You may know that guinea pigs need to be groomed and have their nails trimmed, but did you know that guinea pigs need their ears cleaned, too? Like us, guinea pigs can suffer from a build-up of ear wax and dried skin. To prevent discomfort or mite infection, ears should be cleaned 2-3 times a year, depending on the needs of your little fluffballs.
If you want to give your piggy the best care possible but don’t know where to begin, then don’t panic! Practice makes perfect and if you follow these simple steps, your guinea pig’s ears will be squeaky-clean in no time.
Why should I clean my guinea pig’s ears?
Not only are dirty ears uncomfortable and itchy, but it can become a health issue if ear mites develop in the area too. By routinely cleaning their ears, you are protecting your piggies from unwanted pests, ensuring they stay healthy & happy.
How often should I clean my guinea pig’s ears?
You should expect to have to clean your piggy’s ears a maximum of 2 to 3 times a year. However, it may not always be necessary so do keep an eye on your guinea pig to assess if there is a real need. Earwax will often look similar to the colour of your piggy's ear, so to the untrained eye it may be tricky to spot! If you are ever unsure or are uncomfortable cleaning your guinea pig’s ears, don't hesitate to ask your local cavy-savvy vet for further help and advice.
What tools do I need to clean my piggie’s ears?
To clean your guinea pig’s ears, make sure you have the following equipment to hand:
- Cotton pads or compresses
- Cotton buds
- Oil (such as olive oil or mineral oil)
- A syringe without a needle or a pipette
- And of course, don’t forget your guinea pig!
Step-by-step guide to cleaning my piggie’s ears
Once you’ve got everything prepared, it’s time to get started cleaning your piggy’s ears. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the complete routine you’ll need to follow.
Step 1: Place your guinea pig on a fleece liner or soft towel
Not only will a fleece liner protect your floor from any accidental wees or poops, but it will also help to keep your guinea pig feeling comfortable during the ear-cleaning process.
Step 2: Fill your syringe with oil
Next, get your syringe or pipette and draw up a small amount of oil (approximately 5ml).
Step 3: Hold your piggy close to your body
Make sure that you are securely holding your guinea pig close to your body. Then, with your other hand, use the syringe or pipette to carefully apply a few drops of oil onto the folds of their ear. Don't apply the oil directly into the ear canal. However, if you have any oil left, it can be applied on the other side of the ear (where it connects to the head) to keep the skin and fur moisturised.
Step 4: Massage your guinea pig’s ears
Massage your guinea pig’s ears to gently spread the oil inside their ear folds. By this point, your piggy should be purring in pampering heaven!
Step 5: Remove the oil
You will now need to remove the oil using a cotton pad by gently wiping their ear. You should notice that any wax, dead skin and grime is removed with it.
Step 6: Remove dirt out of the ear
To thoroughly clean the ear, dip a cotton bud in oil and gently pass it through the folds of the ear to remove any dirt. Take care to only clean areas that you can visibly see, and never reach out or probe to the delicate ear canal.
Step 7: Switch to the other ear and repeat!
Now it’s time to do the whole thing again on the other side! Move either yourself or your piggy so you’re in a comfortable position to work on the other ear, and repeat the ear-cleaning process.
Result? The cleanest piggy ears in town!
As you can see, ear cleaning is an easy task to add to your guinea pig's care routine. By implementing this 2-3 times a year, you will be not only be keeping them cleaner, but be preventing them from attracting unwanted pests such as ear mites.