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Water Vanila Extract in Water?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Mar 13, 2012
Okay, before everybody jumps down my throat for asking about this, hear me out.

I have two extremely stinky boars. As an example of exactly how bad they smell, they live in a room with 35 mice, two African Soft Furred Rats, and two Spiny Mice. Guess what I smell? Yep. Guinea pig.

I change their bedding (fleece) every day. The fleece is lined underneath with paper puppy pads that are also changed out daily. The fleece is absorbing/wicking away moisture correctly. My boars just plain old stink.

Unfortunately this room is my bedroom in my parent's house and the smell bothers them to the point where they are asking me to rehome the guinea pigs. I don't want to do this as I already had to rehome three of my pigs a few years ago due to a bit of a crisis in the family (I had four boars then and they didn't smell ANYTHING like these guys do).

So here's my question, and moderators feel free to move this topic based on the fact that it covers odor control as well as nutrition:

With the mice, I use a single drop of vanilla extract in their water to control odor from the bucks. Mice love the taste, so there's no issue with them drinking less or becoming dehydrated (I monitor them closely on this anyway).

Would the same work for my guinea pigs? I know guinea pigs can be picky and I would never put vanilla extract in both of the water bottles- but if just one contained a single drop, would it help with the odor control/is vanilla extract even okay to give to a guinea pig?

I have 16 oz water bottles, so that would be quite diluted, if that matters.

If this is not okay, what else can I do about this odor?

Thank you!
We used to put a tiny dab of vanilla on the rump of guinea pigs we were introducing to mask their scent. I suggested that one time and was told it was dangerous for them. I assume it probably has to do with the fact that vanilla contains alcohol so there might be a risk to the guinea pigs if they licked it. For that reason, I'd say it's probably not safe. Each guinea pig seems to have a different smell to them. I have a 2 x 5 with three females that has more odor than my 2 x 4's with pairs, one of which houses males. I change the fleece in the 2 x 5 more frequently than the others.
I have two boars also and mine get a little stinky too. Fortunately though, I do not have roommates or parents to complain. I also use carefresh bedding only, given the increased odor potential with boars and try to scoop out super smelly parts as often as I can. In addition to smell, I also noticed my one boar was constantly nipping at his lower back with some dry flakes, so I wanted to find perhaps a shampoo that would help both issues - smell & dry skin. I have been trying out "Vet's Best No Rinse Pet Bath for Small Animals". It smells nice, evaporates quick and also provides some moisturizing. Ingredient list is short and does not contain complicate chemical names - aloe vera, neem oil, oatmeal, vitamins B& E. I apply it only to the lower body making sure to avoid the eye/mouth area and only apply a small amount periodically. (It goes on like mousse). The directions say to let it dry but I usually help this process along wiping them down with a towel to prevent any over contamination to the pigs nature oils, etc. I have applied this a few times and its seems to have helped decrease my boars fixation of nipping at his back like a maniac.
Do you wash your fleece with vinegar? If not, your fleece may need to be stripped.
I have some carbon filters for my air purifier that worked quite miraculously when I was introducing two pairs of boars together. The boar stank was quite awful.
Thank you everyone :)

I ended up putting them on newspaper pellets and that seems to have helped significantly with the smell for now!
Sorry for the obvious statement, but you could wash them right?
I also noticed my one boar was constantly nipping at his lower back with some dry flakes

That's a classic sign of mites. I'd treat him with ivermectin.
Just wanted to say thanks to bpatters for pointing out my cavy's symptoms of mites. After you mentioned this, I started reading up on the subject and he definitely seems to be exhibiting all the symptoms. I will be taking both my boars to the vet on Tuesday to have them checked out.
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