Do Guinea Pigs Smell? What to Do to Prevent it?

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If you are thinking about getting a guinea pig there a probably some hygiene-related issues you are concerned with.

Do Guinea Pigs Smell? Guinea pigs do give off an odor but it is not bad unless you haven’t cleaned and maintained their cage. Weekly cleaning paired with spot cleaning is needed to keep your guinea pig smelling fresh.

You are going to need to clean your guinea pigs cage regularly if you want to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your guinea pigs.

READ MORE: Do Guinea Pigs Like to Cuddle?

Do Guinea Pigs Smell?

Guinea Pigs are like any other animal and can have a foul odor to them. Just like humans, guinea pigs require good hygiene to keep their smell to a minimum.

While guinea pigs are naturally obsessed with grooming, things can still go south. If your pet’s environment isn’t clean or health issues pop up, a smell can arise.

a guinea pig in dirt, do guinea pigs smell

Some guinea pigs will smell more than others while others will make small messes. This all boils down to the individual animal’s genetics, behaviors, and eating patterns.

The environment your guinea pigs are kept in will play another significant role in order. Depending on the bedding you use and the size of the habitat your cage could stink more.

If you’re going to have any caged animal in your house you will have an odor at some point. Depending on how you combat the odor will determine how harsh the smell gets.

No matter what pet store may try to sell your own remember that even humans smell without the proper measures. It may not even be a bad smell at times, but there will be a smell.

There are tons of products and solutions out there to minimize the smell. Don’t feel like you are stuck with a smelly pet; there is always a way to fix it.

What to Do If Your Guinea Pigs Smells

Don’t panic if your guinea pig is starting to smell a little off. It’s natural for animals to build up an odor over time. You will need to determine what’s causing the smell.

a guinea pig sit on a table

To find out if it is your guinea pig that smells you will need to run a simple test. To determine this, take your pet out of their environment and place them in a neutral room in your home.

Give them a few minutes to air out and get any clinging smells off. If after about 10 to 15 minutes, the odor is still hanging around, then it may be your guinea pig.

If the odor goes away as your pet does a little grooming, then your cage is the culprit. Depending on what’s causing the smell in the cage your methods of attack will vary

Other Odor Culprits

If you have a male guinea pig, then you may be dealing with scent glands. Male guinea pigs like to put off a scent to attract mates and will urinate to mark their territory.

If your guinea pig is long-haired, they may be trapping droppings in their fur. This will lead to you having to clean out their coats to eliminate the smell.

Another culprit for bad smells could be your pet’s health. Guinea pigs like to keep themselves clean and are known for their obsessive grooming.

Lastly, if your guinea pig all of a sudden seems to be grooming less, then there may be a health issue behind it. Look for other signs of illness such as lethargy or decreased eating.

READ MORE: Do Guinea Pigs Blink?

How Often Should You Clean Your Guinea Pigs Cage?

You should try to do weekly cleanings on your guinea pigs’ cage. Not cleaning your guinea pig’s cage regularly can lead to a host of problems for you and your pet.

a guinea pig uncleaned cage

An uncleaned cage can be an excellent place for bacteria to begin breeding. This often leads to a bad smell along with increased health risks for you and your pet.

Stress is especially prevalent in guinea pigs who don’t feel like they have a clean space. Animals have an instinct to avoid their own messes.

In an environment where a pet has to sleep near their waste, you will start to see signs of stress. This can lead to a decreased immune system and more health issues over time.

You should also spot clean the cage daily. Simply scoop out the soiled shavings into a bag. This will cut down on Smell and the number of cleaning issues you experience.

Be sure to change shaving out every two weeks. Older shavings can absorb odor from urine that will smell up your home.

How to Clean Your Guinea Pigs Cage

Cleaning your guinea pig’s cage isn’t always a pleasant process. Many owners may not immediately realize how much effort it takes to keep a cage clean.

You will need to scoop out soiled bedding at least once a day every day. To do this, use a small litter scoop. Most animals will pick a spot to relieve themselves in their cage.

While you can add in a handful of the fresh litter as you go, this will mostly be a waste. Bedding needs to be changed out around every two weeks if not sooner.

Old bedding can absorb smells and bacteria. Depending on the type of bedding you use, things may get dirty even faster. Paper and fleece bedding usually stay cleaner longer.

Cleaning The Actual Cage and Accessories

Along with shavings, you will need to clean your pet’s food bowl regularly. By washing out their food bowl, you can reduce the chance of bacteria growing.

Likewise, try to rinse out the water bottle bi-weekly. This will flush out bacteria that has started to build up inside the bottle. You will want to use hot soapy water for this.

Next, remember to give the cage accessories a deep clean every month. Decorations should be soaked in warm water, and plastic accessories like wheels can be wiped down.

Lysol wipes are an excellent tool for cleaning accessories just make sure to rinse everything off afterward. For stuck-on messes use dish detergent like Dawn.

For the cage itself, you are going to want to clean it deeply every month. Get a cage cleaner and scrub down the plastics pieces as well as the wire.

If you have any fleece hammocks, try to throw them in the wash weekly. Fleece tends to absorb feces and urine easily, causing it to smell.

Check this video for an actual demonstration:

READ MORE: What Does it Mean When Guinea Pig Chatters?

I Have Cleaned My Guinea Pigs Cage, and They Still Smell!?

If you have cleaned your guinea pig’s cage and it still smells, then you may have a deeper problem. The cage itself may have absorbed the smell making it near impossible to remove.

In this case, you will want to look into a new cage. This is a rare occurrence that can only occur after years of use and will mostly appear in neglected habitats.

If you want to try and save the cage, then you can soak it in a pet deodorizer. You can also leave the cage outside to soak in some natural sunlight during this process.

Make sure not to spray the cage with Febreze. This is not a guinea pig-friendly cleaning product.

Possible Health Causes

If you have deep cleaned your cage and tried cleaning off your guinea pig, then the problem may be health-related. There are several diseases that cause a smell.

If your guinea pig has a fishy smell, then it may have a UTI. This can also be a sign of a cyst, and they should be taken to a veteran immediately for an examination.

If your guinea pigs smell of feces, then you may want to check that they’re not impacted. Diarrhea can be another cause of a strong smell and often comes from an unbalanced diet.

If your guinea pig has a yeast infection on its skin, then there may be an unpleasant smell. This again will need treatment by your veterinarian.

Another huge issue is the anal glands. You may need to get your guinea pigs’ anal sacks emptied by the vet. You can also check about regular cleanings.

Managing A Territorial Male

Male guinea pigs partake in scent marking. This is especially prevalent when they hit puberty and can be an unexpected issue many owners run into.

Male guinea pigs have grease glands below their tails. This gland secretes oil that can smell awful, especially when the secretions build up over time.

To keep the glands from building up, it’s recommended that you wipe them off with a wet rag from time to time. It’s best to begin this practice when young.

Another issue you may run into is obsessive marking. Male guinea pigs can get territorial and pee anywhere they feel is threatened. At times this can even be in an empty food bowl.

Males have often been known to scoot their butts across their cage. They may do this while urinating, which can cause their hair to become soiled.

Can I Neuter My Guinea Pig?

If you don’t want to deal with spraying and the territorial nature you can neuter your pet. Neutering has been shown to reduce health problems in the long run.

Small animal neutering is a less common practice. This may make it harder to find the right vet, especially in smaller towns that mainly deal with dogs and cats.

If you are going to neuter, do it young. If your pet reaches maturity, they may get into a habit of marking. If they’re already in this habit, then the surgery won’t stop them.

Should I Bath My Guinea Pigs if They Smell?

Surprisingly guinea pigs are one of the few rodents that can benefit from baths. Most guinea pigs will clean themselves off naturally if given time in a clean environment.

a women giving a bath to guinea pig

If you have a long-haired guinea pig, a bath every month may be necessary. Long-haired pets often tend to get dirt and droppings caught in their coat that they can’t get out of.

This makes a good bath an excellent option to clean your pet’s coat. Before you begin washing your guinea pig in your tub though, you will need to prepare some things.

Preparing the Bath

Make sure that the water you are putting your pet in is at the right temperature. Cold water can cause the start of symptoms of hyperthermia, and hot water can cause overheating.

The water should be lukewarm to the touch. Be sure that you bathe your guinea pig in a small area where there is no risk of drowning. A sink is a suitable guinea big tub.

You will need to pick up guinea pig-safe shampoo. Many pet stores sell shampoo that is formulated for small animals like guinea pigs.

When you get your guinea pig into the bath, prepare for them to flee, this can be especially true if your pet has never been exposed to a pool of water before.

Once under control, gently rub in the shampoo. Use your hands to pour water into their fur gently. Double-check to make sure all the soap has been washed out before drying them.

After the Bath

For drying use a small washcloth and leave your guinea in a warm room. Never use a dryer as the noise and wind will be too much for your small pet.

For weeks in between baths, you can use a small animal cologne to help and control smells. These colognes can also be found at many pet shops around the world.

In some severe cases, a guinea pig may get dropping matted into his hair. In these cases, a bath may not be enough, and your vet may have to groom your pet.

READ MORE: All About Guinea Pig Farting


Do long-haired guinea pigs smell more?

Long-haired guinea pigs can smell more since they are more prone to getting debris in their coat.

Can I train my male guinea pig not to spray?

No, the only way to prevent spaying 100% is by getting them neutered at a young age.

Can I use a cage liner in my guinea pig cage to minimize the mess?

Using a cage liner is a great way to make cleaning easier. You can use them if your guinea doesn’t try to eat them.

a multi color guinea pig, do guinea pigs smell

Do guinea pigs smell? What about your little cavies? Please share with us below!

Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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