Cage Cleaning

Keeping a guinea pigs home clean and as dry as possible can help towards better health for your guinea pig. Its also more comfortable for guinea pigs to live in a clean environment. A clean cage helps bacterial growth to slow down, which may prevent your guinea pigs getting urinary tract infections. How frequently you clean your cage depends on your cage size and the amount of guinea pigs that are kept in the cage. Here I will explain how and when I clean out my guinea pigs cages. Everyday I do what I call a 'spot clean' then on the 5th day I clean the cages out thoroughly.

Spot Cleaning
When I spot clean I don't remove my piggies from their cage, its so large I can herd them to the other side while I'm working on the opposite end of the cage. Every morning I remove most of the poops and wet patches and if needed, replace any bald areas with clean kiln dried pine shavings and replace the hay in the bedding area. I change all the hay every other day as I buy the hay in bales, its very economical. My guinea pigs tend to wee and poop more in their sleeping area which could also mean in a piggy igloo, a log tunnel or anywhere my guinea pigs enjoy sleeping. Often those areas are more soiled than other areas. I do the spot clean in the evening too, its surprising how much guinea pigs produce in just 12 hours!

Bowls and Bottles
As well as doing a spot clean each day, I also throw any uneaten pellets away from their food bowl. Usually there's only a few pellets left so hardly any is wasted. Just wash any bowls as though you are washing your normal pots (but not together), rinse well and throughly dry the food bowl and add fresh pellets. Next job is the water bowls and bottles. I sometimes have to change the water bowls two to three times a day because of the odd bit of stray bedding getting in. I wash the water bowl and replace with fresh clean water. I then empty all the water out of the bottles and refill with fresh water.

Once a week I throughly wash the bottles with a bottle brush. This helps to keep the bottles clean and free of algae. If you have a build up of algae, then the bottles aren't kept clean enough. Also check the spout and the ball bearing to make sure its clean and isn't blocked. In warmer weather, guinea pigs will appreciate fresh cool water, so its wise to change the water in the bottle a couple of times a day. Keep an eye on the water level in warm weather as you may find your guinea pigs fluid intake increases.

On day 5 I thoroughly clean the cages out. Here's a step by step guide to showing you how I clean my cages

Step 1
I start by removing my piggies from their cage and allow them to run-around in the room. Always making sure there are no reachable wires or plants for them to nibble. A word of caution, guinea pigs seem to love nibbling on plastic bags, so keep them well out of reach if they are running about in the same room. Another safety precaution, is to either lock any doors or if its an inner door that can't be locked, place a large sign on the door, 'Guinea Pigs Out and About' This will alert family members that the piggies are out, just incase a guinea pig decides to place itself behind a door.

Step 2
My guinea pigs cages have 3 layers, first a layer newspaper, then a layer of kiln dried pine shavings, topped with a layer of hay. See my page on Guinea Pig Bedding for more information. I simply roll the newspaper and then use a dustpan and brush set to clean up any remaining bedding.

Step 3
I wipe around the base and sides of the cage using a cloth and a safe animal disinfectant, which is specially made for small animal cages. I leave the disinfectant on for roughly 10 minutes then wipe away with kitchen towel. Using a safe disinfectant helps to stop the build up of bacteria and helps to keep your guinea pigs cage clean.

Once the cage is clean and dry, I then add a layer of newspaper. For thickness, I use several layers of newspaper, this helps with warmth and absorbency. A good idea is to place the newspaper width ways in a C & C cage as you can then roll each section up easier.

I then add a layer of kiln-dried shavings on top of the newspaper. Try and make it fairly flat, removing any clumps. Try to see it as a guinea pigs mattress, you wouldn't want a lumpy bed would you?

Finally I add a good layer of fresh meadow hay. Remember to check the hay thoroughly for thistle, any strange looking plants and even objects like milk bottle tops.

Remember to clean any home comforts that you have in the cage. You can use a safe animal disinfectant to clean igloo's out etc. If you use cardboard boxes, replace them regular as they will become stained very quickly.

Here are Jasmine, Jake and Sweetpea in their nice clean cage

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