One of the first questions that you may have if you are considering getting a Guinea Pig, or if you are a new owner, is whether or not Guinea Pigs smell. Strong odors and foul smells in your home is not something that you would be looking to entertain. As a lot of pets can smell, its only natural to ask whether Guinea Pigs are the same. Here is what I can tell you on the topic following my research and investigation.
So, do Guinea Pigs Smell? Guinea Pigs can smell. This is usually because of an unkempt cage, dirty bedding, unfortunate soiling, or a potential illness that they may have. Fortunately, Guinea Pigs do not carry any particular smells inherently and are odorless animals. So like any pet, owners should be aware that your Guinea Pig may not always smell at their best, but they do not have to smell.
It can be safely assumed that nobody wants their pets to stink up their home, and if you’ve stumbled across this article you are looking for some information all around Guinea Pigs and their potential stench.
To get a better understanding of how to manage their odor, you need to understand where it comes from. Let us now explore this topic further.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Smell Sometimes?
We love our pets, but we do have to remember they are animals. One of the biggest complaints people have about keeping a pet is the overall hygiene and cleanliness.
All living things require some kind of maintenance, and the levels vary greatly depending on the species.
Animals use scent for a variety of reasons. Sometimes animals use it to scare off intruders and other times they adopt a musky scent to communicate that they’re ready for mating.
Even beyond functional purposes, all pets defecate and urinate – and that is objectively unpleasant.
Some pets, such as Rats and Ferrets, have really received a negative reputation for really stinking up their owners house. For Guinea Pigs, it should be very different. They’re not typically considered as strong offenders.
If you are noticing a foul smell coming from your Guinea Pigs, it is likely not coming from the animal itself.
Sure, you may notice that your Guinea Pig has a rather unpleasant aroma, but, more often than not, the smell originates from their actual enclosure.
Guinea Pigs poop and pee directly into their habitats. This would be like having your cat live in an enclosed litter box or ditching your conventional toilet to relieve yourself anywhere you please throughout the house.
Generally, no one can describe animal excrement as though it smells of daisies and roses. Oftentimes animals won’t like it either.
Once their habitat starts to smell, the Guinea Pigs will take on the scent of their home as well. Generally speaking, they don’t naturally give off some kind of strong, musty scent.
How Can You Prevent Guinea Pigs From Smelling
If you are properly taking care of your Guinea Pig, they shouldn’t smell so much.
Foul odor is often a sign that you aren’t properly maintaining their cage. Most commonly, this is due to not cleaning it regularly or properly enough.
On average, you should spot clean your Guinea Pigs’ cage every day and do a complete cleaning of the cage once a week.
This will of course depend on how many Guinea Pigs you have (you should always have at least two as they get lonely!) and how their current health is.
If you have a rather populated enclosure or your guinea pig seems sick or is experiencing diarrhea, you are going to need to do this more often.
During spot cleans, remove the patch of dirtied litter and replace it with fresh litter as to cover their living space.
During weekly complete cleans, replace the litter completely and wipe down the enclosure.
Be sure that when you set up the habitat you are doing it properly as some common mistakes may lead do enhanced odor.
Make sure to fill their cages with at least 2 to 3 inches of bedding. You want to cover the entire tray so that you can get the most absorption.
Also consider the type of enclosure you want to use. While aquariums are popular, the pure glass provides very little ventilation.
Even if it wasn’t a rodent’s bathroom, the air quality in the tank wouldn’t be great.
Wire cages offer much better ventilation. While this does mean that it may make your home smell a little easier, think of it as an extra incentive to keep their habitat clean.
As a rule of thumb, when raising Guinea Pigs you should use a cage with a plastic bottom. Their feet are small and sensitive, so a wire bottom cage with a waste catching tray may be easier to clean, but it is uncomfortable for them and takes away the enrichment of burrowing in their bedding.
The Living World Deluxe Habitat (available for a great price on Amazon) is one such cage that provides great ventilation, comfort for your Guinea Pigs and is very easy to manage and clean.
A good cage is worth the investment; a well-kept habitat will not smell and your Guinea Pigs want that just as much as you do. It makes for happier Guinea Pigs!
Moreover, a dirty cramp cage can leave them more susceptible to stress and disease. A warm, damp enclosure full of feces may entice flies or even mold to grow in extreme cases.
This is why it is so important, not just for smell, but for their health to stay on top of regular cleanings and general hygiene practices.
Additionally, Guinea Pigs have a general preference for dry, clean bedding to sleep in. Thankfully this is easy to sort out and manage as they can easily be removed from the cage and quickly be replaced or cleaned.
Can Guinea Pigs Be Litter Box Trained?
When you clean your Guinea Pigs’ enclosure, you may notice that some areas are left more soiled than others.
This is no coincident. Like many other animals, a Guinea Pig will make a conscious decision where to go to the bathroom to keep their sleeping space nice and dry. This raises the question – can you housebreak them?
The short answer is yes! Oftentimes stores will even carry little litterbox training kits for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs (but you can also get them on Amazon too).
This is often in the form of a removable, plastic attachment you can fix inside their cage where you can encourage them to go to the bathroom.
While this can work with some conditioning, you may need to be patient. Unlike a cat who rather independently seeks out the use of a sandy litter box, Guinea Pigs are not always receptive.
Personally, all of my guinea pigs opted to use the litterbox as a bed and use the rest of the entire cage as a bathroom! (not ideal).
Also, while they are rather inclined to pee in certain areas, getting them to control their bowel movements is a trickier situation – albeit possible.
If this is a task you are willing to take on, there are some tricks you can use.
Watch your Guinea Pigs’ Natural activities. If you notice them using a certain area, put in a little removable box full of litter (plastic is easier to clean!).
Be aware, you may need several of these at first as they may have several differing bathroom spaces.
Ideally, your Guinea Pig will begin to relieve themselves in these boxes rather than in the cages directly. Later, you can try to move the box to a more convenient spot and hope that the Guinea Pig continues the box rather than the location.
Some Guinea Pigs take to the idea straight away – others will require some time. This is not something you should count on being able to do straight away.
While trying out these litterbox strategies can be fun and rewarding, it can be more helpful to focus on just keeping the cage clean.
There are a number of products you may want to consider in keeping the area around your Guinea Pig cage clean and odorless.
Cage Liners won’t work for all pets (some consider them an extra toy to tear), but they are worth a shot if you want to take further measures to eliminate odors.
Absorbent Pads help manage the smell and get the cage dryer faster. Plus, it makes the whole cleanup process easier. These are some of the best reviewed ones on Amazon.
Cage Cleaner with Deodorizers
Using a spray specially designed for small animals is a great idea. For one thing, they are specially formulated to get rid of any lingering smells specifically relating to small animals.
Additionally, because of this special formula, you can be assured they are safe for your pet. This is my personal favorite on Amazon.
While you can give your Guinea Pigs baths, they tend not to be too fond of it. Using a dry shampoo spray can give them that quick little wash without you having to worry about getting them sick or upsetting them. This is the one I get from Amazon.
Keeping Guinea Pigs does not mean your house needs to smell! Thankfully, Guinea Pigs are hygienic animals by nature and prefer to live in a clean environment. So, do them a favor and be sure to respect their needs!
Guinea Pigs do not carry any inherent smells, so if your house starts to smell since the arrival of your new pet then it is likely an issue with their cage or how you are looking after their enclosure.
The more you clean it , and the better cage setup you provide for your Guinea Pigs, the better you can handle and eliminate any smells.
Do Guinea Pigs Smell? Sometimes; but it needn’t be the case!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.