Why Do Guinea Pigs Smell? The Truth About The Guineapig’s Odor!

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“Why Do Guinea Pigs Smell?” is a question that has been asked by many people who are considering getting guinea pigs for pets. It can be frustrating to have a pet with an unpleasant odor, but the truth about the guineapig’s odor may surprise you!

Do they smell? Not really, and it’s because they’re clean creatures. The average guinea pig will not smell if it is taken care of properly and groomed regularly. However, if your pet starts to stink, there may be an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.

If you’ve been noticing an unpleasant odor coming from your pet, it may be something in its environment that’s causing it, such as mold, bacteria, or infection. 

Do you need help figuring out what’s causing the smell and how to stop it, for your own sanity as well as your pet’s comfort?

If so, this article is for you. Here are some reasons why guinea pigs might start smelling and some tips on how to stop them from doing so.

Do Guinea Pigs Smell?

The answer is no, they do not. They are conscientious self-groomers and keep their fur clean.Guinea pigs are actually very clean animals and will groom themselves constantly to keep their fur in good condition.

If you find that your pet has an unpleasant smell, there might be another issue like improper diet, health problems, or dirty living quarters. 

It’s a common misconception that guinea pigs smell. In reality, they’re actually very clean and tidy animals! They spend their days grooming themselves with their teeth and tongue to keep it this way.

It is important to provide them with an environment where they are able to groom themselves often. A dirty guinea pig may have some more pungent smells, but that’s usually because of the food or bedding materials used in the cage.

The best thing you can do for your cavy is to provide him with his own comfortable space that is free of any waste products!

Good news, though! There are some ways to make your guinea pig’s home more comfortable for them and less smelly for you; things like changing the bedding regularly with fresh materials, cleaning up droppings quickly so it doesn’t get too smelly (you can use a litter box), and using baking soda to absorb odors.

List Of Reasons Why Your Guinea Pig May Be Smelling

There are many reasons why your pet may smell unpleasant. If you find that there is a stench coming from anywhere near or on them, it might be time to have their living conditions checked out by an expert.

Here are some reasons why your pet might start to smell.

  • Diet – Do they always smell after eating? Their diet could contain foods causing the odor, such as vegetables with high sulfur content like broccoli and cauliflower. It is very important to remember that if there is a change in their diet or the addition of new foods, then this could actually cause their bodies to give off different odors.

It is very important to remember that if there is a change in their diet or the addition of new foods, then this could actually cause their bodies to give off different odors.

It is also pertinent to remember that if you feed your guinea pigs unhealthy treats, this could lead to more odors building up over time because the snacks are not good for their digestive system at all.

Pro Tip:Guinea pig owners should make it a point to carefully read the labels carefully before making any purchases in future, because it’s important to know the exact ingredients that are present in the snacks before giving them to your pets.

  • Unclean Cage One of the most obvious reasons why your guinea pig might be smelling is because their cage is not cleaned regularly. Guinea pig habitats need to be cleaned regularly so that they are free of any odors.

If you notice any musky smell coming out of the cages, it is an indication that the cage is not being cleaned often enough, which has led to dust and dirt building up over time. A buildup of dust and dirt could very well contribute to an unpleasant smell for you as well as for anyone who visits your home.

It is also possible that the dirty bedding materials have led to an ammonia buildup, which is emitting a strong and unpleasant odor. If your guinea pig cage isn’t kept clean, then it could result in a very bad odour coming from their cage due to ammonia buildup.

  • Food Left To Rot In Cage: if your guinea pig’s cage is stinking more than usual, then his or her cage definitely needs some cleaning up. There might be uneaten food particles that are rotting away in their cage.

If these rotting food particles are not taken care of, it will not only emanate a bad odor but also attract more insects and bacteria to the cage, which in turn can cause health problems and infections to your guinea pig.

  • Unventilated Cage:Are you aware that keeping a guinea pig in a small and unventilated space can actually lead to ammonia buildup to a very high level?

You might be tempted to keep the cage inside your bedroom or another part of the house where they’re more accessible. But if there isn’t enough ventilation, then your pet’s urine will continue to emit a strong odor, which can make it hard for everyone in your home.

Another very important point to remember is that with low quality or unventilated guinea pig cages, it can lead to too much humidity and condensation building up on the inside of the cage. This results in smelly mold growing pretty fast and owners should definitely be aware of this.

  • Dirty Bedding:If you do not provide your guinea pig habitat with enough wood shavings, hay and paper towels, then urine will start to accumulate which will result in ammonia buildup and subsequent stenching up of the whole room over time. Your guinea pig cages will start to smell like a dirty litter box.

If you want to keep your guinea pigs’ habitat smelling fresh, then it’s a must that you invest in proper bedding materials which are absorbent and which don’t allow urine to sit around for too long.

It is highly recommended that you do not use cedar or pine shavings as your guinea pig bedding because these can give off fumes which could irritate the respiratory system.

Some people also recommend using shredded paper as your guinea pig bedding, but this also is not advisable because paper won’t soak up liquids quickly enough and eventually they will turn into a mushy mess. Also, if the paper has anything printed on it, the ink can become an irritant to your Guinea pig’s body.

  • Pee Corners:If your guinea pig has got accustomed to peeing in one particular area of its Hutch or cage, then this area will start to have an excessive ammonia buildup which in turn can emit an awful odour.

Guinea pigs are creatures of habit and it is very common for them to choose a particular corner of their cage and use that as a pee corner.

Most guinea pig owners don’t realise the importance of keeping the pee corners fresh because they usually think that they need to clean out the entire guinea pig cage, including all the bedding material, and wash everything thoroughly, which is not always necessary.

Just regularly spot cleaning up the Pee corner every other day should also be sufficient to prevent bad orders.

  • Skin Infections: Guinea pigs are, by nature, very clean animals. But sometimes, if they are not groomed properly, it is possible for their skin to develop certain infections. You may notice that your pet guinea pig has scabs or scrapes on its body, which could be a sign of an infection.

Infections can also happen due to the wounds that have been incurred on account of fighting with other guinea pigs.Though this is a rare occurrence, because guinea pigs are social animals and not aggressive by nature.

If your guinea pig has a skin infection, this is when your guinea pig’s body becomes infested with parasites, which can cause a strong, unpleasant odour to emanate from them.

Some of the skin infections include mites or lice, which are external parasites that live on an animal’s court. If you notice small insect like creatures that are crawling across your pet’s fur, then he or she may be suffering from parasitic infections because they create scabs as well as hair loss.

If your guinea pig has any of the symptoms mentioned above and they are emanating a bad smell, then you should take them to a veterinarian right away so that they can determine the best treatment for your furry friend and make them smell free.

  • Dental Issues:Guinea pigs are rodents and their incisors grow throughout the course of their lives. Therefore, it is very important for guinea pig owners to make sure that they provide plenty of chewing material in the form of hay and other chew toys for their guinea pigs. Failure to do so will result in the overgrowth of their teeth.

If your Guinea Pig’s teeth start to over grow, it can cause some serious pain and also lead to an unpleasant smell coming from your guinea pig’s mouth area due to the overgrown teeth issue.

If your guinea pig has a tooth that has started to decay, it can lead to an infection in their mouth. This will result in bad breath. If you notice that your guinea pig has smelly breath, then he or she might need some type of treatment immediately.

  • Other Infections: Were you aware that sometimes a strong and unpleasant odour can be caused by health problems such as an infection in the body system of your guinea pigs?

If your pet is infected, then his or her body will start to release certain bacteria which can create a very unpleasant smell. For instance, one of the diseases that is known for causing extreme bad breath and odor among guinea pigs is mycoplasma pneumonia.

Hence, it’s always advisable that the owners pay attention and take their guinea pigs to a vet if they start to smell abnormally.

  • Scent Gland Odor: When a guinea pigs gets scared or upset, they release an odor from glands located just under their tails. This scent comes out clear and smells unpleasant. Do not mistake this for urine as it doesn’t really have anything to do with urinating at all!

Male Guinea pigs (also called boars) )are known to secrete an oily, sticky substance from the glands located right under their tail. If there is a buildup of the secretion, then it can result in a very foul smell emanating from them.

The bad smells coming from these glands usually have an acrid or ammonia type odour associated with them. The reason why this occurs is that the oils in the sebaceous glands tend to become trapped within the hairs surrounding those areas, resulting in foul-smelling secretions being released by your guinea pig’s body system when under stress or for marking purposes.

How To Stop Your Guinea Pig From Smelling?

  • Ensure adequate ventilation:Ensure that your guinea pig’s habitat is well ventilated and they have enough space to exercise.Having proper ventilation installed inside your guinea pig cages is extremely crucial.

Do not forget to have a mesh cover or other openings which allow fresh air to come inside into your guinea pig’s cage.

Another important step is to ensure that their cage is not too small. A small cage results in bad ventilation, and this in turn leads to an accumulation of ammonia and foul odour. It is very important that you provide your guinea pigs with a large enough cage so that proper ventilation and cross airflow can take place.

  • Provide Clean And Adequate Bedding:You must provide your guinea pigs with a very clean and sufficient bedding. Do not use cedar or pine shavings, as it is toxic to them!It is important not to let your pet guinea pig sit on dirt or damp pieces of bedding material.

If you are using aspen sawdust, then ensure that the dust has been properly sterilized before using it in their cages. If possible, opt for paper based products such as recycled newspaper pellets, which will help absorb all the liquids from your Guinea Pig cage flooring area while at the same time providing great comfort for your little furry friends , preventing skin irritation .

Also, never forget to replace old, dirty bedding minimum twice per week so that they can always have access to a fresh, odor free environment within their cage settings.ensure that you have at least 2 to 3 inches of bedding on the bottom layer of the cage.

The most important step in making sure that there’s no bad smell coming from your guinea pig cage is to clean it out very frequently.

  • Cleaning Cages Regularly:Ensure that you clean your guinea pig’s cage regularly. Do not let the dirt pile up in their habitats, as it can lead to bad odors emanating from them.

How often should I be cleaning my Guinea Pig’s Cage? Cleaning cages must be done at least once per week! !The frequency with which you are required to change or replace the bedding is dependent upon how dirty it appears.

You need to make sure that all traces of feces, urine, etc. have been removed on a daily basis so that any odor causing bacteria has no chance of growing within this environment . As soon as there is an accumulation of poop, then it is time to replace the old stuff with fresh bedding.

Cleaning the cage will also help to control any traces of parasites which might have been transmitted from one Guinea Pig to another in your house . Do not forget that bacteria and other microorganisms can survive on a variety of surfaces for many weeks! Do not let them contaminate your pet(s)!

Since guinea pigs are very prone to respiratory infections, it is important that you keep their habitats very clean and free of bad odors, which can lead to diseases such as pneumonia or even asthma !

If there is an accumulation of dirt, then ensure that you remove all traces within 24 hours by replacing old dirty bedding with new stuff. Do remember, never use pine or cedar shavings in your guinea pig cage as it can cause them respiratory problems and other health issues.

Use A Good Digestive Enzyme Cleaner: Remember to use a good digestive enzyme cleaner to help you remove all traces of urine and feces from the bottom of their cages.

Ensure that you spray the solution on every spot where there is an accumulation, such as corners, sides, etc, before removing the old bedding . Do remember to wipe down with warm water after spraying this product so that no chemical residue remains behind!

  • Cleaning Up Pee Corner Regulary :It is very important that guinea pig owners do not forget to clean up the pee corners regularly. You can just remove the bedding that is in the Pee corner and replace it with fresh bedding every other day. Spot cleaning the Pee corners in this way ensures that there is no buildup of ammonia and hence no bad odour emanating from the cage.

The chances of foul odors arising from within the cages are very high when the substrate material mixes with urine, making it very difficult to remove the odor completely. It would be a good idea if you could keep yourself prepared with some enzyme cleaners at home so that whenever there is an accumulation of dirt, it gets removed within 24 hours .

  • Litter Train Your Guinea Pigs:Do you know that guinea pigs can be litter trained? You will need to provide them with a potty area where they themselves will prefer going and doing their business. Litre training is a great way of preventing odors and mess inside a cage.

Once your guinea pig gets used to the idea of a litter box, there will be less risk of your guinea pigs relieving themselves in other corners or areas of the cage. Hence, it becomes very easy for the owners to clean up the litter tray and keep the cage smelling fresh.

The most effective way is to use disposable paper bedding in the pee corners so that it becomes easy for owners to clean up after them . Do not forget to take out all traces of these dirty papers within 24 hours as this buildup can lead up to bad odors emanating from your pets’ cages!

Using an igloo or any other covered area near the potty corner also ensures that moisture does not reach down into their habitats . Do make sure that you keep the litter box very clean, as this is where they will prefer to do their business.

  • Bathe Your Guineapigs:Do not forget that you can also bathe your guinea pigs when they are dirty with dust, shavings or even with dirt. Do remember to brush their coats before taking them for a bath so that any unwanted hair is removed .

Do ensure that there is no excess water in the bathing tub, as this might lead to accidental drowning in some cases! Keep your Guineas away from drafts and use warm water to prevent hypothermia.

If possible, try giving them an extra shower after their return home from playing outdoors, so that all traces of soil and particles on their bodies get washed off completely !

This will help decrease odors emanating from within the habitats which might be hard to remove otherwise. It also helps bring down the risk of any infections that they might catch from being exposed to dirty conditions.

Do remember that baths are not essential and you should only give them when necessary .

Do not forget to give your Guinea pigs a bath once every two weeks. Take warm water and mix it with some gentle shampoo so that they do not feel uncomfortable when you are bathing them .

If the eyes or skin becomes red, then ensure that you wash off all the soap quickly, as this can lead to infections later on! Do remember to dry them off completely using a clean towel so that they are safe from catching colds.

  • Clean Up Their Scent Glands: Do not forget that you can also clean up your guinea pigs’ scent glands by using a Q-tip or cotton ball. If the buildup on the scent gland is pretty rigid, you can actually use a little bit of greasing agent such as mild coconut oil in order to loosen up the buildup and then clean it out with your cotton ball or Q-tip.

Do remember to use gentle strokes of the cotton ball and rub it in circular motions so as to clear out all dirt, oil, and buildups .

Make certain that you are not causing any discomfort while cleaning them!Do keep checking on their skin every few days, since this might lead to infections if left uncleaned for too long!

Wrapping Up

Guinea pigs are very clean animals and groom themselves often to stay comfortable and happy in their homes.

You will likely only notice the natural odor of hay or straw from your guinea pig’s home as well as its fur when it sheds some hair during certain seasons.

Guinea pigs do not have a strong scent, but their urine does. It smells like ammonia and can be quite powerful if they are housed in an area with little ventilation or the air is stagnant.

This may cause some people to think that guinea pigs smell bad when it’s really just their urine.

If you find your guinea pig has a foul odor, try changing their diet or giving them clean bedding and more clean space so they can move around during the day for better circulation of fresh air throughout the cage.

When an owner takes care to keep their environment clean, it’s not likely that you’ll notice any odor at all coming from your pet.

XoXo

Genie

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Meet Genie, our passionate pet lover, real-life lawyer and pet expert, who is an avid animal enthusiast and has been associated with several animal NGOs and shelters for years. With over 20 years of experience in taking care of pets, she has been a part of numerous animal welfare volunteer schemes and programs. With 3 adorable dogs, 3 lovely cats, and several fish at home, Genie has a full house of happy and healthy pets. She is also a dedicated member of the Donatekart monthly program for the welfare and feeding of street dogs. She believes that every animal deserves love, care, and a full belly, and works tirelessly to make that a reality for as many animals as possible. Whether it's learning about pet behavior or finding the best ways to take care of your furry friends, Genie is the go-to person for all your pet-related queries. When it comes to pet care, Genie is a wealth of knowledge and experience. From dealing with health issues to providing the best nutrition, she has seen it all and is always willing to share her expertise with others. Follow Genie's pet blog for tips, advice, and heartwarming stories about life with her beloved pets.