Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Guinea Pigs? (7 Best Alternatives)

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Dog shampoo is the most readily available option in nearby pet stores. It might be tempting to use it on your guinea pigs.

In case you’re wondering, “is it safe to use dog shampoo on my guinea pigs?

It is not recommended to use dog shampoo to wash your guinea pigs.

A dog shampoo usually contains anti-flea components and harsh chemicals. These are harmful to your guinea pigs and could lead to fatal skin conditions. 

So, if you want to avoid harming your cavies, using dog shampoo is an absolute no-no.

Since you can’t use dog shampoo because of the hard chemicals, it is quite normal to look for milder alternatives. How about using puppy shampoo for guinea pigs?

Let’s find out below!

Can I Use Puppy Shampoo for Guinea Pigs?

No, ideally, you shouldn’t use puppy shampoo for guinea pigs or any small pets. It is best to use mild shampoos specially formulated for tiny pets.

However, if tiny pet shampoos are not available in your pet store, you can use mild puppy shampoos that don’t contain anti-flea ingredients and similar hard chemicals. 

What Can I Use to Wash My Guinea Pigs?

three guinea pigs getting a bath

Guinea pigs are fussy animals by nature. So they groom themselves and their babies without human effort. 

However, if you need to wash your guinea pigs when they turn smelly or dirty, here are seven options for you.

1. Using Lukewarm Water:

Using lukewarm water is the easiest way of washing your cavies. It is the safest and the only non-toxic way of cleaning them.

If you are using only water to wash your cavies, it protects their skin and hair from losing oil and getting dry. Mild sponging is all it takes to clean your cavy with warm water.

However, if your guinea pig has gone unexpectedly dirty, lukewarm water alone might not be sufficient to clean them. 

Under such situations, there are other soaps and mild alternatives.

2. Use Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo 8-Ounce:

Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo is a  shampoo that contains an enriched formula for dirt removal in tiny pets like guinea pigs. 

The 8-ounce bottle of shampoo removes all dirt and odor from your cavy’s body in a single wash. After each wash, your cavies get a fresh fragrance of baby powder.

This shampoo is the perfect solution for guinea pigs, rabbits, and all tiny pets.

3. Application of Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo:

Earthbath is known for creating soap-free hypo-allergenic shampoos. It doesn’t contain any chemicals and is gentle on your cavy’s skin.

The natural ingredients include aloe vera for hydrating skin and preserving natural oils and a mild concentration of coconut as a cleanser.

Furthermore, it is an eco-friendly and cruelty-free option. This means it is the safest option for bathing guinea pigs.

4. Using Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar:

There are several benefits of using natural apple cider vinegar. But the strong smell and high acidity of the vinegar makes it unsuitable for application on cavies alone.

If you consider using apple cider as a home remedy for cleaning your guinea pigs, you should take a small quantity and dilute the same before using it.

Other than keeping your pet’s fur clean, the antimicrobial properties of apple cider vinegar protect your guinea pigs from germs.


If you are using apple cider vinegar for washing your guinea pigs, take precautions to use it away from their ears and eyes.

5. Applying Aveeno Oatmeal Bath:

Aveeno is the most inexpensive bathing solution for guinea pigs. It has a 100% concentration of colloidal oatmeal, making it completely safe for bathing your guinea pigs.

Furthermore, this bathing solution is 100% natural, non-fragrant, non-toxic, and gentle on your cavy’s skin.

It provides natural hydration to the skin and relieves guinea pigs of irritable and itchy skin patches.

Remember to use it in moderation only.

6. Using Diluted and Unscented Baby Shampoo:

Even though human shampoos are not recommended for guinea pigs, you can always use unscented and diluted baby shampoo to wash them.

Baby shampoos are good for guinea pigs with sensitive skin. But over usage of this shampoo can also lead to skin dehydration.

Pro Tip:

Though baby shampoos are good for sensitive-skinned guinea pigs, it still contains some chemicals. Hence, it is important that you dilute it with clean water before using it on cavies.

7. Using Unscented and Diluted Dish Wash (Soap):

Dish wash or soap is the most inexpensive and easily found option for washing guinea pigs. But it must be your last choice.

When using dish soap, you need to be very careful as it contains chemicals that can dry your cavy’s skin. Hence, you should dilute it heavily before using it.

Also, it is important that you use nothing but unscented and diluted dish wash. But you must avoid using this solution near your guinea pig’s ears and eyes.

How to Make Guinea Pig Shampoo?

We have discussed the alternatives to the dog or human shampoos for washing your guinea pigs. But what if these bathing options are not available near you? 

In case you don’t have any of the solutions near you or are unable to buy one, we have a DIY hack that will help you make guinea pig shampoo at home.

Things You Need: 

  • Water
  • Coconut Oil

You Can Follow These Steps:

Step 1: Prepare Half Cup of Warm Water

Water is the safest, cheapest, and easiest available solution for washing guinea pigs. Yes, clean and warm water is all you need to prepare a shampoo base. 

Heat 100ml of water and bring it to boiling point. Once the water starts boiling, remove it from the heat and let it cool until it is just warm.

Step 2: Add 2 Tablespoons of Liquid Coconut Oil

Once you have a pot of warm water ready, add 2 tablespoons of liquid coconut oil to it. Stir the mixture well until the oil mixes completely with the warm water.

The mixture created from the warm water and coconut oil is the most gentle shampoo for guinea pigs. It prevents the loss of oil from your cavy’s skin.


While mixing oil with warm water, make sure you use nothing but coconut oil. Mixing any other kind of oil can turn out to be extremely greasy.

Even if you are using coconut oil mixture to shampoo cavies, make sure you rinse them thoroughly after the water to remove any possible grease from their fur. 


Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Guinea Pigs Daily?

No, absolutely not. Dog shampoo is extremely harmful to your guinea pigs.

You should completely avoid dog shampoo on guinea pigs because of the hard chemicals and anti-flea ingredients, let alone use it daily. 

Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Guinea Pigs with Long Hair?

two long coat guinea pigs

Ideally no. Dog shampoo should be avoided for guinea pigs regardless of the length of your coat.

However, if you have a really dirty cavy whose fur needs cleaning, you can dilute the dog shampoo and use it on the long coat.

But, you need to make sure that the shampoo doesn’t touch their skin.

RECOMMENDED READING: Do Guinea Pigs Clean Themselves?

Final Thoughts

We have learned that dog shampoo is harmful to guinea pigs because of the anti-flea chemicals present in them. 

In general, guinea pigs are self-grooming creatures. Warm water is enough to clean guinea pigs if they are not too dirty.

If you have an extremely dirty guinea pig at home, you may consider using unscented and diluted shampoos like Cloudstar Buddy or Earthbath Hypo-allergenic shampoos.

If you want a cheaper solution or home remedy, you can use apple cider vinegar or coconut oil and a warm water mixture.

No matter what you use to wash your cavies, make sure the solution is mild and gentle. Guinea pigs have sensitive skin and must be groomed with hydrating shampoos only.

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