The Skinny guinea pig is an almost hairless breed of guinea pig. They typically only have hair on their muzzles, feet and legs and are hairless over the remainder of their body. In some cases they will have a thin layer of fuzz on their back.
The Skinny guinea pig is not one of the 13 recognized cavy breeds by the American Cavy Breeders Association.
The modern strain of skinny pig came from a cross between haired guinea pigs and a hairless lab guinea pig. The hairless part of the guinea pig is likely due to a genetic mutation.
Skinny Pig Care
Even though this guinea pig is hairless, it still needs a lot of the same basic care other guinea pigs get such as nail trimming, fresh fruits and water and more.
To keep your cavy healthy you’ll want to:
- Give them fresh vegetables and fruits daily.
- Give them fresh water and keep the water flowing.
- Clean their cage daily and clear out any soiled bedding to avoid sickness.
- Make sure they have tons of hay throughout the day.
- Make sure they have fresh pellets rich in vitamins and others to keep them healthy.
- Make sure they are given the appropriate living space to exercise and play.
- Engage with your guinea pig and show them affection.
- Do health checks weekly to make sure they aren’t gaining or losing too much weight.
- Keep their nails trimmed.
Skinny Pig Skin Care
You should take care of a Skinny pig just like you would your skin or a bald head. Their skin shouldn’t be exposed to too much UV light. Too much UV light will change the color of their skin pigmentation. This can lead to issues such as sunburn or DNA damage just like with a human.
Since their skin is constantly exposed they can also develop dry skin very easily and it can become flaky. Because of their exposed skin they also tend to have more allergies than other guinea pigs causing their skin to get irritated.
If your Skinny pig has dry skin you can use coconut oil to help. Monitor the reaction and if they start scratching or itching too much you should talk to your vet.
Skinny Guinea Pig Health
Your Skinny pig still can get all the same illnesses as other breeds. However, because of the lack of fur they are more likely to get sick or incur other types of ailments, such as sunburn. The fur acts like a shield for many things and the lack of means you’ll want to keep an eye on your furry friend.
Prevent Health Issues with Your Skinny Guinea Pig
The best way to prevent health issues with your guinea pig is to maintain a healthy environment, feed them the appropriate food and properly groom your guinea pig.
Follow these guidelines to as a basic care routine:
- Feed them plenty of clean and fresh hay.
- Keep the cage and living environment free of urine buildup or other waste.
- Make sure your guinea pig is getting adequate vitamin C.
- Minimize their contact with other animals as other animals can transfer disease and vermin.
- Keep them properly groomed with their teeth and nails.
- Provide plenty of space for the guinea pig to roam, lay and rest.
- Make sure you’re keeping your guinea pig in the correct temperature for their breed.
- Keep an eye on any abnormal behavior or weight gain or loss.
To learn more, read our guinea pig checklists for a wide range of things you should be doing for your guinea pig on a daily and weekly basis. To keep your guinea pig living as long as possible you’ll want to get in the habit of proper care and maintenance.
What is the Lifespan of a Skinny Guinea Pig?
The lifespan of a Skinny guinea pig is 7 to 8 years. Most guinea pig breeds will live an average of 5 to 7 years. The better care you give your guinea pig the longer their life expectancy will be. Their lifespan is affected mainly by genetics, environment and their diet.
How Much Should Skinny Guinea Pigs Weigh?
There is no “healthy” weight for a guinea pig. Most guinea pigs should be within a range of 1 pound to 2 pounds as a full grown adult. If your guinea pig is below 1.5 pounds or above 3 pounds it’s likely you are not caring for them correctly. If your guinea pig is looking too skinny or too heavy you’ll want to speak with your veterinarian as an active guinea pig will typically keep it’s weight in check and any excess weight gain or loss could be the start of health problems.
Do Skinny Guinea Pigs have Good Personalities?
The Skinny pig is a very docile breed and can make a great pet. Guinea pigs in general are considered to be one of the friendliest animals you could adopt or purchase. Your Skinny pig will likely be very social and prefer a companion.
Are Skinny Pigs Good with Kids?
Yes, the Skinny guinea pig is great with kids who have owned pets before. These guinea pigs have a playful nature to them and love companionship making them great with kids and other guinea pigs.
Things to Know Before Buying a Skinny Guinea Pig
If you’re considering adoption or buying a guinea pig you should really know the basics of care, diet and their habitat. Guinea pigs are pretty robust animals but it’s very easy to make them feel depressed or cause health issues without proper care.
Food & Diet Requirements
The Skinny pig requires the same basic diet all guinea pigs need. You want to make sure there is a good supply of high-quality timothy hay for them to eat. The hay will wear down their teeth and is high in fiber to help them with their digestive system.
You should try to give your guinea pig fruits and vegetables each day.
Some of the best vegetables for guinea pigs are rich in vitamin C such as broccoli or bell peppers.
Your guinea pig can consume fruit but you will want to be careful as most fruit is high in sugar which can make the guinea pig sick. You will want to keep the portion of fruit small and avoid fruits high in sugar and prioritize fruits high in vitamins and antioxidants.
Some of the best fruits for guinea pigs are oranges, apples, blueberries and strawberries.
Your guinea pig will need quite a bit of room to roam and exercise. Some guinea pigs can remain active for up to 20 hours a day. You should try to get the largest guinea pig cage possible. Make sure your cage has as much open area as it can so they can run around. Guinea pigs don’t like to climb so a larger and single level open space with things to do is more appealing to them.
Guinea pigs ultimately don’t require a lot in their home to stay active but you should look into basic supplies needed for a guinea pig such as a water bottle, food dish, toys and gnaw sticks.
Care & Grooming
The Skinny guinea pig requires about the same maintenance as others but slightly less since they don’t have fur. Instead of hair care you’ll essentially start doing skin care for them.
You should build a daily and weekly care and grooming checklist for your guinea pig. You’ll want to spot check all of their health signs, such as weight, and handle all grooming. Before you bring a guinea pig home you’ll want to make sure you understand how to trim their nails, how to brush their hair and proper cage maintenance.