A lot of new guinea pig owners are understandably nervous about bathing their new pets. A common question asked is “what kind of soap can you use to bathe a guinea pig?” Well we will answer that here and provide you with other tips and advice on guinea pig bathing.
You will need to bathe your guinea pig fairly regularly to keep them smelling good and ensure that they are clean. But it is very important that you choose the right soap or shampoo to do this. Guinea pigs are sensitive creatures and some soap will be far too harsh for their delicate skin.
Bathing your guinea pig will help to protect them from nasty parasites such as lice, mites and ticks. A number of guinea pig shampoos available today are able to provide effective treatment for these parasites and prevent an infestation taking place.
Other parasites such as fleas can find their way onto your guinea pig so bathing them properly with the right shampoo will save your guinea pig a lot of distress and also prevent a lot of stress and worry for their owners as well.
I wrote more on How Often Are You Supposed To Bathe Guinea Pig
Shampoo or soap that you cannot use on your Guinea Pig
Most guinea pig organizations and experts will tell that you must not use human soap on your guinea pig. Shampoos designed for human hair usually contain chemicals that are far too strong for guinea pigs and can cause them to suffer from eye and skin irritation.
Human soaps and shampoos can create hair loss in guinea pigs as well as dryness and rashes. It is even possible for a human soap or shampoo to leave behind a greasy residue in the coat of your guinea pig which they will not appreciate and could lead to health problems.
You may read that baby shampoo is safe to use with guinea pigs. If you are going to do this then you need to be very careful when it comes to the amount that you use. It is essential that you avoid your guinea pigs ears and eyes if you use baby shampoo.
You may be tempted to use organic soaps but we don’t recommend this because guinea pigs create their own natural oils and there may be problems with introducing other oils. If the guinea pigs natural oils are damaged then this can cause all kinds of problems.
Best 5 Guinea Pig Shampoo
There are many guinea pig friendly shampoos available today that are mild enough to use and won’t cause your cavy any harm. Below we will list some of the more popular products that are available through Amazon. They are not in any particular order.
Squeaky Clean 8 Ounce Critter Shampoo from Kaytee
This is a very popular guinea pig shampoo designed for smaller animals with sensitive skins. It will remove dirt and grime in a gentle way and also leave your guinea pig smelling nice. This shampoo will not cause any tears as it has the right PH balance. Your cavy will smell like you have used baby powder on them. The 8 ounce bottle will last for a long time.
Dry Shampoo from Kaytee 8 Ounce
This is another shampoo ideal for guinea pigs from the same company. The dry shampoo will not only keep your guinea pig clean but it will prevent any dry skin issues. Like the other shampoo there is a gentle removal of grime and dirt but the difference is that you do not have to rinse off this shampoo.
This shampoo has a good deodorizing effect but it will not interfere with any of your guinea pigs skin essential oils meaning that their coat and skin will be healthy. Again your pet cavy will smell really fresh and clean after bathing with this shampoo.
Odie and Cody Organic Pet Shampoo for Guinea Pigs 16 Ounce
This is a completely organic shampoo of the highest quality that will not burn or sting or cause any itching for your guinea pig. The shampoo also has a moisturizing effect as well as the ability to thoroughly clean your cavy.
This shampoo is very gentle and safe and is also hypoallergenic. There are absolutely no harmful chemicals in this product or artificial ingredients of any kind. You will find the shampoo a little watery because there are no additives to make it thicker.
This one I really love it because 100% natural ingredients that long term safe for my pigs. It smells lovely, moisturizing, deodorizing, anti-itch, allergy relief, I have already recommended it to several friends.
Guinea Pig Shampoo from Arm & Hammer (Tearless)
Arm & Hammer is a very well known brand that people trust. They have been manufacturing high quality products for over a century. This tearless guinea pig shampoo is another high quality product which will gently clean your cavy without tears or any other issues.
When you use this shampoo to bathe your guinea pig they will get a thorough clean and smell very fresh afterwards. This shampoo prevents tears as well as dry skin problems and stinging or burning.
Oatmeal Shampoo All Natural
This shampoo created by Bodhi Dog is safe for your guinea pig as well as for dogs and cats. Being plant based it is very gentle on small animals providing a deep clean. Your guinea pig will smell really great after bathing with this natural shampoo.
There are a number of vitamins in this shampoo which are good for your guinea pig. The product contains baking powder for deodorizing which takes care of any nasty smells and will also treat dandruff and dander.
This one I like it too because of 100% detergent and alcohol free and 100% non-toxic and smells lovely.
Guinea Pig Shampoo Alternatives DIY
It is possible for you to make your own shampoo for your guinea pig. This is much better than using human shampoos which are far too strong and contain dangerous additives that your guinea pig will not be able to handle.
We have talked about a number of commercially available shampoos that are just right for your guinea pig. But these are going to cost money of course. Also when you create your own shampoo for your cavy you will know exactly what is in it without having to take the word of a manufacturer.
The first thing you will need is an empty plastic bottle. We recommend that you use a bottle that contained just water. You certainly don’t want to use a bottle that used to contain cleaning agents or anything else which included chemicals. Wash the empty bottle thoroughly with hot water and soap.
Now it is time to add the main ingredients for your guinea pig shampoo. This is what you will need:
- ½ cup of distilled water
- ¼ cup of liquid dish detergent
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
You might think that it is strange to add apple cider vinegar to your homemade guinea pig shampoo but it is a very effective cleaner and all natural. When you add the ingredients you need to mix them properly which you can do by capping the bottle and then rolling it until they combine fully.
Once the three main ingredients have combined properly we recommend that you add 4 drops of lavender oil, 4 drops of chamomile oil and 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil to the mixture. You will need to shake the bottle with the cap on to ensure that the oils mix well in all of the shampoo.
You need to let your homemade guinea pig shampoo sit at least overnight so that the oils you added at the end fully infuse into the shampoo. After that your shampoo is ready for use. We recommend that you keep it refrigerated when you are not using it. Be sure to shake the bottle to blend all of the ingredients before you use it to bathe your guinea pig.
We believe that the lavender and chamomile essential oils will be entirely safe for your guinea pig. If you are in any doubt about this then speak with your vet and ask them which essential oils they recommend you use.
We have mentioned before that you can use human baby shampoo to bathe your guinea pig safely. You need to be careful to only use very small amounts when bathing. This is not 100% safe as far as we are concerned and there have been stories about baby shampoo causing different problems for cavies.
If you use a baby shampoo on your guinea pig too often then there is a good chance that you create a dry skin problem for them. A home guinea pig should never need bathing more than once a month if you spot clean daily and perform a thorough cage clean weekly. You will need to change their bedding often as well.
Although we have provided you with a recipe and instructions to make your own guinea pig shampoo we strongly recommend that you purchase guinea pig friendly shampoo from your local pet store or Amazon.
These products are thoroughly tested and guaranteed not to hurt your guinea pig in any way. You can get these products for just a few dollars and it makes much more sense than taking a chance with homemade concoctions or using a baby shampoo.
We cannot emphasize how important it is not to bathe your guinea pig too often. It is vitally important that you keep your guinea pig cage clean. When you do this you may not need to bather your cavy for 3 months or longer. In fact some guinea pig owners never bathe their pets.
If you want to bathe your guinea pig then invest a small amount of money in a high quality, proven shampoo. You just never know what can happen if you make your own or use baby shampoos. It simply isn’t worth taking the risk.