Guinea pig odor can be soooo overwhelming, especially if you have your guinea pig cage inside the house. In my experience, guinea pigs can create two odors, one that is the typical small animal smell that all critters like Guinea pigs, mice, and hamsters have. The other odor is that gross unpleasant waste smell that typically happens after about one week of not changing your guinea pig’s bedding. So if your question is why guinea pigs smell, the simple answer is a) because that’s just what they smell like and b) because they are due for a bedding change.
Solutions To Guinea Pig Odor
Odor Control Devices
I have tried a whole range of tricks and strategies to get rid of guinea pig odor and it’s hard. Honestly to be truly effective at getting rid of guinea pig odor you have two possible options. You can change your guinea pig’s bedding every few days, which is a hassle and very labor-intensive or you get hold of one of Critter Zone’s Odor Control air cleaners.
These things are awesome! All you gotta do is plug this little guy into an outlet near your guinea pig cage and the cleaner will do the rest for you. Unlike a lot of those scented air dispensers, rather than masking the smell with a heavily chemical-laced scent, Critter Zones Odor purifies the air itself.
The device is designed to replicate the naturally occurring purification of the air that takes place when trees and plants absorb CO2 and replace it with healthy clean Oxygen. Believe it or not, companies are trying machines like this on a much larger scale in response to climate change but have yet to find an efficient solution.
If you are interested in a hands-off approach to controlling your guinea pig’s odor, then I would highly recommend this option. It’s easy to use and when you factor in the time you spend cleaning out your guinea pig’s cage, it pretty much pays for itself. Of course, getting one of these doesn’t mean you will never have to change out your guinea pig’s bedding again, it just means you won’t have to do it as frequently.
Side note, I highly recommend against using a chemical-based air freshener to change the smell of your guinea pig/guinea pig cage. These ‘fresheners’ are filled with toxic chemicals that are harmful to your guinea pig, yourself, and the environment.
Now full disclaimer, I am acting as an affiliate for these guys. You’re probably thinking ‘well that’s a huge conflict of interest!’ and you’re right. However, I will absolutely never recommend something I don’t personally endorse or think is a waste of money. If I’m recommending you a product, it is because I honestly believe it is a worthwhile investment.
If you are looking for a more in-depth review, feel free to check out this article here.
Bedding For Guinea Pig Odor Control
Another tip I can recommend is looking into changing the type of bedding you are using for your guinea pig. There are a whole load of options out there that act as great material for bedding. Look for one that is able to absorb the urine of your guinea pig and at the same time is able to release a nice smell into the air. Avoid anything chemical-based and try to go for a more naturally scented material.
I tend to recommend Kaytee’s Lavender Bedding. The bedding is scented with natural lavender so you don’t have to worry about any respiratory side effects. It also absorbs about 6 times its own weight so it can comfortably accommodate your guinea for a while.
One of the most important rules when using fleece for guinea pig bedding is to make certain that the fabric wicks well.
Guinea Pig Cage For Odor Control
Unfortunately, there is no cage that is suddenly going to make all your guinea pig’s odor go away. However, one way you can help reduce the smell is to simply get hold of a bigger cage. The fact of the matter is, that the smell is a result of concentrated urine and feces being in one place. They weigh you lessen the smell is to simply expanding on the area where your guinea pigs are staying. Alternatively, you could simply get hold of an outdoor guinea pig cage and place your guinea pig outside.
Don’t worry about your guinea pigs being outside. They used to live outdoors all the time, as long you supply them with adequate housing and bedding for warmth, your guinea pigs will be fine. Check out my article which focuses on large guinea pig cages here.
This tip is probably the last one you want to hear but it is probably one of the most useful. All you have to do is simply change your guinea pig’s bedding more often and clean your guinea pig cage more regularly. Doing this will significantly reduce the smell from your guinea pig cage. The smell is simply the result of accumulated waste, get rid of the waste, you get rid of the problem.
The reason I say this one tip is the last one you want to hear is that it is the most time-consuming. You don’t have to clean your guinea pig cage out every week for your guinea pig to be healthy. But to get rid of the smell, you do. That’s why I recommend Critter Zone. If you factor in how much money you will be spending on extra bedding, Critter Zone is way more cost-effective in the long run!
Guinea Pig Smells & Health
I have had quite a few questions from people asking me if the smell coming from their cage is a sign that their guinea pig is unhealthy.
First off, if your guinea pig is unhealthy or has some allergies, the smell will be one of the last signs that give away your guinea pig’s health situation. Look for other signs such as their body temperature, weight, and general activity (their poo is also a great indicator of their health, check out my article all about it here). I think a better question to ask is what the smell of your guinea pig cage says about your general living conditions of yours.
Think about your guinea pig’s habit almost as you would your own home. You want to live in an environment where the air is clean as is the area you live in. Guinea pigs want the exact same. Clean bedding and clean air. Bedding will typically stay clean for a lot longer than the smell indicates, however, which is why I recommend Critter Zone. While Critter Zone does act as a sort of cover-up for the condition of your guinea pig’s cage, it also serves a purpose for your guinea pig’s general health (as well as your own if you have allergies). It’s hard to argue the importance of clean air when talking about a smelly guinea pig cage.
If you want to reduce bad smells, you may need to train your pigs to use a litter box instead of going outside.
Ever smell fresh cut grass mixed with barn hay? If I could describe the smell of a guinea pig in as few words as possible, it would be that. It’s funny how all animals have their own unique scent and I guess everyone’s sense of smell is a bit different, but in my experience, it’s that mixture between those two scents that instantly makes me think of my guinea pigs!
Side note, if you think your little guy is in need of a bath, check out my article here which shows you just how to bathe your little guy.
Cavies are clean little critters and don’t usually give out any unpleasant smell.
In conclusion, while guinea pig odor can be an annoyance to some, it is a small price to pay for the enjoyment of these delightful creatures. If you are considering adding a guinea pig to your family, be sure to keep this in mind and take measures to minimize the smell. With a little effort, you can keep your guinea pig’s cage clean and minimize the amount of odor it produces.