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Are Guinea Pigs Smelly?

Get a Whiff of This!

Though the word “rodent” probably brings to mind the likeness of a mouse or a rat, guinea pigs fit the bill, too. But are guinea pigs smelly? They shouldn’t be. A well-kept guinea pig will smell like their bedding, their treats, and a certain addictive freshness that you find yourself missing down the line. Guinea pigs aren’t stinky animals, but they do have a specific smell to them.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to mitigate the typical “pet” smell any animal has. There are so many often-missed possibilities. We’ll help you find them all!

A clean cage keeps the smells away

Any cage will smell to high heaven if given a chance to get dirty. 

If your guinea pig is on felt or another cloth-based bedding, this must be changed every day. 

For multiple guinea pigs, it may be best to change it more often than once per day. 

A guinea pig’s bedding should be clean, crisp, and fresh-smelling to the human nose. If it’s not, it’s time to change it.

If the guinea pig is on crushed paper or another type of bedding other than cloth-based, these should be changed out at least twice per week. 

Most guinea pigs can be easily litter trained. This means that all you have to do is clean your litter box and check for stray pellets once the guinea pig is taught to use their litter box. Simple, easy, and now the poop is under control!

And remember, this doesn’t just count for poop. Take out a guinea pig’s special treats every evening. Make sure that you’re cleaning their food bowls, too. Though their feed pellets can be dusty, a quick dusting with a rag can take care of this.

The (stinky?) water bottle

One of the primary smelly areas of a guinea pig’s enclosure will be their water bottle. 

Why is that? It’s a water bottle, it shouldn’t smell like anything—right?

Try again. Guinea pigs are perpetually terrible about spitting food back into their water bottles, leaving a crust of nibbles around the water bottle pipe, and generally making their water bottle a bit on the gross side. 

They’re back-wash offenders!

While we don’t recommend using a bowl (unless your guinea pig is very partial to that), we do recommend cleaning out the water bottle at least once a day.

Missed a day? Nobody’s perfect. Pick it back up at your earliest convenience. Your little buddy is counting on you!

Cleanliness is next to pigliness

Though guinea pigs don’t need baths, it’s a good idea to inspect your pet frequently to make sure that they’re still clean. 

Long-haired guinea pigs are notorious about getting a pellet of poop stuck here or there and needing a little clean up now and then. 

Abyssinians may get dusty from their food.

When you pick up your guinea pig, examine the genital area for any compacted feces or urine scald. 

Check the nails and feet of the guinea pig, as well as the belly. 

If these areas are clean, your guinea pig should smell like their bedding. 

Your fresh little pal is ready to go, and you need not worry about it further.

If you find a mess, we recommend a guinea pig-specific shampoo or a damp cloth, depending on the area the mess is in. 

Keep claws trimmed and neat. Curling claws or teeth can compact messes. 

If you’re too nervous to cut nails or check their teeth, your veterinarian can do these things for you for a very small fee. 

Most guinea pigs grow to enjoy it.

Wrapping it up

Guinea pigs don’t have any sort of noticeable aroma that anyone would consider to be negative. So long as you continue to care for their cage in a proper manner, you’ll barely notice their scent in your home at all. We’d be very surprised if you walked in after work, took a breath, and smelled your guinea pigs.

However, if not properly taken care of, guinea pigs can become incredibly pungent. If you can smell a guinea pig, it needs to be cared for. If you can’t put in that time or effort, we completely understand, but we recommend you avoid guinea pigs for now. They do require a considerable amount of energy to keep them fresh and clean. And that’s the only right way to keep a guinea pig.

If you can’t seem to find the source of a frown-worthy scent, it may be time for a veterinarian to examine your pet. Sometimes, unfortunate diseases like cancer or a poorly-grown tooth can cause a guinea pig to emit a very displeasing smell. If you’re exhausted all of your other options, the vet should be your next stop. Ruling out medical problems with your guinea pig is the next, most important step.


Pets on Mom.com – How to remove odor from guinea pigs

Omlet – How to reduce guinea pig smell