The Best Shampoo for Guinea Pigs

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: February 4, 2023
© iStock.com/cynoclub

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Key Points:

  • The #1 Overall Best Shampoo for Guinea Pigs is the Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo.
  • Guinea pigs need regular grooming and cleaning to keep their hair and skin healthy. However, they need a shampoo that is specifically designed for small animals (never use human shampoo on a guinea pig).
  • The best shampoos for guinea pigs are gentle and do not strip away the natural oils from their fur and are free from harsh chemicals.
  • When looking for the best shampoo for guinea pigs, it’s important to consider the ingredients, formula, and how easy it is to rinse out.

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 shampoo for guinea pigs.

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 shampoos 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’ll help you choose the best by letting you know what to look for with the formula, scent, and price point. We’ve 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!

  1. Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo, 8-oz bottle
    • Long-lasting baby powder fragrance eliminates odors
    • Tearless and pH balanced
    • Gently deodorizes guinea pigs so they smell fresh
    • Conditions skin and coat
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets, 5-oz bottle
    • 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
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. 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
    • Chemical-free
    • Gentle, pH optimized formula
    • Foam deep cleans and nourishes skin and coat
    Check Amazon
  4. Innovet Pet Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner
    • Organic and plant-based
    • Moisturizes with oat protein, aloe, and coconut
    • Gentle lavender formula soothes inflamed skin
    • Award-winning, professional-grade formula
    Check Amazon
  5. Bodhi Dog Organic Lavender Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Super gentle and specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
    • The formula is plant-based and uses natural ingredients oat proteins, aloe vera, coconut, vitamins, and fruit extract.
    • An award-winning professional-grade product.
    • Has a lovely light lavender scent.
    Check Amazon

Top Picks: Best Shampoo for Guinea Pigs Today

#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 pigs’ skin or fur while effectively deodorizing them 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.

However, some customers reported that when their product arrived, the bottle was leaking and made quite a mess.

Pros and Cons of the Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo

ProsCons
This shampoo helps to eliminate odors and has a long-last baby powder fragrance.Customers reported that the bottle sometimes arrives open and/or leaking.
It is pH balanced and tearless, and won’t hurt your guinea pig.
The enriched formula of this shampoo gently removes dirt from your guinea pig’s skin or fur.
It also gently conditions their skin and coat and helps with reducing dryness.
This shampoo helps to make your guinea pig’s fur nice and soft.
Best Overall: Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampo
Kaytee Squeaky Clean Critter Small Animal Shampoo, 8-oz bottle
  • Long-lasting baby powder fragrance eliminates odors
  • Tearless and pH balanced
  • Gently deodorizes guinea pigs so they smell fresh
  • Conditions skin and coat
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Waterless: Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets

If you prefer not to give your cavies a full bath, you can try the Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets. This natural aloe deodorizing and detangling leave-in waterless shampoo 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 it with a towel. Give your guinea pig a good brush and he’s good to go! It is easy to use, has a pleasant tropical piña colada scent with aloe, and will leave your guinea pig’s fur very soft and shiny.

Customers reported that the shampoo can be a bit sticky at first, but a quick towel dry remedies this right away.

Pros and Cons of the Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets

ProsCons
Since it’s waterless, you don’t have to give your guinea pig a full bath with this shampoo.Some customers said that the product can be sticky at first, but with a quick towel dry their guinea pig’s hair was soft and silky.
It is a leave-in, waterless shampoo with aloe.
This shampoo deodorizes and detangles your guinea pig’s hair.
The formula is safe for guinea pigs and is silky and moisturizing.
This shampoo helps to make your guinea pig’s fur softer, shinier, and fluffier.
It contains natural ingredients like aloe and safflower oil and is sulfate free.
You can use it on guinea pigs that are six weeks old or older.
It is easy to use.
It has a piña colada scent with an aloe scent.
Best Waterless
Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets, 5-oz bottle
  • 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
Check Chewy Check Amazon

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 like Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Shampoo for pets. 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 shampoo 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 the 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.

This is a great shampoo to in case your guinea pig gets occasional stubborn hotspots. A helpful hint: a little goes a long way. Don’t use too much, you don’t need it (rinsing will just take longer). Not only does it help to heal dry and itchy skin, but it leaves guinea pig fur incredibly soft!

The only drawback is that the Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Shampoo is a bit more expensive than some of the others on this list. In addition, while this shampoo is great for dry skin, itching, and burning, it does not treat fungal infections.

Pros and Cons of the Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Shampoo for Pets

ProsCons
This shampoo treats skin issues like itchy, burning, dryness, and dermatitis.This is a specialized shampoo and is more expensive.
It is hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory, paraben-free, and chemical-free.It does not treat fungal issues.
The shampoo comes in an easy spray bottle and foams easily.
It helps to enhance your cavy’s natural immune system.
This at-home care solution is recommended by veterinarians and is safe for guinea pigs.
The formula is gentle and pH optimized.
You can quickly cover your guinea pig with the spray with less mess.
The formula nourishes your guinea pig’s hair and helps to maintain their essential skin oils.
A little goes a long way.
Best Medicated
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
  • Chemical-free
  • Gentle, pH optimized formula
  • Foam deep cleans and nourishes skin and coat
Check Amazon

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 Pet Products All Natural Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + 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 healthy and shiny skin and coat, or you get your money back.

A few customers reported that when the product arrived it had leaked in the package, but overall most users were pleased with it.

Pros and Cons of the InnoVet Pet Products All Natural Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner

ProsCons
This is an all-in-one formula that provides detangling, cleansing, and moisturizing.A few customers had problems with the product leaking before arriving.
This shampoo + condition is all-natural, plant-derived, and doesn’t have any parabens or sulfates.
It is a pH-balanced formula that is non-toxic, harmless, and hypoallergenic.
This is a great option for guinea pigs with sensitive skin.
This product has a light oatmeal and honey scent.
It helps to make your cavy’s coat and skin healthy and shiny, or you get your money back.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Innovet Pet Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner
  • Organic and plant-based
  • Moisturizes with oat protein, aloe, and coconut
  • Gentle lavender formula soothes inflamed skin
  • Award-winning, professional-grade formula
Check Amazon

5. Best Organic: Bodhi Dog 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 from Bodhi Dog. 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. It’s safe and gentle on guinea pig fur and leaves your cavy feeling soft and smelling lovely!

Although this product works great, it is more expensive and comes in a smaller bottle. There are three size options (8 fluid ounces, 17 fluid ounces, and 128 fluid ounces), but customers reported that the medium-sized bottle (17 ounces) is often out of stock.

Pros and Cons of the Bodhi Dog Organic Lavender Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner

ProsCons
This shampoo and conditioner is organic and helps to soothe and moisturize your guinea pig’s skin.It is more expensive than some of the other options.
The formula is plant-based and uses natural ingredients oat proteins, aloe vera, coconut, vitamins, and fruit extract.Customers reported that the 17-fluid-ounce bottle is often out of stock.
It’s made specifically for sensitive skin and is safe and gentle.
This is an award-winning professional-grade product.
The light lavender scent leaves your cavy soft and smelling great after bathtime.
There are three size options.
Best Organic
Bodhi Dog Organic Lavender Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Super gentle and specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
  • The formula is plant-based and uses natural ingredients oat proteins, aloe vera, coconut, vitamins, and fruit extract.
  • An award-winning professional-grade product.
  • Has a lovely light lavender scent.
Check Amazon

Choosing the Best Shampoo for Guinea Pigs: What to Look For

As you can see, there are several types of guinea pig shampoos available on the market. Some are 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: ingredients, formula, and easy rinse.

Ingredients

The ingredients list is the most important thing 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 of that product, 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.

Formula

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 cavy’s 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.

Easy Rinse

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, there are some formulas that are nearly impossible to rinse out, 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 their 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 their skin or fur, you can transfer them over to a clean towel. Wrap them up into the tiniest, cutest burrito to get them dry and keep them warm. Allow for extra cuddle time while you gently dry your pet, ensuring they are always warm. Once they’re completely dry, you can go ahead and brush out their fur. They should be soft, smell amazing, and look even cuter and shinier than before once you’re all done!

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

The Best Shampoo for Guinea Pigs 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!

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