When it comes to having a pet, particularly a furry friend, we all have the same dreaded fear. Just like having children and expecting them to catch nits when they first begin school, with most fluffy pets we can expect them to catch fleas at one point or another.
With fleas, it is not always clear how our pets catch them. More often than not, we find with social pets that they can catch them from other animals, such as dogs catching them from dogs and cats catching them from cats.
However, when it comes to pets such as guinea pigs, it’s not always as simple as this. Most people may think that with a hutch pet there is no risk of fleas, but this is not true. In fact, whilst having an indoor pet does reduce the chance of fleas, fleas can still spread into a home with no pets at all, and so keeping cautious even for those hutched pets is always a good idea.
How do guinea pigs get fleas?
Before we look at the best ways to prevent your little friends from catching fleas, it is important to know how your indoor and caged pets may get them in the first place.
With outdoor guinea pigs it may be a lot clearer. Fleas can live in and amongst many plants, and so fleas spreading to animals outside is a lot more common, particularly if you let your guinea pigs out for a little run around the garden.
They may also catch them from other outdoor animals. If your guinea pig comes in contact with any other animals outside, such as dogs, cats, even birds, then they are at risk of catching fleas from these other animals.
So, with both plants and other animals being a risk factor to your pet, it makes sense to keep them inside, right? Not quite.
Whilst this will reduce the risk of fleas, fleas can till travel in on any other pets and spread to your hutched animals.
In fact, even if you do not have any other pets, you yourself can be a carrier. If you have come into contact with fleas from other animals, or even from plants, quite often you can be a carrier. This means that the fleas choose you as a temporary host until they find a warmer, more suitable environment – such as your indoor pets.
So, to answer the question of ‘can guinea pigs get fleas from outside?’ absolutely they can. Even if the guinea pigs themselves are not outside, they are at risk of catching fleas from other beings or plants that are outside.
Can guinea pigs get fleas from dogs?
This is a very commonly asked question for people with both guinea pigs and dogs, but also those who have other pets such as cats.
The annoying fact is, fleas can pass from pet to pet, regardless of what your pet is. If your pet has fur, a fleas will be able to find a home.
As mentioned, fleas can be caught from anywhere. If you let your guinea pigs run around the garden, they may catch fleas from grass. If you let them run around your farm, guinea pigs can catch fleas from hay.
It is almost impossible to prevent your pets from catching fleas from outside, as fleas can be found anywhere outside. Once in the home, it is also tricky to stop them spreading from pet to pet.
Later on in this article I will tell you not only how you can get rid of fleas, but how you can prevent them and hopefully also prevent them spreading from flea to flea.
Why do guinea pigs get fleas?
If they don’t go outside and there are many other animals out there that fleas could latch onto, then why do guinea pigs catch fleas?
It really is quite simple. Fleas love to set up camp on any warm-blooded animal with hair and fur. Unfortunately, this includes guinea pigs.
Although they are not as common in these pets, they are still vulnerable to catching fleas and so it is important to stay aware and recognize if your guinea pig could have fleas.
How do I know if my guinea pig has fleas?
There are a number of ways for how to tell if your guinea pig has fleas.
The first way to identify if your guinea pig, or any pet for that matter, has fleas, is being able to identify the fleas themselves. You can do this by recognizing the small creatures running or jumping on your pet or around your pet’s home.
If you haven’t identified any fleas but you still have worries that your guinea pig has fleas, there are some other signs you can look out for.
Excessive scratching is a clear indication that your pet may have fleas. If you notice your guinea pig scratching a lot then it may be worth investigating them further to see if you can notice any small fleas jumping around.
If you do not notice any scratching but you have identified a lot of red, irritated skin on your guinea pig then this may also be a sign of fleas. Your guinea pig may be scratching without you realizing, but a result of this excessive scratching can create raw, irritated skin.
If you do notice any redness or scratching then it is really important that you keep an eye on this, even if fleas don’t appear present. Excessive scratching can cause hair loss. Because pets don’t have the capacity to stop scratching when it hurts, your guinea pig may end up creating wounds which could lead to infections. This is why it is so important to treat fleas problems once you recognize these symptoms.
What do guinea pig fleas look like?
In order to identify if your guinea pig has fleas, first you are going to need to know what you are looking out for!
Well, the truth is, guinea pig fleas look exactly the same as any other kind of flea. It is the same type of fleas that land on cats and dogs that will also land on your guinea pigs.
Fleas are usually dark in color, either black or brown, and they have a very flat shaped body with a solid shell. This shell is what can make them so difficult to remove.
Whilst they do not have any wings, fleas are also able to jump great distances, which is another way it is so easy for them to spread from animal to animal. It is important to look out for anything jumping on your guinea pig.
Finally, even if you do not notice fleas, you may notice flea dirt. Flea dirt is small speckles that stick to your guinea pig’s skin. Whilst it appears black in color, it is actually a very dark red due to it being dried blood that the flea has sucked from your pet’s skin – gruesome!
Flea dirt can also cause some itchiness for your pet, so even if you cannot identify any fleas, have a look for these little speckles and they will be a great indication that your pet likely has fleas.
How do you get rid of fleas on guinea pigs?
Similarly to other pets, there are a few methods to getting rid of fleas on guinea pigs.
Firstly, you can buy a flea treatment. It is important to speak to your vet about this to ensure you are choosing a treatment suitable for your pet.
Alternatively, there are a number of home remedies you can use. One of the most popular methods is to use Dawn dish soap, followed by vinegar. You can find out more about this method on the blog.
If you notice a bad flea problem, it is important to repeat processes until the fleas have entirely gone. This is because whilst you may not be able to see any fleas, they may have laid eggs which will go on to hatch and cause further problems.
If you do manage to get rid of fleas on your guinea pig, it is extremely important that you go on to continue preventing fleas so that this is not a recurring problem.
How to Prevent Fleas on Guinea Pigs
So, once you have successfully removed the fleas from your pet, it is important that you continue to prevent your guinea pig from catching fleas. There are a number of ways you can do this.
When it comes to preventing fleas on any pets, hygiene is the key. There are some easy and simple steps you can take towards preventing fleas in both your home and also on your pet.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands before you handle your guinea pig, or any pet, is an excellent way to ensure that anything you may have on your hands does not transfer onto them. Keeping them clean is an excellent way to prevent fleas and so handling them with clean hands is crucial.
Further to this, washing your hands after you handle your guinea pig is a great way to prevent any potential fleas from spreading. If your guinea pig does happen to have fleas and they transfer to your hands, you want to avoid spreading this throughout your house and onto other pets.
Like any pet, if you regularly check and keep and eye out for any signs of fleas, this means you may be able to catch them in the early stages which makes flea removal a lot easier than it will be once the fleas have started laying eggs and multiplying.
Checking your pets also means that if you catch them in the early stages it is unlikely that the fleas have spread to other pets in your household or onto your furniture and in carpets.
Keeping a Clean Home
Ensuring your guinea pig is living in a clean environment is also a must. It is already extremely important to keep hutches clean for the sanity and health of your pet, however it is also a great way to prevent fleas.
Fleas do not like clean environments and so cleaning out the hutch not only means it is easier to spot any unwanted visitors, but is also a less-inviting environment for them as well.
Beyond the hutch, if you keep your home clean too then this will help. If any fleas do happen to get into your pet’s hutch and then explore beyond, keeping a clean home means you are likely to kill any fleas before they have a chance to spread.
Fleas multiply quickly in dirty and crowded environments, so having a clean and open space will help to prevent them from choosing your house as a host before finding a furry friend.
Stopping your guinea pig from running around the garden will help to prevent them from catching fleas.
Of course, this is not ideal for everyone, and quite often a run around the garden can be your pet’s favorite part of the day.
If stopping them from going outside is not something you would want to do, you can always consider creating a clean and open space in your garden so that they are not running the risk of catching fleas from any long grass or plants.
Diluting vinegar with water works as an excellent deterrent. If you simply spray some on your pet and rub it in then it helps to keep the creepy crawlies away.
You can also consider using some diluted essential oils, such as tea tree or lavender. Mixing a few drops of these with some water in a spray bottle can be a really quick and easy way to not only keep your pet smelling fresh, but to prevent any fleas from settling.
Again, this will work even better if you clean your pet beforehand.
So, to answer the question on whether or not guinea pigs can get fleas – they absolutely can. Like any furry pet, guinea pigs are at risk of catching fleas, particularly if they like to go outdoors or if you have other pets who may be bringing fleas in.
Removing fleas can be a hassle, but once done properly it can make preventing fleas a lot easier.
There are some ways to remove fleas, but if you are struggling then getting a proper solution that is suitable from the vet will help.
Remember, there is no point in removing fleas if you do not continue to prevent fleas, as they will simply reoccur before you know it!
Keeping a clean and hygienic environment for both you and your pet is a fantastic way towards this, but you can also use sprays and scents to help keep the rascals away!
So, if you were worried about fleas on your guinea pig, follow these simple steps and you and your furry friend should be good to go!
If your guinea pig is scratching a lot then it could be a sign of fleas. Have a look for fleas, or flea dirt, and if you do recognize anything unfamiliar then it is crucial to get rid of them.
Like any furry pet, guinea pigs can catch both fleas or mites.
Guinea pig fleas are no different to other fleas and so it is possible for them to live on humans. Whilst fleas prefer hairier environments, humans can act as a temporary host, including their clothing and home.
Guinea pigs can get both lice or fleas, although it is more common for pets to catch fleas.