How To Successfully Clean A Wound On A Guinea Pig (5 Dos and Don’ts)

So, you found a wound on your guinea pig. It may seem confusing or even downright stressful but don’t panic. Cleaning a guinea pig injury is pretty straight forward. So, before you go straight to the vet, think of what you can do to alleviate the pain and bleeding.

Typically, when there is an open wound in a guinea pig or even just a tiny cut, the first thing that must be done is disinfect it. The safest way to clean a guinea pig wound is by using saline solution or by mixing one tsp of salt into ½ pint (250 ml) of boiled and cooled water. Dip a clean cloth into a mix and gently clean the injury.

how to clean a guinea pig wound

This guide will teach you 5 dos and don’ts of guinea pig wound cleaning. You’ll also learn how piggies get these kinds of injuries and when you need to break open your piggie bank and get your little friend to the vet.

What Is the Proper Way of Cleaning a Guinea Pig’s Wound?

how to clean a guinea pig wound

When taking care of a guinea pig’s injuries, it can be tempting to do what we would normally do for ourselves–but that’s not good for cavies. When faced with the challenge of looking after their wounds, you need to clean them a little differently.

When first aid is required, there are specific things you should do to make sure the injury is properly treated. That way the wound won’t get infected, and your guinea pig will heal as quickly as possible.

In this sense, cleaning your guinea pig’s wound may seem to be a piece of cake. Yet, you still need to make sure that you’re careful in how you clean the wound to avoid infections and extra pain for your fur babies.

To put it simply, here are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to cleaning a guinea pig’s wound.

5 Dos Of Wound Cleaning

1. Keep Your Piggie Calm

Your little friend needs to be calm, so that you can examine the injury. So, try to keep her calm by offering her veggie treats and snuggles.

2. Assess the Wound

Carefully check how severe or big the wound is. Is it still bleeding? Are there any other abrasions?

You need a clear idea of how manageable the cuts are. If the injuries are minor, then it’s best to keep it clean and dry. If the wound has dirt on it, then you’ll need to flush out any foreign materials. This’ll be easy if you…

3. Use Water or Saline Solution

When cleaning your guinea pig’s wound, don’t overdo it. Water or saline solution is enough. 

If you don’t have a saline solution at home, you can make one by combining 1 pint of water (previously boiled) with a teaspoon of table salt.

Rinse the wound with the solution to remove debris and sterilize the cut.

4. Control the Bleeding

If bleeding is still in progress, apply pressure on the affected area. Use a gauze pad or a clean towel.

Do this for about three to five minutes to ensure that the clotting is not interrupted. Check on the bleeding afterward.

5. Know When To Contact The Vet

If you’re not sure how your piggie got the wound, it’s best to contact a vet. That way, they can prescribe the proper treatment. There are a couple of ways that cavies can get hurt If the right treatment isn’t given, then the guinea pig wound can get infected.

5 Don’ts Of Wound Cleaning

1. Use Soap, Neosporin, Shampoo, or Other Cleaning Products

Please don’t use antiseptics that you can find at home. This includes soap, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and anything else that you might use to treat human wounds.

The first reason is because they’re usually too harsh for guinea pigs and might cause more harm than good by hindering the healing process.

2. Poke Around in the Wound

Use a saline solution to flush out any debris. If you poke around in the wound, you could easily give your guinea pig a bacterial infection.

3. Ignore Warning Signs of Infection

Sometimes when you focus your attention on the wound itself so much that you might miss some other tell-tale signs that could indicate infection. This often occurs when we are confident that the wounds have been treated. 

Once your fur baby’s wound has been disinfected, it’s essential that you continue to monitor him for signs of infection.

Be on the look out for signs such as swelling or reddening around the wound, sluggishness in your guinea pig, and loss of appetite.

4. Letting Your Guinea Pig Lick or Chew on the Wound

It’s natural for guinea pigs to try to lick on, or even nibble on, an injury. However, it can lead to infection, which could easily turn a simple wound into a life-threatening situation.

If you notice that your little friend is trying to gnaw at the wound, you definitely need to get her to the vet.

Normally, guinea pigs will ignore their wounds as long as their pain (or the root cause of the wound) is being treated appropriately.

Your vet might need to prescribe some pain killers or antiobiotics.

5. Forget To Keep The Enclosure Very Clean

A cavy’s wound needs to be kept as clean as possible. It’s important that their cage be kept very clean. Fleece is usually better for this task than shavings or paper bedding.

You don’t want to have to worry about debris getting into the wound. That means an increase of spot cleaning and deep cleaning. But, it’s worth it, if you can keep your piggie’s wound from getting infected.

What Causes a Guinea Pig to Have Wounds?

how to clean guinea pig wound

Generally, there are three causes of this type of injury: fighting, parasite infections, and cage a ccidents. Let’s talk about each in a little more detail.

1. Fighting

Piggies are social animals. Two guinea pigs in the same cage heightens their tendency to less lonely. Guinea pigs are social animals that need to be around other cavies more often. So, when you have two of them (successfully matched) living together, they’re happier.

But, when two cavies are introduced or share a cage, there’s a chance that a fight for dominance will break out. Usually this sorts itself out in a couple of days. But, if the guinea pigs do not stop fighting then you need to separate them. This can happen with both male and female pairings.

With guinea pigs of different sex, the male usually dominates the female. On the other hand, when it comes to two male (or female) cavies, they tend to clash until one backs down. They rumblestrut, try to mount each other, or move around in circles. 

If the both cavies are determined to take control of one another (and neither one backs down), it could ultimately lead to a physical fight which will likely result in injury. If this occurs, separate the two cavies as quickly as possible to avoid future injuries.

While guinea pigs love to nibble on their food or surrounding objects, they only resort to biting their cage buddy when they feel threatened, scared, unhappy, or in pain.

Bite wounds sustained from cage fights should be checked immediately. Otherwise, it can lead to infections that could endanger the life of your cavies.

2. Parasites

Parasites such as lice, fur mites, and ringworm can cause itching and inflammation to the skin of your guinea pigs

These symptoms lead your piggies to bite and scratch their own skin. This can cause open sores, which can potentially become infected.

Sure, you can treat the wound. But, it’s even more important to treat the main cause.

If you notice that your guinea pig is overgrooming or scratching excessively, it may be a sign of parasites in the skin – and should be checked by a veterinarian.

But where do guinea pigs get these parasites?

A cavy can catch these parasites from another infected guinea pig. The transmission is often due to contaminated bedding or an unclean cage.

Once your veterinarian diagnoses these kinds of infections, mainly a topical medication is prescribed.

But what happens if these parasitic infections are not caught and treated?

The severity of these infections will depend on the type of parasite involved. 

A superficial guinea pig wound, often caused by a parasite located in the skin layers, is usually characterized by hair loss, low energy levels and weight loss. In some cases, an infestation can lead to death, such as that with fur mites.

3. Cage Accidents

When guinea pigs have accidents in their cage, it could lead to injuries like a broken leg or foot. 

But, from time to time, they also get cuts from loose wires or from getting stuck in the areas like cage bottoms.

If your cavy has wounds on its skin, rule out bites and infection and check for any part of the cage or object that might have hurt them. For instance, it could be an old toy or wire inside the cage with sharp edges.

When you tend to your guinea pigs, pay close attention to the state of their tiny home.

What Happens if Guinea Pig Wounds Are Untreated?

Regardless of its size, whenever your guinea pig has abrasions or scratches, you have to deal with it quickly. Especially if it’s very severe, but you’re not able to get your fur babies to the vet right away.

Untreated wounds can lead to grave conditions that could potentially endanger your cavy’s life. 

When a part of the skin is cut open, the first thing you need to do is disinfect to avoid infection. wound. The danger lies in the contamination that results in disease-causing microbes such as several bacteria and fungi entering the bloodstream through the cut. 

So, sterilize the wound before infection can occur. If the wound does become infected, there are tell-signs you could watch out for, such as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Discharge from the wound

One common indicator of infection among guinea pigs is an abscess.

An abscess is where pus builds up in the affected tissue causing swelling, pain, and redness. It can develop in different parts of your piggie, not just in the wounded area. 

Although there are several suggestions on draining abscesses at home, it’s still best to have a veterinarian check on them

There are types of abscesses can require surgery due to the thickness of the pus. Additionally, an antibiotic is prescribed to manage the infection.

How to Prevent Guinea Pig Injuries?

It doesn’t take much for a guinea pig to get injured. Just imagine them darting around the living room, not paying attention and they bump into the corner of your coffee table …

  • Make sure there are no hazards in their environment that could lead to injury (e.g., small wires or objects).
  • Be careful when introducing guinea pigs to each other. This can be tricky. Some dominance behaviors are normal and need to happen for your piggies to figure out the “pecking order” of their relationship. Other behaviors indicate that a fighting fur ball frenzy is about to break out. You’ll need to know the difference and be prepared to separate them if necessary.
  • Keep their cage regularly cleaned. Do weekly health checks to make sure that your little friends are free from bacterial and fungal infections.

As you can see, preventing guinea pig injuries isn’t all that hard. You just need to know where to look for possible dangers and to be prepared to protect your guinea pigs as much as possible.

In a Nutshell

If you spot a wound on your guinea pig, make sure to take immediate action and clean it properly. 

When it comes to pet first aid, doing it right can save you from worrying and additional expenses to the vet. 

Likewise, you have to remain observant even after the wound has been aided to be entirely sure that your little friend is free from infection.

Follow the 5 Dos and Don’ts to keep guinea pigs free from injuries.

Guinea pig care. (n.d.). Animal Humane Society.

New at the zoo: Guinea pigs. (2020, May 12). Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Salmonella from small mammals | Healthy pets, healthy people | CDC. (2019, April 18). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abscesses in Guinea pigs. (2014, December 10). PetPlace: The Web’s #1 Source of Pet Information.

Behaviour – Guinea pigs – Our pets. (n.d.). The Largest Animal Welfare Charity in the UK | RSPCA.

Disorders and diseases of Guinea pigs – All other pets – Merck veterinary manual. (n.d.). Merck Veterinary Manual.

Domestic Guinea pig. (n.d.). BioWeb Home.

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Guinea pig companionship. (n.d.). pet-care-guide.

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