Ear cleaning is probably not one of the popular topics in cavy’s health, but it should not be neglected. Like humans, Guinea pigs also develop earwax that should be cleaned regularly to prevent mite infection or discomfort. In fact, ear cleaning is mandatory in their regular grooming sessions.
If you are already convinced, follow this guide to learn how to clean your guinea pig ears safely. You will need cloth, cotton pads or cotton buds, and definitely some patience. So, let’s quickly dive into the guide.
Why is it necessary to clean your Guinea Pig’s ears?
Even though you keep your guinea pigs in a clean environment, that doesn’t mean that your cavy’s ears will be clean.
Guinea pigs usually have dry ears, due to which dead skin can accumulate over time. And for some breeds like Rex and Baldwin, ear hygiene gets more important due to their thick coat and floppy ears.
Ear wax is common in guinea pigs and, if neglected, can lead to serious health issues like head tilt and infections that can affect the outer, middle, and inner ear. In some cases, it can result in permanent loss of hearing and balance problems.
Hence, ear hygiene is also a crucial part of your piggy’s grooming.
How often should you clean?
All guinea pigs can clean themselves and of course, their ears too, without any struggle. But you still need to be cautious as older and floppy-eared guinea pigs may face problems while cleaning their ears, so you need to do it for them.
You can check your piggy’s ears starting twice a month, and you will get an idea of how quickly your guinea pig develops ear wax. According to that, increase or decrease the frequency of ear checks.
How to clean guinea pig’s ears?
Step 1. Get your cleaning supplies.
You will need:
- Cotton buds or cotton pads
- Oil (mineral oil or olive oil)
- Penlight or flashlight to see clearly
If your guinea pig has too much wax, it may require some medicated or chemical solution to wear out the wax build-up. In such case, you should consult your vet before doing something independently.
Step 2. Hold your guinea pig in a comfortable position.
Every cavy owner knows the struggle of holding their guinea pig whenever we want to groom them. They get scared, start shivering, or even run away when you try to hold them.
All you can do is make this process a little bit uncomfortable for them, and less time-consuming for yourself is by having some treats to feed to your piggy. It will distract them and make them feel safe a little bit.
First, start with getting yourself in a comfortable position and then hold your pig. You can also hold your guinea pig in a blanket to make them feel at ease.
Step 3. Cleaning ears
First, check their ears carefully for any wax build-up or mites to start with the cleaning process. Then, use a penlight to see further in the ear canal more clearly. If you see any dirt pieces, you can remove them before.
Now, take a cotton bud, dab it in baby oil, olive oil, or warm water and start wiping the ear gently in an outward motion. Try to clean any grease, black gunk, or other debris, but do not push the bud deep into the ear and only focus on cleaning their outer and middle ear. Start with one ear and then move on to the second one.
- Wipe off any extra oil.
- Make sure you use very less oil or water so that it does not enter the ear canal since this could harm their ear.
- Give your guinea pig a treat after finishing with the cleaning process.
Ear Infections in Guinea Pigs
Middle ear infection:
Apart from earwax, Otitis media infections can cause inflammation in the middle ear. Upper respiratory infections can infect the middle ear. Sometimes, this infection can reach the eardrum and then the middle ear. Middle ear infections can cause pus, filling the cavity and putting pressure on the eardrum, resulting in bursting of the eardrum.
Inner ear infections:
Otitis interna infections affect the inner ear, which is complex in structure. Inner ear infections can be severe and may lead to head tilt or balancing issues.
Other ear infections:
External ear infections, otitis externa, can be due to upper respiratory infection and mites. Guinea pigs have very soft skin and can get irritated due to forceful cleaning.
Now that you have learned about how to clean your guinea pig’s ears, make sure you follow this routine whenever it seems necessary. If you notice any discharge or pus in your guinea pig’s ears, seek help from your vet immediately since this could be a red flag. At last, always remember to take care of your little furry friend and practice good hygiene for their overall well-being.