Guinea pigs are tiny animals, but they can make big messes.
If you do not regularly clean your guinea pig’s cage, you will likely notice foul odors.
Guinea pigs spend most of their day eating, which means they will also pee and poop a lot.
But does guinea pig poop smell?
Guinea pig poop does not usually have a strong odor as long as the animal is healthy. If your guinea pig’s poop has developed a bad smell, this may be a sign your pet is having digestive issues. Certain foods in your guinea pig’s diet will also cause its poop to have a stronger odor.
When a guinea pig eats a lot of vegetables, its poop may be smellier and have a different texture.
Antibiotics will also wreak havoc on a guinea pig’s gut health and cause foul-smelling feces.
Whenever your guinea pig has to take antibiotics, it is best to supplement its diet with a probiotic until treatment has been completed.
Keep reading to learn more about what healthy guinea pig poop should smell and look like.
Table of Contents
What Does Guinea Pig Poop Smell Like?
Guinea pig poop does not have a particular odor, much like other rodent species such as hamsters and rabbits.
However, there are several reasons for guinea pig poop to become very smelly.
The Cage Needs Cleaning
If the cage is not spot cleaned every day and the poop builds up, you will notice a pungent smell.
Guinea pig urine will also develop a foul odor when exposed to air for a prolonged period, and soiled bedding will need to be removed every day.
A dirty guinea pig cage is a stinky and unhealthy environment for your pet.
Learn how often you need to change guinea pig hay.
Excess Vegetable Consumption
When guinea pig poop does have a foul smell, your guinea pig may have gastrointestinal problems from its diet.
Too many fresh vegetables in your guinea pig’s diet will make its poop smell bad.
Generally, you only need to provide your cavy one cup of vegetables per day.
Remove vegetables from your cavy’s diet for 24-48 hours to see if its poop returns to normal.
You will need to add a vitamin supplement to ensure your guinea pig is receiving essential nutrients.
When your guinea pig’s poop returns to normal, you may gradually add delicious vegetables back into its diet.
Your Guinea Pig Has Diarrhea
If your cavy’s poop is both smelly and runny, then your pet has diarrhea.
Diarrhea is a serious health issue in guinea pigs because they will quickly become dehydrated.
Seek veterinary care as soon as possible if your cavy has diarrhea.
Gastrointestinal disease is very common in guinea pigs, and seeking veterinary care at the first sign of disease symptoms is critical.
Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of diarrhea in your cavy and administer the proper treatment.
The Poop Is a Cecotrope
You might be looking at a cecotrope if you notice a foul-smelling poop with a greenish color and a softer texture in your cavy’s cage.
Cecotropes, also known as cecal pellets, are formed in an area of the guinea pig’s stomach known as the cecum.
A cecotrope contains proteins and vitamins, which aid in a guinea pig’s digestion of vitamin B.
Cecal pellets are very similar to the cud produced by cows, giraffes, and deer.
However, guinea pigs cannot vomit, so they do not regurgitate this cud for a second chew.
Instead, the cecotrope passes through the cavy’s colon and is excreted from the body.
The guinea pig will then eat the cecal pellet almost immediately.
While this process sounds gross and may seem disturbing to new guinea pig owners, it is completely normal and necessary behavior.
If the guinea pig does not regularly eat these cecotropes, the animal will become malnourished.
A cavy usually eats the cecal pellet right away, so you rarely see one in the cage.
Is Guinea Pig Poop Toxic?
Guinea pig poop is not inherently toxic to humans, but it may contain bacteria or viruses, so you need to practice proper hygiene when removing feces from the cage.
These illnesses are spread by directly contacting your cavy’s poop or breathing in the air near the poop.
To minimize your risk of contracting a disease from your guinea pig, never touch its poop with your bare hands.
Use a paper towel or a plastic scoop to remove feces from your cavy’s cage.
Always wash your hands with soap after cleaning the cage or handling your cavy.
The two most common diseases spread from guinea pigs to humans are salmonella and the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.
Below, we provide more details about these illnesses and the symptoms to look for.
Salmonella may be contracted through direct contact with an infected guinea pig’s feces, cage liner, or fur.
The salmonella bacteria infect your intestines and will cause stomach pain, fever, and diarrhea.
The symptoms of salmonella will start anywhere between six hours and six days and usually last between four and seven days.
In immunocompromised people, small children, and the elderly, symptoms of salmonella may last for several weeks.
Most guinea pigs infected with salmonella do not have any symptoms at all.
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, more commonly referred to as LCMV, is transmitted by breathing in the air near a dirty guinea pig’s cage or through direct contact with the animal’s poop.
It is also possible to contract LCMV by holding an infected cavy too close to your face.
LCMV is more common in mice and rats, but if your guinea pig has been in close contact with infected rodents, the disease is passed to them.
Symptoms of LCMV in humans include:
- Muscle aches
- Stiff neck
- Loss of appetite
LCMV is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as the disease will cause injury or death to the fetus.
While LCMV is rare, it is recommended for pregnant women to avoid holding or being near guinea pigs.
Why Does My Guinea Pig’s Bum Smell?
Occasionally, your cavy may develop a foul odor near its bum.
The most common reason a guinea pig has a smelly rear end is that there are feces or urine stuck in its fur.
Use a warm, damp washcloth or an animal-safe wipe to remove animal dander and other debris from your cavy’s fur.
Alternatively, you may give your guinea pig a bum bath when you only wash the animal’s rear.
Cavies are sensitive to being too cold, so always ensure your pet is completely dry before placing them back into the enclosure.
An overactive grease gland may also cause foul smells from your guinea pig’s bum.
The grease gland secretes a smelly substance used by cavies to mark their territory.
This substance will sometimes build up near the gland and cause a bad smell.
Male cavies tend to have a more active grease gland than females, making the foul odor more noticeable.
Clean the grease gland by putting coconut oil on the area.
After one minute, use a cotton ball to gently wipe away the greasy residue.
Use a guinea-pig-safe shampoo to wash away excess coconut oil and completely dry your cavy.
It is recommended to clean the grease gland at least once per month to prevent a buildup of the secretions.
You may need to clean the area more often if your cavy has an active grease gland.
Check out our article on smelly guinea pig pee as well.
Is Guinea Pig Poop Hard or Soft?
Normal guinea pig poop is oval-shaped and has a firm consistency.
Small, dry, or tear-shaped poop is a sign of dehydration in your guinea pig.
Provide your cavy with clean, fresh water and monitor your pet to make sure it is drinking from its water bottle.
Related: Can guinea pigs drink cold water?
Tear-shaped or thin feces may also indicate your cavy is not getting enough fiber in its diet.
Give your guinea pig plenty of hay to ensure your pet eats adequate fiber.
Clumped poop is usually a sign of constipation or caused by a cavy’s aging rectal muscles.
Provide your guinea pig with plenty of fiber and water to prevent intestinal blockages and make it easier for the animal to defecate.
Mushy or runny feces are clinical signs of diarrhea, which will cause the cavy to become dehydrated very quickly.
Diarrhea may be a sign of infection or illness, but a poor guinea pig diet also causes it.
Seek veterinary care for the proper diagnosis and treatment at the first signs of diarrhea in your cavy.
What Color Should Guinea Pig Poop Be?
Guinea pig poop is usually medium to dark brown.
Bloody poop means inflammation or a tear in your cavy’s intestines.
Do not confuse bloody poop with red-tinted poop.
Certain foods, such as beets or peppers may give your guinea pig’s poop a red color.
Green poop is likely to be a cecotrope pellet rather than actual feces.
Cecotropes are entirely normal, and cavies eat them, so they can digest B vitamins.
Your guinea pig will regularly excrete cecotropes, although you may not see them because the cavy usually eats them right away.
Do Guinea Pigs Poop A Lot?
Constant grazing combined with a fast digestive system means a lot of poop from your guinea pig.
A guinea pig will poop between 100 and 300 times every day.
This constant pooping behavior is completely normal, a sign of a healthy cavy.
The ability of a guinea pig to poop depends on proper hydration and nutrition.
A guinea pig diet needs plenty of fiber and fresh, clean water.
A healthy, balanced diet ensures your cavy will have regular and frequent bowel movements.
Since guinea pigs poop so much, keeping the cage clean and replacing any soiled bedding every day is crucial.
Failure to maintain a daily cage maintenance routine will cause your cavy’s enclosure to start smelling bad very quickly.
What Affects How Often A Guinea Pig Poops?
Every guinea pig’s digestive system is different, and several factors will affect how often your pet poops.
Guinea pig poop habits will vary according to the animal’s exercise habits, age, diet, and overall health.
The more active your cavy is, the more it will poop.
Exercise causes your guinea pig’s digestive system to work faster.
A very active cavy will also eat more, which will result in frequent bowel movements.
If your guinea pig does not have enough room in its cage for physical activity, the animal will poop less.
Removing your cavy from its cage for some floor time every day will ensure your pet gets adequate exercise to maintain healthy body weight.
The age of your guinea pig affects how many times it poops every day.
As a cavy gets older, its digestive system starts slowing down, and the animal will begin to poop less often.
Slowing down is a common issue in aging cavies and is usually nothing to be concerned about.
If your cavy stops pooping entirely, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Your guinea pig’s diet plays a key role in how often the animal has to poop.
Provide your cavy with plenty of fiber, vitamin C, other essential vitamins, and fresh, clean water every day.
A nutritious diet is vital to keeping your cavy’s digestive system running smoothly and efficiently.
Too many treats and an unbalanced diet will cause your pet to poop less.
A daily treat for your cavy is fine, but it should not be a significant part of the animal’s diet.
Your cavy’s digestive system will not be able to process all of the sugar found in most fruits, so feed fruit in moderation.
When a guinea pig’s gut slows down, it may lead to gastrointestinal stasis.
Gastrointestinal stasis, also known as GI stasis, is the term used to describe the lack of movement in the intestines.
A cavy suffering from GI stasis will have a decreased appetite and may stop eating altogether.
GI stasis is a severe issue for guinea pigs, and you need to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
When a guinea pig is sick, malnourished, or has an intestinal blockage, the animal will not poop very often.
Ensure your cavy is getting adequate fiber and plenty of food to maintain proper digestion.
A tumor may also cause your cavy to eat and poop less.
Anytime you notice your guinea pig lacks appetite or bowel movements, it is vital to seek veterinary care immediately.
Monitor your cavy’s weight, urinary and bowel movements, eating habits, and overall appearance.
Regular monitoring will make it easier for you to spot symptoms of illness and keep your guinea pig healthy.