Do Guinea Pigs Smell? Causes, How To Get Rid and Prevent

Do guinea pigs smell? This isn’t a question about the effectiveness of their nose because we all know they can sniff things, especially food even from a mile away.

The smell in focus in this article is a pungent smell that emits from their body.

So if you’re new to guinea pigs and you’re wondering if they do smell, NO! Guinea pigs don’t smell. 

They only smell bad IF NOT WELL MAINTAINED. Hence, the foul smell that is coming from their cage is usually a sign that their diet is wrong, the cage isn’t clean, they’re sick, or they’re struggling to groom themselves.

The reason they smell is because they get soaked in their urine and other wastes. 

Also, boars (male guinea pigs) tend to have a stronger pungent smell more than sows (females) because of an oily buildup around their grease glands.

While this smell may not appeal to your nose, it’s a natural way they mark their territory in the wild.

These causes mentioned above and many more will be explained in detail in this article. Stick around to learn how you can prevent bad smells in your pet guinea pig’s cage or your home.

Do Guinea Pigs Smell?

No, guinea pigs don’t smell but they can produce a bad odor. This bad odor is usually a result of poor care, dirty cage, or illness. As long as their cage is cleaned out regularly, then you shouldn’t have issues with bad smell.

Dirty Guinea Pig’s Cage

Guinea pigs are generally clean animals. They even groom themselves to stay clean. But even with this, they are not completely free from getting dirty. Guinea pigs eat, urinate, and poop right in their cage. 

Therefore, when these wastes aren’t cleaned out immediately, they’ll make the cage stink. Soiled or wet beddings too can attract maggots into the cage and cause the cage to smell. 

Since they sleep in such a dirty cage, they are more likely to stink. Hence, the more often you clean out their cage, change the beddings, and groom them; the less they will smell bad.

Illness Such As Diarrhea

Another potential cause for bad smell is that guinea pigs are occasionally plagued by illnesses such as respiratory infections and diarrhea which could lead to stronger smelling waste products in their cage and bedding material.

Poor Grooming

In many cases, aside from a dirty cage, the infamous “guinea pig smell” is actually a result of poor grooming or hygiene, especially in long haired piggies. When these problems are resolved, the guinea pig should stop producing bad odors.

Infected Wound

As stated earlier, guinea pigs are not known to emit bad odors, but it is possible if they are ill or their cage hasn’t been cleaned in some time.  

An untreated infected wound could lead to foul-smelling discharge coming from somewhere on the animal’s body. If this is the case, then it should be taken to an experienced veterinarian right away.

Sperm Rod

Sperm rods in boars (male guinea pigs) also give out a very pungent smell. It usually gives out a strong fish smell. 

If you notice your piggie rubbing its bum against its bedding, you should check for a sperm rod or fecal matt. Whichever case once cleaned out, your pet should be smelling nice again.


When guinea pigs urinate in their cage and it isn’t immediately cleaned out, the urine can soak into their body through their feet. This can cause bumblefoot to guinea pigs.

Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection or foot abscess. When this happens, a bad smell should be expected.

Stool Changes And Flatulence (Farts)

Generally, guinea pigs’ fart isn’t a thing to worry about. But when it comes with a bad smell, then it means that something is wrong with their health.

A smelly fart most times is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea. Once you notice these signs, have your pet checked out by a veterinarian. 

Male Guinea Pigs Smell More Than Females

Male guinea pigs have a scent gland, also known as the grease gland. This grease gland which is found just above their tail can be overactive.

Secretions of this grease gland cause them to have a stronger pungent smell than females of the species. 

Although guinea pigs are neat animals, secretions of these glands can cause them to smell inside or outside the cage. In the wild, male guinea pigs use the secretion of these glands to mark their territories and during mating. 

The secretion is similar to ear wax, and the intensity of the smell varies from person to person. In captivity, the accumulation of this wax secreted by the guinea pig’s grease gland can cause odors to emanate from both the cage and the guinea pig’s body.

Also read: What Is A Boar Guinea Pig?

How Do You Get Rid of The Guinea Pig Smell?

To get rid of guinea pigs’ smell, you must tackle the problem from the root which is maintaining a clean cage all through. Whether you’re keeping a long haired piggie or skinny pig, good hygiene is paramount to their health. 

Besides giving them a bad smell, dirty cages can pose health issues to them. Below are a few ways you can care for your guinea pig and get rid of a bad smell.

Clean Guinea Pig Cage

There are two ways to clean your guinea pig’s cage – spot cleaning and deep cleaning. Spot cleaning involves regularly cleaning out remaining food particles, fecal wastes, urine, soiled beddings, etc. as they occur. 

This will ensure that the cage isn’t smelling bad because when these wastes are left uncleaned, they’ll decompose and give out a bad smell. 

In a deep cleaning, you do a complete wash of the entire cage and cage accessories. When deep cleaning, thoroughly wash and dry the cage and cage accessories with towels or a hairdryer. 

To ensure that the cage doesn’t make your piggie smell, sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the cage. The baking soda will help absorb the odors and keep offensive odors to a minimum. 

You can disinfect your cage too when doing a deep cleaning. Refer to How To Clean A Guinea Pig Cage for information on what product to use and how to deep clean your guinea pig cage.

Bathe for Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs naturally groom themselves and will not need regular or frequent baths to stay clean. This Is To Emphasize That Bathing Should Only Be Given When Necessary

Long haired guinea pigs will need daily grooming and a bathe every 3 – 4 months. Other than this, a smelly guinea pig resulting from a dirty cage should be bathed with a mild puppy or baby shampoo. 

The diet-related smell will need you to change its diet. Similarly, a disease-causing smell will require a visit to the vet. Note that there is a way to bathe a guinea pig which is different from other animals. 

In this article How To Bathe A Guinea Pig, you’ll get detailed steps and instructions on how to bathe your pet piggie.

Guinea pig just showered

Cleaning Grease Glands

Sometimes bad smells could be that its anal sack or grease gland needs cleaning. This shouldn’t be difficult to do. What you’ll need to get started are cotton buds and coconut oil. 

First, trim off the fur surrounding the grease gland if needed. If there is accumulated build up, apply some coconut oil to the gland and gently rub it in with a cotton bud. This should sort the issue. 

However, if the build up refuses to clean out, use a degreasing dishwashing detergent or a mild puppy shampoo on the gland and let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe off with wipes.

Grooming and Little Haircut

Ideally, if your guinea pig is long haired, you should groom it daily or at least twice a week. This will help prevent matted fur and bad smells. 

Skinny pigs, although hairless, still need grooming in areas where they have little hair such as their muzzles, feet, and legs. 

Utilizing A Cleaning Spray

You would need a cleaning spray when cleaning the entire cage. Ensure you use a non-toxic, pet-friendly spray or disinfectant to ensure that the chemicals in it don’t affect the animal. You can get a cleaning spray from pet stores. 

However, if you can’t find one suitable enough, use a solution of distilled white vinegar and water in the ratio (quantity) of 1:1 in a clean spray bottle to clean your guinea pig’s cage. 

Nature’s Miracle Cage Cleaner 24 fl oz

Consider Visiting a Vet

As stated earlier, the disease-emanated smell will need a visit to an experienced veterinarian. This will need to be properly diagnosed and treated by a vet. 

Symptoms that your guinea pig’s foul smell is disease-related include diarrhea, smelly poops, impaction, and many others. 

That said, if you’ve perceived a foul smell coming from your pig’s cage or litter box that made you wonder “Why Does My Guinea Pig Poop Smell So Bad?” you’ll need to take the pet to a pet clinic.

4 Tips To Reduce Guinea Pig Smell

Keeping a guinea pig is like keeping a baby. Feed it a proper diet, clean out leftover food from its cage every day, change its beddings every week, and clean the entire cage and accessories every week, then you’ll have a lovely smelling cutie to hold. 

But if you fail to do all of these things then you will have a smelly pig. Therefore, to reduce guinea pig smell, here are what you should do:

  • Use a bigger cage where it can have a litter area.
  • Use smell control bedding such as Kaytee-Extreme-Odor-Control-Bedding and change it regularly, especially when it’s wet.
  • Clean guinea pig’s cage daily. Do daily spot cleaning and weekly deep cleaning.
  • Feed your pet a healthy and balanced diet. Check out for healthy stools and take action when something feels abnormal.
  • Consider litter box training. Yes, guinea pigs can be trained too. You can potty Train Your Guinea pig so he will not poop just anywhere in the cage. This can go a long way to reducing foul smells in the cage or the pig.
  • Groom Your Guinea Pig When Necessary
  • Regularly check for build ups in the grease glands and clean them out. This applies to male guinea pigs only.
  • Change your house air filters.
  • Enhance cross-ventilation by opening the windows and doors.
  • Use an air purifier.
  • Invest in charcoal bags.

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Wrapping Up

Guinea pig smell can be a result of several things, but often, the culprit is dirty cages. Other things that can contribute to the smell are:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Unwashed pet
  • Urine
  • Uncleaned bedding
  • Urine on bedding
  • Dirty litter
  • Fecal matter
  • Fecal matter in the bedding
  • Sickness

Therefore, the best way to prevent guinea pig smell is to have a clean and well-maintained cage. Some of the things you should do include:

  • Clean the cage on a daily basis to remove uneaten food, feces, and soiled bedding.
  • Change the bedding once a week or as soon as it begins to smell bad.
  • Wash, dry, and disinfect the entire cage on a regular basis.
  • Check your guinea pig for fecal matter on a regular basis, especially if it has long hair.
  • If your piggie has a stinky bum, clean it with a cotton bud and coconut oil.
  • Keep an eye out for sperm rods, which emit foul odors.

A clean cage means a happy and healthy guinea pig and they depend on you to make that happen.

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