Guinea pigs, also called Cavies, are a cute little domesticated rodent species. They have very sensitive skin and although you might want to reach for your regular shampoo or soap to bathe your Cavies—don’t. Sure, it may be convenient but because your guinea pig has such sensitive skin, washing them can dry them out and make them super itchy and uncomfortable. Human or even dog shampoos can actually create hotspots as well. To prevent harming your guinea pig when you’re really just intending to clean him up, you need to use a small animal shampoo.
With a guinea pig shampoo, you provide your Cavies with a formula that’s significantly less drying than other shampoos. The best part about purchasing a guinea pig shampoo is that a little goes a long way. Guinea pigs don’t require baths as regularly as humans or even dogs do. Once a month is just enough to keep your guinea pig feeling, looking, and smelling fresh. In fact, short-haired guinea pig breeds could go longer between bath times!
If during snuggle time with your guinea pig you noticed that he needs special attention to his soft little hairs, it’s time for a good, warm bath. Remember, your Cavies don’t need hot water. They need warm water, and you have to be extremely careful to keep them warm during their bath. Since Cavies are prone to respiratory infections, set them up in a warm environment during and after their bath. You can even use this time for extra snuggles, using your own body heat to keep your guinea pig warm while he dries.
Now that you know what not to do and what to do instead, we’ve outlined five of the best shampoo for guinea pigs, sharing our best overall pick, a waterless option, the best medicated, the best for sensitive skin, and even an awesome organic option. We help you choose the best by letting you know what to look for with the formula, scent, and price point. We compare these different types of shampoo for guinea pigs for you so you can understand the pros and cons of each. Plus, we relay some verified reviews from fellow guinea pig lovers who have tried these products and love them!
- Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo, 8-oz bottle
- Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets, 5-oz bottle
- FoamCare Medicated Pet Shampoo by Vetericyn | Sensitive Skin Shampoo for Dogs, Cats, and All Animals - Anti-Itch, Promotes Healthy Skin and Coat - Hypoallergenic – Instant Foam Shampoo – 16-ounce
- Hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory
- Soothes hotspots, itching, and dermatitis
- Gentle, pH optimized formula
- Foam deep cleans and nourishes skin and coat
#1 Best Overall: Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo
Our best overall pick for guinea pig shampoo is Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo. This shampoo comes in an 8-ounce bottle and helps to eliminate odors with a long-lasting baby powder fragrance. It’s completely tearless and pH balanced, so you can feel safe using it on your Cavies. After just one bath, you’ll feel the difference in the softness of your guinea pig, his smell, and the shine of his fur.
This is an enriched shampoo formula that works to gently remove any dirt lingering on your guinea pig’s skin or fur while effectively deodorizing him to make cuddles more enjoyable. Your Cavies will thank you for how fresh they feel too! This formula gently conditions their coat and skin as well, reducing any uncomfortable dryness.
One of our testers was all-in to try this product because her guinea pigs were slowly getting a bit gross (her words, not ours!). Her Cavies aren’t exactly fans of bathing but she decided to give this shampoo a try and after the very first bath, she noticed a great reduction in their unpleasant smells.
After a month, she went ahead and tried a second bath, except this time she let her Cavies stand in the warm water for a little bit while she lathered the shampoo thoroughly. After completely drying her Cavies, the odor she was concerned about was completely gone. They smell fresh as new now. She plans to use the shampoo once every couple of months to prevent her Cavies from getting smelly again.
- Long-lasting baby powder fragrance eliminates odors
- Tearless and pH balanced
- Gently deodorizes guinea pigs so they smell fresh
- Conditions skin and coat
2. Best Waterless: Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets
If you prefer not to give your Cavies a full bath, you can try this natural aloe deodorizing and detangling leave-in waterless shampoo for small animals. This is perfect if you’re on the go or if your guinea pig isn’t really that grimy and just needs a touchup. It’s super convenient to have on hand for a deep, powerful cleanse. This is a silky, moisturizing formula that’s safe for guinea pigs. It gets to work right away deep within your pet’s undercoat to enrich the follicles, which in turn, makes their fur a lot shinier, fluffier, and odor-free.
It’s formulated with aloe and safflower oil and can be used on Cavies six weeks of age and older. All you need to do is pump a little onto your guinea pig’s dry or damp coat. Rub it in gently so that it can cleanse the undercoat, and then simply dry with a towel. Give your guinea pig a good brush and he’s good to go! When testing, we found it really easy to use. It has a pleasant tropical piña colada scent with aloe and left our guinea pig’s fur very soft and shiny.
- Leave-in waterless shampoo
- Tropical piña colada scent freshens without water
- Silky, moisturizing formula
- Natural aloe deodorizes and detangles
- Made with aloe and safflower oil
3. Best Medicated: Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Shampoo for Pets
If your guinea pig is suffering from hotspots, itching, dermatitis, or other skin ailments, you need to reach for a medicated shampoo. This formula is appropriate for all animals and it’s hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory, paraben-free and chemical-free. It comes in an easy spray bottle and begins to instantly foam to clean, soothe, and heal your Cavies’ skin while enhancing their natural immune system. This formula is recommended by veterinarians as an at-home care solution for some of these common skin ailments.
This formula is so gentle, and pH optimized that it’s safe for everyday use. It cleans and conditions while maintaining your pets’ essential skin oils and delivering that healing relief they need. The spray allows you to quickly cover your guinea pig with less mess. It foams immediately to provide a deeper clean that nourishes the skin, and coat-specific formulas make for easier rinsing and optimal conditioning.
We had this medicated shampoo on hand for Cavies that get occasional stubborn hotspots. When we noticed their skin starting to act up again, we were very happy to have it. We got them into a bath, sprayed the shampoo, and lathered them up before they had a chance to protest. A helpful hint: a little goes a long way. Don’t use too much, you don’t need it (rinsing will just take longer). Once our Cavies were dry, their fur was incredibly soft, there was no redness or irritation from the shampoo, and the itching went away!
- Hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory
- Soothes hotspots, itching, and dermatitis
- Gentle, pH optimized formula
- Foam deep cleans and nourishes skin and coat
4. Best for Sensitive Skin: InnoVet Pet Products All Natural Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner
Cavies with sensitive skin need a little extra care and you can find it with this InnoVet All Natural Oatmeal and Honey Shampoo plus Conditioner. This is an all-in-one formula that works as a detangler, cleanser, and moisturizer. It’s 100% natural and plant-derived without any parabens or sulfates. When you groom your Cavies, you should always be helping, never hurting. This pH-balanced shampoo plus conditioner is 100% harmless, hypoallergenic, and non-toxic.
Veterinarians recommend this all-natural product for use on sensitive skin, so you have more control over your guinea pigs’ skin and coat health. If you’re noticing your guinea pigs are uncomfortable, itching, and dry, give them an oatmeal bath with an enriching natural honey infusion. It has a refreshing and delicate organic oatmeal and honey scent, which is perfect for Cavies that struggle with odors. Plus, you can expect to see a healthy and shiny skin and coat, or you get your money back.
One of our testers was previously using another product but she noticed that it just wasn’t good for her guinea pigs’ fur. He decided to try this one he’s glad he did. He bathed his Cavies with it and found their fur soft and silky without any oiliness or dryness. He describes the scent as subtle, not overpowering. The soap lathers well, so you don’t need to use much of it!
5. Best Organic: Organic Lavender Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner
To soothe and moisturize dry, itchy skin on your Cavies, try this premium Lavender Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner with organic ingredients. This is a plant-based moisturizing pet shampoo that contains ingredients like oat proteins, aloe vera, coconut, vitamins, and fruit extract to deliver powerful relief to inflamed, damaged skin. It’s formulated specifically for pets with sensitive skin, so you know it’s ultra-gentle.
In fact, this is an award-winning professional-grade product known for enriching the lives of all types of furry pals. It has a light lavender scent which makes bath time a pleasant experience for your pet and for you. It neutralizes odor instantly and keeps Cavies fresher for longer after bath time. One of our testers calls this a perfect product for guinea pigs. He notes that it’s safe and gentle on their fur and is exactly what he was looking for. He highly recommends this formula.
Choosing the Best: What to Look For
As you can see, there are several types of guinea pig shampoos available on the market. Some might be waterless while others are medicated. Some may have more of a subtle scent while others have a stronger scent, which can help with strong odors. To choose the best shampoo for your guinea pigs, you need to know what to look for. Below, we outline some of the main factors to consider before purchasing.
The ingredients list is the most important to consider when choosing the best guinea pig shampoo. It’s always best to look for formulas that only incorporate completely natural ingredients. If you notice a long list of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, it’s best to steer clear. Especially if these ingredients are petroleum based. These types of products can do more harm than good, irritating your guinea pig’s sensitive skin. In fact, you may even notice an allergic reaction if you use these types of products. Stick with all-natural, chemical free options.
You’ll notice that the options we highlighted above are tear-free. This is important to keep your guinea pig comfortable during bath time. You’ll find that high-quality guinea pig shampoos clearly outline that they are tear-free, as this is a standard aspect of a good guinea pig shampoo. You may also consider whether you need a medicated formula or a regular bath time formula. A medicated formula will work immediately to soothe your Cavies’ irritated, damaged skin. However, another formula may not be equipped with all the necessary ingredients to tackle any skin ailments. Consider what your guinea pigs need and purchase a formula best suited for them.
You’ve probably noticed a bit of fair warning from some of the feedback we received on the guinea pig shampoos. A little goes a long way. Unfortunately, as there are some formulas that are near impossible to rent, no matter how little you use. We highlighted products that are easy to rinse so long as you use an appropriate amount to lather into your guinea pigs! This part may take a little bit of trial and error so Start small and only add more if needed.
How to Bathe a Guinea Pig
If this is your first time bathing your guinea pig, you may be feeling a bit nervous. Of course, you want to get it right. The most important thing to consider when bathing your guinea pig isn’t the water or even the shampoo. It’s actually the temperature of the room where you bathe your fur babies. They shouldn’t get cold, so be sure that they’re in a warm environment. A closed bathroom with a space heater is ideal to prevent drafts from making your guinea pigs cold.
To start, fill a large container with warm water and place it in an even larger area like a tub. Just as you’re concerned about maintaining a certain temperature in your environment, be sure you’re scooping out any water that gets cold and replacing it with warm water, so your guinea pig doesn’t experience any chills. Once your guinea pig is feeling comfortable, you can go ahead and scoop up water to pour on their backs and get them used to the temperature.
Avoid pouring water on your guinea pig’s head. Grab your shampoo and use just a couple of drops on your hands. Begin lathering it onto your guinea pig’s coat, avoiding his face. Once you’ve massaged the shampoo in and there’s a good lather worked up, you can go ahead and rinse with clean, warm water. Make sure you take your time here so that any traces of the shampoo are completely rinsed clean.
Once you’re certain that your guinea pig has no more shampoo residue on his skin or fur, you can transfer him over to a clean towel. Wrap him up into the tiniest, cutest burrito to get him dry and keep him warm. Allow for extra cuddle time while you gently dry your pet, ensuring he is always warm. Once he’s completely dry, you can go ahead and brush out his fur. He should be soft, smelling amazing, and looking even cuter and shinier than before once you’re all done!
The Different Types of Shampoo for Guinea Pigs: Pros and Cons Compared
Waterless Shampoo for Guinea Pigs: ultra-convenient and ideal for spot cleaning.
|No need for a full bath||N/A|
|Easy to use|
|Perfect for travel|
Medicated Shampoo for Guinea Pigs: specially formulated to soothe and heal dry, irritated skin.
|Suitable for different skin ailments|
Sensitive Skin Shampoo for Guinea Pigs: gentle ingredients to keep guinea pigs comfortable and clean.
|Safe for guinea pigs with allergies|
|Cleans without irritating|
Verified Review: User Experience
Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo is a top favorite. One user shares her experience: “We adopted two guinea pigs, one of which is a Peruvian pig with ridiculous long hair. While we give her haircuts, she can definitely get a bit gross just given the frequency with which guinea pigs poop. We’re on our second bottle of this shampoo and it works really well. You don’t need a lot to get a good lather and it is easy to rinse out cleanly. The scent isn’t bad, although I wish it was a little more subtle as I tend to prefer no scent products when possible. We’ve used this on both our pigs, and they’ve never shown any adverse or negative reaction. Overall, I find this product to work well and be a good value.”
Innovet Pet Products All Natural Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner has also developed a positive reputation. A user keeps it simple, stating: “This arrived today and in perfect timing! It’s bath day! This left my Cavies clean and soft. The scent is light and pleasant without being too much. I love trying different grooming products and this will remain in my rotation.”
The Best Shampoo for Guinea Pigs in 2022 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Which shampoo is best for guinea pigs?
The best shampoo for guinea pigs is one formulated specifically for small animals. You encounter a wide variety of products when you search for guinea pig shampoos or shampoo for small animals. You can find a waterless option for spot cleaning, tearless formulas to make bathing more comfortable, and even medicated formulas to help soothe any dry, irritated skin. The best shampoo for your guinea pig depends on your needs. Just be sure to select an all-natural formula that’s chemical-free, non-toxic, and safe for use with guinea pigs.
What human shampoo is safe for guinea pigs?
None! You should not use human shampoo for guinea pigs. Human shampoo can dry and irritate your guinea pigs’ sensitive skin and can create allergic reactions. Skip human shampoo altogether and instead look for a guinea pig shampoo that is specially formulated for small animals. Any one of the options highlighted above is safe for guinea pigs.
What can I use to wash my guinea pig?
Select a guinea pig shampoo specially formulated for small animals, use warm water, and a clean towel to get your guinea pig clean. If you prefer, you can purchase a waterless shampoo that doesn’t require a full bath. Simply lather it into your guinea pig’s fur and wipe it clean!