Guinea pigs are great pets for anyone looking for a fuzzy companion. If you have allergies that prohibit you from owning a dog or cat, you don’t have the space for a more physically intense animal, or you, or your child, are novice pet owners, a guinea pig is a great choice of furry companion. Guinea pigs and their supplies are not generally expensive, they are easy to care for, and they are friendly, social animals with unique and surprising personalities. One of the most common qualms amongst potential guinea pig parents is the smell common amongst other members of the rodent family. If not properly cared for, guinea pig cages can emit an unpleasant odor, however, by washing the cage regularly and properly, this can be avoided quite easily if you just know how to clean a guinea pig cage. Do this, and you will be a pro pig parent in no time.
Step 1: Gathering your supplies
While you clean your guinea pig’s cage, you will need to figure out something to do with your furry friend. To do this, you need to find a way to keep your pig confined and protected from people and other animals. Foldable playpen or large plastic play balls, large hollow balls that allow them to roll around the house, are a couple of the best solutions. You can also use an empty cardboard box with a few toys or some food. Guinea pigs are not avid climbers and are content as long as they have something to chew on and are away from any larger animals, they are safe.
Fresh Lining for the Cage
One thing that will make your life much easier in the future is using a lining for the bottom of the cage. In pet stores, you can find plastic linings; you can also use newspaper or packing paper. Before you put the bedding in the guinea pig cage, lay down at least one layer of the lining of your choice. When your guinea pig pees or poops, the bedding can clump and stick to the base of their cage. By keeping a layer of newspaper under the bedding, you cut down on the amount of time you have to spend scraping clumped up poop or pee on the base of the cage.
Cleaner for the Cage
Once all of the bedding is removed, you need to wash the cage with cleaner to keep the cage smell free and to remove any remaining bits of guinea pig poop and pee, dust, and germs. You need to be careful using chemical cleaners as they can be harmful to your pig and can leave residue behind. Instead, you can use kid and pet-friendly cleaners, including baby wipes. You can also make your own cleaner with equal parts white vinegar and water and use an old washcloth to wipe down the cage. When you use a cleaner, make sure the cage is completely dry before replacing the bedding. You can do this quickly by wiping down the cage with a dry washcloth.
Step 2: How to Clean Your Guinea Pig’s Cage
You can clean your guinea pig’s cage with one of two easy ways. Keep in mind, every time you clean your guinea’s cage, you need to change the bedding, wash any toys, bowls, and huts. Additionally, you may need to spot clean the bottom of the cage in case there are clumps on the plastic bottom. You can also use this opportunity to thoroughly clean out the water bottle and change any toys to give your guinea some variety.
Method 1: The Lining and Dust Pan Method
This way is the easiest but it can be quite tedious. To do this, you remove any toys, bowls, and guinea huts that are in the cage and use the liner or newspaper to lift the bedding out of the cage and into a trash can. Once all of the bedding has been removed, wipe it down with the cleaner of your choosing and replace the bedding, bowls, toys, and house.
Method 2: The Cleaning Flap Method
For this method, you cut a door into the side of the cage and secure it so that it can be swung open for cleaning. When you get ready to clean your pig’s cage, you push the bedding out of the door into a trash can and then continue with washing the cage. The creation and installation can take quite a while and it does not cut down much on cleaning time, however, it does provide an option for those who are more squeamish about touching pig poop.
How Often Should You Clean Your Guinea Cage?
The Daily Grind
You now know what to do, but how often should you do it? To keep your pig happy and healthy, you should consider spot cleaning your guinea pig’s cage every day or two. To do this, dump old, uneaten food and replace it with fresh food. If you provide your pigs with fresh fruits or veggies, it is best to make sure they are taken out and replaced before they go bad. You should also dump and rinse out their water bottle and replace it with fresh water. You can also look for spots with a considerable amount of waste and clean only those areas. Your pig’s cage should never smell. Doing this every day or every few days will help keep your house smell-free, even as you approach cleaning day.
The Big Haul
It is difficult to give an exact amount of time as to exactly how often you should strip clean and wash your pig’s cage, however, once every two weeks often works well for pig parents. If you change your pig’s food, your pig is stressed, or your pig happens to poop more than average, then you may need to accelerate your cleaning schedule. Additionally, if you have allergies, you will likely want to take the cage outside to prevent any dust and hair from staying in the house.
If you have any concerns or questions about any supplies or you are concerned for the wellbeing of your pig, consult the consultants at your local pet store for more guidance and instructions.