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Health risk


New Member
Cavy Slave
Nov 28, 2011
My daughter has two guinea pigs and she keeps them in the large cage in her bedroom. I hardly go to her bedroom due to the odor/fume of her pets' urine and feces. Lately, my children came down with bad sore throat, running nose and coughing. I suspect its because of the odor. Should I be concern for their health due to this fume and odor?

George B.
I am no doctor so I don't know if that is the cause of your children being sick. Breathing in those fumes can't be healthy, though. That being said, if you keep your pigs clean they shouldn't smell bad at all, unless it's boar stink. How big is your cage and how often is it cleaned?
I would suggest you supervise your children's pet care habits more closely. If the cage stinks like that, it's FAR too dirty. It is not good for the pigs either.
Either you or your daughter need to clean that cage way more often. There is no reason for it to smell that bad. Guinea pigs are low odor pets. Mine have never stunk out a room with their urine or poo. What kind of bedding are you keeping them on? How big is the cage? How often is it cleaned? What kind of veggies are they getting? (some veggies I notice make their urine smell, like kale)

A small pet store cage will smell quicker and need more cleaning than a large C&C cage (or equivalent). Guinea pigs kept on hay or straw will smell awful and will start to smell as soon as they pee. Pine/Aspen litter left unchanged and not spot cleaned will start to smell in a few days and could stink out a room in a matter of a week.

I doubt your guinea pigs have caused the illness in your children, though if you are concerned you should check with your doctor. Before your kids got sick, your guinea pigs would get sick. They have much more sensitive lungs and bodies than humans. My children and I just got over a bug with the same symptoms as your children. Our guinea pigs never smell. Even if you put your face right on the animals or near the cage you will smell nothing but clean fresh hay and pine litter.
:DThanks y'all for your replies.

The cage is about 2' x 4'. I think she cleans the cage twice a week. Yes, she feeds them with hays, cilantro(a lot), carrots and lettuce. These two pigs are eating machine. I do not know why the odor does not bother her. Maybe she used to the smell or lack of sensitivity. I am very concern for my children health. I can not tolerate with the smell and I am avoid of going in her room ... may be my nose is too sensitive.

George B.
What are they bedded on?
On a side note, that diet does not have enough variety. Please look through the diet charts to get an idea of the different veg and fruit pigs can eat. They need a variety of food in their diets to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients/vitamins/minerals that they need to be healthy and happy.
You didn't say what their bedding is. If you're using hay for bedding, that's probably your problem. Peed-on hay stinks very quickly. You can switch to something else (carefresh, kiln-dried wood shavings -- no cedar, fleece, etc.) and just pick up the hay that falls on the floor every day. Also, using a hay rack keeps the hay off the floor -- there are plenty of examples in the photo galleries.

Guinea pigs are not smelly animals. Adolescent males can cause a stink when they mark their territory, but the pigs themselves don't usually smell. Males need to have their anal sacs checked/cleaned frequently, and if impacted, may smell.

You kids' respiratory problem may also be allergies -- not to the guinea pigs, but to the hay. What kind of hay are you feeding them?
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