Do Guinea Pigs Smell? Common Causes And Cures


Your guinea pig’s smell is dependent on how well you care for them and their environment. Most of the time they do not have a bad smell and they will not cause your room or home to smell.

However, you must keep them and their crate clean in order to prevent unwanted odor. If they have a stronger smell than normal, it may a sign of an important issue.

For the most part, cavies keep themselves clean. Short-haired guinea pigs rarely need baths because they groom their own fur.

They are able to self-groom to remove most bacteria or dirt that would cause them to smell. If you have a long-haired guinea pig, they may have different grooming needs.

Though they also self-groom, their long fur makes it more difficult to keep themselves clean.

If they smell, there may be a health issue. This could also be a sign that you are not properly maintaining their cage. Cavies prefer clean environments, and they can easily become anxious and stressed if they are forced to live in a dirty crate. Some reasons they may smell are below.

  • Urine has dried on their fur. If you notice a urine smell, brush out their fur to remove dried urine and make sure they do not have matted fur. This could also mean that they are sleeping where they use the bathroom, including their litter box or hay. You should spot clean the area where they use the bathroom regularly and remove anything that is covered in urine.
  • Male guinea pigs may smell if they are marking their territory. You can combat this smell by leaving a piece of fabric with their smell in the crate and then put your cavy back inside.
  • If they have a fishy smell, they may have an infection. If they have trouble urinating, they could be suffering from cystitis or a urinary tract infection and need attention from the vet. They may also have an impaction, requiring you to clean their anal sack.
  • They may sleep where they poop as well, so you need to check that poop is not caught in their fur or on their feet.
  • If they have poop that smells worse or different than normal, check their diet. Remove certain vegetables from their diet to let their stomach and digestive tract recover.

While your piggy can largely clean its own fur, they rely on you to take care of their environment. It is also your responsibility to research particularly bad smells to ensure they are not sick or suffering from a dirty cage.

Any time that your pet smells worse than normal is cause for investigation. They should not be smelly on a regular basis.

Do guinea pigs smell when kept indoors?

Sometimes guinea pigs smell when they are kept indoors. It is important to remember that they are animals being kept in a small and confined space.

While it is perfectly safe and healthy for them to live in a properly sized crate, it could lead to unwanted smells.

It is unlikely that your pet is the cause of the smell. Most of the time, you will notice a smell coming from their crate, including their bedding or hay.

It is crucial to their health and happiness that you keep their cage and environment clean. Follow these tips for a clean guinea pig cage.

  • Clean their crate out every day. This includes scooping out any damp litter, hay, or bedding. Throw away anything with a urine or poop smell and replace it with clean materials.
  • Clean their crate with soap and water once a week. Remove your pet and all of their things from the crate, scrub the bottom of the crate with water and a safe detergent, and dry it completely. Put fresh bedding, hay, and water in their crate before adding them back in as well.
  • Bathe your cavy every six months or anytime they smell bad. This will help you remove any urine or feces built upon their fur or skin.
  • If you have a long-haired guinea pig, you should brush their fur every day. This prevents matting and odor build up over time.

If you properly care for your cavy and their cage, they should not smell bad. A foul odor is a sign that you are neglecting your pet in some way.

Investigate their fur and surroundings to find what is causing the smell and correct it.

Do guinea pigs smell worse than hamsters?

Hamsters and guinea pigs are very similar when it comes to smells. Both animals typically do not smell if they are well cared for and have a clean environment. If you maintain their fur and crate, guinea pigs do not smell worse than hamsters.

How do I stop my guinea pig from smelling?

Properly maintaining your pet’s crate and the environment is the most important aspect of stopping unwanted odors. Follow the tips listed above to keep their cage properly cleaned and provide a healthy home for them.

However, if you notice that their body or fur smells, you may want to give them a bath.

my-wife give our guinea pig a bath
Guinea pig Kim getting a bath

Guinea pigs can easily become too cold or very anxious when getting a bath. It is important to care for them and be cautious while giving them a bath, so they do not get sick or distraught.

Here are a few tips to give your cavy a bath.

  • Prepare them for bath time by calming them down. Never just place them directly in water because they will be too nervous. Speak to them in a soothing voice and gently pet their fur. You can also provide a healthy treat.
  • Use a damp cloth with warm water to wipe down their fur before bathing them. This step may even make a full bath unnecessary. You can remove dirt from their fur and feet with the washcloth.
  • Only use about two inches of water in your container. If there is too much water, they could slip or drown. They must be able to stand up in the water without any issues.
  • Do not use hot or cold water. Slightly warm water is safe enough to not irritate their skin.
  • Put them in the water slowly. Start with their back feet and let them adjust to the water while you are holding them. If they do not seem distressed, lower the rest of their body into the water.
  • Never leave them unattended while in water.
  • Use a cup or your hand to gently pour warm water on their fur. Avoid their face and ears by cupping your hand over their face. Only use a washcloth to remove dirt from their face.
  • Use a safe shampoo and gently massage it into their fur. They have sensitive skin, so there is no need to scrub.
  • Rinse them off again before gently wrapping them in a clean towel.
  • Once they are totally dry, brush out their fur to prevent tangles.


The good news is that guinea pigs rarely smell bad. They keep their fur clean by self-grooming and rely on you to properly clean their crate.

Pay attention to unwanted odors because they could be the sign of a health issue or a dirty environment. Always use caution when bathing your piggy and keep their crate as clean as possible.

Archiwum: wrzesień 2019

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