Even simply thinking about fleas can make you itch. There is absolutely nothing pleasant about these tiny crawling creatures. Unfortunately, if you are a proud guinea pig owner that does not mean that you will be able to avoid fleas.
Can guinea pigs get fleas? In fact, just like cats, dogs or any other pets, guinea pigs can be plagued by these tiny bugs.
And if such a situation happens, you, as a great owner, have to know exactly what to do. Fortunately, the plan is quite simple and won’t take a lot of your time.
But before we proceed to the exact step-by-step plan, let’s take a minute to refresh our knowledge about the little beasts.
Fleas. What Are These Things?
Who are these creatures?
Can they be dangerous?
Can humans get fleas?
Even though we all seem to know about these bugs, once we actually meet them we have no idea what to do. Fleas are very small bugs. They can be as big as the tip of a nail. When it comes to color, fleas are usually either brown or black. The bugs have flat bodies and a hard shell that protects them.
These features make it quite hard to kill fleas manually. You would first need to actually find the flea, then catch it and kill by squishing the creature between your nails. Simply pressing on the fleas will not kill them, as the shell is too hard.
The great news is that fleas don’t have wings, so they can’t fly for long distances. But these creatures are great jumpers. Fleas can easily jump on another pet, even if the infected animal didn’t come up too close to the other one.
The worst thing about fleas is that they reproduce extremely fast. That’s why killing the creatures manually won’t usually lead to any significant results. The chances are high that you are going to miss one or two that would soon reproduce dozens more.
Flea bites are not that scary if treated properly and soon enough. Yes, they are itchy and may cause discomfort, but that’s usually where the story ends. However, if you fail to treat flea bites fast enough, your pet won’t stop scratching. Skin damage is a dangerous thing as it opens the door for various bacterial infections.
If there are a lot of fleas, these creatures can cause allergies that lead to dermatitis. In case your pet doesn’t undergo any treatment, the fleas will continue to reproduce and suck its blood. Such a condition can even lead to anemia!
When it comes to people, can fleas affect us? The answer is: yes. Moreover, even if you don’t have any pets you can still get flea bites. The bugs can jump on you from your neighbor’s pet or from your backyard. By the way, fleas can easily start living in your bedding or carpets, so make sure to check those as well.
How Do I Know that My Guinea Pig Has Fleas?
It is relatively easy to find out whether or not your guinea pig has fleas. First of all, your beloved animal will surely start scratching more than usual (flea bites are extremely itchy, remember?). To eliminate any questions, handle your pet and move back its fur. If you see tiny black things or flea bites on the skin, then your poor pet surely does have fleas.
It is quite easy to distinct flea bites. The thing about these kinds of bites is that they never become larger. A flea bite will always be small with a red bump over it. The bites might be found in a row, in pairs or threes. Moreover, some bites may have a red halo around them.
Flea bites are extremely itchy. If your pet continues scratching the spots, then an additional rash may emerge around them.
How Did My Guinea Pig Get These Fleas?
The truth is that there might be a lot of different options. If you happen to have other pets, the chances are high that the cat or dog might have carried the fleas inside the house on their fur. Guinea pigs are certainly not immune to fleas. And the little bugs don’t really care which animal to pick as their victim.
In case you are the kind of owner that lets his or her guinea pig run around in the garden or backyard, then the animal could have got the fleas from the grass. Moreover, you yourself can easily transfer the bugs onto your guinea pig, if you have been stroking infested animals before arriving home.
How to Prevent Your Guinea Pig from Getting Fleas?
The rules are pretty simple, but you have to make sure to follow them carefully.
- Wash your hands every time before handling your guinea pig. This step is important not only as a preventative measure for flea infestation. The overall health of your cuddly little animal won’t be endangered if you have clean hands.
- If you have other pets, make sure that they have undergone the necessary procedures that will help them avoid fleas. As a result, they won’t be bringing these bugs into your house.
- Don’t take your guinea pig outside. It might seem like a great idea to give your guinea pig an opportunity to eat some grass out in the fresh air. But bear in mind that it will take you a lot of time, effort and nerves to get rid of the fleas that your pet might get if you let it run outside.
- Don’t forget to check your guinea pig once in a while. If you will be able to examine the fur and skin of your pet daily – that would be great. Take a close look at the skin of the guinea pig. Can you see flea bites? Maybe, you will be able to notice the actual fleas or the dirt from the bugs.
- Keep the cage of your guinea pig clean. Make sure to change its bedding as soon as it gets dirty. A clean environment will not give you a 100% guarantee that your guinea pig won’t get infected, but it surely won’t be suffering from serious parasite problems, if it lives in a clean place. By the way, your apartment has to be neat as well. Remember that fleas can happily live in your carpets. Cleaning the whole house once in a while is surely a great idea.
How to Treat the Guinea Pig for Fleas?
First of all, you have to be patient. Our aim here is to kill all of the fleas, because if you don’t manage to do that, then all your efforts were worthless. The best way out is to give your dear guinea pig a bath. The trick here is that various shampoos don’t really kill all the fleas. But the water surely will, as the tiny bugs are simply going to drown.
As bathing is an extremely stressful experience for your guinea pig, try doing everything you possibly can to make it short and gentle.
You don’t need to use a human bath for your guinea pig. Find a shallow bowl that you can easily fill up with warm water. Gently pick up your guinea pig with two hands. While you wash your tiny friend, try to hold it gently, but firm enough.
What kind of Shampoos Can you Use?
Never use a human shampoo as it will, most likely, irritate the guinea pig’s eyes and skin. You can use an herbal shampoo that is suitable for babies. However, it is always better to talk to your veterinarian before starting to use any kind of treatments.
Make sure to keep the water away from the eyes and ears. It is always better to leave the bowl close to the ground, so that if your guinea pig jumps it won’t hurt itself. Try to wash the little guy slowly. You can even give it a little treat right in the bath so that it will calm down.
The bath shouldn’t be short, as the fleas would need some time to drown in the water. It is essential to clean the cage as well, as there might be fleas left in the bedding, for example.
If you would still like to let your pet run around outside, then make sure to de-flea it every 10 to 12 weeks. Some veterinarians recommend kitten advocate de flea, but it is always better to consult your personal doctor.
Unfortunately, even our small cute friends can get infected by fleas. Now you know what exactly you need to do if such an event occurs with your guinea pig. You shouldn’t panic, but at the same time – act fast, because some serious health conditions can develop if fleas go untreated for a long period of time.
Don’t forget to check the fur and skin of your beloved guinea pig. And remember that it is always better to consult a vet if you are not entirely sure about what you need to do. The health of your pet should always be your priority.