Do not use dog shampoo on guinea pigs. Dogs and guinea pigs have different skin sensitivity and pH levels. Dog shampoo will likely irritate guinea pigs’ skin and even damage their fur. Only use shampoo designed specifically for guinea pigs when bathing them.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Is it Safe to Use Dog Shampoo on my Guinea Pig?
- 2 Dog Shampoo Can Irritate your Guinea Pig’s Skin
- 3 Dogs and Guinea Pigs Have Different pH Levels in their Skin
- 4 What Should I Do If I Only Have Dog Shampoo Available?
- 5 Are There Shampoos Specifically Made for Guinea Pigs?
- 6 What if the Shampoo is Harming My Guinea Pig?
- 7 Dog Shampoo is For Dogs Only
Is it Safe to Use Dog Shampoo on my Guinea Pig?
All pets need grooming to stay healthy. By grooming your pet, you ensure your furry friend stays healthy, comfortable, and well taken care of. It also creates a bonding experience between pet and owner.
Guinea pig owners understand that grooming their guinea pigs is essential for making their piggies happy and healthy.
If you need to bathe your guinea pig, you may be wondering if you can use dog shampoo. The answer is a strict no. There are many reasons it may be harmful to use dog shampoo on your cavy, which we will cover in this article. We will also go over great alternatives so you can get your piggie clean once again.
Dog Shampoo Can Irritate your Guinea Pig’s Skin
It is not surprising that a guinea pig’s skin is more sensitive than a dog’s skin. Dog shampoos contain certain chemicals that have the potential to harm the skin of your cavy.
Many common brands of dog shampoo have ingredients specifically meant to target fleas, ticks, or other unwanted intruders to your dog’s fur. These specific chemicals can irritate a guinea pig’s skin and cause feelings of discomfort, such as itching and burning.
This is why it’s a bad idea to use shampoos specifically designed for dogs on your guinea pig.
Dogs and Guinea Pigs Have Different pH Levels in their Skin
Dogs and guinea pigs have different pH (power of hydrogen) levels in their skin. Both animals and humans have natural levels of acidity and alkalinity in their skin. The acid and alkaline help keep the skin healthy and avoid irritation or acne.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the pH levels in a dog’s skin usually stay within a range of 5.5 to 7.2. A guinea pig’s pH levels are much lower.
Since a dog’s skin is covered in hair, dog shampoos often have pH values in the formula that help keep the pH levels in both the skin and hair healthy. These values may be too high for the sensitive skin of a cavy, causing dry skin, redness, and irritation.
What Should I Do If I Only Have Dog Shampoo Available?
Even if you can’t find special guinea pig shampoo, it is still not a good idea to use dog shampoo on your cavy.
Instead, put your guinea pig in a tub or sink and gently wash them with warm water. After you are done, dry them off with a towel and make sure they are warm.
To keep your cavy at a healthy temperature, use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting and keep it at a safe distance, not allowing hot air to remain in one area.
While this is a temporary solution that may not clean your guinea pig as well as soap might, it is still better not to use dog shampoos that can potentially irritate their skin.
Are There Shampoos Specifically Made for Guinea Pigs?
There are many shampoos intended specifically for guinea pigs. Brands that focus on small animal care (such as Kaytee and Marshall) create shampoos for pets such as rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs.
These formulas are designed to treat and nourish the fur of cavies and other small animals and be gentle on their delicate skin.
Even better, many of these products are under 15 dollars and are available at most pet stores. Some sellers (such as a company called Gorgeous Guineas) formulate shampoos with a guinea pig’s fur and skin in mind.
What if the Shampoo is Harming My Guinea Pig?
Even if you use shampoo designed specifically for guinea pigs, you may first want to test the waters.
Pick a small portion of your guinea pig’s fur and apply the shampoo as directed on the bottle. If everything seems normal and the animal doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, you are likely safe to continue on the rest of their body.
If the guinea pig appears to be in pain or their skin looks red or irritated, you will want to try another product.
A guinea pig may fidget, hunch over, or freeze in place when they are in pain. Although the product you used is intended for guinea pig use and not for dogs or humans, it still may cause a negative reaction.
There are many formulas to choose from, so finding the best match for your cavy’s needs plays an important role in their comfort during bathing.
Dog Shampoo is For Dogs Only
It is best to avoid bathing your Guinea pig with dog shampoo. Because of the differences in pH levels and the sensitive skin of a guinea pig, they are best suited to use a shampoo specifically made for small animals.
Luckily, these shampoos are easy to come by and are not very expensive. Just make sure that the shampoo you buy is the right fit for the needs of your guinea pig’s skin and fur.
By caring for your guinea pig and keeping them well-groomed, they will look and feel their best and will certainly appreciate the hard work you go through to take the best possible care of them.