How to Clean Your Guinea Pig Cage?
Cleaning out a guinea pig’s cage is just of the many tasks for a responsible pet owner to attend to. Thankfully, this chore isn’t too difficult due to the fact that guinea pigs are mostly good at keeping themselves and their shelters clean.
Grooming is a natural activity that they are quite adept at. Guinea pigs quickly and easily learn where to do their business, and the droppings are small and dry – making the cleanup job relatively fast.
Assuming that you’re using the standard Cubes & Coroplast (C&C) cages, cleaning everything out shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
It should take you about 30 minutes for your first try at cleaning, as you probably won’t be familiar with all the procedures yet. Once you’ve done it a few times though, you’ll be able to finish cleaning in about 10-15 minutes.
Your Guinea Pig’s Home Away from Home
Before you begin, you’ll need to remove your pet from the cage and find a nice, safe place for it to chill out while you’re cleaning its home. A good temporary location is an enclosed area, a box or even a bucket or plastic container.
Leave it with a toy or two and you can set down the guinea pig’s holding bin in a secure and quiet location. Make sure your cat or dog aren’t roaming around the area as the cavy isn’t in its usual place and might be a bit on the edge.
Alternately, cleaning a guinea pig cage is a great opportunity for your pet to have some free-range time. If you have a reliable family member available that has experience with handling cavies, why not take advantage of the time and let your pet have some exercise outside?
10-15 minutes is all the time it will take to finish cleaning up. And by the time you’re done, your cavy will have gotten a good workout and a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Cleaning and Replacing
Cleaning a C&C cage is really easy! Let’s walk through the process of getting your guinea pig’s home smelling brand new and looking fabulous. Here are 4 easy steps to follow when cleaning your cavy’s cage.
- Step 1:
Thoroughly remove all objects and accessories from the cage including the toys and food bowl. If you’re allergic to guinea pigs, remove the cage from the house and do the cleaning outside. Cleaning inside the house always tends to spread excessive amounts of allergens throughout the house and may trigger a reaction even if you’re trying to be really careful.
You can also take this time to thoroughly inspect the objects and check for any mold growth or fungus spores. Wooden blocks and tunnels especially can act as great carriers for different types of fungi.
- Step 2:
Take out the bedding using a dustpan and dispose of it in a large garbage bag or plastic bag. Be aware that it is illegal in certain places to dispose of animal waste in public dumpsters.
Use a spray bottle filled with half water and half white vinegar to clean the sides and bottom of the cage. Wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth once done. You can also add a bit of rubbing alcohol to the final wipe to remove the vinegar smell.
Some owners prefer to use a bleach solution to clean the cage, although it’s not recommended because bleach has harmful chemicals that can be toxic to your guinea pig. However, if you do insist on using bleach, then, at least dilute it heavily. The solution should only have about 10% bleach and 90% water.
- Step 3:
Place fresh bedding in the cage and put everything back in. Your cavies will be happy to see their home nicely cleaned and smelling fresh. You can put an extra layer of newspaper or wood chips under the bedding to create a comfier play area.
Avoid using pine or cedar wood shavings as bedding. These types of wood are toxic to rodents and can cause serious harm. A good alternative is aspen chips or hay.
- Alternate Method
An alternate way to clean up that might be easier is to use the C&C unique design to your advantage. If you’re using a larger 2×4 grid, you can create cleaning flaps by unlocking one of the grids, swinging it open, and sweep everything out directly into a garbage can waiting below.
It can sometimes take quite a while to unhook the grids so this method will take a bit of practice to get used to.
Setting a cleaning schedule is important to ensure that a guinea pig’s cage never gets too dirty. In general, a shelter should have a weekly cleaning session and spot cleaning conducted on a daily basis. One important thing to take note of is that a cavy’s shelter should never smell bad. If it does, it means you’ve probably missed a few cleanings.
The regularity of your cleaning, though, will ultimately depend upon several factors such as the number of guinea pigs in the herd, the frequency and location of their bathroom breaks, and even the age of the animals.