Rodents, those little bundles of fur and fun, often find themselves in the spotlight as popular pets. But there’s a tiny hitch – many rodent pet owners, especially those with hamsters and mice, end up plugging their noses due to the unpleasant fragrances these critters can produce.
Since chinchillas belong to the same family, they tend to get lumped in with other smelly rodents.
But do chinchillas smell bad?
In this piece, we’ll dive nose-first into the chinchilla stench (or lack thereof). We’ll uncover the secrets behind any potential chinchilla stink, its causes, and, most importantly, how to keep your future chinny companion smelling as fresh as a daisy. After all, who wants a stinky roommate, right?
Chinchillas aren’t naturally stinky. They don’t pee as often as hamsters, and their poop is as dry as a desert. Plus, they have great grooming habits that keep their fur ick-free. However, living in captivity can change things. A dirty chinchilla’s cage and health issues can make your pet stink.
Erm, so what illnesses can cause a chinny to stink? Also, how do you keep a chinchilla cage from smelling?
Let’s get you all the answers below. So, read on!
Table of Contents
Are Chinchillas Smelly?
Chinchillas are desert animals. They come from the Andes Mountains of South America, where water is scarce. Therefore, chinchillas are frugal with their liquid intake and tinkle less often than other rodents. Plus, chinchilla poop is mostly dry pellets.
All of this only points to one conclusion – chinchillas are not naturally smelly. In fact, they're one of the cleanest pet rodents out there.
Doesn’t all that fur trap in odor?
Nope! Chinchillas have some serious cleaning chops. They get their scrub on with dust baths, which help distribute natural oils evenly and keep odor-causing nasties at arm’s length. If you have two or more chinchillas, they’ll even groom each other. Talk about being naturally tidy!
What if my chinchilla smells?
If your chinchilla smells, there’s probably an underlying issue that you need to address. Find more on the causes below.
What Causes a Chinchilla to Smell Bad?
So, no chinchilla stench ever?
It’s not black and white. Although chinchillas are odorless, living in captivity can cause them to stink. However, the blame for any stinky chaos lies on us – the pet owners.
Why do chinchillas smell?
There are two major causes – cage messiness and health issues. Let’s look at them individually.
Chinchillas spend almost all of their time in the cage. It’s their resting place, their playground, and their bathroom. So you can imagine how quickly it can get messy if not cleaned regularly.
Here are a few things that can go wrong in their homes, causing them to smell bad.
Chinchillas are pro-poopers, cranking about 250 poops a day! Yep, it’s a whole lot of poop, and it’s everywhere.
Well, slightly. But all that pooping is actually a positive sign. It means your chinchilla’s tummy is in tip-top shape, and he’s munching on some quality chow.
Doesn’t chinchilla poop stink?
Nope! Chinchilla poop doesn’t stink. However, if you let those poop nuggets pile up, it can get a tad stinky in Chinchilla-ville!
The good news is that getting rid of chinchilla poop is pretty easy. It’s dry, non-sticky, and odorless. So, all you have to do is scoop out the poop daily, and your chinchilla’s cage will stay fresh.
Tip: You don't need any tools for this - just put on some gloves.
Chinchillas are slow eaters. In the wild, they get their fill twice a day. But as pets, they’re munching all the time. Plus, they have really messy table manners. They pick hay, eat some, and leave the rest on the floor. When they’re hungry again, they’ll get a fresh piece from their hay feeder and repeat.
But hay is dry, so it’s not a problem, right?
Well, it’s not a problem until it gets wet. When the hay gets wet, bacteria start feeding on it, causing the chin’s cage to smell.
Also, chinchillas can leave bits and pieces of their uneaten yummy treats in small corners of the cage. If you don’t remove these leftovers, they will start to rot. Result? A musty, yucky odor!
Ideally, you should remove leftover food bits every day. It’s a pretty simple task and doesn’t require any tools.
Chinchillas are clean animals. They have dedicated pee corners in the cage and can also be poop-trained. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t ever have accidents. And when they do, they’ll wet their bedding.
Uh oh! Does wet bedding stink?
Yep, it does! Urine-soaked bedding fosters bacteria growth and can cause a stinky situation. Plus, the poop can start sticking to the wet bedding, adding to the stink-fest.
The solution is simple – replace the bedding as soon as it gets soiled.
Pro Tip: Aspen shavings make for an excellent chinchilla bedding material. They absorb moisture, don't stick to the chin's fur, and keep the cage smelling fresh.
Chinchillas can catch a bug just like any other pet. If your chinny isn’t feeling well, you’ll notice changes in his behavior that’ll scream, “Houston, we have a problem!”
Lethargy, decreased appetite, and watery eyes are just a few of these.
A few health hiccups can also turn your chinchilla into a bit of a stinker. Let’s check them out:
A chinchilla’s teeth keep growing and growing like they’re on a mission. As such, they need to chew on something like wood chews to keep them in shape. Otherwise, the teeth can get misaligned or overgrown.
Can a chinchilla smell because of a bad teeth situation?
Yep! Overgrown teeth can cause mouth ulcers and infections in your adorable whisker puff. Both these issues can give your chinny a bad smell.
Other issues caused by poor dental health include:
- Weight loss
- Difficulty in chewing
- Loss of appetite
Giardiasis is a real party pooper for your chinchilla. It’s a tummy trouble caused by a pesky parasite called giardia that messes with your chin’s digestion. It turns a chin’s poop into an unpleasant stink bomb.
If you ignore it, giardiasis can turn your chinny into a dehydrated, skinny mini. And the worst part? It’s contagious among chinchillas. So, if you suspect your furball has caught the bug, it’s time for a vet check to nip it in the bud.
Chinchillas can face some urinary tract issues, just like us humans. The chief troublemaker in this story is a less-than-tidy chinchilla cage.
Chinchilla poop, especially the gooey kind caused by diarrhea, has bacteria that can cause UTI. If you let it hang around for too long, the bacteria in it can turn against your furry friend, leading to UTI.
UTIs give chinchilla urine a foul smell, and they’re no picnic for your little buddy. He might have trouble peeing and controlling his bladder, occasionally resulting in some unintentional leaks. And, of course, chinchilla fur that’s soaked in urine stinks bad.
Does Chinchilla Pee Stink?
Chinchilla urine has a mild, musky smell. It’s nothing like, say, cat pee! But it can get stinky if your chinchilla has underlying health issues, such as UTI.
Also, if your chinny tinkles in places other than his litter box, like his toys or bedding, the stench will linger and keep getting worse.
How to Rid Chinchillas of Urine Smell?
Ideally, the cage or your chinchilla shouldn’t ever reek of pee. One of the best ways to ensure that is to keep a litter box in the cage.
Yep, that’s a good question. Most chinchilla cage setup ideas suggest keeping the litter box tucked away in a corner (preferably at the back), far away from food and toys. It’ll contain the urine stench and prevent your chin’s munchies from turning into urine-flavored snacks.
However, if your chinny has already dribbled on his bedding or hay, you must be wondering how to eliminate the foul odor quickly.
Here are a few chinchilla-safe ways of doing it:
- Use a diluted vinegar solution to clean wooden shelves and food bowls.
- Wash fabric furniture like hammock or fleece with half a cup of white distilled vinegar mixed with a gentle toxin-free detergent.
- Sprinkle 3% hydrogen peroxide on your chinchilla’s hidey huts, wooden ledges, and in-between cage bars to eliminate any pee odor. Make sure you let the areas air-dry before putting your chinny back in the cage.
- Wash litter boxes and pee-stained food bowls with a bleach-and-water solution (only add half a cup of bleach to half a gallon of water). Thoroughly rinse everything before your chinchilla can use them. Bleach can be toxic to chinchillas.
Tips for Keeping a Chinchilla Smell-Free
You’ve learned a lot about why a chinchilla can stink, which is like scoring a touchdown against chin odors. But hang tight; you’re not quite at the finish line yet!
You must also make sure your furry friend and his home remain odor-free (like they’re supposed to). So, let’s see what more you can do.
Feed a Balanced Diet
Chinchillas are grazers, which means they need the right balance of pellets, hay, and fresh veggies to stay healthy. A balanced diet will keep your furball’s digestive system in shape and prevent stinky tummy troubles.
Give your chinchilla an unlimited supply of good-quality hay. When it comes to treats, avoid sugary snacks like chocolate, cakes, or ice cream.
Also, make sure he has access to clean water at all times – you don’t want any UTI trouble.
Be Regular with Vet Visits
Chinchillas, just like any other pet, need annual check-ups. During these visits, the vet will be able to catch any health problems your furball might be facing before they turn into something more serious – and stinky. So, if you’re puzzled by your chinchilla’s smell, let the expert help!
Keep the Chinchilla Fur Fresh
Dust bathing is like a spa day for your chinchilla. It’ll help him keep his fur clean and free of any odors. Plus, it’s fun for the little guy!
You can buy a dust bath or make one at home using fine volcanic ash (not sand!). Put it in an open container and let him roll around in it for 15-20 minutes twice a week.
Pro Tip: If you notice any lumps in the dust bath, discard the whole thing and replace it with a fresh batch.
Give Your Chinchilla Chew Toys
Overgrown teeth and stinky mouths are a real thing in the chinchilla world. But you can help your furball stay away from such problems by giving him wooden chews or safe hay cubes to munch on. This will keep his teeth ground and healthy, preventing stinky mouth troubles.
Clean Your Chinchilla’s Cage Regularly
Clean the cage religiously if you want your chinchilla free from odor. As a rule of thumb, you should spot-clean the cage every day, partial-clean every week, and deep-clean it once a month.
By deep cleaning, we mean removing all bedding, cleaning food bowls, wiping down shelves and bars with a mild soap-and-water solution, and giving pee corners an extra scrub. Always use safe cleaning products for your chinchilla’s home – these little munchkins are sensitive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Candles Safe to Use Around Chinchillas?
Hold the thought right there if you’re thinking about covering your chinny’s stench with your scented candles. Chinchillas are prone to respiratory problems; even those ‘100% natural’ candles can be a bit much for their delicate lungs.
Can I Use Essential Oils Around My Chinny?
The same rule goes for essential oils. These little buddies are sensitive to strong smells, so it’s best to keep them away from any kind of fragrances. Plus, essential oils are a number one weapon for keeping rodents at bay. Now that you have a rodent as a pet, they should definitely be out of the picture.
Do Chinchillas Fart? Does That Stink?
Yep, chinchillas can let out a toot or two from time to time. But their farts are odorless. You don’t need a vet visit for farts unless they get too frequent.
The Scent-sational Truth: Chinchillas Are Surprisingly Fresh
Chinchillas, the adorably fluffy and playful critters, make amazing pets. But before committing to living with one, you want to know what you’re signing up for in the stink department.
So, do chinchillas smell?
Nope! A healthy chinchilla doesn’t smell bad; it’s naturally odorless. But if his cage is a mess or he has a health issue, then you might experience some stench.
If you want a stink-free experience with these munchkins, make sure you feed them a balanced diet, keep their cribs sparkly, and visit the vet regularly.
Did you find this article helpful?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we hope to answer all your questions so you can be the best chinchilla parent ever. We also have lots of other interesting articles and fun facts on our website that’ll not only make you a better pet owner but will help you understand your furry friend more. So, don’t forget to check them out!
Thanks for reading. Have a fur-tastic day!