Guinea pigs are not only cute and cuddly rodents, but they are popular with young families, because they make great pets for children. Their amazing personalities, and gentle and friendly demeanors mean that they are not only fun to play with, but can provide years of entertainment.
However, if you’ve noticed your guinea pig scratching at its fur repeatedly, then you will definitely be wondering what’s wrong with your furry friend. More common infections guinea pigs can get include mites, ringworm, lice, or allergies.
But what about fleas? Can guinea pigs get fleas?
Yes, guinea pigs can get fleas, typically if they are in the same household as cats and dogs. Fleas usually can’t breed on guinea pig fur, though, so that’s good news.
Read on for a full explainer!
Can Guinea Pigs Get Fleas?
Although fleas generally don’t choose guinea pigs to be their hosts, it is possible that they have infested your guinea pig. This is particularly possible if you have other pets living in your home, primarily cats and kittens, and dogs, but also rabbits and feathery pets like birds.
Fleas are able to jump to your guinea pig if they play around in the same room as your other pets. It’s also possible that if your other pets have fleas that jump onto you, you could transfer the flea to your guinea pig when you’re cuddling them!
If this is the case though, the good news is that any fleas on your guinea pig won’t be able to complete their life cycle, since they can’t multiply easily in your little furry rodent’s fur.
The good news is that any fleas on your guinea pig won’t be able to complete their life cycle since they can’t multiply easily in your little furry rodent’s fur.
Baby guinea pigs and pregnant mothers are at most risk of becoming infected, because of their increased blood flow when compared to other guinea pigs, which raises their temperature. This warmer temperature is what can attract fleas from your other pets.
Therefore, your first course of action is to find out if the reason why your guinea pig is scratching an itch is due to actually having fleas. You’ll need to get hold of a flea comb to do this.
This Crafterlife Small Animal Pet Grooming Kit includes a comb with smooth rounded ends that will prevent any scratches on your guinea pig’s delicate skin while you search for fleas in its fur.
Grooming your guinea pig with this kit will also help to reduce any hair loss, prevent hair balls from forming by eliminating loose hair and tangles, knots, dander and trapped flea dirt, which looks like specks of black pepper.
What To Do If You Find Fleas on Your Guinea Pig
If you do end up finding a flea or three on your guinea pig, then the next thing you need to do is treat your other furry animals immediately, and isolate your guinea pig while doing so.
After that, you will have to treat your home in order to get rid of any signs of infestation. Read our article Will Fleas Go Away On Their Own? for tips on how to do this.
For your little guinea pig though, you’ll need to take a different approach, because although you may find fleas on them, fleas generally don’t use this particularly cute little pet as a host in the long term.
For your little guinea pig, you’ll need to take a different approach, because although you may find fleas on them, fleas generally don’t use this particularly cute little pet as a host in the long term.
This means that they won’t be able to reproduce by laying eggs and completing their life cycle while hanging out in your guinea pig’s fur.
Whew. Good news.
Also, because guinea pigs are such delicate creatures, they are not able to tolerate the chemicals in the flea treatments available for cats, dogs, and other furry pets like rabbits.
This means that simply using a comb to find the fleas, and keeping your guinea pig away from your other pets while they are being treated should do the trick, if you do find fleas on your guinea pig.
Where Else Can Guinea Pigs Get Fleas?
Besides attracting fleas from other animals that may be living in your house like cats, dogs, and rabbits, there are other places where your guinea pig may have picked up fleas.
Adult female fleas are able to lay between 20 and 50 eggs in one day, which happens within 24 hours of their initial blood meal. As well as your other pets, it is possible for them to lay eggs in other soft and fluffy things, such as your clothing, fabric upholstered sofas, cushions, rugs, floor mats, and carpets.
This means that if your guinea pig is able to roam around your home, even after treating any other animals, it is possible for your little furry critter to have a flea jump onto them from your carpet, or even from a visitor who had a flea on their clothing, due to an infestation on their animal or in their home.
If your guinea pig is allowed to run around in an open yard outside, then it is also possible for them to have a flea hitch a ride on their fur from the grass.
And if you use hay as bedding in its cage, then there may be a chance that the fleas have come from there. If you buy it in bulk and it has become moist (which attracts fleas) hay can be the culpret.
Speaking of moisture, guinea pigs don’t enjoy direct sunlight, and neither do fleas. This means that when your guinea pig goes outside, it will be sticking to areas that fleas will also be attracted to. Also, because your guinea pig’s bedding is often damp and wet, because of their pee and poop, if there is a flea infestation in the home, they will find this a good place to gather and proliferate.
How Fleas Can Hurt Guinea Pigs
Although we know that fleas can’t harm guinea pigs by using them as a host to multiply, it’s still possible that these pests can make them sick. This is why if you find one, you need to comb your guinea pig immediately.
For example, your guinea pig could possibly consume a flea accidentally while it is grooming itself. This may seem insignificant, but some fleas carry diseases, such as myxomatosis, which can end up causing a real health problem if the flea your guinea pig eats has it.
In addition, if by chance your guinea pig gets hold of flea eggs or larvae and eats it, the resulting worms can end up causing you cute furry friend to develop tapeworm.
How To Treat Fleas On Your Guinea Pig
In the unlikely event that you do find a flea or flea dirt when you’re combing your guinea pig’s fur, and after you’ve treated any other animals and vacuumed all the floors, rugs, and carpets in your home, then you can also give your little love ball a bath.
However, unless you have done this before, it is best to consult your vet, especially if they have a medical condition like open-mouth breathing, or they get distressed easily. If you do give them a bath, then make sure that you use specialized guinea pig shampoo that is made with natural ingredients.
You could also try using Kaytee Quick & Clean Critter Dry Shampoo, which has been specially formulated as a no-rinse shampoo that will gently dissolve oil, loosen dirt, and deodorize your guinea pig’s skin and coat.
Its non-irritating formula will work great when using a flea comb, and will leave your furry friend smelling as fresh as a newborn baby.
You should also make sure that you clean your guinea pig’s bedding, as well as thoroughly clean their cage.
Flea Treatments Designed for Other Pets
Flea treatments for other pets are generally not safe to use on guinea pigs, who again are very delicate little animals. So, in order to prevent your guinea pig having another flea problem, follow the tips below:
- Brush the fur of your guinea pig with a flea comb at least once a week.
- Make sure that you change their bedding often and that their cage is always clean.
- Keep an eye on their health, especially for any signs of fleas.
- Stay on top of your laundry and regularly steam clean your soft furnishings around your home.
If things get out of control again, because fleas keep coming back, even with regular treatment of your other animals, or you are unsure about what to do next, then it’s time to make an appointment to visit your vet.
They will be able to assist you further.
Flea Gone Fur-Ever
Guinea pigs are cute and gentle little rodents that bring lots of happiness to their owners, so if you have one of these furry friends, making sure that it’s safe and happy will be an important priority to you.
If you do happen to come across a flea when you’re grooming them, make sure that you follow the tips we’ve shared in this article, so that they remain healthy and happy fur-longer!