Some of the easiest small pets to care for that don’t smell are hamsters, gerbils, fancy rats, and rabbits. Apart from being very clean, these critters are also very cuddly and affectionate, and once you find a good large cage for a big hamster, keeping their home clean and tidy won’t be a problem.
Since a hamster lives, plays, eats and goes to the bathroom all in its cage, one would assume that this type of pet is not very clean, but that is not the case at all. In fact, hamsters are not smelly animals and they can keep themselves very clean. The odors that come from a hamster’s cage can most of the times be attributed to a lack of care from the owner.
The cage of your furry companion needs to be properly maintained since if you don’t keep the enclosure clean, the waste won’t disappear and in fact, it will only start to smell worse unless the owner takes the time to clean the bedding.
The bedding should be removed and the cage should be cleaned once a week, and if you have multiple hamsters in the same cage, this process should be done at least twice a week or once the smell becomes noticeable.
As long as you keep the cage clean, hamsters are creatures that clean themselves almost obsessively. If you ever take a moment to look at a hamster you will see that it likes to spend most of its waking moments cleaning itself with its tiny paws.
Hamsters do not need to be bathed with water since any contact with it will lead to the loss of the protective oil found in their fur which in turn will cause sickness and even death. The oils inside their furs help protect their skin and keep them well-insulated.
If you do happen to notice that your hamster produces a foul smell, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. As stated above, these critters are very clean and a foul odor is usually indicative of sickness such as dental or intestinal problems.
Because they are desert animals, gerbils have evolved to be very good at absorbing almost everything from what they eat and drink. They do not need a lot of water to survive, which means that they urinate less often compared to other small rodents. Since most of the odor that pets leave come from the urine in their cage, this makes gerbils almost odorless pets.
Furthermore, while most animals use their urine to mark their territory, gerbils do not participate in this behavior. Instead, they use a scent gland which is located on their stomach, another evolutionary trait that helps reduce the urine production even further.
An added bonus of the small amount of urine that gerbils produce is the fact that it makes them easier to look after since you’ll not have to clean their home as often as is the case with other pets. Removing the bedding and cleaning the cage once every two to four weeks should be more than enough (more often if you have more gerbils or a small cage).
Another potential source of bad odor are feces and because gerbils are experts at absorbing nutrients from their food, their poop is small and hard, so it does not smell much and it is very easy to clean. Furthermore, their fur is also generally odorless – it may have a faint specific smell but nothing foul that you couldn’t stand.
Apart from instances where you forget to clean their habitat, gerbils can start to smell when they are scared, stressed, or suffering from illness. You should take your furry companion to a vet if it starts smelling unpleasantly or unusually.
Rats have a very bad reputation since most of us tend to picture a vicious and dirty pest responsible for the black plague. In the case of fancy rats, this is not actually the case since they are in fact very clean rodents and they should not smell bad at all.
Fancy rats are the domesticated form of the brown rat, and they are the most common species of pet rats that you can get. While it is true that regular rats can have a very strong body odor, this species can keep itself very clean and does not have a natural body odor.
As is the case with any pet that lives in an enclosed space, if its home is not cleaned thoroughly and frequently enough, bad smells will undoubtedly start to become noticeable in your home. You should take the time to pull everything out of the cage and wash it properly at least once a week. Depending on the size of the cage, this should not take more than 5-10 minutes.
Thus, as long as you clean up after your pet rat on a regular basis, it should not smell. Proper care of its habitat is a must, and any instances of foul odors coming from the pet itself should be met with a quick visit to the veterinarian.
While rabbits are very furry, they do not have a body odor like dogs for example. There are instances where they can start to smell such as when they are sick or have an infection or when an intact male rabbit is around a female, in which case it will begin to produce a musky scent. Otherwise, as long as you look after them, rabbits are very clean animals.
The feces that a healthy rabbit produces are also almost entirely odorless, firm and dry. If they do start to smell or begin to have a watery consistency, you might have to contact the vet to have your pet checked for parasites or another illness.
The only smelly waste that rabbits produce is the urine, which has a very distinctive ammonia-tinged odor, which is particularly strong immediately after urination. Additionally, the urine that a male rabbit produces tends to be much stronger than that of a female, since they use it to mark their territory. Males will also urinate more often.
You can reduce the odors of your rabbit by having it spayed or neutered since this will cause the musky odor in the urine to become milder and less offensive. It will also stop male rabbits from spraying urine to mark their territory which in turn will make it much easier for you to keep their habitat clean.
Tips to reduce pet odors
There are many tips that you can use to reduce pet odors apart from keeping their cage clean and replacing the bedding frequently. The first one may seem obvious, but it is highly efficient. Keeping the windows open will let fresh air into the house, and when combined with a fan it can help circulate air and keep your home odor-free.
You can also use odor absorbers or air fresheners, but make sure to avoid spray air fresheners since they are harmful not only to the pets but yourself and the environment as well. There are also many fragrant candles that are made to disguise pet odors, and they also work at getting rid of cooking, garbage, or bathroom odors.
If you do have the money, you can also invest in a high-quality air purifier or neutralizer. These nifty products use filters to remove odors, and they can also improve the overall quality of the air you breathe by removing dust, pet dander, and other impurities.
It is important to remember that all of these tips will only help keep the odors under control, and the most effective solution is to set a cleaning schedule that you can adhere to and follow.