Have you been thinking of getting your first pet—a pet guinea pig? You must be pretty excited to get your first guinea pig pet; after all, guinea pigs are the most adorable and cute little creatures and make superb pets for first-time pet owners. But the thought of guinea pigs stinking might leave you having double thoughts about getting a guinea pig—you don’t want your house smelling of a pig barn.
Well, it is good that you are thinking it through before bringing home a guinea pig. But you do not really have to worry here as guinea pigs are pretty clean little rodents and prefer to keep them clean. But living in a closure as they have to eat, pee-poop, and play in their cage might smell a bit if you are not keeping the guinea pig cage clean.
If the thought of guinea pig smelling is keeping you from bringing this cute pocket pet into your home, continue reading. In this article, we are going to discuss do guinea pigs smell and explore the reasons that may make your guinea pigs smell. In the end, we will discuss how you can keep your guinea pigs smelling good all the time. Given that guinea pigs are inherently clean animals, keeping them smell-free is not much of a hassle.
Do Guinea Pigs Smell?
Guinea pigs are inherently clean and fastidious creatures and are known for their trademark self-grooming characteristic. They do not naturally smell. If your guinea pig seems to have an unpleasant smell, it would be either that guinea pig is too sick to self-groom or is not being fed the proper diet. Besides, it could also be a guinea pig cage smelling and not the guinea pig itself, if you haven’t cleaned it for days.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Smell So Bad?
From the above discussion, it has become evident that guinea pigs are not naturally smelly. Rather, they are clean and fastidious little creatures that seem to love self-grooming, but they often develop an unpleasant odor. So, what might be the reason? Let’s uncover some of the most common reasons that might be making your guinea pig smell.
1. Guinea pig is Sick
Guinea pigs are fastidious creatures, and they like to keep themselves clean. They self-groom by licking their fur, just like cats. When self-grooming, guinea pigs would stand on their hind legs so that they are better able to reach their back and front for grooming. They keep themselves clean, so there is no way that a healthy guinea pig would let himself give off an unpleasant smell.
However, in certain cases, guinea pigs need a little grooming help from their loving owners. For instance, in the case of long-haired guinea pigs, owners will have to brush their furballs coat daily to keep them from matting and tangling. Likewise, sick and senior guinea pigs cannot self-groom properly and thus need help from their owners. So, if your guinea pig is stinking, you should check to make sure he is doing fine. If you see any signs of sickness, you should take your piggy friend to a veterinarian.
2. Guinea pig Diet is Not Right
When guinea pigs are fed a healthy and balanced diet, their oval-shaped poop is nearly odorless, not too hard or too soft. However, when the guinea pig is not being fed the proper diet, its poop may change in consistency and start smelling. And if the unbalanced diet leads to the development of urinary tract infection in guinea pigs, their pee would also begin to smell.
3. Guinea Pig Cage is Not Being Cleaned
In captivity, guinea pigs are restricted to small cages. They have to live, rest, eat, and pee-poop in that cage. So, if the cage is not being cleaned regularly, generally fastidious guinea pigs would have no other option but to live in their own filth as they just cannot clean their cage. In such cases, the smell starts emanating from guinea pig cages, but when they are still not cleaned, guinea pigs also begin stinking. Here it is not the guinea pig that is untidy but its owner.
Consider this: a small kid has pooped in his cradle, and his caretaker does not clean the kid and its cradle and later claims that the kid is inherently smelly. Tell me, is it the kid or the caretaker?
4. Boars Smell More Than Sows
Boars (male guinea pigs) smell more than sows (female guinea pigs) because the smell emanates from their secret grease gland or oil organ. To show their dominance and attract female guinea pigs, boars secrete a greasy material from their oil glands, located under the tails. With this smelly and greasy material, guinea pigs would mark their territory and show dominance over other potential pursuant. These greasy secretions are quite smelly and might make your guinea pig smell really bad if not taken care of immediately.
Though both male and female guinea pigs have that greasy gland, it is established that the oil glands of female guinea pigs are much less active than that of boars. This is the reason that after hitting puberty, male guinea pigs start developing a bit of a stinky smell.
How to keep your guinea pigs smelling good?
Guinea pigs are fastidious creatures and do not smell, but they can quickly stink up the room if they are sick or not well taken care of. Here is what you can do to make sure that your guinea pigs always have that pleasant fragrance of hay and grass but never smell bad.
Regularly Clean Guinea Pig Cage
Guinea pigs keep themselves clean by self-grooming, but we cannot expect our cute little furballs also to clean up their cage—they just cannot. Therefore, it is crucial that as a responsible pet owner, you keep your guinea pig’s cage clean and tidy.
- Deep clean your guinea pigs’ cage at least once a week, which involves replacing old bedding with fresh bedding and washing the bottom and sides of the cage with soap.
- To get rid of any unpleasant odor, if any, you should use 10% white vinegar and water solution as a rinse after washing the cage with soap and water
- Besides weekly cleaning, you should also spot-clean your guinea cage daily, especially if you have multiple guinea pigs.
- Remove soiled bedding if any
- Clean the cage corner that piggies are using as a toilet area
- Use a guinea pig cage cleaning spray to get rid of any unpleasant odor.
- Remove all the used bedding from the cage and spray it with the cage cleaner
- Let the sprayed cleaner soak in and do its thing for around 5 minutes
- Take a cloth and wipe off all the loosened filth from the bottom of the cage
- Let the cage dry. If possible, put the cage in the sun for some time
- Once the cage is completely dry, place fresh bedding in the cage
Litter Train Your Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are smart little rodents, though it would require some patience and consistency, guinea pigs can be litter trained.
- Identify the area that your piggies are using as the toilet area
- Put the litter box in that area
- Guinea pigs are more likely to use a litter box if it is close to a hay feeder
- Depending on the usage of the litter box, you should clean it every 2 or 3 days
- Never put clumping cat litter in your guinea pig’s litter box
- Treat your guinea pig when it uses the litter box
Use Odor Control Guinea Pig Bedding
Using an odor control guinea pig bedding instead of regular bedding would help get rid of any unpleasant odor.
- Put up to 3 inches of odor control bedding in your guinea pig’s cage
- Daily scoop out wet and soiled bedding and replace it with fresh
- You should still spot-clean the cage daily and thoroughly wash it once a day
- Do not use baking soda as a home remedy to get rid of unpleasant odors, it can cause irritation to guinea pigs.
Use Odor Control Guinea Pig Pee Pads
Guinea pigs pee a lot – around 35 to 45ml per day.
With that much pee, it is impossible for guinea pigs owners to keep the cage clean with traditional means. By using guinea pig pee pads, you can take care of all the pee.
Guinea pig pee pads soak up all the pee, keeping the cage clean and dry. There are some odor controlling pee pads that neutralized the guinea pig pee smell. These pee pads work wonder but the only concern that owners have is their guinea pigs eating pee pads.
Bathe Your Guinea Pig when Required
Thanks to the trademark self-grooming characteristic of guinea pigs, you don’t have to bathe them often. However, if a guinea pig is sick and cannot properly groom itself, you might have to bathe him. Similarly, in the case of long-haired guinea pigs, you will also have to do the bathing regularly as their hair is prone to tangling and matting.
- Keep your guinea wrapped in a warm towel after showering because guinea pigs become chilled pretty easily
- If you brush your guinea pig regularly, you will have to bathe him less often
- Trim the hair around your long-haired guinea pig’s bottom
- Use a guinea pig-safe shampoo to bathe your guinea pig
Clean Your Guinea pig’s Scent Glands
The scent glands are covered in fur and located right above their genitals. Though both boars and sows have sweat glands, male scent glands are generally more active.
- Clean guinea pig scent gland at least once a month
- Clean it using a cotton sway, soap, warm water, and coconut oil
Feeding the Right, Healthy, and Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is not only crucial for the health of guinea pigs but also for odorless poop and pee. The poo of a guinea pig eating a balanced diet would be semi-solid—not too hard, not too soft—and almost odorless. But an imbalanced diet like eating more veggies could lead to diarrhea and smelling poop, making guinea pigs smell.
The ideal guinea pig diet comprises 80% timothy hay or grass, 10% guinea pig pellets, and the remaining 10% guinea pig-safe fruits and vegetables.
|Ideal Guinea Pig Diet|
|80% hay or grass||10% guinea pig pellets||10% fruits and veggies|
Final Verdict: Do Guinea Pigs Smell?
Healthy guinea pigs do not naturally smell if they are properly cleaned and fed right. If guinea pigs have an unpleasant smell, it would mean that either the cage is not cleaned, or their diet is imbalanced. You can easily keep your guinea pig smelling good by deep cleaning its cage once a week and spot-cleaning it on daily basis. The use of odor control bedding and litter training also keep guinea pigs smelling good.