As a new chinchilla owner or as someone debating purchasing a chinchilla for the first time, you may have a long list of questions that you want to be answered before purchasing or to help you rest on your first night home with your new fury-family member. I get it, and I’ve been there. I had a list about 200 questions deep when I got my first chinchilla and had no idea what I was doing. One of the first questions that I had come to mind was simple, do chinchillas smell? Here is what I’ve learned.
So, do chinchillas smell? No, chinchillas are odor-free. This is what sets chinchillas apart from other small-animal pets. In fact, if your chinchilla does smell you have one of two problems. You either have a dirty cage and bedding or your chinchilla may be ill.
Check the Housing and Bedding and Check the Chinchilla for Odors
Let’s talk about these two potential issues a little bit more before moving on. As mentioned previously, if your chinchilla does smell, be sure to start by cleaning the cage and smelling the chinchilla. If your chinchilla is releasing any form of an odor, it’s recommended to call your vet. This will help rule out any unknown illness or health concerns.
Don’t Ignore the Teeth and Mouth, This Could Be The Cause Of Your Chinchilla Smell
A chinchilla is a lot like a human when it comes to the mouth and teeth. A chinchilla’s teeth will grow throughout his or her life. Just like a human, if the teeth experience problems during growth such as overgrowth, not straight or crooked teeth or begin to wear unevenly, it can begin to cause problems in the mouth of the chinchilla.
This can eventually cause an odor to remit from your chinchilla.
Over time, the teeth will grow into the soft tissue of the mouth. Not only is this extremely painful and a great deal of discomfort for your chinchilla, but it’s also highly likely that your chinchilla will exhibit some bad breath as a side effect and warning sign that you have a problem.
Outside of that coffee breath, it’s important to speak to a vet if you encounter this. Other symptoms could include the following.
- Loss of Appetite (Not Eating Normally)
- Trouble Swallowing
- Weight Loss
- No Appetite at All
- A Tooth Out of Place or Protruding
It Could Be the Cage and Bedding Causing Your Chinchilla To Smell
Now that we know chinchillas shouldn’t be releasing any odor, if you do have odor admitting from the chinchilla cage, keep in mind that you may not be as diligent as you thought with the cleaning and maintenance portion of owning your chinchilla.
Even chinchillas’ poop doesn’t emit any odor, but they do poop a lot. Change the bedding in the cage and be sure to clean the chinchilla poop 1-2 times per day.
This won’t fix any odor since the chinchilla poop has no odor but chinchilla pee after just a few days can begin to emit an odor. I have to clean my chinchilla cage with a full deep clean about every 4 days to prevent this.
As far as the poop, I do it strictly to keep my chinchilla comfortable and happy and I do this about once or twice per day depending on how much I see on the shelves, hiding box, and other items within my chinchilla cage.
Again, always play it safe and be sure the chinchilla itself isn’t omitting a bad smell just to ensure a vet visit isn’t needed.
Make Sure You Have A Large Chinchilla Cage But Keep It Clean
Chinchillas need plenty of room to move freely, climb and jump among other silly chinchilla type behaviors. The cage that I use to encourage and allow my chinchilla plenty of space is the Critter Nation 2 (dual level) cage (Link To Amazon). It’s a perfect size and has multiple levels to allow her space to do her thing.
You could also get the one level cage but trust me, eventually, you will want to add the second level to give them space.
Realize that chinchillas are pooping at rapid paces. It’s all the time, and over time, this can dirty up the cage substantially. As mentioned before, be sure to keep up on this regardless of the cage size to make sure odor isn’t emitting due to your laziness!
If an odor is emitted from the cage it’s going to be from urine or bedding. A way that I combat back against this is to use liners on my trays and wash them once a week. They are fit to size. If you opt to purchase the Critter Nation 2 cage for your chin, consider these Critter Nation Tray Liners (Link to Amazon) as well.
It makes life much easier. You can simply use a dustpan and broom to clean out the poop and wash the fleece liners once a week to make sure your chinchilla or your chinchilla’s cage never smells.
Additionally, larger cages help to keep your chinchilla happy and living in a comfortable environment. Outside of the factors we discussed, you just need to be sure your temperature is ideal for your chinchilla to ensure overheating, other illnesses or death doesn’t occur. Illness is one of the only other factors that could be causing your chinchilla to smell. Keep that in mind.
Inspect the Corners of The Cage, Urine Could Make Your Chinchilla Cage Smell
Although chinchillas can be potty trained to urinate in a litter box, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have taken the time to do so or that it works 100% of the time.
When a chinchilla doesn’t urinate in a litter box, he or she will pick a favorite corner in the cage to “take care of business”. Double checking and staying diligent with a cleaning routine/schedule can help ensure that you don’t have this being a direct correlation to a smelly chinchilla or smelly chinchilla cage.
If you are considering attempting to potty train your chinchilla, I recommend you place a rodent litter pan inside of your chinchilla’s cage. I currently am going through the process myself. I use this Rodent Litter Pan (Link to Amazon) and this specific Critter Litter (Link to Amazon)
It’s working great but I highly you recommend you read my post I linked to above mentioning potty training to ensure you follow the proper steps.
Now, keep in mind that you need to have something that still smells like urine such as old bedding to begin potty training your chinchilla to use these litter pans correctly.
My post above in the first sentence of this section is a guide to fully potty train your chinchilla. Hopefully, this gets you well on your way towards less potential reasons why you may ever smell or have an odor emitting from your chinchilla or chinchilla cage.
Don’t Ignore Dust Time, Chinchillas Need Dust Baths To Remain Clean and Odor Free
Chinchillas are already odor free (for the most part). We know that by now. However, they do still need to take care of that soft fur. Getting a chinchilla wet will not benefit you nor the chinchilla.
The fur is much too thick and dense for water. Dust baths are how to get the job done correctly. You can find this dust at any local pet store.
You should ensure that you do this as often as possible. Although, 3 times a week is plenty. No need to go overboard.
If you do, you run the risk of other issues such as irritate eyes. You can also accidentally take that beautiful soft fur and accidental dry it out with too many dust baths.
Make sure to afford your chinchilla dust bath time but keep it 3 times a week to avoid other complications.
Putting It All Together Eliminate Possibilities to Find the Smell
As illustrated in this post, it should be known that chinchillas shouldn’t be releasing odors or smelling bad. Chinchillas should smell good or have no odor at all. When a smell is present, you likely have a problem on your hands.
Again, this could be lack of cleaning with the bedding and cage, but it could also very well be a sickness with your chinchilla which for sure warrants a call to your vet.
Eliminate the possibilities of what the smell could be with your chinchilla until you have it pinpointed and complete the correct remedy to get the odor back under control. If you have other questions pertaining to your chinchilla, don’t forget to check out the related questions below to see if I can help answer those for you as well.
Chinchillas are rare in the fact that they do not smell. It’s one of my favorite parts of owning a chinchilla. They are friendly, loving fantastic pets and are surely worth considering adopting. You won’t regret it.
Have you experienced your chinchilla having a bad smell before? What was the cause and what did you do to fix the smell? Be sure to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.
Why Can You Not Get A Chinchilla Wet?
When dealing with a smelly chinchilla, you may be quick to jump the gun like I was. I had the same question. Here is what I learned and thankfully I learned it in time before making the mistake.
So, why can you not get a chinchilla wet? Chinchillas have very thick, dense fur. When you get a chinchilla wet, they won’t dry properly which will cause them to chill and to get too cold. In addition, getting a chinchilla wet will not help with the odor. Dust baths are the best way to clean your chinchilla.
How Often Do Chinchillas Poop?
I was curious about this when I first got my chinchilla. Here’s what I learned.
Chinchilla’s poop extremely frequently You may notice a chinchilla pooping just about every step that he or she takes. Therefore, it’s imperative to clean the bedding and cage for your chinchilla as often as possible to ensure a clean environment and to help eliminate any potential for odor.
Do Chinchillas Fart? Maybe This Is Why My Chinchilla Smells So Bad?
Nope, unfortunately, this is not why your chinchilla may be smelling so bad.
Chinchillas do have the capability of farting, but they don’t burp. They build up gas in the intestines just like you and I. Once the gas builds up, the chinchilla will either bloat or get become “bloated” or the chinchilla will release this gas right out of the anus.
Do Chinchillas Throw Poop? It is Possible This Is the Cause For The Bad Smell?
Yes, it’s possible for your chinchilla to throw poop. Your chinchilla will only display this behavior in most circumstances due to frustration towards you for not showing attention or any love! However, this is not what’s causing your chinchilla to smell.
Remember from earlier in the post, chinchilla poop shouldn’t have an odor if it’s solid. If it’s however, runny or liquid, it’s possible your chinchilla is sick or dealing with some other form of illness. If this is the case, it could be the cause of the smell and should also be the cause of you picking up the phone to call your vet as soon as possible.