Guinea pigs are popular pets in many countries around the world. They are furry, fluffy, soft, and can be tamed. Guinea pigs are easy to care for and easy to handle. Some guinea pigs even love to cuddle with their owners. Just like any living creature, guinea pigs can be smelly under certain circumstances. However, there are ways to reduce the smell to an absolute minimum.
As a whole, guinea pigs do not smell as long as they are properly cared for. Like all rodents, guinea pigs groom themselves regularly. They do have a slight body odor but they do not smell bad. If a guinea pig is smelly, it might be sick or kept in a dirty enclosure.
In the following, you will learn more about the body odor of guinea pigs, wheater these cute rodents can be potty trained, and how to reduce any smell coming from the enclosure to a minimum.
Do Guinea Pigs Smell?
Guinea pigs are rather clean animals. They tend to groom themselves on a regular basis and keep themselves clean. And a guinea pig doing impressive contortions to clean its entire body with its tongue is one of the most adorable things to watch.
But obviously, any living creature that eats also poos. And a guinea pig that lives in an enclosure is dependent on your care and cleaning because it has no other choice but to poo and pee in the enclosure.
Some guinea pigs with extra long fur might need some more attention than others. Long fur has contact with the floor and can easily get dirty or filthy. They might need your help grooming and cleaning themselves.
There are various reasons that could lead to a smelly pet or smelly enclosure. Here are the most common reasons for a smelly pet.
Any dirt left in the enclosure will start to smell. That includes pee, poo, and food leftovers. A guinea pig’s enclosure needs to be deep cleaned at least once a week, in some cases even more often. In addition to the regular cleaning session, you should also spot clean dirt whenever you see it.
Guinea pigs can be messy, and they tend to drop their poo everywhere. They have some “hot spots” for their pee and poo.
Try to keep these spots clean by removing and replacing the bedding in these areas and by sweeping the poo off the floor if you are using fleece on the ground.
These cleaning measures will help you to keep the enclosure clean.
Guinea pigs are herbivores. They should be fed with hay, pelleted food, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
The wrong diet can lead to a bad-smelling guinea pig. The guinea pigs’ poo is a good indicator of a healthy diet. It should be dark brown, oval-shaped, and not too soft.
It is obviously a bit smelly, but not too much. The pee can also start smelling with the wrong food because it can lead to urinary tract infections.
No goes for guinea pigs are any kind of meat, bugs, dairy products, eggs, any human food items that include artificial sugar, and any greasy products.
Animal food for other animals can also be toxic for guinea pigs.
Even though many vegetables are good for guinea pigs, there are also some vegetables that should not be fed to these pets, such as iceberg lettuce, avocado, onions, garlic, potatoes, and mushrooms.
Stress can cause illnesses, and a sick guinea pig might be smelly.
But even before the guinea pig gets sick, it might already start to smell differently because stress can lead to digestive issues.
Bedding is supposed to be soft, absorbent, and odor-controlling. The wrong bedding can lead to a smelly enclosure.
You can also use fleece instead of bedding in the enclosure. There are special fleece blankets that can soak up a lot of pee without feeling wet.
A good bedding option is this odor-controlling product from Kaytee:
If you prefer fleece, you can go for a special extra absorbent guinea pig fleece liner that can be washed in the washing machine.
Some guinea pigs with very long fur need your assistance grooming and cleaning it.
Long fur often touches the floor and can thereby pick up dirt, grease, and liquids. Before the fur gets filthy, you should offer your guinea pig a nice bath and clean the fur.
Guinea pigs generally do not need to be bathed regularly. Some guinea pigs never need a bath because they can keep themselves clean. But if you notice dirty or even filthy fur, it might be necessary to wash your pet.
Only use a shampoo that is suitable for small pets and doesn’t get water or soap in your pet’s eyes.
A sick guinea pig can be smelly. Infections and illnesses of any kind such as bumblefoot, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, inflammations, dental issues, and tumors lead to a weird or bad smell.
If you notice that the smell of a guinea pig has changed, and it cannot be traced back to any of the other reasons, you should see a vet.
Are Male or Female Guinea Pigs Smellier?
Males can be smellier because other than females, they tend to mark their territory or show dominance by using a scent.
The scent itself is not necessarily smelly, but the gland is right under the guinea pig’s tail and can become greasy, dirty, and even infectious. That can lead to a smelly guinea pig.
The gland can be gently cleaned with water if you notice a weird smell.
Can Guinea Pigs be Potty Trained?
Yes, it is possible to potty train a guinea pig. Unfortunately, they still tend to leave their poo everywhere, but some guinea pigs are willing to use a “toilet” for their pee. This makes quite a difference smell-wise.
To potty train a guinea pig, you will need some kind of bowl or plastic box.
There are items that can be explicitly used as animal toilets, such as this one:
The first step to potty training your pet is to collect bedding with pee, and also all the poo you find in the enclosure and put it in the toilet. You continue to do so until the guinea pigs notice that this is the right place for their droppings.
As mentioned before, potty training a guinea pig is not always successful and they also tend to only use the toilet for a pee.
How to Reduce Guinea Pig’s Smell
In order to reduce a guinea pig’s smell, you should find out the reason for the smell in the first place.
The most common reason is a dirty enclosure. Try to have a fixed date every week for your deep cleaning session, and try to spot clean the enclosure every morning before leaving the house. This will already make a huge difference.
If the cage is clean, but the guinea pigs are still smelly, sniff your guinea pigs. Do they smell, or is it something else in the enclosure? If the enclosure starts smelling right after cleaning, you might want to try different bedding.
If the pet itself is smelly, you should check the smell glands on males, and check the fur on both males and females. Maybe they accidentally picked up some dirt in a place they cannot clean by themselves.
You should check their diet if the guinea pigs are smelly but don’t seem sick. Maybe they lack some vitamins, or they overfeed on fruits.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂