Regular cage cleanings are essential for healthy guinea pigs. Apart from healthy guinea pigs, these cleanings also help you with odor control. After all, no one wants to contend with the smell of guinea pigs every day.
Why Guinea Pig Cage Cleanings are Important
The biggest reason for cage cleanings is the health of your guinea pigs. Living in their own waste is not humane. On top of that, it can create health problems. For example, the constant moisture can soften their footpads past the point of recovery, the urine can upset their natural skin balance, or infection-causing bacteria could grow.
The other reason for cage cleanings is the odors associated with guinea pig waste. Depending on the type of bedding, the smell may or may not become excessive in short periods of time. The accumulation is enough to bother even folks without sensitive noses if left too long. Setting up a cage cleaning routine is an excellent way to avoid this.
How Often Should Guinea Pig Cages I Do Cage Cleanings?
There is no hard and fast answer for how often guinea pig cage cleanings should occur. Factors for this decision include the number of guinea pigs, type of bedding, overall space, and odor tolerance. However, general guidance includes cleaning at least once a week.
Typically, fleece requires the most involvement of any bedding. You need to sweep up solid waste at least once each day. You also need to confirm that the top layer of fleece is not wet. This check is particularly important when your guinea pig first comes home since you do not know their particular habits.
Paper, composite, and wood shavings (only use aspen!) go more off when the odor becomes overwhelming. This timeline varies since guinea pigs are individuals, and the space you keep them in is a factor. Make sure you do this at least once a week, in any case.
The Guinea Pig Center Method of Cage Cleanings
The tricks with cage cleanings for guinea pigs is scheduling and keeping it easy. The Guinea Pig Center used to clean on Saturdays, no ifs, ands, or buts involved. Knowing that this activity happened on Saturdays let us plan for it.
The other trick is keeping it simple. If a cage cleaning is going to take an hour, you’ll be more reluctant to do it. Instead, if it takes ten minutes, it’s not nearly so daunting. In the interest of sanity, let’s aim for ten minutes.
The key to quick cage cleaning is layers. At Guinea Pig Center, we put plastic against the pan, cover that with packing paper, and then add composite bedding. The paper and bedding prevent the guinea pigs from getting to the plastic, while the plastic forms a waterproof barrier over the pan.
When cage cleaning time came around, cleaning was then easier. The plastic could be rolled like a sushi roll, leaving you with an easy to dispose of package. That beats trying to shake loose bedding into a bag for disposal and washing the pans every week. The guinea pigs appreciated the reduced laundry basket time too.