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Some guinea pigs require regular grooming especially those of the long haired variety. There are 8 breeds of long haired guinea pigs with the most common in Australia being the Peruvian, Sheba and Sheltie. Unlike short haired guinea pigs they require extra care and attention to ensure their coat is kept healthy, shiny and to prevent matting and Urinary Tract Infections. How often should I groom my guinea pig? Below is a helpful chart to assist you with tasks for your long haired guinea pig including coat maintenance:   Why is grooming so Important? Regular grooming prevents a number of health issues for long haired varieties. Urinary Tract infections are caused by bacteria which is contracted through sitting on wet bedding and faecal matter. As the long hair drags across the ground the hair become wet with urine, water and other debris. Keeping the bottom short and trim will prevent any harmful bacteria being picked up and thus decrease the risk of UTI’s Grooming also assists in decreasing shedding, and mats. Matted hair can be very painful for a guinea pig is not kept in check. The hair will tighten in a ball and pull the skin underneath. Ensuring that you are checking for mats and brushing your guinea pig daily will prevent them from having large areas of tangled hair. How to Brush your Guinea Pig Brushing your guinea pig correctly is important to ensure you do not inadvertently hurt your guinea pig by pulling the hair and instead making it an enjoyable  experience.  Always us a soft bristled brush which only removes lose hair and does not pull the coat. Use a gentle stroke, in the same direction that the hair is growing. Do not push the brush upwards and brush against the grain. This will hurt the guinea pig. If there are matt’s it may be easier to remove the mat carefully with scissors. Ensure you wrap the guinea pig in a towel and have another person holding the guinea pig firmly and gently if needed. Some small matt’s can be brushed using a comb You will need to hold the base of the matt close to the skin and brush outwards. If you comb the matt without being careful of the base it can pull the skin hence sometimes removing it is better than having the skin pulled. It is advisable to do two or three sessions of combing. For large matt’s do not try and comb the matt out all at once but over a few brushing sessions. How to Trim your Guinea Pigs Coat There are two types of trimming that guinea pigs will require: 1. Bottom or butt cutting 2. Overall coat maintenance and trim Bottom Cutting The bottom region is important to kept short on all guinea pigs regardless of breed. If your guinea pig requires a butt cut it can be better to gently spray the coat with luke warm water or to cut after bathing. Wet hair tends to be easier to cut as the strands join together increasing the cutting surface area. You can also cut on dry hair. Ensure your guinea pig is well secured and on a stable surface. It may be best for one person to hold your guinea pig if trying to cut hair for the first time. Gently place the hair between two fingers to ensure you prevent pulling the hair. Cut the long hair around the bottom and trim the hind legs. Do this slowly and gently. Some guinea pigs may be skittish  so you can place one hand on the guinea pig to secure them usually around their mid section and with the other hand gently trim the tips of the hair. Overall Trimming There are many methods for overall trimming. The best way is to bathe your guinea pig first to ensure the coat is easier to trim and also that it is clean with any urine and debris removed. See our Bathing page for instructions 1. After bathing place your guinea pig on a clean dry towel and dry. 2. Gently brush the hair downwards using your soft bristled brush (Any small matt’s can be brushed out) 3. Using hair dressing clips work trimming in layers - clip the outer hair up to separate it from the undercoat 4. Use your hair dressing scissors to cut the bottom layer removing the clips as your go so you do one layer at a time *Always hold the hair between two fingers close of the body when cutting to ensure you have a barrier between the guinea pig and the scissors. 5. Once trimmed you can trim a peruvian or sheba’s fringe using the same method.
Brush coat with a soft bristled brush  daily to remove loose hairs, lessen shedding and for hair to be matt free. Daily 	 Check coat for any matts and trim if  needed. Trimming often involves the  bottom region. 	  Weekly Monthly (or when required) Trim your guinea pigs coat to maintain  a shorter length and prevent the hair  from dragging on the floor.