Dressing up your guinea pigs might seem like a really cute thing to do. Of course they will look adorable in a little costume but there are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t do this. Here we discuss why putting your guinea pigs in outfits is a really bad idea.
Guinea pigs can't clean properly if dressed up
Guinea pigs regularly clean themselves but if they have any form of clothing around their bodies they can’t perform this basic but very necessary function.
They need to keep clean for health and hygiene reasons and if your guinea pigs can’t do this it puts their health in jeopardy.
Guinea pigs become stressed easily
Wearing clothing is not natural for a guinea pig. The act of dressing them will most likely cause stress, not to mention how they will feel when dressed. They won’t be accustomed to having a piece of clothing wrapped around their body and it will feel strange.
Stress is really bad for a guinea pig and we should be looking at ways to keep our small pets happy rather than giving them reasons to feel stressed and unhappy.
Guinea pig poops are important!
Guinea pigs should never wear clothes anyway and any clothing that covers their rear ends can cause serious harm to your pet.
Some of you may be horrified to know that there are people who make and sell nappies (or diapers) for guinea pigs. When I first discovered this I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
For starters, a guinea pig needs to be able to go to the toilet without pee and poop ending up next to their skin or in their hair otherwise they are likely to get sores and infections.
Another extremely important reason why guinea pigs should never have clothing or nappies covering their rear ends is that they need to eat some of their poops.
If you didn’t already know this, you may have noticed your guinea pigs ducking their heads towards their rear ends occasionally. This is because they are eating their poops.
These pellets contain a protein that is vital for their health and they eat these straight from their bottoms.
If you put a guinea pig in a nappy or piece of clothing that covers them up in a similar way, they are unable to gain access to this essential part of their diet and they are likely to become ill.
Costumes can cause serious injuries to your small pets
Some costumes can pose a strangulation risk especially if it includes something that goes around their necks.
Some people will put hats on their guinea pigs which have something that fixes around their necks. These and any other items that tie or fix somehow around the neck is dangerous for them and could result in a serious injury or death.
Clothing may cause an allergic reaction
Because guinea pigs are not naturally used to wearing clothes, the fibres in the clothing may irritate their skin or cause allergic reactions.
This in itself is bad and can cause very high levels of stress but the itchiness will also make them want to scratch themselves.
Depending on what clothing they may be wearing, they may be unable to scratch or they might scratch so much that they create sores and wounds. Either way, this should never be allowed to happen to these small pets.
Why do humans like to dress up guinea pigs?
Dressing a guinea pig is usually to make them look cute to humans or for a special occasion or celebration such as Halloween or for a photoshoot. This offers no benefit to the guinea pig whatsoever but has lots of disadvantages, some being incredibly dangerous too.
It is important to think of the guinea pig and what they want rather than what we want to impose on them. Some humans may think this is a fun thing to do but your guinea pig certainly won’t.
Is it ever ok to put clothes on a guinea pig?
Perhaps you want to take photos of your guinea pigs looking cute and you think a costume would be really appealing.
Popping on a small hat that simply sits on top of their heads without anything that secures it is fine providing they don’t mind but anything else is not ok.
If you are worried about your guinea pigs being cold, you’ll need to house them in a place that is warm but not too hot. This can be done by housing them indoors or using microwaveable heat pads in their hideys. Extra hay in their sleeping areas will also help keep them warm. Clothes should never be an option.
There is really only one situation when it is ever ok for a guinea pig to have anything wrapped around their body and this would be for medical reasons. But this should be directed by your vet and not something you do without professional advice from an expert.
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