Guinea pigs are furry, little animals that make the ideal first pets. They are easy to look after and fun to watch.
However, like most pets, your guinea pigs can also get different kinds of parasites.
Are fleas one of them? Let’s find out!
Do Guinea Pigs Get Fleas?
Yes, guinea pigs can get fleas. Fleas are fairly common among small animals. They can be transferred from other pets, including cats and dogs.
It is also possible that when you got your guinea pig from the pet store, you brought home more than just a little friend.
When you have pets—especially the types that interact with other animals—fleas can infiltrate inside your house and attack your guinea pigs easily.
Keep in mind that these monster parasites can jump from one host to another.
Their strong back legs also allow them to jump from the surrounding environment onto a new host.
This means if you let your guinea pigs roam around in the backyard, they can also get fleas from hay or grass.
Even if your guinea pigs have had no recent contact with any other animals, they can still get fleas.
This is because healthy guinea pigs can sometimes suppress parasites for some time before the problem becomes apparent.
Signs of Guinea Pig Fleas
Pet owners often have a hard time identifying the kind of parasite infecting their pets, which makes it difficult to find the right treatment.
So, before you can start looking for a way to get rid of guinea pig fleas, it is important to know what you are dealing with.
In a severe infestation, you may be able to spot fleas jumping around your pet’s fur or your house, especially around the playpen.
Since fleas are relatively large parasites, they are easier to spot than most other pests.
However, that doesn’t mean they cannot hide. Fleas may be big but they are still very good at hiding.
Furthermore, they are very fast, which also makes it difficult to spot live fleas.
A less obvious sign of a flea infestation is that your guinea pig will become restless and twitchy.
They are likely to twitch their heads and scratch excessively. Nibbling on fur is another red flag.
However, keep in mind that lack of chewable toys or treats can also lead to gnawing on fur but if your guinea pig just can’t stop scratching, it may be a sign of infestation.
While hair loss in guinea pigs may occur for many reasons, it may also be a sign of flea infestation.
Excessive scratching can lead to bald spots. While hair loss in guinea pigs is a natural process, if your pet is healthy, it should not lead to bald spots.
White dandruff-like spots and scaling are also red flags of flea infestation.
Fleas survive by sucking blood from the body of their hosts. In severe infestations, excess blood loss can lead to anemia.
Your guinea pig will become weak and lethargic. It will participate less in the playpen and cage and will spend of the most just lazing around.
These are some of the most common signs of flea infestations.
However, keep in mind that these symptoms are not exclusive to flea infestations only.
Other pests may also cause the same signs and symptoms. Therefore, the best way to be completely sure about guinea pig fleas is to take your pet to see a vet.
What to Do if Your Guinea Pigs Get Fleas
Since guinea pigs can get a different variety of parasites, it is important to make sure that you have a case of guinea pig fleas on your hand.
So, if you think your pet is infected, the first thing you need to do is check them to identify the condition quickly and take proper measures.
Check Your Guinea Pigs for Fleas
Gently pick up the guinea pig and place it on your lap. Use your fingers to part its fur and look at the skin for signs of parasites.
The skin should be pink and healthy. Look closely for the signs of excessive scratching. If your pet is infected with fleas, you may or not be able to see them around in the fur.
The fur of your guinea pig should be free of dust-like particles. If you notice brown dust in the hair, know that it’s a sign of trouble.
Keep in mind that in order to find actual fleas on your guinea pigs, you will have to look carefully and quickly.
Fleas can move really fast and jump pretty high.
Turn your guinea pig to check the areas that make the perfect hideouts for fleas – armpits and groin. Check the fur and skin in these areas carefully.
One trick that may help you identify fleas is to place a white cloth or paper underneath your pet while you check its fur for signs of infestation.
If your guinea pig is infested, you may be able to see black or brown flea dirt falling on the cloth or paper.
You can differentiate between flea dirt and regular dust by spraying some water over it. If it turns reddish-brown, it is flea dust.
The red comes from digested blood.
While you are at it, also check the ears of your guinea pigs. Look inside the ears to make sure they are healthy.
If you see a crusty layer of residue or white marks inside the ear, your guinea pig is probably suffering from an infection.
While an infection is not the same as getting flea, it is still very uncomfortable for your furry friend so make sure you consult a vet for proper treatment.
Next, carefully check the fur between the eyes of your guinea pig.
If the fur in this area looks a bit strange, it could mean that your pet is infected with ticks and not fleas.
This problem should also be treated promptly to minimize discomfort and keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy.
Remember to be very gentle and careful with your guinea pig while checking it for signs of parasites.
However, be firm to make sure you don’t drop it as guinea pigs are small and sensitive and a fall can lead to severe injury or even death.
Consult a Vet
If you are still unsure about the kind of parasite you are dealing with, it is advisable to take your pet to a vet.
The vet will be able to identify the infestation and suggest proper treatment. You can also take photographs of the skin and fur of your guinea pig and show them to the vet.
However, it’s better to just take your pet to the vet so that they can thoroughly check your guinea pig for signs of parasites or any other illness.
Getting Rid of Guinea Pig Fleas
While guinea pigs can get infected with fleas just like cats and dogs, you cannot use the same methods to get rid of them.
Use Guinea Pig-Friendly Products
Products designed for larger pets, like cats and dogs, are unlikely to be suitable for guinea pigs.
A lot of anti-flea shampoos may be poisonous for guinea pigs.
Therefore, it is advisable to ask your vet to recommend a good-quality, guinea-pig friendly
Even when you use guinea-pig friendly, it is best to keep it away from eyes and mouth. Use your fingers to gently massage the shampoo to form a rich lather.
Rinse your guinea pig thoroughly with warm water to make sure there is no residual shampoo in its fur.
Use a soft towel to dry your pet and make sure they are warm and cozy. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use the guinea pig flea shampoo.
Clean Your House
Infested pets mean infested house. Fleas are sneaky pests.
They can jump into their surrounding environment – your house – and hide in carpets, furniture, and other nooks and crannies of your house.
This means that to put an end to a flea infestation for good, it is necessary to clear them out of the house as well.
You can sweep tiles and floors using warm soapy liquids. Also, consider using an anti-flea carpet spray or a fogger to eliminate all fleas hiding inside your house.
Treat Other Pets
Treating your guinea pigs for fleas may not be enough.
If you have other pets in the house, it is crucial to treat them as well since they are highly likely to be infected too.
Use suitable products for your different pets to ensure they remain safe and healthy.
Remember, the earlier to take steps to get rid of guinea pig fleas, the easier it will be to get rid of them.
So, to make sure your pets are always happy and healthy, make it a habit to check their fur and skin for signs of parasites or other illnesses.
Always use good-quality, suitable products for your pets, and take them to the vet at the first sign of trouble!
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