Pictures of shaved and completely hairless guinea pigs have been popping up across the web. Many novice guinea pig owners and even the experienced ones that do not know about Skinny guinea pigs are assuming that the cruel owners have stripped their piglet of its fur. But it is not the case—at least not all the time.
The piglet in the feature image is not shaved but actually a Skinny guinea pig. Similarly, in most of the videos and images circulating on the internet, featured hairless guinea pigs are actually Skinny guinea pigs—a bald guinea pig breed, just like Sphynx cats.
Watching these skinny guinea pigs many guinea owners get the idea of shaving their piglets so that they could have a shaved guinea pig, which would require zero daily brushings. No doubt, caring for longhaired guinea pigs is a huge responsibility but you should never shave your guinea pig unless it is medically necessary and directed by a veterinarian.
Shaved Guinea Pig
Unlike Skinny guinea pigs, shaved guinea pigs originally have hair but were shaved for some reason. If you were to pet a shaved guinea pig, you will notice that it still has a rough and coarse coat. You will also be able to feel the hair follicles, which will grow back into long hair, depending on the guinea pig breed.
If you even come across a shaved guinea pig and discover that the owners only shaved their piglet for cosmetic reasons, you should let them know how bad it is to shave a guinea pig and the associated health risks. If you don’t know these yet, continue reading to learn.
While most pictures that you think are shaved guinea pigs might be skinny guinea pigs, here in this video the guy has actually shaved his piglet.
|Skinny Guinea Pig|
|A skinny guinea pig is a breed of guinea with a completely hairless body. Like the Sphynx cats, their body is completely devoid of hair. While there will be no hair on their body, they might have a few wiry hair on their head and snout. If you were to pet a Skinny guinea pig, you will find that they have smooth skin and a leathery texture.|
If you were to spot a shaved guinea pig, you will now probably be able to tell if it is a skinny guinea pig or a shaved guinea pig.
Should You Shave Your Guinea Pig?
No, you should not shave your guinea pig to its skin, unless it is a medical necessity. Removing all the hair and ending up with a shaved guinea pig would increase the risk of ingrown hair in guinea pigs and also make them vulnerable to bacterial and fungal skin infections like folliculitis.
By stripping your piglets of their layer of hair protection, you will also be making them even more sensitive to temperatures. If you are living in a really hot environment, trimming your longhaired guinea pigs would be a good idea but shaving all of their hair so that their skin is naked is never a good idea, especially if is being done for merely cosmetic reasons.
Below, we will discuss the pros and cons of shaving guinea pigs to help you reach the best decision for your piglet.
Cons: Reasons Why You Should Never Shave Your Guinea Pig?
Here is how you will be putting your piglet at a disadvantage by stripping it off its furry coat.
· Losing Hair Means Losing a Layer of Protection
The fluffy coat of guinea pigs not only makes them look adorable but also protects their sensitive and fragile bodies from injuries and fungal and bacterial attacks. Stripped of its coat, a shaved guinea pig will be highly vulnerable to cuts and injuries while moving around in its cages. They will also be more susceptible to fungal and bacterial skin infections. When their hair starts growing back, there is a huge risk of ingrown hair, which are painful.
· Shaved Guinea Pigs Are More Sensitive to Temperature Changes
Losing their hairy coat, guinea pigs lose their ability to regulate their body temperature. While shaving might make it all bit breezy for your piglet when it is too hot. But you should know that it would also put your piggy friend at the risk of sunburn if they were to come under direct sun. the ultraviolet rays from the sun would lead to rashes, wrinkled skin, and many more skin problems. similarly, if it were to get a bit cold, a shaved guinea pig would not be able to keep its body warm.
Before shaving your guinea pig, you should also know that shaved guinea pigs are more prone to dry skin and contracting mites. That’s a lot of pain and suffering for guinea pigs. No guinea pig lover would want to put their piglet through all this suffering just for cosmetic reasons.
· By Shaving You Will Be Stripping Your Guinea Pig of Its Comfort
Over the eons of evolution, guinea pigs have developed hair (some short, some long, and a few curly) for a reason. Stripping guineas of their hair would be extremely stressful for them. And make no mistake, guinea pigs don’t like change, If you even take away their favorite toy, they would be anxious all day. How do you think they will feel about losing their furry coat. They will not know how to go about their life with their coat. It would be all different and strange for them.
· The Process of Shaving Extremely Traumatizing For Guinea Pigs
Have you ever seen a small kid crying while having a cut at a hair salon? Just like the small kids are traumatized just by seeing scissors and blades in the hairdresser’s hands, guinea pigs also go crazy when they sight blades and trimmers.
When held for shaving, guinea pigs start wiggling trying to free themselves, They start making all sorts of guinea pig noises—hissing, teeth chattering, wheeking, shrieking, and screaming—to tell their owners that they are uncomfortable, scared, and mad. They don’t want a shave. The whole process of shaving a guinea pig would be extremely stressful and traumatizing for the piglets. And if done at home could result in many cuts and scratches.
Therefore, you should never shave your guinea pig. If it is medically necessary, you should have a vet or professional groomer do it.
Pros: Why Should Shave Your Guinea Pig?
Shaving is no good for guinea pigs. However, if it were done to make it easy for vets to proceed with a procedure, it may help save your piggy’s life.
Shaving is Necessary for Medical Procedures
A guinea pig should only be shaved when a vet says that it is absolutely necessary. Oftentimes, when guinea pigs have a body tumor and vets, have to perform a procedure and hair is in the way, vets may have to shave that particular area of your piggy’s body. The decision of shaving a guinea pig for medical reasons should only be taken by expert veterinarians.
Shaving Shouldn’t be The First Option to Get Rid of Lice in Guinea Pigs
Many times people shave their guinea pigs because it has too many lice. No doubt, shaving a guinea pig to its naked skin would get rid of all the lice but keep in mind that shaved guinea pigs are prone to temperature sensitivity and vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections and also termites. Besides the process of shaving is just too traumatizing for guinea pigs. If your piglet has lice, you should brush her regularly and take her to a vet. The vet may prescribe a flea shampoo or some other way to deal with the lice problem.
Benefits of Trimming a Guinea Pig
While shaving has no advantages for guinea pigs, carefully trimming guinea pigs’ hair could be really beneficial if done right.
· Trimming Longhaired Guinea Pigs In Summer
If you have a Peruvian Guinea Pig or some other longhaired guinea pig breed, trimming your piglet’s hair short would work wonders to keep your piggy friend cool on hot summer days.
· Trimming the Hair Around Butt
Guinea pigs are always pooping and peeing. During all the pooping and peeing their bums get really filthy, which if not cleaned promptly could lead to pain and even urinary tract infection in guinea pigs, which is extremely painful. Trimming hair around a guinea pig’s butt could help keep the bum area of your piglet clean.
· Trimmed Guinea Pigs Trip Less
If not trimmed, longhaired guinea pigs’ hair gets really long that when running around in their cage, they often trip over their own hair and run into accidents. So, if you trim your piggy’s hair, it will reduce tripping and other similar accidents.
· Trimmed Guinea Pigs Can Move Around More Easily
When guinea hair gets really long, it becomes difficult for them to move around. When guinea pig’s hair falls on the floor it becomes a bit difficult for them to move around. Their movement is restricted, which increases the likelihood of obesity in guinea pigs. If you were to cut your guinea hair a bit, he will be able to move around unrestricted.