Skinny pigs are unusual in appearance and are hairless. This is why before getting a hairless guinea pig, you might wonder, Are hairless skinny pigs hard to take care of?
It’s not hard to take care of a skinny pig. It’s actually rather simple and similar to caring for a regular guinea pig. Due to their lack of fur, however, you must take extra precautions to protect their skin from sunburn, infection, and irritation. To keep their body temperature stable, you must also keep their environment warm.
In this article, you will know if skinny pigs or hairless guinea pigs need special care, what they need in their cage and how to take care of them.
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Do skinny pigs need special care?
Except for extra care to maintain their skin healthy, skinny pigs don’t require special care. Because they lack fur, you must protect their skin from sunlight, inflammation, infection, and drying. Additionally, they have difficulty regulating their body temperature, so it’s important to keep their enclosure in a warm room.
They also need to have slightly more food and bedding or blanket to keep their body warm.
What do skinny pigs need?
Hairless guinea pigs or skinny pigs are a popular pet choice for those looking for something a little different. These hairless creatures have surprisingly few needs and can make great companions.
Their needs are almost similar to regular guinea pigs. Let’s take a look at those.
– Food dish
– A small litter box
How to take care of skinny pigs?
If you’re thinking about adding a hairless guinea pig, or skinny pig, to your family, you might be wondering how to take care of them.
Here are a few things you should know about their care.
Setting up a cage
First of all, you have to keep skinny pigs indoors, as keeping them outside is harmful to their health.
Your skinny pig will need a cage with plenty of space to roam. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 7.5 square feet of space per guinea pig, 10.5 square feet is preferable.
Make sure they have a lot of horizontal and open space so that they can roam around freely.
The cage should also have a solid floor so your guinea pig doesn’t hurt its feet, and it should be tall enough for your guinea pig to stand up on its hind legs without hitting its head.
The best option is to use an open-top cage for them.
You’ll also need to provide your skinny pig with a hiding place, like a cardboard box or tunnel.
Hairless guinea pigs feel safest when they can hide away from the world, so this is an important part of their cage.
Putting bedding in the cage
The type of bedding you use is important for hairless guinea pigs.
You’ll want to avoid anything that might irritate their skin, wood shavings like pine or cedar shavings.
Instead, use fleece, and natural or recycled paper bedding.
You’ll also need to change the bedding more frequently than you would for a guinea pig with hair since your hairless guinea pig is more likely to suffer from skin irritation.
Next, you have to provide them with a sufficient amount of food and water. Hairless guinea pigs need plenty of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small number of pellets every day in their diet.
Make sure the hay is fresh and not dusty since dust can irritate your guinea pig’s skin.
Compared to other guinea pigs, skinny pigs need a little bit more food to maintain their body heat.
You’ll also need to provide a constant supply of freshwater.
The best way to do this is to use a water bottle that attaches to the side of the cage.
What do skinny pigs eat?
Skinny pigs need a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat to stay healthy. They also need a lot of vitamin C-containing food as their body can’t produce it.
Here is the food that you can feed them.
- Fresh vegetables (e. g. celery, cauliflower, bell pepper, carrot, spinach, etc)
- Fruits (e. g. kiwi, orange, apple, etc)
What can skinny pigs not eat?
Skinny pigs should not eat anything that has high sugar in it. They also should not have any treats that are high in fat or calories.
You should be also careful about food containing high amounts of calcium, as it can lead to bladder stones.
Cleaning the cage
You’ll need to clean your hairless guinea pig’s cage more often than you would a guinea pig with hair since they are more prone to skin irritation.
At least once a week, completely empty the cage and wash it with warm water and mild soap.
Be sure to rinse the cage well to remove all traces of soap, which can irritate your guinea pig’s skin.
You should also spot clean the cage daily, removing any soiled bedding or food.
Know more about controlling cage mess.
Hairless guinea pigs don’t need to be groomed more often than regular guinea pigs as they lack hair.
However, you need to keep them clean to prevent skin infections and other health issues.
You don’t need to bathe them frequently. Bathing them once or twice a year on a hot day can be good or they may get sick.
Be sure to make them dry completely after bathing.
You should also trim their nails every week or two using nail clippers made specifically for guinea pigs.
It’s very important for them as they can scratch their skin with nails due to lack of hair.
If you notice any irritation on your guinea pig’s skin, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
Skinny pigs are relatively low-maintenance pets, but they do require some special care.
When you first get your hairless guinea pig, it’s important to handle them carefully.
Their skin is delicate and can be easily irritated.
Be sure to wash your hands before handling them, and avoid using lotions or perfumes that might irritate their skin.
When picking them up, be sure to support their bodies so that they don’t fall.
It’s also a good idea to get them used to being handled gradually so that they don’t get too stressed.
Start by petting them gently, and then progress to picking them up for short periods of time.
With a little care, your hairless guinea pig will be a happy and healthy pet.
Hairless guinea pigs also need to be socialized.
This means handling them often so they get used to being around people.
It’s a good idea to start socializing with them when they’re young, but it’s never too late to start.
The more you handle them, the more comfortable they’ll be around people.
Moreover, you should keep more than one skinny pig or guinea pig to achieve this.
Hairless guinea pigs also need exercise. You have to let them out of their cage to explore under close supervision.
Just be sure that their play area is safe and free of anything that might harm them.
Provide them with a playpen to allow them to run, play and perform exercise sometimes every day.
However, you can’t provide them with a wheel or a certain type of ball to play with as they can get injured, even become life-threatening for then.
Keeping them healthy
Skinny pigs are relatively hardy animals, but they are still susceptible to some health problems.
The most common health problem in skinny pigs is an infection of the skin called dermatitis.
This can be caused by poor cage hygiene, allergies, or even stress.
So, you need to keep them clean regularly and trim their nails occasionally.
Moreover, ensure that their cage environment and bedding are also clean and dust-free.
However, you have to be careful about bathing your skinny pigs. If you bathe them frequently, it will make their skin dry and they also catch a cold.
If you notice any skin issues or other health problems, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
Other health problems that can affect skinny pigs include respiratory infections, obesity, and diarrhea.
If you think your skinny pig is sick, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away.
Keeping them warm
Hairless guinea pigs are more susceptible to temperature changes than their furry counterparts, so it’s important to provide them with a warm, comfortable environment.
Make sure the bedding material you use for them is soft, and comfortable and keeps them warm.
You may also need a blanket for cold weather. However, make sure it doesn’t cause suffocation or other issues.
In addition, provide them with adequate food to maintain their body temperature.
How to take care of a skinny pig’s skin?
Assuming you are talking about a hairless guinea pig, they do not need special care in terms of skin. However, you will want to be careful when handling them as they can be more prone to scratches and cuts. It is important to keep their skin clean and moisturized to prevent dryness and cracking.
Moreover, they don’t need a bath frequently as it can cause more skin problems.
In addition, they are very prone to sunburn, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of shady spots to relax during the day. You may also need to use sunblock to protect them.
They are also more susceptible to skin irritations than other guinea pig breeds, so regular grooming is a must.
There are special lotions available for hairless animals that can be used to keep their skin healthy. However, you have to be careful before using it.
You can also use natural moisturizers such as coconut oil. But you should learn how to use it.
If you see any redness, itching, or hair loss on your skinny pig’s skin, contact a vet as soon as possible.
What kind of cage does a skinny pig need?
A skinny pig can be kept in a regular cage that’s used for a guinea pig. However, you must ensure that it provides them with enough space and ventilation. The best cage for a hairless guinea pig is an indoor C&C cage. Midwest guinea habitat is another popular choice for them.
Skinny pigs are unique and interesting pets. They require a little extra care than regular guinea pigs due to their hairlessness. However, they are still relatively easy to care for. Just be sure to handle them carefully, keep their skin clean and moisturized, and provide them with a warm environment. If you do all of this, you’ll have a happy and healthy skinny pig as a pet!
FAQ about taking care of skinny hairless pigs
Do skinny pigs need clothes?
Like guinea pigs, skinny pigs don’t need clothes, in fact, it’s not recommended either. However, if you need to keep them warm, you can do it by providing them with extra bedding, a heating pad, or blankets.
Do skinny pigs need lotion?
It’s dangerous to use any lotion on skinny pigs’ skin. As they are prone to dry skin because of lack of hair, you can apply natural moisturizers such as coconut oil. Even, if you use a lotion, make sure it’s safe for skinny pigs.
Can you litter train a skinny pig?
Even though it’s quite difficult to litter train skinny pigs, many of them can learn it. In fact, some hairless guinea pigs may pick it up quickly. Litter training is essential for keeping their cage and bedding clean as well as keeping them healthy.
Will skinny pigs bite you?
Skinny pigs are rarely aggressive and very safe pets. However, sometimes they may decide to bite you when they want to nibble on themselves.
Are skinny pigs cruel?
Usually, skinny pigs aren’t cruel and very friendly. However, they should never be kept outside as they can get cruel and damage their own health. So, it’s important to keep them indoors.
Do skinny pigs stink?
Normally, skinny guinea pigs don’t produce a bad smell. However, if you don’t keep them and their cage clean on regular basis, there may be a foul smell. This can be due to their poop and pee, food debris, and moisture in bedding and cage.
Know more about controlling guinea pig smell.
What temperature should skinny pigs be kept at?
You need to protect your skinny pigs from extreme temperatures due to their lack of fur. On average, keep their room temperature between 65° and 75°F to maintain their body heat.
Do skinny pigs need bedding?
Skinny pigs need bedding to protect their sensitive feet and make the cage comfortable. However, you can’t use wood shavings like furry guinea pigs as it can cause skin problems and may also injure their hairless skin. You should use fleece or natural paper bedding for a hairless guinea pig.
Should I bathe my hairless guinea pig?
You need to bathe your skinny guinea pig, but it shouldn’t be more than once or twice a year. Too frequent bathing can lead to health issues and serious complications. Moreover, they get relatively less dirty than furry guinea pigs.