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QUESTION: I just got a guinea pig and this is my first time. i was wondering can i give my guinea pig (Green Bean) a bath in the winter? if so how do i dry him off? and how do i get him to stop being so afraid of me and so jumpy? Please help me.

ANSWER: Congratulations on your new pet.  Green Bean is an adorable name!

Most guinea pigs need about a week to get used to their new surroundings. Don't try to hard to handle him just yet. He needs to be familiar with the new sights and smells of the household, then he will settle down and become used to you.

When you pick him up be careful not to just grab him from the top and squeeze his delicate ribs. They are easily injured by grabbing that way. Try to use both hands and always be sure you have one hand underneath him so he feels safe.

Sometimes just wrapping a small towel around his body makes him feel secure and he will quiet down more quickly.

As for the bath, there's really no reason you need to bathe him unless he gets really dirty. But if you do need to give him a bath be sure to rinse him well, then wrap a towel around him. Hold him for a few minutes as the towel soaks up most of the water. Then you can use a hair dryer to dry him.

But be extremely careful to keep moving the dryer back and forth so that he doesn't have hot air blowing just on one spot. He can get a burn that way. Most guinea pigs don't need a bath too frequently. Keeping his cage clean and dry will also help keep him clean as well.

Best of luck to you, and if you are able I would love to see pictures of him.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Green Bean
Green Bean  
QUESTION: Thank you. I also have another question, how often am i suppose to feed him i started twice a day and am now only feeding him once. and i was also afraid that i hurt him when i pet him on his back he sounds almost like purring or growling and when he walks he always cry. And if i were to change from bedding to fleece would it affect him in anyway?
Thank you for taking your time to answer my questions.

Answer
Roan Abyssinian
Roan Abyssinian  
Now that I can see Green Bean I can tell you why he acts the way he does when you're petting him. His is an Abyssinian (breed). His hair grows in little rosettes all over his body. And he's adorable by the way!

Guinea pigs don't like their coat petted in the wrong direction. They want to be stroked in the direction of the hair growth. With Green Bean his hair grows in all different directions. So it's a bit irritating to him if you run you hand from his head to his rear.

Imagine if someone were to stroke your head softly from the front to the back. It's very soothing and affectionate. Now imagine if they started at your neck and stroked you toward the top of your head to your forehead. That doesn't feel good and is irritating.

When grooming Abys most exhibitors use a toothbrush. You gently brush each rosette from the center outward. When I groom my Teddies I brush from the back to the front because that's the way the hair grows. The smooth coated pigs like the Americans are brushed from head to rear.

I think his jumpiness is just because it's uncomfortable when you pet him. So from now on just try holding him in your lap and if you don't have a toothbrush to groom him with then just use your finger and pet the way the hair grows. I bet you'll find that he enjoys that.

Abys have long been known as the smartest of all the cavy breeds. When on a show table it's always the Abys that manage to get out of their coop and run down the carpeted ramp.  Judges will always say, "that's just an Aby."  We've always called them the "Jack Russell Terriers" of guinea pigs, because they're always busy, busy, busy.  

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As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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