Why Does My Guinea Pig Smell So Bad?

Guinea pigs themselves do not typically smell bad. However, if you go a long time without cleaning their cage, the cage will smell bad, which could make your guinea pig smell bad. To prevent your guinea pig from smelling, be sure to clean the cage once per week.


Guinea pigs do everything in their cage, including going to the bathroom. After a while, if you don’t clean out their litter, they will begin to smell like their litter.

If your guinea pig smells bad, the first step is to clean it. However, that does not take care of the root issue. Since your guinea pig’s cage is likely the reason it smells so bad, it is important that you properly clean the cage every week.

Let’s get started with the first step… cleaning the guinea pig.

How Do I Clean My Guinea Pig?

If your guinea pig smells bad, the first step is to clean it. There are a few different ways you can do this:

1. Full Bath

If your guinea pig doesn’t mind water, you can fill up a small container and wash them. Make sure their head does not go below the water (they need to breathe!) and that the water is lukewarm.

Next, use a guinea pig-friendly soap. Do not use shampoo for humans as this contains materials that can be harmful to your pet.

You can find guinea pig shampoo at your pet store or online. Gently massage the shampoo into their fur and rinse it out with warm water. Make sure the shampoo does not get into their nose, mouth, or ears.

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Once your guinea pig is clean, dry them with a soft towel. A hand towel works nicely so that your guinea pig will not get lost in the layers!

2. Sponge Bath

If water makes your guinea pig nervous, you can try giving them a sponge bath instead. This is similar to giving them a regular bath, except you will not be submerging them in water.

Get a clean, unused sponge, wet it with warm water, and slowly massage the sponge into your guinea pig’s fur. Dry your guinea pig with a dry towel after you’re done so they don’t get too cold.

3. Waterless Shampoo

Another great option is to use waterless shampoo designed specifically for guinea pigs. This won’t require any water. You just need to spray it on your guinea pig.

Follow the instructions on the label and do not use human waterless shampoo since that can be harmful to your guinea pig’s skin.

How Do I Clean My Guinea Pig’s Cage?

Now that your guinea pig doesn’t smell anymore since you cleaned it, you want to keep your piggie smelling fresh. The best way to keep your guinea pig from smelling is to keep their cage clean. There are both daily and weekly items that you will need to complete.

Daily Cleaning Tasks

Pick up your guinea pig’s poop daily from its cage. Guinea pig droppings are small and easy to miss, but this will make the biggest difference when it comes to smell.

Think of your guinea pig’s cage as its bathroom: it sleeps in its bathroom, so to make sure it doesn’t have a bathroom smell, you need to clean out the poop.

Be sure to spot clean any area that it has gone to the bathroom in as well. Get rid of the litter and use a simple cleaning solution, like three parts water to one part vinegar, to remove any residue.

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Food that is left over should also be removed so it doesn’t rot and leave a foul smell. It’s a good idea to wash their food bowl and water bottle every day.

Weekly Tasks

It’s important to do a full cleaning of the whole cage at least once per week. This means dumping out all the litter and replacing it with fresh litter.

Spray the whole cage with a cleaning solution. You can use the same three parts water to one part vinegar or a guinea pig-friendly over-the-counter cleaning product. Once done spraying, be sure to wipe it off with a towel.

If you have a really big cage, another option is to take it in your backyard and spray it down with the hose. Just make sure the cage is completely dry before you put fresh litter back in it.

To make sure your guinea pig doesn’t make the cage smell by marking all over it, save a toy or a towel that your guinea pig likes. Don’t clean the toy or towel, just put that back in the cage once it’s clean so that way your guinea pig still has its scent. This prevents them from making a huge mess right away.

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Guinea Pig’s Cage?

The frequency of cage cleaning depends on how many guinea pigs you have. Regardless of how many you have, you need to do the daily tasks to reduce the smell. As far as a big cleaning goes, once a week is fine if you only have one guinea pig. If you have more guinea pigs, you will need to do it 2-3 times a week.

If you have a larger cage, the guinea pigs will have more space to use the bathroom, so you will not have to clean it as often.

What to Do With Your Guinea Pig When Cleaning The Cage

You need to keep your guinea pig secure while you are cleaning. A large-sized box would be perfect, so the next time you get something shipped to your house, be sure to keep the box!

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To prep the box or container for your guinea pig, make sure it is clean and poke a few holes in the top so your guinea pig can breathe. Then add a few pieces of litter in the box, some water, and their favorite toy or towel.

Put your guinea pig in the box and close it, making sure it’s secure. Remember, this is not a long-term solution for your guinea pig since they will eventually chew through the cardboard. This is only to be used when you are cleaning their cage.

If it is within your budget, you can buy a smaller cage so you won’t have to worry about your guinea pig escaping while you clean their bigger cage.

If All Else Fails

Guinea pigs are clean creatures. When they smell bad, they probably need their cage cleaned. If you have cleaned the cage and washed your guinea pig, but they still smell, it would be best to take them to the vet to see if a more serious issue is going on.

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