Why Do Chinchillas Smell and How to Prevent it?

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Chinchillas make great pets for all different types of households. It is recommended that you clean your chinchilla’s cage a couple of times a week to make sure your chinchilla has fresh bedding and remains healthy and doesn’t start to smell.

Do chinchillas smell? Chinchillas are odor-free. If your chinchilla starts to smell, it is because their cage hasn’t been cleaned in a while, doesn’t have enough ventilation or your chinchilla has a health problem.

While chinchillas are usually odor-free, there are factors that could cause them to smell.

Why Does My Chinchilla Smell?

There are a few common reasons why your chinchilla smells. The most common issue is because their cage hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Just like humans, if you don’t clean your living conditions it is going to start to smell!

Make sure you’re cleaning your chinchilla’s cage regularly with fresh bedding. It is recommended to clean their cage twice a week.

chinchilla in his cage

It is also important to make sure your chinchilla has access to fresh water and food. Without fresh water and food, your chinchilla can become very ill. You should check your chinchilla’s water twice a day and make sure their hay rack is topped up when needed.

You can also offer your chinchilla a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of grass-based chinchillas pellets while as fresh hay. This diet helps keep your chinchilla’s teeth the correct length.

Make sure your chinchilla’s cage has enough ventilation. An enclosed cage is going to smell more than a cage that is open and has enough ventilation.

Some beddings smell more than others, you should try experimenting with different types of beddings and brands until you find one you like.

Chinchillas like to urinate in one corner of the cage, and if they do this for a long time without their cage being cleaned, the cage ends up smelling.

Using a litter box will help reduce the odor caused by urine. Although you can try to train your chinchilla to use a litter box, not all chinchillas can be trained to use one. It is best to start training your chinchilla to use a little box from a very young age.

While chinchillas defecate a lot, their poop doesn’t usually smell, and if their droppings smell, seek medical attention

READ MORE: How Big Do Chinchillas Get?

I Have Cleaned My Chinchilla’s Cage And He/She Still Smells!

a chinchilla in a cage, do chinchillas smell

If your chinchilla still smells, despite cleaning the cage, this is usually because of a health problem. It is recommended that you take your chinchilla to the vets for a closer examination.

Chinchillas are prone to getting dental issues because their teeth grow throughout their life.

Problems can start if the teeth do not wear down the right way. If the mouth of your chinchilla starts to smell, then something might be wrong with its teeth or dental hygiene.

You might discover matted fur down its chest, and slobber or mouth drool. Ulcers and abscesses may cause the smell. If your chinchilla shows these signs, it calls for urgent medical attention.

How to Clean Your Chinchilla’s Cage

When cleaning the cage it is best to remove your chinchilla to a different location. It might be a good idea to give them dust bathes whilst you’re cleaning their cage.

To clean the cage you should throw away the old bedding and replace it with fresh clean bedding. The surfaces need to be wiped down, poop swept off the shelves, and food and water accessories need to be cleaned and topped up with fresh food and water.

Your chinchilla’s water bottle should be refilled daily and checked to make sure it is still working and nothing is blocking the water from coming out.

Replace or wash all the accessories including wooden shelves. Note that wood is extremely porous and provides a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.

The video below demonstrates how to clean your chinchilla cage.

Ensuring the chinchilla’s cage is clean will keep them healthy and happy. As stated earlier, the cage should be cleaned regularly.

Below is a quick explanation of what you need to clean:


You should remove chinchillas’ bedding and throw it away to make sure your chinchilla doesn’t smell. After you need to make sure to clean the bottom of the housing using water and rinse the surfaces if required. This depends on how dirty they are, they may just need a quick wipe.

Water Bottles

Clean the water bottle frequently. Use water and soap to clean the bottle. Make sure all the soap has been washed off though! Without doing so can make your chinchilla ill.

Some pet owners boil the water bottle to disinfect it.

Check the sipper tubes to make sure they are clog-free. Clean the tubes when cleaning your water bottles.

Easy Access

For cleaning to be more comfortable, place the chinchilla’s cage in an area you can easily reach.

You will be able to clean the cage faster if there is less bending and hunching over.

Cleaning will take you approximately 20 minutes. If you take more than that, then you are not cleaning your cage as often as you should.

Do not let the cage become too dirty that you cannot easily clean it. Regular maintenance will make cleaning your chinchilla easier and fast.

READ MORE: Can Chinchillas Be Trained?

Are Chinchillas Easy Pets?

a kid playing with chinchilla

At first, looking after a chinchilla can be hard work. It is a lifestyle change. Your chinchilla needs attention and you should set aside some time to talk and play with your chinchilla each day.

You should let them out of their cage to run around and get some exercise. This is also a really good time to socialize and bond with your pet.

Chinchillas require just as much time as any other pets.

Looking after a chinchilla usually gets easier with time as you get used to it.

Chinchilla’s droppings are quite hard, simple to clean, and contain no bad smell. They look like brown grains of rice.

Unlike other rodents, chinchilla’s cages will usually smell fresh and their poop and urine are odorless unless there is a health problem or you haven’t cleaned the cage for a long time.

READ MORE: Are Chinchillas Sensitive to Sound?


I clean my cage often, but the cage still smells?

a chinchilla at cage

Some beddings smell more than others. Try using a different brand or use smaller shavings as it will cause the wet shavings will fall to the bottom while the dryer shavings remain on top.

Do chinchilla’s urine smell?

Chinchilla’s urine is close to odorless. Unlike other rodents, chinchillas are extremely clean, and it is rare to find their cages dirty unless it hasn’t been cleaned in a while.

Do chinchillas poop smell?

Chinchilla’s poop doesn’t smell that much. If your chinchilla’s poop smells or is loose, visit your vets.

a chinchilla at the cage

Does your chinchilla smell and did you ever visited the vet to get rid of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.

Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.

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