Last Modified

June 6, 2022 by Umair Shahid

Scientific research and routine observations show every organism has a specific odor or smell. This smell may be severe or undetectable. It is sometimes pleasant for other individuals as pheromones, but sometimes it is abominable.

Our question here is, do chinchillas smell? The answer that might surprise you is that no, chinchillas do not smell like other pets. If your pet chinchilla is smelly, maybe you are not keeping it clean. If your chinchilla smells awful, I will explain all the reasons for that. 

Why does chinchilla smell?

If you have a pet chinchilla, they are odor-free animals. However, some conditions that can cause your pet to smell include:

Dental infections:

Unlike humans and many other animals, the chinchilla teeth continue to grow throughout their life. They are susceptible to facing many dental problems like gingivitis, crooked teeth, overgrown teeth, and swollen gums. These dental problems allow many bacteria to multiply in the oral cavity of your pet chinchilla. These bacteria produce a putrid smell. Hence, tooth infections can lead to a foul stench in your pets.   

Intestinal infections:

Chinchillas’ urine and poop both lack any foul smell. It is one reason chinchillas are the best pet to keep indoors. However, if your chinchilla’s poop is foul-smelling, there are chances of intestinal infections. According to veterinarian experience, many bacterial, viral and parasitic problems like giardiasis can lead to foul-smelling excreta in chinchillas. 

Humidity:

Research shows that chinchillas are very temperature sensitive. They have a body covered in thick fur. A humid climate makes them sick with heatstroke. This humidity can also increase bacterial growth in the cage. These bacteria can attack your pet chinchillas and cause many infections. The proliferation of harmful bacteria emits many foul-smelling gases. It can cause many skin infections that lead to smelly bodies in chinchillas. 

Poor housing and litter box management:

Chinchillas are sensitive little rodents. They have special management needs. If you want to keep a chinchilla, the best way is to keep them clean and provide nice bedding.

You can use wood sheering and scented litter materials. You should regularly change the bedding and litter material. You must be diligent in cleaning the cage of your chinchillas to keep it smell-free. 

 Why do other animals smell?

The most common reason for the smell from other pets is the odor of urine or poop. If you keep your pets clean, they do not smell bad. However, sometimes, the body odor of some animals is so awful that nothing can mask it. 

For example, many dog breeds smell awful, like Saint Bernard, Yorkies, beagles, pugs, etc. However, some pets smell if they have some bacterial or fungal infections. They can also stink if they have any skin infections. The smell can be because of oral diseases. The condition is called halitosis or bad breath. 

How to clean a chinchillas cage?

I will tell you how you can clean the chinchilla cage to avoid any smell. For this cleaning activity, you can set a date and make sometime every once a week or two. The first thing is to move your chinchilla out of its cage. You can let the chinchillas play in the dust bath or leave them anywhere safe to play while you clean the cage.

In the first step, remove all the old bedding from the cage. If you use fleece bedding, it will be easier to use. However, there is no harm in using anything you or your pets love to have in the enclosure.

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After removing the bedding, clean all the surfaces of the pen. Discard all old food and water residues and clean the accessories. Clean the shelves and all toys or enrichments present in the cage. Replace the new bedding material and replenish the food accessories before finishing your work. Now you can place the chinchillas back in their cage to have fun. 

Removing the chinchilla’s manure from the chinchilla cage is not essential because it will not make the enclosure stink. But it is necessary to remove it routinely to keep your pet happy and healthy. 

Frequently asked questions:

  1. Do chinchillas smell because of urine or feces?

The urine or feces of chinchillas do not contain any sharp foul odor. The chinchillas like to urinate in one corner of the cage. If you keep the litter or bedding unchanged for months, then the offensive odor is because of urine. However, cleaning, and regular bedding change can prevent foul smell in the chinchilla’s cage. 

  • Should I bathe my chinchilla in water to prevent any smell?

Chinchillas are very sensitive, and they dislike cleaning themselves in water. The best way to keep your chinchilla clean is by using a dust bath. Dust bath also protects their coat by reducing oil and sebum production in the skin. 

  • How often should I change the bedding to prevent any smell in my chinchilla’s cage?

Chinchillas’ excreta do not have an offensive smell. You can clean the feces once a day. However, changing bedding depends on the bedding material you use. The best way is to use fleece bedding. It is easy to clean and discard compared to wood shaving or hay. You can change the fleece once a week or once in two weeks.  

Conclusion:

So here I am concluding this information with the answer Do chinchillas smell? No, they do not. The good news is you can own such a cute rodent without having the problem of foul stench all-around your house. Some rodents smell because of their foul-smelling urine and pop. These species include guinea pigs, rats, etc.

Others have fouls smelling skin and oil-producing glands like skunks and ferrets, etc. However, the chinchillas are the best rodents to have as pets because they do not have any of these problems.

Chinchillas do not smell unless they have any medical condition. If you are worried about your chinchilla’s smell, the best you can do is to take them to the nearest vet for a complete checkup.  

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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