How Do I Stop My Sugar Glider From Smelling?

sugar glider hiding

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Sugar gliders are beautiful animals that make excellent and very loyal pets. However, they can give off quite a pungent odour and this can be off-putting for potential owners.

Sugar gliders that are fed the correct diet likely won’t have a strong smell. However, there are certain foods that can cause your beloved little pet to have a significant whiff. Furthermore, things like hormones and waste can impact how your sugar glider smells.

Fortunately, a stinky sugar glider doesn’t need to be a problem and for the most part, there are things you can do to make sure your pet stays smelling as fresh as possible.

What Makes Sugar Gliders Smell Bad?

There are several reasons why your sugar glider may develop a bad smell. One thing that we must keep in mind is that these are animals, and at the end of the day, all animals are going to have some sort of odour. This is unavoidable.

However, it is unlikely that you are going to want a strong smell every time you walk into the room where your sugar glider lives. The best way to tackle the problem is to find the root cause. The following things may all be to blame for your pets odour.

  • Incorrect diet
  • A dirty cage
  • Urine and faeces
  • Hormonal scents in male gliders

Sugar Glider Diet

Let’s face it, even as humans, there are certain foods that can make us pong a bit. Anyone who enjoys a lot of garlic will know exactly what we are talking about. However, the moment you cut garlic from your diet, the pungent aroma magically disappears.

The same applies to your sugar glider. If they are eating rich foods that their digestive systems have trouble processing, this could result in whiffy gases. That being said, since the sugar gliders diet is made up from high amounts of protein, this can also cause a rather strong stench.

Making sure that you feed your sugar glider the correct diet will help to eliminate some odours but when it comes to those produced by protein, you may have a more difficult time.

There are products that you can use such as Elimina. This spray is designed to be used on your pet’s food and will reduce any odours that are naturally produced. It is harmless to your pet and alters the cells oxygenation, therefore improving digestion.

Cage Cleanliness

One of the most important things to think about when taking care of any animal is that their enclosure is well maintained. If it is not, it doesn’t take long before a nasty smell will begin to develop.

However, when it comes to maintaining your sugar gliders cage, there can be too much of a good thing in terms of cleaning. This is because sugar gliders will mark their territory with urine. This is normal behaviour in a lot of animals but if you remove the scent too much, this will only spur the glider on to mark it more intensely.

sugar glider

For this reason, you should rotate cleaning the cage. Clean some parts of the cage one week while leaving other parts untouched and then switch it around the following week. Of course, you will still want to make sure that your freshen the cage every day, removing poop and uneaten food etc.

You will also need to give the cage a deep clean biannually. In this case, you will need to take it outside and use a proper cage-cleaning product and rise all those hard to reach spots using the garden hose.

Sugar Glider Waste

Your sugar glider needs to pee and poo, there is no getting away from this. But if it is left to fester in the cage, it is going to cause a problematic smell. The product, Elimina, that we discussed earlier will help to improve the odour associated with waste products. However, staying on top of the cage cleanliness is also vital if you want to avoid a bad smell.

Hormonal Scents

Sugar gliders hit puberty at around six months of age and at this time, male gliders will develop a scent gland on their head. You might see this as what looks like a small hairless patch and the males use this to emit an odour to mark their territory.

Additionally, he will also use this scent to attract a mate. This means that, during mating season, the male may emit even more of a pungent aroma. However, there is a reasonably simple solution to this problem in the form of neutering. Speak to your exotic vet who will be able to advise you on this. For the most part, this will eliminate any issues with male scent glands.

Can I Bathe My Sugar Glider?

It’s natural that we would think to bathe our sugar gliders when they’re a little stinky. While this is possible, there are a few things to consider. For example, the sugar glider may develop hypothermia if they are not dried off properly.

If you allow the sugar glider to air dry, this may take too long and the animal will rapidly lose body heat as it dries. However, you must NEVER consider using a blow dryer to dry your pet as this may cause burns and likely a lot of distress for the animal. Furthermore, this type of equipment, that is designed only for human use is known to cause damage to the sugar gliders sensitive eyelids and ears.

If you do bathe your sugar glider, you should dry them using a soft towel, gently drying them until their fur returns to its fluffy, soft state.

In addition to this, you should consider that, when bathing a sugar glider, you won’t be able to use human products like soaps and shampoos. This is because they are not designed for sugar gliders and could cause a skin reaction.

Sugar gliders may become a little stinky from time to time but they are generally pretty good at grooming themselves. For this reason, we would always advise allowing your pet to take care of their own hygiene. If your sugar glider appears unable to groom itself, then it is a good idea to seek help from your vet.


Sugar gliders can sometimes give off a very noticeable, and not very pleasant, aroma. But for the most part, they should not smell bad. Some of the most common causes for sugar glider smells are their diet, hormonal scent glands and a lack of cage cleanliness.

Upon addressing these issues, you will likely find that your sugar glider smells much nicer. While it can be tempting to bathe them, you should think about the negative effects that this may have.

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