Some guinea pig owners often complain that their guinea pigs are smelly, but this is unfounded. In fact, guinea pigs only smell when their living environment is not maintained and cleaned correctly. A dirty cage often smells terrible. So, today let us learn how to keep a guinea pig cage from smelling bad.
To get rid of the guinea pig pee smell, choose a large cage so that your guinea pig has enough space to eat, sleep, and play around. Using good quality bedding that is super absorbent is also extremely important. Spot clean the cage daily and do a deep clean once a week.
Apart from the cage, some health issues in guinea pigs like Diarrhea, Urinary Tract Infection, etc., can also cause a foul smell.
We will explore various reasons for the smell in guinea pigs and what you can do about it in this article.
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How to get rid of guinea pig smell in room?
If your room is smelling bad and you wonder what you can do about it, don’t despair.
There are many things you can do to get rid of the smell and keep your guinea pig’s cage smelling fresh at all times.
Here are some important points to consider:
- Clean the cage regularly: Use odorless cleaning products(Chewy) to clean the cage.
- Choose the right type of bedding: Using fleece(Amazon), or aspen bedding(Chewy) can help control the strong odor of their pee and poo.
- Spay/Neuter your guinea pigs: Spaying or neutering your guinea pigs do eliminate the strong musky smell they make on an occasional basis.
- Choose the right size cage: A larger cage provides them enough space to eat, play, and sleep, and thus, your guinea pigs will not muss the poop all over their coat. Go for a C&C cage(Etsy) if possible.
- Improve their diet: Too much sugary food and vegetables can lead to diarrhea, watery bottom, etc. Serve them good quality hay(Chewy)and pellets(Chewy) followed by a cup of fresh veggies daily.
- Look out for health concerns: If your guinea pig is smelly even when you are maintaining a healthy living environment, then it might be the right time to visit a vet. An underlying health concern could be the problem behind the same.
- Keep the room well ventilated: Make sure the room of your guinea pig is well ventilated so that fresh air can flow in all the time.
- Use an air purifier: Using a HEPA+Carbon based air purifier(Amazon) can get rid of most of the odor from the room.
So, you have learned some quick tips to get rid of those bad odors. But I fear that alone won’t be enough.
Let us learn more about it in detail, so you don’t have to struggle with the same in the future.
Does guinea pig pee smell? Why does my guinea pigs pee smell so bad?
Although foul-smelling guinea pig pee is a sign of a bad diet or urinary tract infection (UTI), this is not usually the case.
Often guinea pig’s pee smell as the bedding used is sub-standard or the cage is not being cleaned regularly.
When you don’t clean the cage regularly, the pee starts building up.
When left for a long time, the ammonia begins building up, and it starts smelling fishy.
To be specific, many guinea pig owners complain that their guinea pig’s cage smells like a fish.
However, the fact is it is not the cage that is smelling bad; it is the pee being left in the cage, which releases ammonia and starts smelling like a fish when left for an extended period.
So, if your guinea pig cage smells like a fish or you feel the urine is smelling a lot, then chances are:
- Either the cage is not being deep cleaned often or
- The bedding being used is not absorbing the pee
Thus, make sure you go for a deep clean once a week and change the bedding simultaneously.
Do guinea pigs smell up room badly?
No, guinea pigs are as clean as you keep them. It is the living environment and cleanliness of their enclosure that determines the smell in your room.
If you don’t spot clean the cage daily or deep clean the cage once a week, then chances are your cage will smell the room badly.
However, by using good quality bedding and proper cleaning of their cage, you can keep the smell at a minimal level.
Yes, there can be a little different smell in the room as you keep a pet there. However, it won’t be uncomfortable for most people.
What happens if you don’t clean your guinea pig’s cage?
No one wants their house to smell like a stinky fish, but if you leave your guinea pig’s cage uncleaned, then you shouldn’t expect anything less.
Apart from the smelly room, not cleaning their cage also impacts your guinea pig’s health.
An unhealthy living environment and ammonia buildup in the cage can lead to severe problems in guinea pigs. Some of them include:
- Respiratory problems: According to a study, ammonia buildup in the cage due to untidy living conditions and pee buildup can slow down the respiration rate in guinea pigs. It can also lead to Upper Respiratory Tract Infection(URI) in guinea pigs.
- Missing patches of fur: If your guinea pig’s bedding is wet, then their hair might remain soaked in the same. This can lead to bald patches in their fur and also increase the chances of flystrike in guinea pigs.
- Bumblefoot: Urine soaked bedding can also lead to bumblefoot in guinea pigs. It can be dangerous for their health if they remain untreated.
- Urinary Tract Infection: Guinea pigs can suffer from UTI if their living environment is not maintained correctly. It can be life-threatening for our guinea pigs.
- Stress & Discomfort: Guinea pigs are clean animals, and an untidy living environment can lead to stress in guinea pigs. A stressed-out guinea pig can harm themselves by pulling out their fur, biting the cage bars, and more.
How often should a guinea pig cage be cleaned?
If you want to keep your guinea pig’s cage smelling fresh, you’ll need to clean your guinea pig’s cage regularly.
We often hear this advice from everyone. But what does “regularly” mean for you? Well, you can simply put it this way.
A guinea pig’s cage with a pair of guinea pigs will need to be spot cleaned daily, followed by a deep clean once a week.
You might need to spot clean the cage more than once if you have more guinea pigs.
The process of cleaning involves the following:
- Use a Dustpan & Brush or a hand-held vacuum to spot clean the poop around the cage. (Do it daily)
- Remove any part of heavily soiled bedding and replace the patch with fresh ones. (Do it 1-2 times a week especially in the food area, below water bottles, etc.)
- Once a week, you need to get rid of the bedding entirely. Do not keep parts of it even if it seems clean.
- Using a brush or sponge, clean the base of the cage. Get rid of any debris collected at the corners.
- You can also use some baking soda and vinegar to clean the cage. It also helps in getting rid of the odor.
- Also, remove all the hideouts and toys and wash them too. You can dry them out in the sunlight as well before placing it back.
- Once the cage is dried out, you can put back fresh bedding followed by all the other supplies like food bowls, water bottles, toys, etc.
Don’t put the cage back together when the base is damp. It can make the cage moldy. If you want to buy the best supplies for your guinea pigs, check out our Essential Supplies Checklist.
Cleaning products safe for guinea pigs
Choosing the right cleaning products for your guinea pig’s enclosure is the key to getting rid of the bad smell.
The product you choose must be strong enough to get rid of the bad smell of ammonia but gentle enough not to harm your guinea pigs.
So, what products should you use to clean your guinea pig’s cage?
Mild detergents: It can be combined with lukewarm water to wash toys, hideouts, and more. Make sure you choose the one that doesn’t have a strong smell.
White Vinegar: A mixture of 1-part vinegar to 1 or 2-part water works like a charm while disinfecting the cage. It also helps in getting rid of bad odor from the cage. If your enclosure has a white sludgy residue(calcium) of urine, then you can effectively remove the same with the help of this mixture.
Cage Wipes: Cage wipes are an effective way of cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing your guinea pig’s habitats. You can use this fantastic Zoo Med Wipe Out for the same.
Cage Deodorizer Spray: The deodorizer spray can be used to clean your guinea pig toys and other accessories in the cage. It is also useful in cleaning the urine stains and getting rid of the strong smell from the cage. Try this fantastic Kaytee Clean Cage Deodorizer Spray for incredible results.
Avoid using bleach, scented cleaners, and other disinfectants to clean the cage. Most of these leave a residue behind that can be harmful to our guinea pigs.
In contrast, vinegar and some commercial cleaners discussed above are entirely safe and effective in cleaning and getting rid of the odor as well.
Odor control guinea pig bedding
You can stop the guinea pig’s cage from producing any kind of odor if you choose the bedding wisely.
There is a wide range of bedding available for your guinea pigs, but some of the best ones to go for are:
- Fleece bedding: Some Commercial liners or other fleece liners that are custom made for our guinea pigs enclosure works excellent. I personally recommend either Guinea Dad fleece liners(amazon) or Custom cage liners(Etsy)
- Paper Bedding: There are a wide variety and brands of paper bedding available in the market. However, not all of them are on par when it comes to quality. You should always go for Carefresh paper bedding.
- Aspen bedding: Aspen bedding is also super absorbent and odor-free. You can go for Small Pet Select Aspen bedding for the best results.
I personally prefer fleece beddings as they are easily washable and saves a lot of cost in the long run. However, go for guinea dad fleece liners if possible, as these last really long.
Bad bedding for guinea pigs (Must Avoid)
Not all bedding is safe for our guinea pigs. Some bedding options are unsafe, whereas some are really bad when it comes to odor control. Thus, here is a quick list of bedding you should avoid:
- Crystal cat litter: Cat litter are excellent in odor control; however, they are unsafe for our small little guinea pigs. Guinea pigs end up ingesting some part of it that can lead to serious health concerns like Choking, GI stasis, etc.
- Pine/cedar bedding: Pine/cedar bedding might seem like the right choice to you guys, but they definitely aren’t. These bedding are not super absorbent, and thus the pee remains at the bottom of the cage leading to foul smell.
- Hay: Some people tend to use hay as bedding options. Yes, hay can keep your guinea pigs warm, but it definitely will not prevent odor. Always use some good quality aspen bedding below hay to create an ideal environment.
- Puppy pads: Puppy pads are useful for a shorter duration but are not a replacement for bedding. You should go with commercial fleece bedding instead if you want to avoid a stinky cage.
How do I stop my guinea pig cage from smelling?
If you are struggling to keep your guinea pig’s cage-free from odor, then you probably are missing out on something.
Most of the time, properly maintaining the cage solves the problem.
However, sometimes we have to do more than that to get rid of the smell. Here are a few ninja tricks you must know.
Neutering/Spaying your guinea pigs
If your guinea pig is intact, then this clearly indicates why your cage is smelly. Sometimes, your male guinea pigs kind of sprays or leave a boar glue around the cage with a musky smell.
Besides that, female guinea pigs also go through hormonal shifts that make their pee smell really bad.
You can reduce the smell and get rid of future medical issues as well if you go ahead and neuter/spay your guinea pigs at a very young age.
Not only spaying reduces the foul smell, but it also protects your guinea pigs against unwanted pregnancies, ovarian cancer, and more.
However, it would be best if you also considered the cost of the same. Neutering/spaying a guinea pig will need a small medical surgery and cost you a good chunk of money, depending upon the area you live in.
You can expect to pay around 100-150$ per guinea pig for the same. Also, remember that neutering/spaying is just an additional measure to deal with the smell. It is not something that every owner should be concerned about.
A poor diet is often a reason behind a smelly guinea pig. If your guinea pig’s pee or poop is smelling bad, then it might be directly related to your guinea pig’s diet.
To be specific, if your guinea pigs eat a poor low-fiber diet, then they may suffer from various health issues, including:
So, to prevent the same, you must feed your guinea pigs with a diet rich in Fiber & Vitamin C. A well-balanced diet for guinea pigs looks like this:
- Unlimited amount of hay
- A cup of fresh veggies
- 1/8th cup of pellets
- Some occasional treats
In addition to this, you must also provide fresh and clean water to your guinea pigs at all times.
If you start feeding more vegetables/pellets and less hay, then your guinea pig’s digestive system might get off-balanced, resulting in diarrhea and other health issues.
These issues can lead to a smelly cage, as well. It is challenging to provide all necessary information on guinea pigs diet in this article, so I recommend you check out the following articles:
- Guinea pig diet plan: Our new book
- List of 70+ vegetable for your guinea pigs
- What do you do if your guinea pig won’t eat vegetables?
- List of 70+ fruits that guinea pigs can eat
- 11 best leafy greens for your guinea pigs
- High Vitamin C food for your guinea pigs
- Hay for your guinea pigs(What type, How much and more)
- Can guinea pigs eat dry cereals?
Look out for health problems
If your guinea pigs keep smelling even after continuously cleaning their cage, then there might be an underlying health condition behind the same.
Some of the common health conditions that can lead to smelly guinea pigs are:
- GI Stasis: This can lead to diarrhea and wet bottom that produces a foul smell.
- Urine burns: This can make the fur smelly and damp. It might also result in a missing patch and flystrike in some cases.
- Urinary Tract Infections: This can lead to a foul smell in your guinea pig’s urine.
- Dental problems: This can lead to a smelly breath in guinea pigs.
Some of these diseases are caused by a dirty cage or poor diet. You can prevent most of them by correcting their diet.
- Why is my guinea pig not eating?
- Dental problems in guinea pigs
- Why are my guinea pigs missing a patch of fur?
- How to get rid of matted hair in guinea pigs
Is air freshener safe for guinea pigs?
Some people also consider using air fresheners to get rid of the smell temporarily.
The problems with these are that guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell, and using such fragrances around them can lead to respiratory issues.
Even essential oils are harmful to your guinea pigs. So what are the best alternatives?
- Proper Ventilation: It might sound obvious, but good ventilation is the key to get rid of the smell in the room. Smell buildups are basically ammonia that is being formed in the pee and poop of your guinea pigs. If the room is well ventilated, you can reduce the buildup, and your room will never smell that bad again.
- Air Purifiers: Air purifiers are one of the best ways to get rid of pet allergens and smell from the air. If you get an air purifier that has a HEPA+Carbon filter, then you can eliminate the worst odor from the room.
Bathing a smelly guinea pig
If your guinea pig smells terrible, then you might wonder that should you bath them? According to professionals, you should never bathe your guinea pigs until and unless:
- Their fur is soiled badly
- They have a wet bottom and chances of flystrike
- Your guinea pig is unable to groom themselves.
If any of the above is the case, your guinea pig might benefit from a wet bath. You can bathe your guinea pigs by following our step-by-step tutorial on the same.
Here is a summary of what is safe and what is unsafe while dealing with a foul smell in guinea pigs.
|Clean the cage with a mixture of Water-Vinegar or other commercial disinfectants discussed earlier.||Using bleach, scented cleaners, or other harsh surface cleaners to clean your guinea pig’s cage.|
|Provide a high-fiber balanced diet. It includes a lot of hay, some veggies, and occasional treats.||Providing a lot of vegetables, pellets, and treats regularly.|
|Using good quality bedding like fleece, aspen, or paper beddings.||Using hay, newspaper, and other poor-quality bedding in the cage.|
|Ventilate the room properly and use an air purifier if possible.||Using Air fresheners or essential oil diffusers.|
|Changing the bedding every week.||Just cleaning the patches of bad bedding and reusing the bedding again.|
Guinea pigs are clean by nature, so it should not be difficult to get rid of your guinea pig’s order.
As you might have already understood, the most effective way to get rid of any smell in your guinea pig’s cage is to keep the pen clean and tidy.
Do not make the mistake of ignoring the smell. Instead, it would be best if you got to the root of the problem. That way, you’ll have healthier and happier guinea pigs.
Yes, you can put it at the bottom of the cage. however make sure there is a thick layer of bedding on top if it.
You should change your guinea pig’s bedding once a week.
Your guinea pigs will be pooping all the time. They are like a poop machine.
No, it is best to avoid such harsh chemicals for cleaning your guinea pig’s cage. Use a mixture of vinegar-water instead.
No, you should always use white vinegar to clean your guinea pig’s cage.
No, vinegar cannot kill your guinea pigs. However, you should never pour vinegar topically on your guinea pig’s skin. Also, make sure to dilute the same before cleaning their cage as well.