Do Guinea Pigs Smell?

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In recent times, Guinea pigs have been the top choice for people and families looking to adopt a pet. You can even say that these cute rodents have become as popular as dogs and cats. This comes as no surprise at all. If you have ever kept a guinea pig as a pet, you can attest to how great they can be as pets. 

Guinea pigs:

  • love humans,
  • are easy to care for,
  • live long
  • are very smart
  • are very cute 

I can go on and on about how great Guinea pigs are as pets. Owning them can prove to be one hell of an amazing experience. While they are great pets and all, there is one thing that you should worry about. As with most other pets, there is the constant worry about how badly guinea pigs tend to stink up the room. 

In this article, we will answer the question, ‘Do Guinea Pigs Smell?’ and how to control any other sanitary issues related to having a guinea pig. 

Do Guineas Pigs Smell? 

The quick answer to this question is Yes! Even though Guinea pigs are low maintenance pets, they have the potential to cause the house to be smelling foul.  

Why Guinea Pigs Can Get Smelly?

Here are some of the reasons why your Guinea pig can stink up the room: 

  • Hair Locks: The coat of your Guinea pig can easily collect urine and feces. As a result, they begin to stink up the room really bad. The smell can be more powerful for guinea pigs with long hairs. 
  • Another thing that can make your stink is the hormones in their body. This is why male guinea pigs smell a lot worse than female guinea pigs. In the wild, male guinea pigs produce hormones known as grease glands. These grease glands have a very unpleasant smell and are used to mark territory and attract female guinea pigs. 

Unfortunately, these glands still come out even when they are domesticated (even if they have a cage to themselves and a female guinea pig neighbor). I guess you cannot fight nature. 

  • The state of health of your guinea pig can also cause it to smell bad. This is especially if they have a fungal infection.
  • Also, a dirty cage will automatically translate to a dirty guinea pig. If you neglect their cage, your pet will continue to smell like shit (I mean this literally)! The reason is that guinea pig cages are often really small. As a result, they have very little space to pee, poop and eat. They do all of this in the same place which could cause the whole place to get smelly

How To Make Your Guinea Pig Smell Fresh? 

Now that we know that Guinea Pigs smell and why they do, we will now be taking a look at how we can practice odor control. 

There are 2 major ways you can practice odor control on your Guinea Pig. They include: 

  • Maintaining a Clean Environment 
  • Cleaning the Guinea Pigs

In the next few sections, we will be taking an extensive look at how to do each of these. 

Maintaining a Clean Environment 

Basically, this involves keeping your guinea pig cage as clean as possible. Here are some ways you can do just this: 

Clean Your Guinea Pig Cage Weekly

When I say clean your guinea pig cage, I do not mean that you should just clean the dirty spots. You should remove all the old bedding and was every corner of the cage with soap and water. Then rinse the cage with water. After this, you replace the old bedding with new, fresh bedding. If you are a germophobe, you can rinse the cage with a vinegar and water solution before drying it out. 

This will help eliminate the odor and reach parts that water may not. 

Spot-Clean The Cage Every Day

In addition to a thorough cleaning of your guinea pig’s cage, spot-clean the cage every day. This should be done if you have more than one guinea pig in the cage. All you have to do is to clean areas of their bedding that are soiled. 

Guinea Pigs are clean animals in the sense that they may only use one area of their cage as a toilet area. It makes it a lot easier for you. 

Train Your Guinea Pig To Use A Litter Box

Another great option is to litter train your guinea pig. This will make spot cleaning a lot easier for you to do. Since guinea pigs tend to use a specific spot in their cage as the toilet, you can place a tiny litter box there. Here are some other things you can do to make the training a lot easier:

  • Put the litter box near their hay. They are more likely to use it. However, don’t expect them to always use the box. They can be litter trained but not like cats. They may change their ‘toilet’ spot from time to time. 
  • If they change their toilet spot, move the litter box to their new area
  • Clean the litter box regularly
  • Never Use A Cat Litter Box for Your Guinea Pig!!

Cage Cleaning Spray Can Also Be Used

Cage cleaning sprays are used to eliminate the odor that may emit for the cage of small animals. Your pet store may have this type of product. If they do not, you can check online stores like amazon. Also, make sure to only use the amount recommended on the label. Here are guidelines on how to use the spray:

  • First, remove all used bedding from the cage. 
  • Spray they tray of the cage
  • Then wait for the cage cleaner to soak into the cage
  • Using a rough and dry towel, wipe away the cage cleaner and all the debris from the cage. 
  • Sun dry the cage. 
  • Replace the bedding and return your pets to their cage. 

Use Odor Control Bedding

Some beddings are specially designed to block odors and make your cage smell fresh. Also, make sure you clean the cage and regularly replace the bedding.

N.B. Baking Soda can help block odors. However, it should not be used because it can cause irritation. 

Cleaning Your Guinea Pig 

Now that you know how to keep the cage of your guinea pig clean and fresh, you need to learn how to keep the animals clean themselves. Generally, guinea pigs can keep themselves clean. However, long-haired guinea pigs may need to be bathed more often. However, it should be noted that giving guinea pigs baths can make them fall sick. You can minimize the risk of them falling ill by keeping them in warm towels until their furs dry out. 

You also need to pay attention to the grooming of the guinea pig’s fur. Regularly brush their hair with a soft baby brush. If you have a long-haired guinea pig, you can regularly trim the hair around their bottom. This will reduce how dirty their hair gets when they poop.

Also, make sure that you use the proper type of shampoo. Please do not use human shampoo. It may cause skin irritation. 

Another thing to note when cleaning your guinea pig is the area behind his ears. The earwax of the guinea pig is cream-colored. The ear wax is odorless. However, if they begin to emit a foul odor, take them to the vet. They may have an infection

Clean the scent glands of your guinea pig. As stated earlier, guinea pigs have a scent gland that is used to mark territory and attract potential mates. Both male and female guinea pigs have scent glands. However, it is more active in the male guinea pig. 

The scent gland is located in the part of the guinea pig’s body a tail is supposed to be; above their genitals. Clean this place regularly with a cotton swab, warm water, and soap. 

Other Things You Can Do To Reduce The Guinea Pig Smell

Apart from the guidelines mentioned in the previous sections of this article, there are some other things that you can do to reduce the foul smell that may come from Guinea pigs. 

Adopt Female Guinea Pigs Instead Of Male Guinea Pigs

Female Guinea pigs are the tidiest option because they produce less scent from their scent glands than male guinea pigs. 

Adopt Guinea Pigs in Pairs

This is a lot better than adopting a whole herd of guinea pigs. The lesser the number of guinea pigs you own the lesser the amount of mess you have to handle. 

Let them always have fresh hay. 

Guinea pigs need hay to 1) keep their teeth in a normal size 2) keep their digestive system in balance. Meadow, timothy, and orchard are the some of the best types of hay you can feed your guinea pig. 

You can determine the freshness of the hay by its color, scent, and texture. I will not advise you to get hay from the pet store. For the most part, these aren’t fresh because they will have been on the shelves for months. 

Old hay is a lot tougher than fresh hay. They also have a yellowish color and a musty scent. Fresh hay should have a green ting. They should also be soft and pliable. 

You can add mint, parsley, or cilantro to the hay to make the cage smell a lot fresher than usual. It will also give your guinea pigs the nutrients that they need for their general wellbeing. 

Watch what you feed your Guinea Pig

This is important because some food can upset their stomach and give them gas. Here is a list of some of the food you should avoid feeding them. 

  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale 
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Brussels sprouts

These foods should only be given to them in moderation or not at all (better safe than sorry). 

Here are some snack substitutes:

  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Apple

Take your Guinea Pig to the pet. 

If you have tried all of these things and the foul-smelling odor still persists, you may have to take your pet to the vet. A foul-smelling odor may be a sign of urinary tract infection or a liver failure. It could also be a sign of dehydration. 

To rule out any health issues, visit a vet that specializes in rodents. 

Conclusion

Guinea pigs are one of the best animals to keep as pets. They are almost as popular as dogs and cats. This is as a result of the fact that they are relatively easier to take care of than most other pets. However, like with most pets that are kept in cages, you may be faced with the issue of your pet stinking up the house.

This is natural because of the fact that Guinea pigs use smell to mark territory and attract mates. However, this does not mean that you have to keep up with the foul smell that guinea pigs may emit. Regular cage cleaning will help reduce the odor. Spot-Cleaning will not solve all your problems.  It may clean the stains but will not leave the cage smelling fresh. 

Do not forget to regularly change their bedding. Dirty bedding can stink up the room. Better still, you can use odor-control bedding. 

To keep the cage smelling fresh and clean, there is the option of litter training your guinea pig. 

Also, take time to groom your pet by giving him a bath as regularly as once a week. However, always remember to cover them in a warm towel after wash till their fur dries up. This is because guinea pigs can easily get sick if they are exposed to cold temperatures for long. 

Regularly brushing and trimming their hair can also help reduce the odor. 

Also, the foul smell can be as a result of the guinea pig’s poor health. So do not take going to the vet’s office out of the option. 

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post and that you can apply all of the information in here perfectly. I also hope that the rest of your experience with your guinea pig is filled with memorable moments of happiness and companionship. 

Thanks for reading!