A Guide To Grooming Small Animals
A guide to grooming Small Animals – have you ever groomed a small animal? Unlike us, humans and some of our other pet pals these cute little creatures don’t need as much grooming. But, this is still an important topic to cover so we hope this article answers some of your questions regarding grooming small animals.
Grooming your Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are known for their cleanliness and good grooming. However, depending on the breed some piggies do need more grooming than others. For example, if your guinea pig has a long-haired coat.
Brushing your Guinea Pig
A long-haired guinea pig such as a Peruvian will need more attention than their short-haired friends. Because their fur is more likely to become knotted, tangled or matted. Which can lead to irritations and infection of the skin. To prevent this from happening try to brush them a few times a week. Use a small bristle brush or a narrow tooth comb. For long hair that is unmanageable, why not give your guinea pig a small trim to avoid the fur from dragging along the ground. Becoming tangled as well as picking up dirt.
Depending on their shedding, a shorter-haired guinea pig will only need their coat brushing once a week. Keeping your piggies’ coats brushed will help stimulate their hair follicles as well as remove any excess dirt or hairballs. It also gives you the opportunity to look for unwanted pests such as lice.
Bathing your Guinea Pig
Have you ever bathed your guinea pig? This can be a little challenging because most guinea pigs can find a stressful experience. It’s not often they will need to be bathed due to their impeccable grooming. Especially if you help them out and include brushing into their routine. But, unfortunately, they may sometimes need to be bathed. The reasons for this may be lice or an accident. Which has resulted in urine or faeces on their small bodies.
If your guinea pig requires a wash it is important to use a guinea pig friendly shampoo. Such as Johnson’s Small Animal Shampoo. This shampoo is designed to be gentle on your piggy’s skin whilst removing dirt. The shampoo also contains a natural insect repellent keeping those pesky parasites away. Again over-washing your guinea pig can result in damaged skin or removal of their natural oils. Which can dry out their coats.
Vets+Best also have a guinea pig friendly shampoo which is great for shiny, healthy coats. Whilst being sensitive to the skin with its nourishing and moisturising properties.
As soon as your guinea pig has been bathed make sure you keep them in a nice warm, dry place. Until their coats are completely dry to prevent any sickness.
Guinea Pig nail care
The next step in your guinea pig’s grooming routine should be nail care. Like our nails, guinea pigs’ nails need trimming to prevent them from growing too long and curling. This can become extremely uncomfortable causing severe pain. If they grow too long moving around can become quite difficult for your little piggies. As we know they are sociable little creatures so this could also lead to stress and depression.
Ancol has created an easy to use nail trimming tool for those smaller animals, if you are unsure about cutting your own guinea’s nails then contact your local vet or groomer who will be able to help by trimming their nails or giving you advice on how to do it at home.
Just like guinea pigs, rabbits are another small animal that requires grooming, depending on their breed some will need more attention than others, for example, an Angora rabbit. Angora rabbits have a longer coat than some of their relatives, their coats will require a little more grooming. Try and schedule grooming sessions into your small furry friends’ routine.
Brushing your Rabbit
Although rabbits can often be seen grooming themselves, a helping hand from their human can never go astray. This will help with the removal of any excess fur, especially at times of the year when they shed their old coat. This will also prevent any of their furs from being ingested which can become a danger to these small animals. Brushing your rabbit’s fur will prevent the fur from becoming matted, keeping it in good condition.
If your rabbit’s fur does become matted there are few solutions. If the fur is stubborn and it will not come out, avoid force as this will cause pain and damage to the rabbit’s skin. Try and untangle the area using your fingers. If you are still having difficulties and the matted fur isn’t too close to the skin then using clippers that are suitable for rabbits, cut the fur out. If for any reason you may feel uncomfortable with such a task then contact your nearest vet or local groomer who has experience trimming rabbit fur.
There are a variety of different tools to help you when it comes to brushing your rabbit’s coat. Rosewood’s Mini Slicker Brush gently removes any dust or debris as well as prevents the fur from becoming matted. The brush has rubber pimples at the end of each bristle which will remove any dead hair and allow your rabbit’s natural oils to distribute throughout their fur. Although the bristles are soft, they continue to be gentle and aware of the delicate skin beneath their fur.
As mentioned previously, Ancol has created a small soft brush which is not only suitable for guinea pigs but rabbits as well. Soft brushes are great for overall grooming.
Bathing your Rabbit
If possible try to avoid bathing your rabbit. These small creatures are not fans of water and most definitely baths. Bathing a rabbit can be very challenging, not to mention stressful for both the rabbit and you. This will make your rabbit feel vulnerable causing it to panic and can result in broken bones.
It’s not often a rabbit requires bathing, in fact, they can go their whole life without one because they are incredibly clean animals. Should you find yourself in a situation where you think your rabbit needs to be washed, call your local vet who will be able to advise you on what steps to take.
When advised to bathe a rabbit, it is often suggested to do this in small patches to avoid getting their fur soaked. Soaked rabbit fur will mat together taking it a long time to dry which can lead to hypothermia and leave them vulnerable to respiratory infections.
Rabbit nail care
Unlike rabbits in the wild, domestic rabbits don’t come into contact with hard surfaces that naturally help wear away their nails and therefore it is up to us as pet parents to ensure their nails are in good condition.
Neglecting their nails can cause complications, if they become too long it can not only cause severe pain but also make it difficult for them to move about and rabbits need daily exercise.
If you are unsure about how to trim your rabbit’s nails, call your veterinarian who can show you the correct way and the right tools to use.
Let your rabbit see the different grooming tools you plan to use ahead of time, this way it won’t be a shock when you begin using them. Beaphar Rabbit Comfort Calming Spray is great for calming your rabbits. This can be sprayed into their hutch ahead of grooming and onto a blanket or in the area you intend to groom them.
Rewarding your rabbit with treats such as carrot tops or their favourite snack should help calm a nervous rabbit. Reassure them with gentle pets and soft tones.
With eighteen toes to look after, having a schedule for a nail routine will be beneficial for both you and your rabbit.
Not a common animal in the home but becoming increasingly popular with pet parents. These playful little creatures are another small animal that needs grooming.
Brushing your Ferret
Like guinea pigs and rabbits, ferrets are also known to be clean animals. They tend to their own needs by grooming and preening themselves, however, helping them out by brushing them once a week will always give them an advantage when it comes to a healthy coat. Regular brushing will encourage blood flow and hair follicle stimulation, it will also remove any dead hair and reduce future build-up.
Brushing will remove any dirt and debris that might be hiding within the fur, it will also give you the opportunity to check their bodies for any sores, cuts or infections.
Bathing your Ferret
Don’t over bathe your ferret, over-washing can remove their natural oils resulting in dry skin. Which will be vulnerable to infection along with dried out hair. Ferrets only need to be washed every two to three weeks using a ferret friendly shampoo.
Unlike rabbits, ferrets don’t need to be bone dry before they can be left alone. Once you have dried off the majority of water a damp ferret will dry itself off by rolling around on the ground.
Ferret nail care
Like most of our pets ferret’s nails also need attention. Clipping their nails is really important because it can have an impact on how they walk and move about. Although these small creatures do enjoy asleep they have a lot of energy when awake and like to get into everything. So making sure their nails are in good condition will keep them happy and healthy. Reward them when they are behaving to encourage good behaviour. This will also create a positive association with nail clipping time.
For any pet parent, grooming does not only play an important role in your pet’s life. But it is also an excellent way to build a strong bond with your pet. It will encourage them to be more responsive and put their trust in you.
Make sure the process is enjoyable and relaxing for your pet. This will make the next time a little easier. If you are unsure of what product will best suit your pet’s grooming needs. Then pop into one of our stores to speak with a member of our team who can guide you through our different grooming tools.
Remember to check out Rabbit Awareness Week this year it runs from 27th June – 1st July.