Why Guinea Pigs Lose Hair {7 Most Common Reasons}

Did you just find hair and you are wondering why guinea pigs lose hair?

Why is their hair falling out? Are they ill? Do they shed? Is there an issue with your pet guinea pig you need to take action with?

Noticing hair loss in your pet guinea pig can be scary, especially if you have more than one.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Losing Hair

Mites is the most common reason for guinea pigs losing their hair.

Ageing does not cause hair loss in guinea pigs, and some bald spots are typical, specifically those behind the ears.

Guinea pigs can also get alopecia, they usually get it when they have some type of an infection. Most of these are caused by improper care or old age. Fortunately, hair loss is something you can treat and try to prevent in the future.

The 7 main reasons your guinea pig is losing hair are;

1 : Parasitic Infection {Mites}

Mites or mange mites are the most common parasitic infection in guinea pigs. These inconvenient uninvited guests can be spread directly from another animal or indirectly from clothing tainted with the insects.

It is important to manage mites with treatment as soon as you spot the signs your guinea pig has mites.

It can also be caused by poor hygiene in their homestead.

Signs your guinea pig has include;

  • Losing hair
  • Itching a lot
  • Having seizures
  • Dandruff on their skin

When guinea pigs itch, they can create wounds leading you to think that the scars are because the animals are fighting instead of mites. Because guinea pigs fight often, it might lead to the disease spreading to other animals. 

2 : Fungal Infection

Fungal growths appear as ringworms and can quickly spread among other animals in your home. They usually appear on the face, and common symptoms include hair loss, dry skin and itching.

Ringworms are caused by Trichophyton Imentagrophytes, which can also affect human beings, especially children.

Besides the ringworms appearing on the head and face, you will notice your guinea pig itching but not as much as they would with mites. Also, look out for bald spots on your animal.

3 : Barbering

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Barbering is when a guinea pig nibbles away at its fur or on another animal’s fur until a bald patch is created. Barbering is typical among guinea pigs when they are trying to assert their dominance over each other.

Boredom, stress and itching due to infections can also cause barbering because the pigs start to fight each other. 

4 : Ovarian Cysts

This is a condition that mainly affects female guinea pigs. The disease can attack both ovaries for pigs for up to five years.

You will see swelling around the abdomen, and hair loss will occur around the same area on both sides. Your guinea pig will also have more hair around the face and body.

The hormonal imbalance is due to excess androgens in the body, thinning the hair and causing alopecia in the female guinea pigs. It’s usually difficult to recover the hair loss due to this condition, but it is possible with the proper treatment. 

5 : Pododermatitis

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This condition affects a guinea pig’s soft tissue causing painful skin inflammation on your pet. The soft tissue might die, leading to a bacterial infection which can cause hair loss.

Pododermatitis is typical among guinea pigs that are overweight or born with lame conditions. There is no age limit to this condition, so it can affect all pigs, including babies.

Pododermatitis is characterized by redness of feet and skin, swelling and painful skin inflammation. Look out for the guinea pigs that have trouble walking or standing.

Bumblefoot is a common condition associated with pododermatitis that can also lead to soft tissue damage making the pig prone to bacterial infections.

The soft tissue inflammation will occur where the most pressure is applied on the pig’s body when sleeping. The disease’s leading causes include bad conditions of the pig’s environment, hard surfaces, and wet or urinated beddings.

6 : Scurvy

Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency characterized by hair loss, joint swelling, wobbliness, a rough haircoat and lameness. Note that these symptoms are pretty standard for other diseases in guinea pigs, so it can be challenging to narrow it down to Vitamin C.

You might need a vet to diagnose your guinea pig so you can give the right treatment.

A treatment for vitamin C deficiency is administering supplements for two weeks. Many commercial guinea pig foods don’t have enough Vitamin C. The food can lose significant amounts of vitamin C content due to storage temperatures, dampness and light.

Therefore it is essential to include many fresh leaves and vegetables daily in your guinea pig’s diet to keep them healthy.

7 : Alopecia

Yes, hair lose in guinea pigs can come from alopecia, which is the loss of hair or fur in patches or across their bodies. There can be various causes of alopecia in guinea pigs, including:

  • Parasites: Infestations of mites, such as Trixacarus caviae (also known as mange mites), can cause intense itching and hair loss in guinea pigs.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections like ringworm can lead to alopecia in guinea pigs. These can be contagious and can spread to other animals or humans.
  • Allergies: Guinea pigs can develop allergies to certain types of bedding, food, or other environmental factors. Allergic reactions can cause itching, scratching, and hair loss.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of essential nutrients in a guinea pig’s diet can result in poor coat quality and hair loss.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Disorders affecting hormone production or regulation, such as ovarian cysts or hormonal tumors, can lead to alopecia in guinea pigs.

If you notice hair loss or bald patches on your guinea pig, it is important to consult a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals. They can examine your guinea pig, determine the underlying cause of the alopecia, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Treatment may involve medications, dietary changes, environmental modifications, or parasite control measures, depending on the cause identified.

Why Guinea Pig Losing Hair and Died

This is a sad case of a guinea pig not being examined and receiving a diagnosis that was probably much more serious that overgrooming or self-barbering. Your guinea suffered from an illness that was parasitic, fungal, bacterial or viral.

The most common underlying cause for the hair loss was not identified and medication was not given. Either that or the response and medication was administered too late.

Ringworm, fur mites, pododermatitis, stress from the environment or cage mates could have all led to this negative outcome. No one wishes for this to occur and we’re sorry for your loss.

Guinea Pig Hair Loss Treatments

1 : Parasites Infection

The first thing you should do is consult your vet to tell you if the problem is severe. However, the most common way to treat a parasites infection is by using a medication called ivermectin.

The medicine is applied through spraying and might require weekly treatment, depending on the severity.

Your vet will advise on how many times you should do the treatment. Note that the medicine is safe and can be used at home.

Many owners think you can cure mange mites infection by bathing the animal. It’s essential to keep the animal clean as this will help avoid other pests like fleas and flies.

However, bathing will not fully treat the disease, and sometimes neither will one ivermectin treatment. That’s why you have to do multiple treatments to kill the mite’s eggs.

Furthermore, bathing can lead to more irritation on the wounds caused by itching by your guinea pig. 

2 : Fungal Infection

For hair lose in guinea pigs most vets will advise you to get a fungal cream for treatment. The most widely used fungal treatment creams for guinea pigs are Clotrimazole and miconazole.

A vet can also recommend an anti-fungal shampoo or given oral medication to treat severe fungal infections.

Throughout the treatment process, as a pet owner, you should practice hygiene. Wash the animal frequently and ensure that their living space is also clean. 

3 : Barbering

Barbering, also known as fur-chewing or fur-plucking, is a behavior commonly observed in guinea pigs. It refers to the act of one guinea pig chewing or plucking the fur of another guinea pig.

You can start by separating older pigs from the younger ones. This is because older pigs will fight and barber their fellow pigs to show dominance. You can also make their cage more spacious to avoid stress.

Have them stay in a large space where they can find hiding spots and make it easier for you to maintain hygiene.

Changing your guinea pig’s diet is also a good idea to make them stop chewing their hair or give them chewable toys to nibble. You can also try applying some lemon or other bitter juice to make their fur unpleasant for other barber guinea pigs. 

4 : Ovarian Cysts

The go-to solution for this condition is spaying your guinea pig. Spaying is a form of invasive surgery where your pig will have its organs removed, or the cysts drained to provide relief. Doing a hair transplant will also require surgery, but the pig will need extra care after to heal.

Other treatment options include providing zinc supplements for two months and making your guinea pig lose weight to reduce the amount of androgens in the body to prevent thinning and losing hair.

You can also give your pig some biotin to promote hair growth.

Note that a female guinea pig can lose hair during the late pregnancy stages, but it will grow back after delivery. 

5 : Pododermatitis

Ensure that your guinea pigs live in a space big enough for them to run around and exercise. This helps keep their weight under control. Keep the cage dry and litter-free to prevent the pig’s skin from infections.

Seclude any sick guinea pigs and monitor them closely to avoid spreading the disease to other pigs. Ensure you keep the ill pig’s environment clean and dry at all times.

Give your pig vitamin C supplements as required to maintain a healthy diet and body.

Antibiotics can be given to pigs with infected feet with the instruction of your vet. Always cut overgrown nails to reduce pain and encourage movement. All wounds should be adequately treated and dressed to prevent the condition from worsening. 

Why Guinea Pig Losing Hair on Their Back

I jumped into conclusions and thought my guinea pig was dying when I noticed hair loss on his back. Thankfully, this was due to self-barbering and barbering in my guinea pig’s social group of 3. I was worried mites was the root cause.

Sometimes there are serious reasons to be concerned with hair loss on their backs. Here is a long list of possible explanations:

  • Genetic problems
  • Problems in metabolism
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Infection
  • Abscesses
  • Wounds
  • Abrasions
  • Pregnancy
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Dermatophytosis (ringworm)

The natural process of aging might be another reason why your guinea pig is losing hair or why it is thinning up top.

If you notice an increase in hair loss throughout the body, you should seek a vet’s diagnosis for any of the conditions or symptoms listed above.

Guinea Pig Losing Hair on Their Back Legs

Guinea pigs like to engage in barbering each other or self barbering. It gets concerning when they overdo it and start self-mutilating themselves. The hair loss in the back legs could be due to boredom or lack of enrichment.

Your guinea pigs might need more company, cuddles, playtime and chew toys. The diet might be deficient in vitamins and minerals as well. Unfortunately, the reasons only get worse from here.

Microscopic mange mites is a painful condition due to parasites infecting your guinea pig. Thankfully, this can be treated with medication such as ivermectin. Your guinea pig’s vet needs to address this and decide which medicine to administer or prescribe.

Fungal infections are also treatable with shampoos. The hair loss on the hind legs is not due to natural aging. This is a behavioral or medical problem that can be addressed and treated with environmental changes or help from a vet.

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Why Is My Guinea Pig Losing Hair and Weight?

When your guinea pig is losing hair and weight at the same time, you have a coupling effect that may indicate a serious illness.

Simple hair loss can be due to self-barbering or boredom.

When a guinea pig is getting skinny and losing patches of hair, this is enough to seek a vet’s help. We can list some of the possible reasons below, but the overall diagnosis will be done after an examination.

  • Scurvy
  • Lack of vitamins and minerals
  • Not enough veggies
  • Wobbliness or weakness
  • Hemorrhage
  • Swollen joints
  • Dental problems
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Intestinal disease
  • Endocrine disease
  • Exposure to toxins

There are so many reasons and it’s best to think back at what changes may have occurred recently to provide your guinea pig’s vet with some insight to the problem being observed.

The sooner the examination takes place, the better his or her odds are of being saved or restored back to good health.

Why Does Guinea Pig Have Dry Skin and Hair Loss

Dry skin can develop on guinea pigs and hair loss for several reasons. One of the most common causes is a lack of vitamin C in their diet, which can lead to scurvy.

Other possible causes include fungal or bacterial infections, mites, over-grooming, and allergies. To treat dry skin and hair loss in a guinea pig, it’s best to take them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Guinea Pig Have a Bald Spot?

There are several reasons why a guinea pig may have a bald spot. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Mites or other parasites: Guinea pigs are prone to mites and other parasites that can cause hair loss, itching, and skin irritation. If your guinea pig has a bald spot, it may be due to a parasitic infestation.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections can also cause bald spots in guinea pigs. These infections can be caused by a variety of fungi, including ringworm.
  • Over-grooming: Guinea pigs may sometimes over-groom themselves, causing hair loss in certain areas. This can be due to stress or boredom, among other things.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients in your guinea pig’s diet can also cause hair loss. Make sure your guinea pig is getting a balanced diet with enough vitamin C, which is essential for their health.

Is It Normal For Guinea Pigs To Lose Hair?

Yes, Guinea pigs can lose hair due to various reasons, including natural shedding, mites, fungal infections, over-grooming, and nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, hair loss may be normal or a sign of a more serious health issue.

Do Guinea Pigs Lose Hair as They Get Older?

Yes, Guinea pigs will experience hair loss as they age, but it’s not necessarily a normal part of the aging process. Hair loss in older guinea pigs may be due to underlying health issues such as mites, infections, or hormonal imbalances.

Why Guinea Pig Losing Hair Loss on Their Belly?

Guinea pigs can experience hair loss on their bellies for several reasons, including mites, fungal or bacterial infections, hormonal imbalances, over-grooming, and allergic reactions. It’s essential to take your guinea pig to a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the hair loss and receive appropriate treatment.

How To Treat A Guinea Pig With Dandruff?

Guinea pigs can develop dandruff due to dry skin, fungal or bacterial infections, mites, or other health issues. Treatment options depend on the underlying cause and may include medicated shampoos, topical treatments, dietary changes, and environmental modifications.


Most of us guinea pig caregivers have suffered a loss before when caring for more than one guinea pig. Be there for the remaining cavies in your care.

Clean out the enclosure thoroughly and replace the bedding, toys and other structures in there if you can.

You do not wish to risk any other or future guinea pigs from the same illnesses or infections that may cause your guinea to die. Hair loss was a symptom and passing away was the unfortunate outcome.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.