Many novice owners of guinea pigs are very nervous of bathing their animals because they have been fearful of the effects this may have on the nervous system!. The myth that these animals cannot stand any kind of stress is totally erroneous. They're animals, for goodness sake and their behaviour usually make a damn sight more sense than that of our own species.
Guinea pigs react with such vigour and speed when they feel at all threatened, for the simple reason that this is their only form of defence from what could be predatory attack. They are not built to fight off such attacks so nature has given them a very good nervous system which enables them to get the hell out of it as fast as they can. She also equipped them with a good sound system to warn others in the pack of impending attack and hopefully frighten off those doing the attacking.
What I am trying to say is that much of the nervous behaviour is more sound and fury than the sound of an imminent cardiac attack!.
Like small boys, some guinea pigs object to the very idea of water and soapy suds upon them and let their feeling known to owners as soon as they are put in the sink and the water begins to flow about them. Beware of those that try to commit suicide by leaping out as soon as they are put in, for they can be pretty nifty!. If you are not nimble of eye, hand and body, it would be better if these types were bathed in a bath. It maybe more uncomfortable for you on your knees but it is far safer for them!.
It is a good idea to bath your guinea pigs at least once every three months in an anti parasitic shampoo. The one I use is Prioderm which is used upon children who get hair lice. I leave it on for about ten minutes than rinse off.
If your animals live indoors it is sufficient just to give a vigorous drying by towel and them put them back into their quarters. With animals that live outdoors it it is vital that they are thoroughly dry before they are put outside again. Even shampooing in a good human medicated scalp cleansing shampoo such as Alphosyl, though not having anti parasitic chemicals in it, can still have anti parasitic effects. A clean skin and coat is not at all as appetising to the kind of parasites that guinea pig flesh is heir to as a dirty one.
Though the veterinary profession insists human hair shampoo is dangerous for animals, it is not, and certainly none that are recommended in this book. It is also, incidentally, a lot cheaper than any you will buy from a veterinary surgery. Remember that most of it has already been tested animal guinea pigs anyway!.
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