How Often Should You Clean a Guinea Pig's Cage?

How Often Should You Clean a Guinea Pig's Cage?

If your cavy's cage is smelly, you're likely wondering, "How often should I clean a guinea pig's cage?"

Guinea pig enclosures require daily maintenance to keep them odor-free and ensure your furry friend is healthy and happy.

So, I've gathered all the information you need for a clean cage and a few tips to make your job easy! 

Just keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper cage hygiene prevents life-threatening infections and respiratory problems in guinea pigs.¬†
  • Piggy parents should remove soiled bedding and droppings on a daily basis to keep the environment as clean as possible.¬†
  • Using guinea pig cage liners and litter training your cavy makes it easy to keep the cage clean.¬†

Why Should You Keep the Guinea Pig Cage Clean? 

First, let's discuss why proper cage hygiene is so important. You'll wonder about skipping your duties because keeping your cavy's cage spot clean can be more challenging than expected. 

While healthy guinea pigs don't smell, their enclosure quickly gets stinky when you don't clean it. And the odor can build up, making it hard to eliminate. 

Besides keeping bad odors at bay, regular cleaning reduces the risk of infections and common diseases. According to studies, dirty environment is the main culprit for two medical problems: (1)

  • Bumblefoot:¬†It's a bacterial infection that affects your piggy's sensitive feet and can be life-threatening for your floffy ball.
  • Respiratory infections:¬†Cavies have a sensitive respiratory system and can get sick from dust, irritants, and bacteria.

Moreover, dirty enclosures are a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They can make not only your piggy sick but also you! 

So, how often should you clean your guinea pig cage? You'd be surprised by how much cage maintenance these floofy balls need! 

How Often Should You Clean Your Guinea Pig Cage?

Cavies are small animals, but they pee and poop a lot throughout the day. And since cavies are social animals and should live in pairs, they can generate quite the waste for a short period of time.

Moreover, piggies are curious and active animals, so they can create quite a mess by chewing on their bedding or hiding their food in corners or inside their hideout. 

cleaning guinea pig droppings

So, piggy parents must perform daily spot cleaning to maintain a clean environment. Here's what spot cleaning  means:

  • Remove droppings, soiled bedding, and excess food.
  • Check corners and the hiding area for wet spots and droppings.¬†
  • Put dry bedding, refill the water bottle, and provide fresh food.

Usually, I spot-clean the enclosure once in the morning and once in the evening as part of my daily routine so I don't forget about it. You can also set reminders on your phone to help you remember. 

But is that all you have to do for a healthy environment?

Unfortunately, not --piggy parents must also deep clean the enclosure. And how often? Let's find out!  

How Often Should You Deep Clean Your Cavy's Cage? 

Guinea pig cages require thorough washing with a pet-friendly disinfectant at least once a week. But depending on a few factors, you may have to deep clean more often:

  • Number of piggies: For two or three piggies, a weekly cleaning is enough. But if you have a large colony, it's better to deep clean at least twice.¬†
  • Illness: When your pet is sick (especially with diarrhea), washing the enclosure more often is better to prevent the spread of disease to your other animals.
  • Age: Older cavies might have weaker bladder and bowel control than younger ones.¬†¬†

And now, let's talk about what deep cleaning means for piggy parents.

How to Deep Clean a Guinea Pig's Cage? 

Here's what you must do to deep clean your piggy's enclosure:

  • Get your pets out of the cage and put them in a pet-proofed enclosure (carrier, exercise pen, etc).¬†
  • Remove the soiled bedding. Depending on the type of bedding, you may have to scrape it off the bottom of the enclosure to throw it away or just put it in the washing machine.¬†
  • Use a small broom and a dustpan to sweep any leftover hay, food, and droppings.
  • Remove all accessories and toys. Clean the food bowls with soapy water and the water bottle with a bottle brush.¬†
  • Wash the bottom and sides with hot water, then disinfect. You can use pet-friendly disinfectants or a homemade solution of white vinegar and water.¬†
  • Wash any smelly accessories and inspect them for damage.¬†
  • Wait for the enclosure to dry, and return all the accessories and toys.¬†Put your cavy back in its guinea pig housing and provide fresh food and water.

Honestly, all these steps can take a couple of hours, depending on the enclosure size and how much dirt has accumulated. 

Ricardo the guinea pig in his clean cage

I usually deep clean on the weekends when I have plenty of spare time and don't have to rush. And I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that help me, which I'll share with you! 

3 Tips for a Clean Guinea Pig Cage

As experts from the RSPCA say, "Cage cleaning is stressful for some rodents, and may also be a stressor for guinea pigs." (2)

While cleaning the enclosure often is vital, you shouldn't overdo it. These tips can help you maintain a clean environment without spending hours scrubbing. 

#1 Litter Training

It's possible to teach your furry friend to use a litter tray. It'll keep the mess in one corner of the enclosure, making it easy to spot clean. 

Recycled paper and wood shavings make excellent litter for cavies. They absorb urine quickly and control bad odors. 

However, don't use cat litter or pine/ cedar shavings. They're dangerous for your fluffy ball and can cause a health problem. 

Watch this video to see how you can teach your fluffy ball to use a litter tray.

 

 

#2 Switch Bedding

In the beginning, I used paper-based bedding for my piggies' enclosure. The good thing was that it could last up to a week but was hard to clean. So, I switched to LuftPets' cage liners. 

They're made from waterproof, absorbent material, so urine doesn't leak to the bottom of the cage. I have to wash them every few days, but they're dust-free and cheaper in the long run.

Comparing guinea pig cage liners vs. bedding, it's easier to keep the guinea pig cage clean with liners than paper or wood shavings. 

Moreover, reusable cage liners create a comfortable surface for your pet to play, nap, and explore. And they're better for the environment. 

#3 Get the Right Cage Size 

I recommend getting an enclosure that is easy to take apart and has no hard-to-reach spots. Otherwise, proper maintenance can take hours! 

Moreover, size also matters. When the cage is too small, your piggy does its business all over the enclosure, making your job twice as hard. 

According to experts, two cavies need an enclosure of at least 7.5 square feet, but 10.5 square feet is better. And for more than two piggies, the cage should be more than 10.5 square feet. (3)

FAQs

1. How often should I change guinea pig bedding?

You should spot-clean the bedding daily to remove dropping, leftover food, and other messes. At least once a week, you should replace the whole thing and put fresh bedding. 

2. Do guinea pigs get happy when you clean their cage?

Guinea pigs like a clean cage because it doesn't stink, and they can run around the enclosure without getting wet and dirty. 

3. How to stop guinea pigs from smelling?

You should spot-clean the cage daily to remove droppings and leftover food. Weekly cleanings are also necessary to prevent your cavy from smelling bad.

Conclusion

How often should you clean a guinea pig cage? Surprisingly, guinea pig enclosures need a lot of care to maintain a clean environment for your fluffy balls. 

Spot cleaning daily and weakly deep cleaning are essential for preventing infections, respiratory problems, and the growth of bacteria. 

But cleaning can be easy with the right type of bedding, so make sure you consider all the available options! 

What do you think about this topic? How often do you clean your guinea pig cage? Share your experience in the comment section.

Research:

  1. Riggs, S.M. GuineaPigs. [Cited 2024 May 4] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151879/
  2. RSPCA. Guinea pigs: Good practice for housing and care. [Cited 2024 May 4] Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/documents/1494939/7712578/
  3. Humane Society. Guinea Pig Housing. [Cited 2024 May 4] Available from: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-housing
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