If you have some pet guinea pigs chances are that at some point or another, you will notice their cage smelling. While this naturally happens, there are proactive measures that you can take to reduce/eliminate odor and provide a nicer, cleaner and more hygienic environment for your cavies in the process.
The most effective things you can do to keep your guinea pigs cage from smelling are:
- Get a large, spacious cage
- Clean the cage, any toys and accessories regularly and often using safe, toxic, chemical free and rodent-safe products
- Use Odor Control Bedding
- Line the cage with Fleece Liners
- Consider bathing your guinea pigs
- Litter train your guinea pigs
Guinea pigs while hygienic animals, create a lot of mess which, unless you stay on top, will begin to smell and start to impose a risk to the health and well-being of your cavies.
If you want to be able to keep your home feeling fresh and improve the comfort of your pets habitat, there are a few things you can do that make a dramatic difference.
Let us now take a look at these, running through some of the best recommendations as cited by experts and experienced guinea pig owners:
Get a Large Spacious Cage
Guinea pigs need a large, spacious cage in order to move around freely, exercise and generally not feel trapped or too contained. Its plays a huge role in their overall mood, temperament, behavior and ultimately their health and for prevention of illness.
With a large cage, guinea pigs can be taught to go to the toilet away from areas where the eat, drink and sleep. Its generally a lot more hygienic too.
From an owners perspective, a larger cage is much better too. You can navigate the cage much more effectively, access all of the old bedding and generally clean it and scrub it down easier.
Guinea pigs require a lot of frequent cleaning, so getting a spacious cage ahead of time, or upgrading your current set up is one of the easiest things you can do.
The Living World Deluxe Habitat is one of the most widely used by guinea pig owners, and comes with a host of positive reviews. It came out as the best cage in our independent review of larger cages.
- Habitat that provides everything you need for safely housing a small animal such as a rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, ferret, or a chinchilla
- Small animal cage is designed with an upper wire frame and a plastic bottom base, which provides a safe, well ventilated, and comfortable place for small pets
- Includes a balcony with access ramp and small animal hideout, tip proof small animal food bowl, drip proof small animal water bottle, and hay guard
- Animal cage assembles in minutes using 8 easy to use plastic clips; no tools required
- Dimensions: 46.9 L x 22.8 W x 24 H inches
Clean Regularly and Rigorously
Guinea pigs are naturally very hygienic animals but that being said, this doesn’t prevent the fact that they live in a contained space.
As an owner, it is your responsibility to provide a clean, safe and pleasurable habitat.
When it comes to cleaning, you want to ensure that you thoroughly clean the entire cage at least once per week, with daily spot cleans often required too.
However, these are guidelines. It is likely to differ between guinea pig and owner. It depends on the age of your guinea pig(s), the type of cage you have, their general behavior and their health status. these factors will largely dictate how much cleaning is required for you.
Nonetheless, a good rule of thumb is to get into a routine and to clean them as often as you believe they need.
When its time to do so, make sure that you comprehensively clean the cage from top to bottom cage. Remove all water dispensers, food bowls and any additional toys and accessories that are inside.
You need to make sure you use animal safe, toxic and chemical free products. You can get specific cage cleaning products, like the Nature’s Miracle Small Animal Cage Scrubbing Wipes on Amazon which are extra thick and easy to use. They allow you to scrub with quite a lot of force to remove any debris that seems to stick.
- Extra thick scrubbing dot wipes remove stubborn caked on cage debris
- Plant derived enzymatic odor control eliminates tough cage odors
- Convenience of a wipe with a best selling formula
- Made in USA
- Packagining may vary
With these products, be sure to completely remove any mess, stains and specific areas of odor.
To do this, remove all of the old and used bedding, and clean the bottom and sides of the cage. Once done, place the fresh, new bedding back into the cage. You should find that your guinea pigs only use one area of their cage to go to the toilet area; so it does make things easier. However, just be sure to clean those areas extra thoroughly as any parts you miss can become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.
The benefit of the Nature’s miracle product is that it contains a strong a strong yet fresh anti-odor scent and its incredibly quick to dry.
Its also important that you clean all toys and other accessories as these can be a source of odor and smell. Make sure they are dry before you return them, which is why wipes are a good option because they tend to dry faster.
Use Odor Control Bedding
This tip follows on from the process outlined above. When it comes to placing new bedding into the cage, and for any bedding in general, opt for odor eliminating products.These are specifically designed to combat odor and the best brands will do so for up to 10-14 days.
Bedding like the Kaytee Clean & Cozy extreme odor control is popular among small pet owners because it is so effective. Its the most popular brand because it can absorb up to 6x its weight in liquid and is 99% dust free (which is very important to protect the respiratory system of your guinea pig)
- Absorbs 6x its weight in liquid
- 99.9% dust-free for a cleaner cage
- Neutralizes odor for fresh, clean cage
- Safe and comfortable
- Ideal for guinea pigs, rabbits, Syrian hamsters, dwarf hamsters, gerbils and chinchillas
When it comes to the bedding itself, you want to add around 1-3 inches of fresh new bedding into the bottom of the cage.
You’ll also want to stay on top of removing bedding, and to remove any wet and soiled bedding at the earliest opportunity. While odor blocking bedding can make the guinea pigs cage smell better, this should not stop you from regularly cleaning and swapping the bedding at least once per week.
Line The Cage with Fleece
This is a good tip I picked up from a few friends who are also guinea pig owners. Its particularly effective if you have young guinea pigs who are not yet litter trained.
You can use products like fleece liners which do a great job at absorbing up any excess liquid and pee from your Guinea Pigs.
Whilst a good bedding will do a good job at absorbing liquid, fleece liners serve as an excellent last touch that provides the last level of protection stopping wet bedding from coming directly into contact with the bottom of the cage.
The result is a greater smelling cage; which is of course exactly what we are hoping to achieve.
The better quality fleece liners also wash well; meaning you can re-use them time and time again and wash them during the weekly cleaning process. Fleece liners also offer comfort and and extra level of padding for your guinea pigs feet.
Consider Bathing Your Guinea Pigs
The majority of guinea pigs do a very good job at keeping themselves clean. Guinea pigs by themselves are not known to smell.
However, if you have a species that has long hair, you may need to consider bathing them. This is particularly true if they have a tough time avoiding sitting in or getting their poop in their fur.
If you do decide to bathe your guinea pig, you should do so infrequently. It is also imperative that you use a specially formulated shampoo. Shampoos used by humans contain a number of irritants to guinea pigs and can cause a lot of harm to them.
The best product in this space is again by the Kaytee brand. It includes natural anti-odor ingredients that will leave your guinea pigs smelling good too.
- Totally tearless and pH balanced for safe use on your pet.
- Helps eliminate odors with a long lasting baby powder fragrance.
- You will feel the softness, smell and freshness, and see the shine when you use Squeaky Clean Shampoo.
- For guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small pets
If you decide you do want to bathe your guinea pigs, you should do so at most once per month unless you are told otherwise by a veterinarian (and they have a specific medical problem).
Be very careful when using the product and ensure that none of it goes into their eyes or ears which will cause discomfort.
Remember, a guinea pig cage that smells is very unlikely to be your guinea pig itself. It is primairly the result of an unclean, unkempt and dirty cage
Litter Train Your Guinea Pigs
Another excellent thing to do, that will require a little time, patience and effort is to train your guinea pig where to go to the toilet.
Your guinea pig may naturally do this by default, but for baby guinea pigs and others that need a helping hand this can be a great approach. This is because you can contain the excrement to one place which means it is easier to clean and stay on top of. You can also then remove the toilet daily and your guinea pigs waste will not sit around the cage ahead of the next weekly clean.
You can get large litter trays that can easily be removed from the cage which makes the whole process easier. They also provide a designated spot that you can train your guinea pigs to use. Just remember to dispose of the waste of the tray every couple of days!
- Potty training made easy
- Designed to prevent messes
- Attaches directly to any wire cage
- 10" long 13 75" wide 6 5" high
- For ferrets and other small animals
When it comes to the training itself, leveraging treats and other snacks are great ways to promote and reward this behaviour.
If you notice that your guinea pig is using another area insteas of the newly installed tray, be sure to move the tray and you’ll likely find that it will be used again.
Interestingly, guinea pigs like to go to the toilet near where they eat, so do not refrain from putting the tray there!
Guinea pig cages are prone to smell. Thats just the way it is and it can be a bit of a shock when you start to notice this in the early days of owning guinea pigs.
Thankfully there are a lot of things you can do to prevent and reduce odors to begin with.
Its important to remember that a foul smelling cage has a lot to do with how you are currently (not not) maintaining it. While guinea pigs are naturally clean they are dependent on you as their owner to look after their environment and keep their habitat fresh and hygenic.
As a guinea pig owner part of your responsibility to them is to clean the cage regularly and to keep on top of it. You owe this to them!
Be sure to conduct a deep clean of the cage at a minimum of once per week. Daily small cleanings are also advised.
But if you take action by adopting some of the best practices above, you’ll soon notice the smells subside, a nicer home and a happier guinea pig for it!
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.