While it may look like guinea pigs are more of a low-maintenance kind of pet, as we’ve already discussed in this article, there are a few aspects that you should absolutely get right if you want a healthy and happy life for your little furry friend. Picking or building the right guinea pig cage is one of the most important ones, but so is keeping said habitat clean and safe for your pet.
Sure, you know the theory – the enclosure and the little cavy must be cleaned regularly. But the people at the pet shop didn’t tell you how often and what exactly that means.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! This article will guide you through the whole process of cleaning and maintaining a safe and healthy cage for your little piglet, as well as how to keep him or her comfortable while you tidy it up.
Move The Guinea Pig into A Temporary Location
Before you start cleaning up, you will have to move your pet into a safe temporary location. It’s very important to handle the guinea pig gently and with care but at the same time, firmly enough so that it won’t fall.
Little rodents are usually nervous and squeamish, so be extra careful when taking them out of their cages – the last thing you want is your pet getting scared by a loud noise, jumping out of your hands and getting injured.
When moving your guinea pig, make sure that the temporary location is safe and enclosed. You don’t want him or her to run away and hide while you clean its usual enclosure. You can even have a small hiding place set up for him or her in the temporary location, as piglets feel safer if they have a place to hide in if scared.
Most guinea pigs need to be brushed daily, so why not use this opportunity to groom or even bathe him or her? It’s probably easiest for you to do it when the pet is out of its cage and it might make the whole experience less scary for them.
You don’t need to do a thorough cleaning of the cage everyday, but you still need to make sure that you provide a healthy and safe habitat for your little friend.
After making sure that your piglet is happy and secure in its temporary location, the first thing that you will want to do is discard any uneaten food, waste or damp hay. You also need to check for any spots or particularly dirty areas. Wipe off any dirt marks with a wet paper towel.
Pieces of bedding and droppings will often get into your guinea pig’s food or water bowl. So, in order to prevent bacterial infections, it’s very important to wash these containers with hot water and soap on a daily basis.
After you made sure that the cage and the food and water bowls are all dry and clean, you can refresh the water and food supplies, as well as the hay pellets.
Alongside the daily spot-cleanings, you should also be prepared to do a more in-depth weekly cleaning of your guinea pig’s living enclosure. This will help the long-term health and safety of the pet, as well as keeping the cage in better conditions for longer.
First of all, after making sure that your fuzzy friend is in its safe temporary location, you will have to remove all the items from your pet’s cage. From toys to hiding nests, absolutely every object must be taken out of the habitat.
All the items that can be washed should be cleaned with hot, soapy water. It’s best to use detergent for sensitive skin if you have any materials that should be cleaned as well. This process will prevent bacterial development and will eliminate nasty smells from your cavy’s cage.
Next, you will have to remove and dispose of any other material from the cage – everything from dirty bedding to droppings and paper lining. It is recommended to use disposable plastic gloves for this step of the process.
You then have to thoroughly scrub the inside of the enclosure with a combination of mild detergent and hot water. To fully disinfect the cage, it is recommended to spray it with a mix of one part distilled white vinegar and two parts water. If there are any persistent stains that bother you, you can use undiluted vinegar – but be extra-careful to clean it afterwards.
In the next step, you will want to thoroughly rinse the entirety of the cage with hot water. Do not stop until you’re sure that the vinegar odor has been taken care of and that there is no residue from the disinfectant left on the habitat.
In the end, use paper towels to completely dry the cage and all of the items that you washed previously. You want to avoid any dampness or moisture that can lead to mold problems, as these can rapidly get your pet ill.
Rebuilding Your Guinea Pig’s Cage
After you made sure that the cage is completely dry, you can start putting everything back into place. Start by lining it with a clean newspaper and then add fresh bedding or litter. The bedding should be about 1-3 inches deep.
Now it’s time to arrange, or rather rearrange, your guinea pig’s items. You can change the placement of his or her toys and hiding areas, as rediscovering the habitat will give your piglet an exciting adventure when returned to it.
Before putting your furry friend back in the cage, add fresh water, food and hay into their respective holders. There’s no harm in hiding a few treats for your piglet to make his return more exciting.
Now that you’ve done all of this, it’s time for your furry little friend to return to its home.