June 19, 2019
How to Clean a Guinea Pig Cage
Maintaining a clean living space is vital to your guinea pig’s health. A sanitary habitat helps prevent respiratory illnesses that could result in expensive veterinary bills and possibly even a shorter lifespan for your pet. Read on to learn about some of the best guinea pig cage cleaning practices Oxbow recommends.
A guinea pig’s habitat should be completely cleaned at least once a week. This includes:
- Situating your guinea pig in a pet-proofed exercise pen with a hide,
- Properly disposing of all used litter and bedding in the habitat,
- Washing all hideouts and fabric-based items in your pet’s home,
- Using a safe cleaner to wipe down the habitat,
- Replacing fresh litter, bedding, and clean accessories into the habitat, and
- Setting your guinea pig back into their habitat.
This weekly cleaning routine should also include scrubbing the interior and exterior of all water sources (bottles and crocks) and food bowls to remove any food or bacterial build up.
In addition to cleaning your guinea pig’s habitat & accessories completely once a week, spot cleaning should be done daily. Spot cleaning can be done by removing soiled litter and bedding with a small food or litter scoop. Common areas that need to be spot cleaned in your guinea pig’s home are the corners of the habitat, and in or under any hiding spaces. Make sure to spot clean any other areas where your guinea pig tends to spend their time relaxing. After removing the soiled material, add new litter and bedding as needed.
The ideal cage cleaner will be marked as safe for small animals and will be free of any harsh scents. If you have trouble finding a cage cleaner, distilled white vinegar and water can be mixed into a clean spray bottle (1:1 ratio) and used in your guinea pig’s habitat. Use a spare washcloth to wipe down the habitat, then rinse the habitat with plain water to remove any remaining residue or smell. The habitat should be completely dry before adding new litter and bedding.
If your guinea pig has recently been sick, ask your exotics veterinarian what they’d recommend using to clean the habitat. This way you can ensure your pet does not get sick again or spread the same illness to other animals.
Spot cleaning and weekly cage cleaning should be part of your regular routine! You can include these tasks in a weekly planner or set reminders on your phone if you find you have trouble remembering. In addition to strengthening the bond between you and your pet, interacting with your guinea pig for at least an hour a day will also help you remember daily and weekly cleanings.
If you find multiple damp spots in your pet’s habitat on cleaning day but already spot cleaned, that might be a sign that your pet’s habitat needs to be fully cleaned more than once a week. Check that your pet’s water bottle is not leaking, and monitor your pet’s drinking and urination habits; excessive water-drinking or urination could be a sign of illness that requires a vet visit.
Moisture Control + Comfort = A Happy Pet
Oxbow’s Eco-Straw litter is compostable! Simply dispose of soiled Eco-Straw in your own compost pile or in your commercial compost bin.
It’s great to have absorbent bedding, but bedding should primarily act as soft, relaxing nesting material for your pet. Ideally, a small animal litter that wicks moisture away from your pet’s bedding should make up the bottom layer of the habitat (approximately 1 inch thick), with approximately 2 inches of a safe bedding material placed over the litter.
Quick Tip: Upgrade!
- Larger habitats provide more living space for your pet
- A larger habitat + daily spot cleaning = less residue (and less elbow grease!)
- Daily access to a pet-proofed exercise space is also essential