Guinea pigs are instinctive animals, they love to forage for their food independently, and they don’t bother to get dirty. If you raise guinea pigs domestically, you will do a lot of good by learning the basic cleaning and grooming options that best suit the animals. Using the wrong soap or other cleaning materials on a guinea pig may cause skin irritation, and such may lead to a more serious health crisis.
So, What Soap is Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Diluted and Unscented dish soap is one of the safest soaps for guinea pigs.
What Are Your Ideal Cleaning Options For Guinea Pigs
A Guinea pig is a small animal that loves to get dirty always. The shampoo has been the most popular cleaning solution for guinea pigs over the years, as any cleaning chemical can be pretty harsh on the animal’s skin. The following are some of the best options or solutions for cleaning guinea pigs at home;
1. Warm Water
Warm or moderately hot water is the cleanest and safest option for cleaning guinea pigs. This solution is mainly the best when the guinea pig has delicate skin that mild soaps can easily affect. It is also an ideal option when the guinea pig is not heavily-soiled. Some soaps can cause dry skin and strip the outer oily layer on the skin, and warm water doesn’t do that.
Water has a lot of benefits, and it is entirely safe and non-toxic; it comes with no chemicals and scents; hence it is the gentlest option. Water is safe for cleaning sensitive parts like the eyes, nose, and ears. Unfortunately, warm water may not be enough to clean some filthy pigs and those with certain medical conditions.
2. The Hypo-allergenic Earth Bath Shampoo
This is one of the safest shampoos you should consider for cleaning guinea pigs. Earth Bath is the name of a company widely respected for making some of the best pet shampoos. This hypo-allergenic soap shampoo is known for zero allergic reactions on guinea pigs and other animals.
It comes with no harsh, skin-drying formula that can irritate the skin. It can be safely used for small, medium, and large animals. The package is bio-degradable; hence it is pretty environmentally friendly. It comes with natural ingredients like aloe vera that will hydrate and preserve the animal’s natural skin oils. Water and coconut base mix also enhance the effectiveness of the soap in lifting dirt.
3. Oatmeal Bath
There are many Oatmeal bath manufacturers, but you need to be careful when choosing the right product. Oatmeal bath is a very soothing bath treatment for guinea pigs, and when used in small quantities, it produces a colloidal bath that can soothe wounds in guinea pigs and provide a perfect cleaning.
Oatmeal is edible and non-toxic, but you must not allow the guinea pig to ingest the substance in their mouth. It naturally hydrates the animal’s skin and comes with no fragrance. The gentle bath solution hydrates the skin profoundly and soothes itching and irritations. The oatmeal bath is inexpensive, but the issue here is that it is unhealthy when used in large quantities.
4. The Natural, Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best naturally produced substances used for many internal and external applications because of its numerous health benefits. Since the substance is quite acidic and laden with scent, it is advised that you don’t use it alone. If applied to an undiluted guinea pig, apple cider vinegar may hurt them.
Use Apple cider vinegar sparingly by mixing an equal amount with clean water, and it will break down tough stains and other things like urine smell and excess fur. Apple cider vinegar has potent antimicrobial properties that eliminate dirt and smell of all kinds. Remember that apple cider vinegar comes with a distinctive smell that takes a while to dissipate. It would be best to keep it out of sight of children and animals.
5. Diluted Unscented Baby Shampoo
Baby shampoos are not commonly recommended for cleaning guinea pigs, but they can be safe for use when diluted with clean water. This type of diluted shampoo is safe for the sensitive skin of animals like guinea pigs. Diluting the baby shampoo is also essential because some gentle ingredients here can still dry out the animal’s skin. Go for the unscented baby shampoo, dilute it at a 1:2 ratio in favor of water, and test it on the guinea pig’s skin before you opt for it permanently.
6. The Unscented Dish Soap
Dish soaps may come with some harmful chemicals; you must be careful when choosing the one for your guinea pig. Choose a chemical-free dish soap with no scent. If possible, go for the soap that has been specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
Concentrated dish soap must be avoided at all costs; instead, use a bar of diluted dish soap to avoid the oily layer of the animal’s skin from being stripped, leaving the skin dry.
One of the benefits of unscented dish soap is that it is widely available around the house and inexpensive to purchase. Most dish soaps are heavily scented and must be diluted. Keep them out of reach of children and animals.
What Other Components Should I Avoid In Guinea Pig Bathing Materials?
Animal experts recommend avoiding certain ingredients in any material advertised as guinea pig or animal care products. Components including Phthalates, sulfates, and parabens are chemicals that must be avoided. These chemicals can irritate the animal’s skin and harm its health. Formaldehyde is another chemical found in certain advertised beauty care products for animals that must be avoided.
You must look at the label of any product you consider for your pet and avoid them if you are not familiar with any ingredient on the list. Cleaning solutions that also come with heavy fragrances must be avoided. Heavy fragrances are not only known to cause discomfort on the skin, but they can also irritate the guinea pig’s lungs, thus triggering allergies and possible lung infections.
If possible, you should avoid shampoos and soaps containing cedar oil. Though cedar oil is a good repellant for ticks and fleas, it may cause respiratory issues in guinea pigs when used long-term. It is far better to avoid cedar oil and find alternative ways of dealing with fleas and ticks on guinea pig skin.
How To Bath, Your Guinea Pig
The following are the necessary things you need and the procedures to take to bathe your guinea pig. Keep in mind that you need to take the animal for treatment if it has medical conditions and gets more advice on proper ways of bathing.
Step 1. Location of Bathing
Consider a clean and enclosed place to bathe your guinea pig. It could be a place to put a small to medium-size bathtub. Sometimes a kitchen sink may be the ideal place to wash the animal.
Step 2. The Tools
You need to gather your bathing items for the bathing. These should include your fragrance-free and chemical-free soap or shampoo, warm, clean water, and a hand towel. Gather all these tools ahead of the cleaning time and never leave the guinea pig inside the bath solution or water for a long time.
Step 3. Final Cleaning Water
Make sure you have separate cleaning water to rinse the animal after the initial water. The final cleaning water should have a moderate to warm temperature. When cleaning the guinea pig, fill the place with water at a low level. The filling should be low enough for the animal to stand in it. The animal should not struggle to breathe.
You may use a gentle brush in the first bath to remove dirty stains from the skin, but the brush should not be stiff on the skin. Never dunk water or bath soap on the animal; rather, drizzle water on different parts with a palm of your hand to keep water out of their eyes and some other sensitive parts.
Step 4. Dry Out the Guinea Pig
Never blow-dry the guinea pig after bathing; the forced air can blow water into their eyes and nose and cause some irritation. Transfer the animal into a dry hand towel immediately after the bath, and you have to do this immediately after a bath because a wet guinea pig can start exploring right out of the bath and become muddy once again.
You need to make sure the guinea pig’s cage is clean when you transfer the animal thee after bath; otherwise, the animal may get dirty again, and all your effort would be futile.
Pay attention to the guinea pig’s skin for a few days to see if there is any reaction to the shampoo or soap used for cleaning.