Why Do Chinchillas Smell and How to Keep Them Fresh: Tips and Tricks

Chinchillas are adorable pets that make great companions. They are soft, cuddly, and playful, and their antics can brighten up any dull day. However, just like any other pet, chinchillas require proper care and maintenance to keep them healthy and happy. One of the issues that chinchilla owners often face is the smell that comes from their pets. Chinchillas have a distinct odor, and it can get quite strong if not managed properly. In this blog post, we will discuss why chinchillas smell, the factors that contribute to the smell, and how to keep your chinchilla fresh and clean.

Why Do Chinchillas Smell?

Chinchillas are lovely, but they have a unique smell that is often described as musky or earthy. The smell is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be quite strong if not managed properly. The reason why chinchillas smell is that they have specialized sweat glands that secrete oils. These oils help to keep their fur soft and shiny, but they also give off a distinct smell. Moreover, chinchillas have a habit of urinating in one spot, which can also contribute to the smell.

Factors that Contribute to Chinchilla Smell

Several factors contribute to chinchilla smell. One of the most significant factors is poor hygiene. Chinchillas need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of oils and bacteria that can cause odor. Another factor is diet. Chinchillas are herbivores, and their diet mainly consists of hay, pellets, and fresh vegetables. However, feeding your chinchilla too many treats or food that is high in sugar or fat can cause digestive problems, which can lead to smelly feces. Finally, the environment also plays a role in chinchilla smell. If the cage is not cleaned regularly, the bedding can become soiled, leading to bad smells.

How to Keep Your Chinchilla Clean

Keeping your chinchilla clean is essential to prevent odor and ensure that your pet stays healthy. Here are some tips to help you keep your chinchilla clean:

– Brush your chinchilla regularly: Brushing your chinchilla’s fur regularly helps to remove excess oils and dirt that can cause odor.
– Provide a dust bath: Chinchillas love to take dust baths, and it is an essential part of their grooming routine. A dust bath helps to remove excess oils and dirt from their fur.
– Keep the cage clean: The cage should be cleaned regularly to prevent odor. Remove any uneaten food, feces, and soiled bedding daily. The cage should be deep cleaned once a week.
– Provide fresh water: Chinchillas need fresh water at all times. Change the water daily and clean the water bottle or dish regularly.
– Trim your chinchilla’s nails: Overgrown nails can cause discomfort and lead to infections. Trim your chinchilla’s nails regularly to prevent this.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Chinchilla

Cleaning your chinchilla is a simple process. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

1. Fill a container with chinchilla dust.
2. Place the container in the cage and let your chinchilla roll in the dust for 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove the container and dust from the cage.
4. Brush your chinchilla’s fur to remove any excess dust.
5. Use a damp cloth or baby wipe to clean your chinchilla’s face and ears.
6. Use a small brush or toothbrush to clean your chinchilla’s nails.
7. Check for any signs of illness, such as discharge from the eyes, nose, or ears.

Tips for Keeping Your Chinchilla’s Habitat Clean

Keeping your chinchilla’s habitat clean is essential to prevent odor and ensure that your pet stays healthy. Here are some tips to help you keep your chinchilla’s habitat clean:

– Use a high-quality bedding material: The right bedding material can help to absorb odors and keep the cage clean. Aspen shavings, paper-based products, and fleece liners are all good options.
– Clean the cage regularly: The cage should be cleaned every week or more frequently if it becomes soiled. Remove any uneaten food, feces, and soiled bedding, and replace it with fresh bedding.
– Provide a litter box: Chinchillas can be litter trained, and providing a litter box can help to reduce odors. Place the litter box in a corner of the cage and fill it with a litter material such as paper pellets.
– Provide adequate ventilation: Good ventilation is essential to prevent odors from building up in the cage. Make sure that the cage is located in a well-ventilated area and that there is no buildup of moisture in the cage.

Best Practices for Feeding Your Chinchilla

Feeding your chinchilla the right diet is essential to prevent digestive problems and odor. Here are some best practices for feeding your chinchilla:

– Provide fresh hay: Hay should make up the bulk of your chinchilla’s diet. Provide fresh hay daily and remove any stale hay.
– Provide fresh vegetables: Chinchillas can eat a variety of fresh vegetables, such as carrots, kale, and broccoli. However, introduce new vegetables gradually to prevent digestive problems.
– Limit treats: Treats should make up no more than 5% of your chinchilla’s diet. Too many treats can lead to digestive problems and smelly feces.

Signs of Illness in Chinchillas

It is essential to keep an eye out for signs of illness in your chinchilla. Here are some signs to watch out for:

– Loss of appetite
– Weight loss
– Diarrhea
– Difficulty breathing
– Discharge from the eyes, nose, or ears
– Changes in behavior

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Preventing Chinchilla Odor

Preventing chinchilla odor is all about maintaining good hygiene, providing a healthy diet, and keeping the habitat clean. Here are some additional tips to help you prevent chinchilla odor:

– Use an air purifier: An air purifier can help to remove odors and keep the air fresh.
– Use baking soda: Sprinkling baking soda in the cage can help to absorb odors.
– Use a deodorizing spray: A deodorizing spray can help to freshen up the cage between cleanings.


Chinchillas are lovely pets that require proper care and maintenance to keep them healthy and happy. Smell is a common issue that chinchilla owners face, but it can be managed with proper hygiene, diet, and habitat maintenance. If you follow the tips and tricks outlined in this blog post, you can keep your chinchilla smelling fresh and clean. Remember to keep an eye out for signs of illness, and contact your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your chinchilla’s behavior or health.

ThePetFaq Team