A roll in the hay

My wife adores guinea pigs. We have eleven of them, and the way they can go through vegetation has to be seen to be believed; I call them the cute, furry locusts. We were getting bales of hay for
them and supplementing that with vegetables from the supermarket, and this worked fine in the winter, but the summer crop of hay has given them, and us, fleas. Does anyone know how to kill the fleas and their eggs without poisoning the hay for the guinea pigs? I’m starting to feel weird buying six heads of lettuce, five peppers, four bunches of
dandelion greens. . .

There are some new (and expensive) flea-icide products available for cats and dogs. Talk to your vet who will be more than happy to advise you on their efficacy and safety with respect to guinea pigs. (That was a wonderfully legal sentence wasn’t it?)

If he can make a buck and not kill your g.p.s he’ll probably sell you some.

p.s. Don’t get me wrong – I like vets and I think they earn their keep. But the flea market, so to speak, has an element of hucksterism, IMHO.

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”
– William of Ockham

ELEVEN OF THEM!!! She must really adore them. The most we ever had was 2. Cute as they are, that was enough!
BTW Do they really have a tail? I could never find one.

One product that worked for us was only available through a vet (NOT AVAILABLE IN STORES!) umm, sorry.

It worked wonderfully for cats and dogs, but I don’t know that it would be safe for GPs: the Escort® brand flea collars. We fought fleas with everything from baths and bombing the house (aerosol) with no luck for three summers. Within two weeks of putting on the collars, we had no flea problem.

why not freeze the hay, and therfore kill the eggs and fleas? I guess a large freezer, set really cold over a couple of days should do… That’s why you don’t get fleas in the winter.

Well, Wonko, you’d have to freeze the guinea pigs, too. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but their little bodies and fur would get all stiff and you’d have to tell people you were raising real slow miniature porcupines.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

If the fleas are in your carpets, on your furniture or one any stray clothing, I recommend sprinkling 10 percent Sevin powder on the areas.
My cats caused a flea infestation at my house this summer, and I solved it by kicking the felines outside and sprinkling Sevin around for about two weeks. The floors looked like hell, but it got rid of the fleas.

Guinea pig horror story!

My wife bought a guinea pig to replace our hamster that had died. (She thought they were one and the same creature. Really.) After it kept us up all night whistling and chewed its way out of its cage we had to get rid of it. We didn’t want to just turn it loose and we couldn’t find any really good friends, so we called the zoo.

They said they would take it as long as we understood that one reason they kept guinea pigs was to feed the eagle. Gulp! We didn’t have much choice, however, so off it went.

The good news is it was a generic black guinea pig. Every time we visited the zoo afterwards there was at least one black guinea pig so we were able to assure ourselves that Azote (our personal g.p.) was still alive and kicking.

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”
– William of Ockham

OK, trust me, in theory this should work. Sprinkle iron filings liberally into Acme Flea Food. Use the Acme Industrial Size Electro Magnet after fleas consume food and * voila *, no fleas, and guinea pigs are safe!
Absolutely foolproof, works all the time.

                  W.E.C. (Genius)

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

‘why not freeze the hay, and therfore kill the eggs and fleas? I guess
a large freezer, set really cold over a couple of days should do…’
Cause the people got the fleas too!

You actually buy lettuce? Shoot, I got a box of it free today, lettuce cast offs…also 50 lbs of rabbit food for $12.00 a deal, Alfalfa pellets. I use bird bug spray on my rabbits should work on GP’s too.

Get a light put it next to a bowl of water & a little soap. Fleas jump in there at night and you get catch a lot that way.

Hey, finally a topic I actually know something about!

I had guinea pigs (aka squeakers) for years. My favorite was a a Peruvian (very long hair; 6" at least) named “Endust”.

First of all, give them a bath with a mild flea shampoo. Yep, you can bathe them. No, they may not like it, though mine got used to it after a while. No snickering now, but you can either get them dry with a blowdryer or towel them dry. They may hate the sound of the blowdryer, but it’s very important to keep them warm and out of drafts until they are completely dry. The fuzzy little cusses are very prone to colds, and can die of them very quickly.

After you get the squeakers clean, then you do the bug bomb or flea treatment of your choice, for you and your house.

BTW, by all means ask your grocer for vegetable trimmings. I used to get big boxes of lettuce, etc. They also adore carrots and sweet corn.

If the hay is giving you problems, you could try cedar chips for bedding. It helps with the, how shall I put it, AROMA issue. To help substitute for the hay, get them some compressed alfalfa cubes. They get good nutrition from them, and it helps keep their teeth ground down.

You and your wife are good folks! There are amazingly few rodent fans out there.


Two quick notes here:

  1. Make sure your GP has a good source of vitamin C.

  2. Cedar and pine shavings are NOT good for pocket pets. They can cause a variety of health problems. Please ask your vet for further deatails on this subject. The best thing to line a cage with is paper, and there is a great product out now called Carefresh. You should be able to find it in any major pet store.
    Resident Veterinary Technician

Thanks, Michelle, for correcting my error on cedar chips. I didn’t know that. It’s good that you were able to set the record straight. I’d hate it if some nice little critters got sick because of some misinformation I provided.


Don’t worry about it, Veb. To be perfectly honest, I have never seen a pocket pet keel over because of its bedding, but since we now know it that it CAN be dangerous, we advise that pet owners stop using it.

We did the guinea pig thing once. Yes they can eat their weight in veggies every day. Ours had a respiratory problem though when I took it to the vet she told us to stay away from the cedar chips and pine.

Ive always found it easer to get forgiveness rather than permission.