DO GUINEA PIGS SMELL?
We aren’t questioning the effectiveness of those guinea pig noses here, because we all know they can sniff out a sprig of parsley at fifty paces! But a common question, especially from those who are first thinking about getting guinea pigs as pets, is “do guinea pigs smell”? Now we think it’s fair to say that guinea pigs are generally very clean animals (we’re not biased, honest!) and as long as they are cleaned out regularly, then no, they don’t smell!
Guinea pigs groom themselves and there’s nothing cuter than watching them have a ‘wash’ with their paws! They actually secrete a white substance from the corner of their eyes and use this to clean their face, as well becoming masters of contortion using their mouth to groom the rest of their body.
If anything is going to cause any smell to develop, it will most likely be the urine and not the animal itself. So, keep bedding fresh, spot clean dirty areas regularly and do a full clean out at least once a week.
People also wonder about the need to give your ‘pampered’ piggies a wash or a bath. There are occasionally times when a guinea pig has got a little grubby and may need freshening up, but it’s not something that needs to be done regularly, if at all with some pigs. But a couple of things to bear in mind: Long haired piggies are likely to need more grooming care than short haired ones, as their fur will have more contact with the floor of their enclosure. Boars (and occasionally sows) can also need a little more attention if their grease gland (found just above where their tail would be, if they had one) is overactive. This can be a challenge to keep clean but we find breaking down the grease with Swarfega first, before rinsing and then a quick shampoo to follow, is a good way to deal with their behinds!
If you do find your guinea pig needs a bath, then make sure to use an appropriate shampoo for small animals, avoid getting water on their head and in their ears, always rinse well and make sure they are nicely dry before they go back into their enclosure, so they do not catch a chill.
So, if you keep their cages clean and just assist them with the occasional extra wash if needs be, then you shouldn’t be catching a whiff of any unpleasant odours. You can just enjoy the smell of fresh hay and vegetables, although you can bet the piggies will be loving that kind of smell even more than you!