Find out whether guinea pigs CAN and SHOULD wear clothes.
Have you seen the guinea pigs dressed up in cute halloween costumes or Christmas costumes on social media?
These photos are absolutely adorable – but is it really okay to dress Guinea pigs up in costumes? Can guinea pigs wear clothes and stay happy and safe?
We’re going to answer those questions in this article, so let’s get started!
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- Can Guinea Pigs Wear Clothes?
- Why Clothes are Unsafe for Guinea Pigs
- Final Thoughts on Guinea Pigs Wearing Clothes
Can Guinea Pigs Wear Clothes?
Physically speaking, yes, you can put clothes on your pet guinea pig. Big pet stores sell consumes specifically geared toward small animals and I’m sure you could find other guinea pig clothes online.
The real question is should you put your Guinea pigs in clothes?
And my answer to that is NO.
Putting your Guinea pig in clothes or costumes is not a great idea. It can potentially cause a lot of serious concerns for your pet, which we are going to go through in a second. Forcing your pet into a stressful and uncomfortable situation for a photo op is not in their best interest.
Plus, a guinea pig showing signs of discomfort isn’t going to make for great photos anyway!
I do want to clarify, that when I say “wearing clothes” I mean a full outfit that goes around your pet and fastens to them in some way. A hat or bow that is just set on your guinea pig for photos but that has no chin strap and isn’t fastened to them in any way is fine.
There’s no reason to put a Guinea pig in clothes other than the owner wanting to. And that’s not always in the best interest of your furry friends!
Why Clothes are Unsafe for Guinea Pigs
Let’s run through the reasons why putting your Guinea pig in clothes is not a good idea.
It’s Stressful for Your Pet
The number one reason to not put your guinea pig in clothes is that it can be extremely stressful for them. Guinea pigs are prey animals, so most of them are going to get very nervous about something constricting being fastened around their body.
Some guinea pigs are more timid than others, but the majority of them don’t really enjoy being picked up or held. Most guinea pigs do not like their fur being brushed the wrong direction or certain parts of their bodies touched. Putting clothing on them is going to do all of these things and make them extremely stressed, even if it’s only for short periods.
Many guinea pigs go into a “freeze mode” when they are very stressed. Just because your pet is sitting perfectly still instead of freaking out and trying to get away from you doesn’t mean they are okay with what is happening. If they are sitting perfectly still with wide eyes – this is a stress response and they are not enjoying what is going on.
Stress can have a big impact on a guinea pig. High levels of stress can cause them to become less social, changes in their eating habits, can make them more aggressive, health issues, and might make them trust you less.
As responsible pet owners, we generally want to be avoiding stressful environments with our guinea pigs as much as possible to keep them happy and healthy. A vet visit is a necessary reason to cause stress – a costume for photo ops is not.
It Can Cause an Injury
Even if you are being very careful, there is the potential for your small pet to get hurt either in the process of the costume being put on, or them finding a way to get injured by the clothing.
Guinea pigs can be very wiggly when they feel cornered. Even with close supervision, a stressed out guinea pig could panic and easily get a leg caught in the straps of an outfit and cause an injury before you are able to get them out.
Especially with articles of clothing that go around the guinea pig’s neck or legs, it’s very easy for a major injury to happen in these areas. If the costume were to get caught on something or the piggy panics, your piggy could, worst case scenario, break a leg or choke themselves.
It Can Interfere with Their Pooping
Leaving a costume on for long periods could potentially interfere with the guinea pig’s ability to poop properly. Guinea pigs have a constantly moving digestive system, which means they are usually pooping pretty often.
Guinea pigs produce special cecal pellets. Your guinea pig actually eats to get all the nutrients that didn’t get absorbed the first time through. If a costume is restricting your guinea pig’s movement or covering their bum, they are not going to be able to reach down to get these very important poops.
This will impact your guinea pig’s health and can cause all kinds of issues with their digestive system. Digestive issues are a big deal in guinea pigs and can become serious very quickly.
They Are Unable to Groom Properly
Your guinea pig will not be able to groom themselves properly if left in a costume. Guinea pigs are self groomers, which means they keep their fur clean themselves similar to a cat.
Blocking a guinea pig’s ability to groom themselves can lead to a dirty or smelly guinea pig, skin infections, and a stressed out guinea pig. If the guinea pig pees while in the costume, wet fabric rubbing on their skin can very quickly cause urine scald and other skin infections.
A costume rubbing around a guinea pig’s legs or body could also cause bald spots or skin irritation on your guinea pig. Not only is this uncomfortable for your guinea pig, but it can also open them up to infection if they are consistently scratching.
It Can Cause Them to Overheat
Guinea pigs can actually overheat pretty easily since they are furry. The ideal environment temperature for a guinea pig is between 62-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any clothing put on a guinea pig is going to hold in their body heat and increase the risk of them getting too hot. Especially in the summer time, heat stroke can happen pretty quickly even without clothing added in.
Even in the winter months, heat related issues can happen when clothes are involved. Guinea pig sweaters might sound cute, but they don’t need them for cold weather! Even skinny pigs don’t need extra warmth from any form of clothing (a heating pad works better!).
Signs of an overheating guinea pig include not wanting to eat or move around, breathing very fast, increased heart rate, and dehydration.
Depending on your normal environment, a guinea pig could begin to overheat even in a short period of time.
It Can Prevent Them from Eating Enough
The combination of unnecessary stress and being uncomfortable with a costume on can easily make your guinea pig not want to eat like they normally would.
If your guinea pig feels restricted by clothing they likely are not going to be interested in eating or foraging through hay. If a costume is too tight it could even prevent your guinea pig from being able to eat properly.
This is very serious. A guinea pig needs to be constantly eating to keep their digestive system moving the way it should. If anything causes them to eat less than normal can lead to a whole bunch of digestive issues that can quickly turn life threatening.
Guinea Pigs Are Not Toys
My final reason is just a reminder that guinea pigs are not toys. Even though it may sound fun to dress them up for a photo shoot, you have to remember that your pet is not going to be having fun.
Your guinea pig will be stressed out and not understand what is going on. It will disrupt your guinea pig’s normal routine and make them more wary of interacting with you in the future.
I will always recommend just saying no to guinea pig costumes!
Final Thoughts on Guinea Pigs Wearing Clothes
Even though it might be cute, putting clothes on your guinea pig is not in its best interest. I highly recommend finding other, safer ways to take cute photos with your pets that don’t involve them wearing an outfit. Your guinea pigs will thank you!
Learn more about guinea pig care:
- Guinea Pig Beginner’s Care Guide
- What is the Correct Size for a Guinea Pig Cage?
- Guinea Pig Poop 101: A Guide to Healthy Poo!
- How to Bond Guinea Pigs (the right way!)
- The Best Bedding for Guinea Pigs