It’s not nice when someone looks at your beloved Guinea Pigs and says ‘Phew, your Guinea Pigs smells!
Yes, sometimes guinea pigs do smell. This is usually not their fault, however! But why do Guinea Pigs smell sometimes?
There are a few things that can cause a guinea pig to smell. The main ones are inadequate cage maintenance, certain illnesses, and improper care.
Luckily, there are a few key things you can do to ensure that your guinea pig is feeling their best, and smelling fresh.
Guinea Pigs like all other pets will smell if they are not cared for correctly. Their personal hygiene is your responsibility and you’ll need to provide the correct living conditions and diet to reduce an unwanted smell coming from your Guinea Pig. They will always have an aroma but it can be reduced and not be too overpowering.
In this article, we will look at several reasons why they may smell and answer the question: Do Guinea Pigs Smell?
Let us look into this topic in more detail.
Table of Contents
There are some common ways that you can accidentally give your guinea pig improper care. Every animal has very specific requirements to be in their best health (and to smell their best, too!).
Feed Your Guinea Pig Properly
Do Guinea Pigs smell due to improper feeding? Yes! First off, you must feed your guinea pig properly.
These little guys have sensitive tummies, and an improper diet can wreak havoc on their health. In fact, the incorrect food can give your guinea pig urinary tract issues, such as a UTI. This can cause their urine to smell.
Or, they will experience digestive troubles, such as the runs, gas, and so on. This does not contribute to a particularly fresh-smelling environment either, as you can imagine.
So, what should you feed your guinea pig to ensure their urinary and digestive health? With the proper food, you can eliminate any diet-related smell.
What To Feed Your Guinea Pig To Reduce Smells
The diet of your guinea pig should be comprised of plenty of hay, above all. You see, fiber is the main thing that guinea pigs require. This is something of which hay is chock-full.
In fact, guinea pigs graze on hay all day, to keep their digestive system running smoothly. They must have constant access to quality hay, such as Timothy hay, or the like.
Your guinea pig may also enjoy certain fruits and veggies, in portions that are both infrequent, and small.
What To Avoid Feeding Your Guinea Pig
There are many fruits, vegetables, plants, and other foods that can make your guinea pig sick.
Potatoes, for instance, contain far too much starch. Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates like this are something that guinea pigs simply cannot tolerate.
They will have severe stomach troubles, and at worst, can even experience a complete digestive shutdown.
Iceberg lettuce and onions are more foods that can do your guinea pig digestive harm. Specifically, it can give your guinea pig diarrhea, and make them generally ill.
This is because this kind of lettuce has literally no nutritional value.
Instead, the plant is made up mostly of water, without fiber for balance. As a result, it can give your guinea pig the runs and the like.
Before feeding your guinea pig any food, make sure it is safe. This will keep your guinea pig healthy as well as improve their smell.
Help Your Long-Haired Guinea Pig Groom
Like most domesticated rodents, guinea pigs are actually very good about hygiene. They will often groom themselves and even each other. There are still, though, times when your guinea pig may need a bit of assistance.
For example, some guinea pigs, like the Himalayan guinea pig, have been bred to have fur that is extraordinarily long and thick.
Guinea pigs are not accustomed to this naturally, and yours may find their coat a bit much to handle on their own.
How can you help? Administer a brushing every once in a while. This will remove tangles, excess hair, and any bits of food that may have become stuck.
Soon, your guinea pig will be tidy and fluffy, with an improved smell.
Inadequate Cage Maintenance
Do Guinea Pigs smell due to inadequate cage maintenance? Yes! Most of the time, what you are smelling is not your guinea pig itself. Guinea pigs are very good about grooming, and keep themselves clean in general.
Rather, dirty bedding, leftover food, untidied droppings, and urine are what tend to create an unpleasant smell.
So, guinea pig odor can come down to inadequate cage maintenance, in a nutshell.
How can you sufficiently maintain your guinea pig cage? Fortunately, it is quite simple!
Choose an effective Guinea Pig Bedding Material
Bedding is one of the biggest components when it comes to creating a cage that is odor-free. While the incorrect bedding material will do a poor job of reducing odors and the like, the correct one is sure to do the trick.
For guinea pigs, there are a few great types of bedding that you can choose from. The most popular is probably aspen shavings, as these are arguably the most effective.
You can find these at your local pet store or online. They are ultra-absorbent of both liquid and smell.
Other fine options are paper shreds, paper pellets, or paper mulch. Check out our alternative bedding materials post suitable for Rabbits, Guinea pigs and other small pets for more information.
Change Guinea Pig Bedding Regularly
Of course, the best bedding in the world will become useless if it is not changed when it needs to be. Bedding that is effective will rapidly absorb both liquid and smell.
When it becomes dirty, you must promptly replace it with bedding that is fresh. Changing your guinea pig bedding every 2-3 days is ideal.
Give your Guinea Pig Cage a daily Spot-Clean
There are little messes each day that can cause your guinea pig cage to smell. These include droppings, leftover food, urine, and so on.
To address this, you can give the cage a daily spot-clean. Also, make sure not to leave any perishable food behind in general!
Deep-Clean your Guinea Pig Cage Once a Week
To reduce any smell, you will also want to deep-clean your guinea pig cage once a week. To do this, first, remove the bedding with a dustpan. Remove smaller particles with a small broom or the like.
Once the bedding is gone, you will want to give the cage a good spray-down. Use a mix of vinegar and water or another cleaning solution that is nice and natural.
Then, simply replace the old, stinky bedding with bedding that is fresh and new.
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Illness Can Cause Your Guinea Pig To Smell
Do Guinea Pigs smell if they’re ill? Yes! Guinea pigs are prone to diarrhea, scurvy, respiratory issues, infections, and infestations of fungus, mites, or lice.
Many of these conditions can cause your guinea pig to smell (not to mention feel quite unwell).
Some of these problems are genetic and will require veterinary assistance. Most, you can prevent easily, with sufficient cage maintenance and proper care.
Other Ways To Improve Guinea Pig Smell
Pick a Guinea Pig Female
Compared to female guinea pigs, males tend to have a bit more musk. You may wish to get a female guinea pig if you are particularly sensitive to smell.
You can also litter-train. You will need to start as soon as you get your guinea pig, for the best luck. However, you can try to litter-train your guinea pig at any stage of their life.
Simply confine them to a room, and make sure that they use the litter box. To help your guinea pig understand what it is, put any accidents into the litter box.
Ideally, they will learn to do this on their own, in time.
You can then allow them in more areas of the house. Litter-training will greatly reduce the amount you will have to spot-clean, and of course the smell!
Conclusion: Do Guinea Pigs Smell?
So, do guinea pigs smell? Guinea pigs can indeed get smelly, but there are plenty of ways to reduce and improve their smell.
Their odor is usually caused by poor health, insufficient cage maintenance, and improper care. In fact, more often than not, the cage rather than the guinea pig is responsible for the smell.
Fortunately, there are some very simple ways you can eliminate odors and the like.
Just feed your guinea pig the right foods, help them to groom if necessary, keep their bedding and cage clean, and ensure that they are in good health.
This will both make your guinea pig happy, and take care of their smell!