Do you keep guinea pigs in your yard but do not know how to contend with their urine smell? Or maybe you developed an interest in them lately, but the thought of their urine smell puts you off?
The good news is that we have ways to help you get rid of the guinea pig urine smell to help you enjoy the company of the little pets.
More About Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are native to South America and have been domesticated as pets and food sources for thousands of years.
They are tailless, cylindrical rodents with eight to ten inch long bodies. Their mouths are small and triangular, with twenty teeth that chew and gnaw continuously. The rodents have petal-like ears with eyes located at the side of their heads.
Needless to say, the creatures are adorable and worth keeping around but not until they start bugging you with their urine.
The notion that guinea pigs are smelly is unfounded. On the contrary, they are clean creatures, except their urine turns smelly for several reasons listed below.
Why Does Guinea Pig Pee Stink?
A range of factors affects guinea pig’s urine causing it to have a bad smell. These include diet, general hygiene, infections, and the grease gland.
Let’s take a deeper dive into each.
What you are constantly feeding your guinea pig will significantly determine what their urine will smell like. Often, a poor diet and dehydration result in smelly urine.
Dehydration leads to improper fiber digestion, resulting in a foul smell emanating from the urine. You want to ensure a clean water supply to your guinea pig daily while keeping its diet in check.
Also, avoid certain vegetables and herb types that add to your rodent’s urine odor.
A lack of proper hygiene in your guinea pig’s abode will definitely result in a foul smell. This is because urine left lying around for too long in the cage without a clean-up will turn to ammonia resulting in a foul odor.
The ammonia produced is a health hazard to the guinea pig if inhaled for a prolonged duration.
The Grease Gland
An overactive grease gland is one of the major causes of a bad smell in your cavy. The male guinea pigs have a more active gland than the females.
The males occasionally release an oily substance from the grease gland to attract mates and mark their territories.
Clean off the grease gland regularly and prevent it from oversecreting.
Urinary Tract Infections
Another potential cause of the urine smell is urinary tract infections. Female guinea pigs are more prone to this than males.
Some infection symptoms to look out for in your cavy include:
- Your cavy straining to pee
- Reduced or lacking in appetite
- Weight loss
- High fever
- A bloody urine
- Low energy levels
These bacterial infections can be treated by administering antibiotics. But it’s best to get professional veterinary advice on what antibiotics you should use.
Getting Rid of Guinea Pig Urine Smell
Keeping the lovely little creatures in your yard is enjoyable, but not when they smell horrible. It’s vital that you properly take care of your pets to avoid such an eventuality.
We offer you tips that can help eradicate your guinea pig’s urine smell. Let’s get down to this.
1. Choose The Right Bedding Product
We can’t emphasize this enough. If not feeding or “socializing” with others, guinea pigs will spend a better part of their time on their beds resting.
You want to choose a high-quality bedding product that offers enough comfort to your cavy. Look out for the following qualities when making a purchase.
- Resistant to foul smells
Some of the best bedding materials for guinea pigs include fleece, meadow, paper, and aspen.
Avoid using materials such as straw, cedar, and pine shavings since these are low quality and don’t make a comfortable bedding.
A good practice to observe is changing the bedding material every 2-3 days.
2. Train Your Guinea Pig to Use a Litter Box
Did you know that you could train your pig to answer the call of nature in designated areas? For the best results with training, start with the young piggies by pointing or leading them to specific places to pee.
Reward your guinea pig by giving them treats when they do what you expect.
Some keepers recommend using a litter pan because of its portability. It is also a conducive tool for training guinea pigs.
Be mindful that pee training your guinea pig takes time, and the results won’t come out as fast as you expect.
How To Train Your Guinea Pig to Use a Litter Box?
Step 1: Select A Toilet Area For Your Cavy
To get started, you want to observe where your guinea pig urinates frequently. This will give you an idea of where to set up the litter box.
Guinea pigs prefer relieving themselves in areas they feel safe and tend to do this in dark places. Beware that they love familiar environments.
Step 2: Identify An Ideal Litter Tray Or Box
You must keep your guinea pig as comfortable as possible during the training. You want to identify a litter box your guinea pig will be comfortable climbing in and out of.
Ideally, find a litter box with extensions that can hold onto the cage. Alternatively, ensure that it’s heavy enough not to tip over when used.
Step 3: Fix The Toilet Area
Your next course of action would be to fix your pig’s toilet area. This should be a breeze now that you know where your pig frequents to pass out.
Throw a blanket over the litter box to make it dark and conducive for your guinea pig.
Step 4: Litter Train Your Piglet
Inculcating some good manners in your guinea pig is ideal, but there are no guarantees this will work out.
That said, every cavy will respond to training differently. Some steps to observe include:
- Place some hay around the litter box area. Hay will encourage the little pet to keep going back to the litter box.
- Coerce the guinea pig to enter the litter box and reward them with treats for the attempts they make.
- Keep repeating this and reward your guinea pig every time they choose to stay in the box. This sends the message to your guinea pig that it’s good to eliminate their waste in the litter box.
- You should maintain hygiene in the litter box by cleaning it daily. Guinea pigs won’t make good use of a dirty place.
- Collect other droppings within the guinea pig’s cage and place them in the litter box. It helps your guinea pig to understand that the litter box is a designated area.
3. Use An Extra Layer On The Bedding
Quality bedding for your guinea pig is good, but as an extra measure, you could add a layer of fleece liners that help reduce the urine smell.
Fleece liners are anti-bacterial and come with a waterproof layer on the lower side for added protection.
The lining also absorbs liquids and provides extra comfort to your guinea pig.
4. Thorough Clean the Cage Frequently
Frequent spot cleaning of your guinea pig’s cage is of the essence if you are looking to have fresh air there. You can fast clean it daily but conduct a thorough cleaning once a week.
Daily cleaning is less intense and will involve getting rid of basic solid waste such as food remnants and damp bedding.
On the flip side, conducting a thorough cleaning is demanding, more like turning the guinea pig’s cage inside out. You will need to empty it and scrub it with hot water.
Add vinegar to help eliminate the bad smell in the cage brought about by food remains, feces, or other stuff.
5. Place Cage Granules at the Bottom of The Cage
Another easy way to get rid of the urine smell is sprinkling granules at the bottom of the cage.
You can purchase the granules locally or online from a reliable supplier. Place them at the bottom after cleaning your cavy’s cage and drying it out.
These are handy to break down and prevent any future odor and urine smell.
6. Feed Your Guinea Pigs A Healthy Diet
Part of the reason your cavy’s urine could be smelly is a troubled digestive system. An unhealthy digestive system usually results from a bad diet.
Some foods are problematic for your piggie to digest, and what’s more, there are stinky foods that make their urine smelly. Avoid foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage.
Feeding your guinea pigs a healthy diet keeps their digestive system functioning optimally, thus reducing the incidences of smelly urine.
7. Use an Air Purifier
Getting rid of your guinea pig urine smell can also be as easy as using an air purifier. After all the futile efforts, it might be the antidote you need.
An air purifier works by sucking in the foul air from the piggie’s cage and replacing it with fresh air.
It also comes in handy in removing dander and dust that your cavy keeps releasing into the air.
We advise going for air purifiers that can get rid of allergens. This helps keep the piggies’ room smelling fresh and keeps the cavy safe from allergies.
8. Disinfect The Cage Regularly
Disinfecting the cage helps you eliminate odor keeping it smelling fresh. Better be prepared because this will involve a lot of scrubbing.
Mix lukewarm water and soap water in a bowl and scrub your piggies’ cage using marigold. Don’t make the cage too wet because it will require some time to dry.
You could also use spray disinfectants and do without using water.
9. Keep The Cage Well-Ventilated
Proper ventilation can go a long way in quickly eliminating the urine smell problem. Ensure not to cover the cage with materials that restrict adequate airflow.
10. Groom Your Guinea Pig
Your home could be filled with guinea pig urine smell because of poor grooming. Though they can pull this off on their own, they need a helping hand sometimes.
The common culprits you should pay attention to are the sick or elderly cavies. Also, long-haired cavies usually have a problem cleaning themselves.
A good practice is to inspect them for cleanliness daily. Remove any dirt or debris from their fur by brushing it off.
Preferably use clothing soaked in warm water to wipe off dirt and fecal matter from your piggy.
Avoid the tendency to bathe them often because of their sensitive skin, which could get irritated easily.
Bathing your piggie is only recommended once or twice a year by using a shampoo recommended for them.
You should ensure your guinea pigs are completely dry before returning them to the cage. Coldness makes them sickly.
Guinea pigs are beautiful creatures that you will enjoy keeping as pets. The bone of contention with them, though, is their urine smell.
We hope the tips and routine practices mentioned above will clear any doubts you have about rearing guinea pigs and getting rid of their urine smell.
Job Kiniale is a certified crop scientist and gardening enthusiast with a passion to help beginning gardeners navigate their newfound hobby. Let’s talk about plants, backyard ideas, and general gardening advice. Outside work, Job loves spending time with family.