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What is the brown liquid in my guinea pig cage?

Quick Answer

The brown liquid in a guinea pig’s cage is most likely urine. Guinea pigs urinate frequently and their urine can range from clear to brownish in color. A buildup of urine in the cage can turn brown over time as it oxidizes and reacts with the bedding and cage materials. While some discoloration is normal, a sudden change to dark brown may indicate dehydration or a potential health issue that requires veterinary attention. Proper cage cleaning and replacing absorbent bedding regularly can help prevent excessive urine buildup.

What Causes Brown Urine in Guinea Pigs?

Here are some potential reasons why your guinea pig’s urine may be brown:

Concentrated Urine

Normal guinea pig urine can range from clear to yellow or light brown. The more concentrated the urine, the darker the color. Guinea pigs produce concentrated urine as an evolutionary adaptation to conserve water. Factors like inadequate water intake, hot temperatures, or medical issues can lead to very concentrated brown urine.


Some foods and treats like carrots, kale, and beetroots contain pigments that can tint a guinea pig’s urine brown or reddish. The color change is harmless, but monitor portion sizes of high calcium veggies to prevent bladder stones.


Certain antibiotics or pain medications can turn a guinea pig’s urine brown. Follow dosage instructions carefully and monitor for side effects. Consult a vet if you have concerns over medication discoloration.

Bladder or Kidney Problems

Dark brown, bloody, or unusual smelling urine may indicate cystitis, bladder stones, kidney disease, or other medical issues requiring veterinary care. Guinea pigs are prone to UTIs so prompt treatment is important.


Inadequate water intake can concentrate a guinea pig’s urine into a dark brown color. Dehydration requires immediate veterinary treatment to prevent kidney damage. Ensure fresh water is always available.


Senior guinea pigs may develop age-related kidney issues leading to brown urine. Have your vet examine elderly pigs displaying significant urine color changes.

Fecal Contamination

Urine mixing with feces or caked bedding can also create a brown color. Clean the cage thoroughly and monitor for paranormal urine. Seek medical advice if it persists.

Is Brown Urine Normal in Guinea Pigs?

A healthy guinea pig’s urine can range from clear to light yellow or brownish in color. As a prey animal, guinea pigs instinctively hide signs of illness, so any significant change in urine color, especially towards dark brown, should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Here are some guidelines on normal vs abnormal guinea pig urine:

Normal urine:

  • Clear, yellowish or light brown
  • No foul or strong odor
  • Smooth, glossy texture
  • Small to moderate amounts

Abnormal urine:

  • Dark brown, reddish, or bloody
  • Cloudy, gritty texture
  • Strong ammonia-like smell
  • Sticky residue in cage
  • Much larger amounts than usual
  • Difficulty or strain urinating

Guinea pigs normally urinate frequently in small amounts. Dramatic changes in urine volume, color, or character can signify dehydration, infections, bladder stones, cancer, kidney problems, and other conditions requiring veterinary diagnosis.

How to Clean Up Brown Urine

Here are some tips for cleaning up brown urine stains in your guinea pig’s cage:

Remove Bedding

Discard any soiled absorbent bedding material, like aspen shavings, paper, or hay. Urine-soaked bedding can contribute to brown discoloration.

Rinse Cage

Use a guinea pig-safe cleaning solution to wash down the cage bottom and platforms. Avoid harsh chemicals. Rinse thoroughly.

Vinegar Soak

For tough stains, make a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. Soak stained areas for 20 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda generously on urine stains. Let sit for a few hours before vacuuming. Baking soda helps absorb odors.

Air Dry

After cleaning, allow the cage to completely air dry before adding fresh bedding. Trapped moisture can encourage bacterial growth.

Spot Clean Often

Frequently removing soiled bedding prevents buildup of brown stains. Daily spot cleaning maintains a healthy environment.

How to Prevent Excess Brown Urine

Here are some tips to help keep your guinea pig’s urine a normal color and prevent excessive brown discoloration:

Provide Fresh Water

Always make sure clean, fresh water is available. Change water daily and clean bottles/bowls regularly to encourage drinking.

Use Absorbent Bedding

Aspen shavings, recycled paper bedding, or fleece blankets over absorbent pads effectively wick away urine. Change frequently.

Spot Clean Daily

Quick daily spot cleans to remove soiled bedding prevents urine buildup. Fully wash cage once or twice weekly.

Check Diet

Avoid overfeeding carrots, beets, and other pigmented foods. Too much calcium from veggies can also lead to stones.

Visit the Vet

Have your guinea pig evaluated for any underlying illness if urine remains frequently dark brown despite prevention efforts.

Provide a Hideaway

Guinea pigs feel safest urinating and defecating in a covered shelter area. Provide an igloo hideaway if cage lacks a solid shelter space.

When to See a Vet About Brown Urine

Contact your exotic vet if your guinea pig has:

– Sudden dark brown or bloody urine
– Straining or difficulty urinating
– Strong odor or cloudy urine
– Increased thirst and urination
– Lethargy, decreased appetite
– Hunched posture, tender belly

Dark brown urine plus other symptoms can indicate:

– Urinary tract infection
– Bladder stones or sludge
– Kidney or liver disease
– Diabetes
– Cancer
– Gastrointestinal obstruction

Guinea pigs often hide illness until severe. Any significant change in urine color or character, especially accompanied by other symptoms, warrants prompt veterinary attention for your piggy.

The Bottom Line

A small amount of light brown urine is normal for guinea pigs. But significant dark brown or unusual urine requires medical investigation. Provide plenty of fresh water, use highly absorbent cage bedding, and clean the cage thoroughly and often to prevent excessive urine buildup. See a vet right away if your guinea pig has dark, bloody, or smelly urine indicative of a potential health problem needing treatment. With prompt attention to changes in urine color along with proper housing hygiene and veterinary care as needed, you can keep your guinea pig’s urine a normal light color and prevent issues associated with excessive brown discoloration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my guinea pig’s urine brown?

Common reasons for brown guinea pig urine include concentrated urine due to dehydration, diet, medications, bladder/kidney problems, advanced age, or fecal contamination.

Is brown pee normal for guinea pigs?

Clear, yellowish, or light brown urine is normal but dark brown or reddish urine can signal dehydration or health problems needing veterinary attention.

How do I clean brown stains in my guinea pig cage?

Remove soiled bedding, wash the cage with an appropriate cleaner, use a vinegar soak for tough stains, and allow the cage to completely dry before adding fresh bedding.

How do I keep my guinea pig from peeing brown urine?

Provide unlimited fresh water, use highly absorbent bedding, spot clean the cage daily, avoid pigmented foods, and get medical care for any underlying illness.

When should I take my guinea pig to the vet for brown urine?

Contact your vet promptly if the urine is dark brown or bloody, smells strongly, or is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy or straining to urinate.

Urine Color Meaning
Clear/Yellow Normal
Cloudy Potential infection
Light Brown Concentrated urine
Dark Brown Concerning, see vet
Red/Bloody Medical emergency

This table summarizes guinea pig urine colors and what they typically indicate, ranging from normal clear or yellow urine to potentially serious red or bloody urine requiring immediate veterinary treatment.


In summary, brown urine in your guinea pig’s cage is most likely from normal urination, especially if the color is light brown. Guinea pigs instinctively conserve water resulting in concentrated, darker urine. But significant dark brown, bloody, or abnormal smelling urine can signal serious medical problems. Ensure your guinea pig stays well hydrated, use highly absorbent cage bedding, spot clean daily, avoid overfeeding pigmented foods, and seek veterinary care if urine remains persistently dark brown. Addressing changes in urine color quickly along with proper housing maintenance can help keep your guinea pig’s urine a healthy light color and protect its wellbeing.