Caring for guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) is a privilege that involves a commitment of both time and effort. Owning cavies isn't only about feeding them properly and giving them plenty of positive attention; it's also about making sure that their living environments are always as clean and comfortable as can be.
Regular Cleaning Sessions
Clean your guinea pigs' enclosure a minimum of once weekly, no matter what. Guinea pigs are highly social critters and many owners keep several of them in the same cage. If this is the case for you, you might need to clean the cage a little more often. Since guinea pigs are innately tidy creatures, they often get extremely frustrated and stressed out when they're in the middle of grubby surroundings. Keep your guinea pigs content and relaxed by thoroughly cleaning their cage frequently.
When you clean your guinea pigs' cage, use warm water that is mixed in with biodegradable soap. You can also use a gentle disinfectant of one part white vinegar and three parts H20. Never keep your guinea pigs in the cage as you clean. When you clean, place them in a secure temporary environment, such as a transport carrier, with ample ventilation. Diligently scour the enclosure with the water mixture. Get everything from the ground to the wire. Eliminate all remnants of stool matter and urine, if you see any. When you're done, carefully rinse the entire enclosure. Then pat it down so it isn't even remotely damp. Never allow your cavies in a wet or even slightly moist environment.
Daily Cage Upkeep
Extensive weekly cage cleaning is crucial for guinea pigs' well-being, and daily upkeep is, too. If your cavies' bedding is messy with any signs of urine or stool matter, take it out and bring in brand new bedding immediately. Also wash all of your pets' food containers daily. Cleanse their meal dishes and water bottles using warm water blended with biodegradable soap.
While you don't want to make your guinea pigs nervous and exhausted and take them out of their cages every day for extensive cleaning sessions, you definitely want to make sure that they're never in filthy surroundings. If an unpleasant odor ever emanates from your cavies' enclosure, it's a sign that a cleaning session is overdue. Refreshing their bedding routinely usually prevents bad odors, too.
Don't just use anything to clean your guinea pigs' cage. Many common household products can actually be hazardous to cavies. Refrain from employing any products that consist of phenolics, for example. These compounds are poisonous to guinea pigs, and therefore are a major no-no. Avoid employing any products that include aggressive chemicals, too. If you ever have any questions about what to use to clean your pets' cage, consult a veterinarian.
- Self-Reliant Living; Walter Szykitka
- The Guinea Pig Handbook; Sharon Lynn Vanderlip
- SmallAnimalChannel.com: Guinea Pig Cage Maintenance
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Guinea Pigs - Good Practice for Housing and Care
- SPCA Cincinnati: Guinea Pigs
- MSPCA Angell: Guinea Pig Care & Adoption
- Animal Welfare League Queensland: Guinea Pig New Owner Guide
- Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images