Experimenting with guinea pig dry shampoo

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Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:18 am

Hi all. I had to spend a lot of time with my guinea pigs over the weekend and came up with the idea of dry shampooing them. I couldn't find anyone else that has tried this in my quick search, so I'd thought I'd share my recipe and experience (modified from what I found online):

300g cornstarch
1 tbsp baking soda
3 drops lavender oil (lavender as essential oil may be not too good for them even though they can eat lavender, but this is a very small amount)
(This makes a huge batch of which you'd use little but I didn't want to use too much baking soda or lavender oil. Cornstarch alone could be used for a dry shampoo.)

I'm going to stop putting in lavender oil but use lavender buds when my plants get bigger. I had to use this outside as it was very dusty. I lightly brushed the shampoo off with a quite soft dry natural bristle body brush (what's mine usually ends up theirs).

Result and conclusion: slightly drier butt area. No caking. It was important to keep the dust away from their faces so they didn't breathe in so much. Most of it brushed off but I wonder if the remaining dustiness would be okay for them when they groomed themselves.

Another thing I have tried on the recommendation of a vet was use warmed wheat germ to absorb oils. It was way harder to get the wheat germ out.

Would like to hear if you have any thoughts or comments? :)

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Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:13 am

Skip the baking soda. In fact, skip the dry shampoo. I do not understand why you'd need this.


Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:23 am

Well they're long-haired, slightly greasy around the butt, plus they'd acquired some pee smell after the long car-trip and I'm generally averse to guinea pig baths except in very warm weather!

Also, I spent so long staring at them, it was that or start braiding them all over...


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:41 pm

When I had a pig that was dying of cancer, and had horrible bumble foot, she was unable to move and she would pee and poo all over herself. I had rescued her in that condition. Every morning I would wash her with unscented baby wipes and every evening I would wash her with unscented baby wipes. They worked very well at cleaning up pee and poo smells and residue, and you don't have to worry about them inhaling or eating anything.

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Cavy Comic

Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:57 pm

Baking soda residues can be deadly, as they will get ingested by grooming, can cause seizures, dehydration, and kidney failure, etc. I would not recommend baby wipes either, it contains far too many dangerous ingredients which can be groomed and ingested, unless the pig can't groom anymore. You have to compare the size of a pig with a baby. Baby wipes contain chemicals that form no harm for babies, as they can't groom their own bottoms, and are 3 times at least heavier than pigs to start with.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:50 pm

Just try wiping them down with a wet paper towel. Water cannot hurt them and even though it can't get all the germs and smells away, it will definitely help get most of the scum off. Also, a simple brushing would help as well. As for grease, what you are feeding them may cause that as well as overly hot temperatures.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:58 pm

I know baking soda can be used with sugar as an insecticide to kill cockroaches as it creates gas in the belly, but humans drink baking soda for health reasons and athletes especially drink it for faster recovery. Human blood has bicarb in it, and the bicarbonate buffer system seems to be in the blood of all animals, so baking soda is not in itself poisonous or anything, but sufficient amounts can definitely cause gas or electrolyte imbalances etc leading to death even in humans, so I take your point. Rat owners did seem to have problems with Carefresh with baking soda in it, and apparently one guinea pig developed gas after two months. It's all a matter of dose which is why I kept the amount small, but since cornstarch itself cleans well I'll leave it out altogether if I ever use it again (I only made so much because I had long wanted to make some for myself.)

As for baby wipes, there are pet wipes and I imagine the ingredients would be similar except for "natural" versions.

Wet paper towel is safe.

Oh what a headache. I never thought something so simple could be so problematic!

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:33 pm

The baking soda could get in the respiratory tract.

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Cavy Comic

Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:35 am

piggledy, please don't tell incorrect facts. I am a chemist, including biochemistry. A human is MUCH bigger and weighs MUCH more than a piggie, you CANNOT compare both.

Baking soda is an alkaline substance, which lowers the blood pH level, which will be deadly in pigs, not in humans, because of their sheer size. Sodium bicarbonate side effects can include congestive heart failure, severe dehydration, confusion, muscle twitching, brain bleeds, kidney stones, kidney failure, hypertension, and as it lowers stomach acid, it will slow the rate of absorption of meds within 2 hours after intake. It can cause a stomach rupture too.

I would NEVER use baking soda around pigs myself, NEVER. I know some people use it under their fleece to reduce odors, not even that, because they could get to it if they get adventurous.

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Cavy Comic

Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:55 am

I would like to add that it can kill humans too when overdosed.


Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:11 am

Thanks for sharing your information pigjes. I learned something new.

piggledy I'm not sure if the ingredients are the same. I just used what my exotics veterinarian told me to use. I worked at PetSmart through graduate school and I do remember that there was variations int he pH of wipes based on the species they were made for.

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Sewing for a Cause

Post   » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:25 pm

Ditto plain water and paper towel or wash cloth.
Wash cloth fan myself but sometimes wipes are handy. A old small plastic container (about 1/2 to 1 pint in size is good) with a lid you can cut a "X" in the top, several paper towels, and plain water will make a perfect sized wipes container for a day or two, then wash and refill as need. You really don't want paper towels standing wet for long, even if it has vinegar in, it will mildew. But this works out well when I have several pigs that need a bum and foot clean up and I don't want to use a load of wash cloths. Can add a small splash of vinegar to the water and mix it before adding paper towels, if you feel it is needed.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:22 pm

Cut the long hair. It'll make them much easier to take care of and will greatly cut down on the hair maintenance.


Post   » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:06 am

Yes, long-haired pigs can be given a butt trim to make it easier to keep them clean and can also be given regular butt baths. As long as you keep them out of a draft after bathing, it's safe. Do not use a hair dryer to help them dry after as there is too much danger of a burn. Towel dry and then let air dry.

Never put anything dusty on them. It can be inhaled into the lungs and cause an upper respiratory infection and it will be ingested when the pig does grooming.

I don't see how this concoction could possibly offer a cleaning benefit other than the lavender maybe covers up odors.

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