Guinea pigs don’t really smell bad as long as they are cleaned.
But sometimes, they can have an unpleasant odor, most likely due to urine, wet bedding, poop, and uneaten food, not the guinea pig itself.
They can also stink up the room if their environment is not maintained correctly; illness or being fed the wrong food.
In this article, we will be looking at why guinea pigs may smell bad and what you should do to stop it.
Table of Contents
Do Guinea Pigs Smell?
Guinea Pigs are clean little animals, and they don’t usually have an unpleasant odor.
However, sometimes they can smell bad due to poor grooming, unclean environment, or illness.
Guinea pigs groom themselves with their little paws, and they are pretty good at it. They produce a white liquid substance from their eyes, which is useful for cleaning their face and then using their mouth to clean their entire body.
But if your guinea pig smells, it’s most likely by the urine, dirty cage, or bad diet. So, change their bedding regularly, spot cleans their cage to maintain hygiene, and do a full cleaning once a week.
Why Do Guinea Pig Stink Bad?
Guinea Pigs might look dirty, but they are pretty clean animals in real life. However, sometimes they might have a musty odor, but it’s typically due to their unclean environment.
Guinea pigs spend most of their time in their cage, so the smell must be coming from the soiled or wet bedding, poop, pee, and leftover food.
Other reasons why your guinea pig stinks may include poor hygiene or illness.
So, if your guinea pig is stinking up the room, consider cleaning their cage with a detergent and bathe your little pet if necessary.
Do Guinea Pigs Need Baths?
Mostly, guinea pigs clean themselves, but if your pet smells terrible even in a clean environment, you should consider bathing them.
- Start by filling a tray or tub in the sink with warm water, and the water should not be too hot or cold.
- Add a generous amount of shampoo purposely made for guinea pigs and not any other human shampoo, soap, or dish detergent.
- Put your genuine pig in the warm shampooed water and gently scrub their back, neck, legs, and face with your hands but make sure the shampoo water doesn’t go into their eyes.
- Once they are nicely cleaned, remove the soapy water, refill the tray with fresh warm water, and rinse your guinea pig.
- After that, towel dry your guinea pig by gently rubbing and patting them with a dry towel, and lastly, use a hairdryer on a low setting to completely dry your guinea pig; otherwise, they might catch a cold.
To keep them fresh and hygienic, bathe them every two or three months or whenever they smell bad.
Do Male Guinea Pigs Smell More Than Female?
While guinea pigs self groom themselves regularly, some male guinea pigs might have a stronger odor than females.
The reason behind this could be their scent gland. This scent gland secretes a greasy substance like wax, which is stronger than females.
In the wild, male guinea pig uses this scent to attract female guinea pigs for the purpose of mating as well as to mark their territory.
So, if your guinea pig smells bad, they may begin to build up this waxy substance that can lead to a stink.
However, you can reduce the unpleasant odor coming from the scent gland if you clean the area once or twice a month.
Do Guinea Pigs Smell Worse Than Hamsters?
In my opinion, hamsters smell much more than guinea pigs. Guinea pigs groom themselves, and they have a mild smell that won’t bother you as long as you keep their environment clean.
They can only have a foul odor if their pee or waste piles up.
On the other hand, hamsters keep themselves clean too, with the help of their little paws and nails, but still, they can smell bad.
Similar to a guinea pig, hamsters have their favorite spot where they eat, urinate, poop, and spend the vast majority of the time, so it’s obvious to have foulness.
Their hair is attached to the surrounding dirt easily, making them smell bad. So, if your hamster stinks, do not bathe them; instead, consider sand bathing.
How To Make Your Guinea Pig Less Smelly?
Guinea pigs groom themselves, and they are brilliant at it. They don’t usually smell bad, but sometimes, their environment becomes so dirty that they smell bad.
If your pet smells bad, you should consider cleaning their cage, replacing their bedding, or even bathing if necessary.
Here are a few tips to make them less smelly:
1. Clean Guinea Pig’s Cage
Whenever you notice that your guinea pig is giving off a bad smell, the reason could be their dirty cage.
Most likely, the smell is coming from their wet bedding, poop, urine, or feces and not from the guinea pig itself.
So, to reduce the odor, you should at least deep clean their cage once a week. Move your guinea pig to a safe place and remove their old beddings, food bowls, water bottles, hideouts, and toys.
After that, scrub out the bottom and sides of the cage with warm water and soapy water, rinse toys and accessories with warm water, and dry well. Repeat this process every one or two weeks to keep their cage clean.
2. Train Your Guinea Pig To Use Litter Box
A litter box can be helpful to keep your guinea pig’s environment clean.
You can train your guinea to use the litter box, making your spot cleaning much more manageable.
Identify the area where your guinea pig tends to go for potty and then place a litter box in that area; it’s usually the corner of the cage.
They might not use it initially, but eventually, they will get habituated.
Fill the litter box with guinea pig-safe bedding material and no other clumping material as it could be dangerous for your little pet.
Lastly, clean the litterbox every one or two days or whenever required to keep the cage clean and hygienic.
3. Spot Cleaning
Spot cleaning is necessary to keep their environment clean; it reduces the chances of your guinea pig getting dirty.
Since guinea pigs use their cage as a toilet, spot cleaning is highly effective in reducing the odor coming from the cage.
Spot cleaning means if you notice something dirty in their cage, take a cloth and clean the area right away.
It includes removing and dumping the craps, replacing wet beddings, and keeping the cage clean.
To spot cleaning, you can either use your hands (of course with gloves), a small dustpan, or simply brush to clean the area.
Daily spot cleaning of their toilet area will reduce the bad odor and help with the cleanliness.
4. Utilize A Cleaning Spray
Cleaning spray specially made for pet odor can assist with the cleaning process. Make sure the cleaning spray is safe and harmless for guinea pigs.
Once you have scrubbed and cleaned their cage thoroughly with soap and water, spray the cleaning solution generously in the dirtiest area, let it soak for 3 to 5 minutes, and then use a cloth to wipe away the remaining cleanser and allow it to dry out completely.
Repeat the process a few times in a month, and you will see how effective it’s to eliminate the remaining smell after you have cleaned their cage.
5. Use Smell Control Bedding
Bedding, particularly designed to control smell, can also be useful to limit the foul odor of your guinea pig.
It will provide an extra protection layer against bad odor. Beddings made of cedar or pine wood shavings have a fantastic smell that can cover the bad smell of your guinea pigs pee or poop.
However, some guinea pigs might have issues with cedar or pine wood shaving, and it might cause constant skin problems, so it’s better to consult with a vet before making any severe changes.
Lastly, make sure you purchase smell-controlling bedding that is specially made for a guinea pig or other similar animals for maximum effectiveness.
6. Grease Glands (Male Guinea Pig Only)
Male guinea pigs or boars have a grease gland right under their tail which gets greasy and may smell if not cleaned regularly.
If your guinea pig smells bad, they might have built up this waxy material around their grease gland, causing the bad odors.
So, whenever your guinea pig has an unpleasant odor, the reason could be their greasy gland which must be cleaned before it leads to infections.
7. The Diet
What your guinea pig eats can also affect the way they smell. They are herbivores, and they only eat plants.
Their diet must include fiber, high-quality hay, a small number of fruits and vegetables. However, never feed them meat, cooked or processed food, or dairy products.
When your guinea pig eats right, their poop should not be too hard or soft with minimal odor.
But if your cavy is eating unhealthy food, their poop often changes, and they might have an unpleasant odor. Besides, it can cause other health issues like urinary tract infections (UTIs).
8. Your Guinea Pig Might Unwell
If your guinea pig smells more than usual and is not eating properly, showing no interest in playing or socializing, it could be a sign of illness.
Guinea pigs are prone to many health issues like diarrhea, urinary tract infections, ear infections, dental problems, and other medical conditions that may cause a foul odor. In this case, you should immediately consult with a vet.
Bumblefoot or pododermatitis is a bacterial foot infection.
Guinea pigs have soft and very sensitive footpads, and when they are kept in cages with wire floors wet bedding, their footpad may develop sore, painful blisters, which cause your guinea pig painful to walk.
If your guinea pig is having an issue while walking, sore and smelly feet, this could be the sign of bumblefoot.
So, if you notice your guinea pig has bumblefoot and is developing to tissue and bone, you should take your pet to an expert vet as soon as possible.
10. Consider Bathing Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are clean and hygienic animals that groom themselves with their mouth and don’t really need to have bathed.
But, sometimes bathing becomes absolutely necessary when they start smelling bad due to their greasy glands or dirty coat.
Always choose a calm, quiet room with no distractions and give them a gentle, calming bath a few times a year or whenever they need it.
Remember that bathing your guinea pig often could cause dry skin, cold, and other health issues.
To conclude, guinea pig does not smell itself. However, there are scenarios when they can have an unpleasant odor due to an unclean cage, poor grooming, or even illness.
Also, if you have male guinea pigs, they may smell more due to the overgrowth of the wax material around the grease gland.
So, if your guinea pig is smelling more than usual, keep their bedding fresh, dirty areas clean, and do a complete clean-up once every week or so.
I hope this article solved your query. You can read our other articles on the guinea pig for more information.
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