The risks of dyeing guinea pig hair

Can you dye guinea pig hair?

If you’re an animal lover and your social media algorithms put pet content on your feeds—whether it’s photos, videos, and everything in between—you know what often goes viral are the photos of animals with dyed hair. However, a question comes to mind after seeing poodles with blue hair and cats with pink tails: Can you dye guinea pig hair? 

There are many ways to answer this question, but to keep it simple, it’s less of a matter of “can you” and more of a matter of “should you.” The safety of our piggies and yours are our number one priority, and when it comes to something like hair dye, safety is a big concern.

The risks

How does hair dyeing work?

In general, hair dyes contain chemicals whose purpose is to change not only the color of hair, but the quality of it in order to dye hair. Hair coloring, depending on the hair dye, works in different ways.

With non-permanent color, the dye coats the strands, whereas permanent dye penetrates each hair cuticle. Semi-permanent dyes work similarly to permanent ones. Applying the dye creates a chemical reaction that causes the protective proteins to lift and allows the dye chemicals to penetrate the hair strands and change color according to the dye. 

You can imagine how harmful this can be to Satin guinea pig breeds, as their hair follicles themselves are already hollow and could hold the chemicals and dye. Hair dyes as a whole can be harmful to your piggy and the risk just doesn’t seem like something worth taking on. There are some hair dyes that market themselves as safe for most pets, often naming guinea pigs directly.

Hair dye is never fully safe, even for us humans. The chemicals exist in the dye, whether we can smell and detect them or not, and they can definitely be harmful over time. 

Respiratory Issues

It’s important to remember that guinea pigs are susceptible to infections, and especially respiratory related ones. Exposing your piggy to hair dye seems to be an unnecessary risk, putting them in more danger than they already are naturally!

You may have noticed that your guinea pig doesn’t enjoy their pedicures, which means even applying dye in the first place would be a struggle—fussiness and their discomfort is another factor to consider on top of their safety. There’s also the matter of having to wash off the dye once it processes on their hair, and when has a guinea pig ever liked baths!

Risk for the purpose of vanity

There’s also something to consider if you’re thinking of dying your guinea pig’s hair—this isn’t exactly something that they as piggies want, or have any say in. Going through with the action of dyeing your guinea pig’s hair seems more like something that their human wants and less about what they want, especially if it disregards the piggy’s comfort.

There’s also a chance that your guinea pig has a reaction to the dye, and you won’t know whether it’ll be severe or minor—regardless of the extent of the reaction, it isn’t a risk worth taking. The reaction, in turn, can put them in distress, which is bad for their overall health.

The conclusion?

You really shouldn’t dye your guinea pig’s hair because it puts them at risk for no reason except vanity! Their hair already comes in such naturally beautiful colors, using foreign substances to dye that gorgeous mane doesn’t seem wise. Let them be their natural beautiful selves, and save the hair dye for yourself!


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