keeping the guinea pigs as pets in your home and that too in proper conditions, fleas may attack the fur of the little creatures. As a result, the guinea pigs suffer from terrible itching.
If your home environment is infested with fleas or if you have other pets such as cats and dogs at home, guinea pigs can easily get fleas. However, under no circumstances are the guinea pigs the primary host for irritable fleas.
The biting of the fleas undoubtedly makes your little household pets feel unpleasant. To keep your guinea pigs away from torturous fleas, we have come up with this informative article that will guide you to take proper care of your cute pigs.
Table of Contents
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are small-bodied parasites that depend on other creatures as they suck their blood to derive nutrition for themselves. They usually have a black or brown body color and grow up to 2 mm in length.
Depending upon the surroundings and the host, the life cycle of the fleas may vary anywhere from as short as two weeks to as long as three months.
Do you know that a female flea can lay as much as 50 eggs just in a single day? No wonder why the entry of the fleas into your home is an alarm signal for you! It won’t take long for them to spread across and move around your home.
Fleas are so nasty, irritable creatures that they will look for hosts in your pet animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and even in you! They can affect any kind of warm-blooded creature. Since we humans, too, are warm-blooded organisms, no wonder why we too may get attacked by them.
Female fleas can lay eggs everywhere! They don’t spare any area. Starting from rugs, carpets, beds, pet’s fur to the sofa, their characteristic unpleasant biting will make you feel their annoying presence.
The stages of growth in a flea are something like this:
- Mature Flea
Probably, it is now clear to you that guinea pigs can get fleas. In fact, according to the RSPCA, the body of the guinea pigs provides the right conditions for the fleas to lay multiple eggs.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Fleas?
Not only do dogs and cats contract fleas, but guinea pigs also get afflicted by the fleas. Since the guinea pigs are warm-blooded creatures, the fleas love to lay eggs and settle deep in the cozy furs of the pigs.
Once these parasites gain entry into the little guineas’ body, they will just not make their exit and continue to irritate your pets. Another possibility of your guinea pigs getting fleas is when the cats or dogs get contracted by the fleas, and then they pass on these to the pigs’ bodies.
To rescue your guinea pigs from the discomfort brought upon them by the fleas, you must consult a vet immediately.
Prolonged flea infestation in the guinea pigs may result in them suffering from allergies, dermatitis, and even anemia if the fleas draw excessive blood from their body.
What is furthermore dangerous is that some fleas are the carriers of a disease called “myxomatosis.” If any flea somehow enters the mouth of any guinea pig, this disease may pass on to your pet. This is going to have a detrimental effect on the pigs’ bodies.
Do you know what another deadlier part of the flea attack on the guinea pigs is? Often when a guinea pig has fleas, it ends up ingesting the larvae of the fleas. This, then, results in the growth of tapeworm inside the body of your little pets.
To make yourself aware of this flea attack on the body of the guinea pigs, now let’s see.
How To Check For The Presence Of The Fleas On Your Guinea Pig
So, now the question is how you can check your guinea pig’s body for fleas? The most obvious way is to seek the help of the vet. But you can check for the presence of the fleas in the pigs’ bodies if you feel comfortable doing so. Often, the guinea pigs won’t like anyone to lift them and check their body. In that case, you might have to rely on the vet.
But, if you have a good rapport with your pet guinea pig, you can quickly check for fleas by taking them in your lap and then scanning for the parasite creatures. Look for small red bumps or red circles on the guinea pig’s body to know if the fleas are dwelling in the fur of your pet.
Check if any black critters are present on the skin between the body hairs of the guinea pig. If spotted, don’t delay in consulting the vet.
Suppose you could not spot the reddish marks on the pigs’ body; how will you understand? Well, there is a way!
Check if the body fur of the guinea pigs has flea dirt or dust. This flea dirt looks like dry coffee powder or dry blood dots on the fur of the guinea pigs. This solution can work out if you have a guinea pig with white body fur.
However, if you have a dark-haired guinea pig, scanning for the presence of flea dirt on the guinea pig’s fur will become a difficult task. But, don’t worry! There is a solution. Purchase a pet brush and comb the fur of the guinea pig.
If any flea dirt is present on the pig’s body, the particles will stay back on the comb or brush. In that way, you will be able to understand if the guinea pig has contracted fleas.
When cleaning the guinea pig cage, if you notice any kind of debris, dirt, or dust, immediately know that the fleas have entered the guinea pig’s body.
Another good sign to know about the flea attack is checking if the guinea pig’s skin has turned a bit pinkish or soft. Moreover, if you observe that the guinea pigs are fretting or shaking too much, know that they are feeling unpleasant due to the sucking of the blood by the fleas.
Consulting a vet is also a good idea as he will conduct some tests and find out quickly about the flea attack.
Why Do Fleas Attack The Guinea Pigs?
Fleas attack the guinea pigs after getting attracted to the surroundings in which they live. Do you know that fleas are fond of living in a highly humid, moist, warm, and dark environment?
Often, such a humid and dark environment exists in the cage where the guinea pigs live. As a result, the fleas get drawn to their preferable living area and start laying eggs on the fur of the guinea pigs.
A guinea pig loves to thrive in an area with a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Coincidentally, the fleas love to settle in a region having that same temperature range. This is one of the probable reasons for which pigs get fleas.
Even if you wish to keep the guinea pigs in a sunny or well-lit area to prevent fleas, your pets won’t like it. And, that is where the problem emerges as both the fleas and guinea pigs have the same living environment preferences.
What is more problematic is that the bedding of the guinea pig cage stays in a wet, humid and dirty state due to the pee and poop of the guinea pigs. Such a condition further encourages the growth and development of fleas.
Guinea pigs themselves are not the causes of flea infestation, but their living conditions definitely are!
Guinea Pig Fleas Treatment
Once you become aware of your guinea pig’s condition, contact a vet immediately. Use the medicines or curative products that they will prescribe for your guinea pig. You may use the Guinea Pig-friendly Flea Spray and Shampoo to ensure proper body hygiene of your pet animals.
If you wish to use some other spray or shampoo, make sure if these are free from toxic chemicals. Always use an animal-friendly shampoo or flea spray.
Refrain from using a human shampoo as it might cause irritation or redness to the skin of the guinea pigs. Give your pet a short, quick bath before applying the flea spray.
If you have some other pets such as dogs and cats at home apart from the guinea pigs, make sure to give all of them a proper bath at the same time.
Take a shallow bowl and pour slightly warm water into it. Now, place your guinea pig in the bowl and give a gentle bath to them. Hold them tight in your hands to don’t wring out or get fully soaked in it.
Apply the shampoo and then gently massage the guinea pig. Make sure if all the shampoo lather has been washed out from the body. Wash in a way so that no traces of dirt stays on the body of the guinea pig.
Do note that if the guinea pig displays any kind of distress or shock, stop bathing them immediately. It might indicate that they do not like the bath. If you fail to understand the difficulties of the guinea pig, things might get worse, and your pet may get a sudden heart attack.
Preventive Methods To Protect Your Guinea Pig From Fleas
Ensuring proper hygiene and cleanliness is very important to keep away the fleas from the guinea pigs. Wash the guinea pig cage quite often, instead of periodically. Get rid of the poop droppings present in the cell. It is recommended that you train the guinea pigs to use a litter box at the time of excreting.
If possible, deep clean the cage regularly. Properly wash the food bowls and other containers present in the container to get rid of fleas, bacteria, and other germs from the living area of the guinea pigs.
Use A Dehumidifier
Use a dehumidifier to prevent the air from getting too laden with vapors and becoming moist or damp. Keep a careful check on the body fur condition of the pigs to spot any flea dirt/dust on them.
Vacuum The Floors Regularly
If you have a vacuum cleaner at home, using it to sweep away all sorts of dirt from the area where the guinea pigs live is a fantastic idea. In this way, any fleas roaming on the floor and their eggs lying on the ground will get engulfed by the machine.
Select An Apt Shampoo For Your Guinea Pig
Always use a shampoo that has been prescribed to you by the veterinarian. If you don’t have any medicated shampoo for your guinea pig, you may use baby shampoos made of organic or herbal elements.
Shampoos rich in pyrethrins, a compound, are preferable to keep your guinea pig safe from the flea. The pyrethrins, a natural/herbal element derived from the chrysanthemum flower, are highly effective in destroying the parasitic fleas. After you are done shampooing your guinea pigs, deep clean the cage, alter the bedding and only place your washed pigs inside it again.
Don’t Let Your Pet Stay Outside For Long Periods Of Time.
If you let your pet stay outdoors for prolonged periods, the chances are that they will contract fleas, and then these will get spread to the entire household environment. This is because when the guinea pigs roam around the grasses in any yard, lawn, garden, or field, their body fur will pick up the fleas that otherwise live on the grasses.
Every time your pet guinea pig comes home after a bit roaming, check its fur. You may also quarantine the guinea pigs for some time to prevent the spread of the fleas to the other pets and rugs or carpets. If you notice that the little pigs have got fleas in their fur, immediately try out the remedial measures.
Once the flea infestation problem is solved, you can let your guinea pigs come out of the isolation.
Symptoms Of Guinea Pig Flea Attack
- Frequent itching
- Presence of flea dust in the fur
- Soft or pinkish skin
- Red sores
- Fleas present in the fur as tiny black dots
Is It Possible For Guinea Pigs To Get Fleas/Mites From Hay?
Guinea pigs get fleas from hay! Fleas or mites may thrive on hay, but they won’t be in an active state. Once they spot living, warm-blooded animals, the fleas get back to their active state and start sucking blood from these small animals. The chances of a flea attack are more significant when you purchase hay in bulk from any farm. You must purchase only fresh and good-quality hay from a reputable brand. Always look for fleas-proof hay in the market. Storing the hay properly is very important because if you keep it in a damp or moist place, the chances of flea growth are higher.
Is It Possible For The Guinea Pigs To Contract Fleas or Lice From The Cats?
If you have pet cats at home, there are greater chances of your guinea pigs contracting fleas and even lice. This is because when the cats roam around the guinea pig cage or come close to the guinea pigs, the notorious fleas or lice will simply just jump from the cats’ bodies to that of the guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Fleas/Mites From Dogs?
If you own any pet dog, the fleas present in its body will straightway bounce to the fur of the guinea pigs. Fleas are highly transmissible! It may even spread to the furniture of the room and cause utter distress to you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do You Have To Treat Guinea Pigs For Fleas?
If you notice that your guinea pig has fleas, it is essential that you immediately go for flea treatment. Use flea spray or a proper shampoo and apply it on the guinea pig’s fur to get rid of fleas.
How Smart Is A Guinea Pig?
A guinea pig is an intelligent rodent and can learn new skills at a faster rate than any cat or dog. Quite a smart animal it is!
Can Guinea Pig Fleas Live On Humans?
Guinea pig fleas can live on any warm-blooded creature such as humans, dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, etc.
Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Held?
If you have built a bond of mutual trust and affection with your guinea pig, you can hold them or pat them. They will interpret these as a way of showing affection. However, if they are newbies at your home, wait for a few days or months till they get comfortable with you.
How Do You Know If Your Guinea Pig Has Fleas?
If you notice that your guinea pig feels unpleasant or scratches its body frequently, you will immediately know that it has contracted fleas.