One of the most important factors in insuring that your guinea pig cage is easy to clean is ironically also one of the most overlooked criteria in cage selection. If you want to be assured that the next cage you purchase will be easy to clean and maintain, be sure to read on.

When we purchase a cage for our guinea pigs, we consider many factors – size, color, durability, attractiveness, etc.  These factors vary depending upon our individual tastes and needs. But the ultimate bottom line is: we want to be sure that the cage we choose is not only good for the pig but also good for the pet owner.

In order to make cage-cleaning an easy task, it is absolutely essential that your cage be equipped with large openings. If your cage is fitted with small openings, you will begin to have trouble even before you begin the cage-cleaning process.

Before you begin cleaning, you will need to move your pigs out of their cage and to another area. If you have ever tried to catch a guinea pig through a small opening, you will realize just how difficult it is. In order to easily pick up your cavy, you need to use both hands to guide or funnel the pig in toward your body where it can be gently captured.

If you have a small opening, you will not be able to use both hands. Instead, you will have to learn to execute something I call the “scramble and grab” technique. In other words, the pig will scramble around the cage while you attempt to implement the single-handed grab. This is not an easy task and, even after you get good at it, it may still require several attempts to capture your pig(s).

Now it’s time to clean the bedding out of your cage. If you have a small, standard pet store cage; you will simply disconnect the top wire portion from the plastic litter tray and dump the small amount of litter into a waste receptacle. Some pet store cages have lids that swing up to create a very large opening. Others have a very small door on the side. Either way, cleaning is no problem because removing the top essentially creates a large opening for you to work with.

However, we strongly advise against putting your cavy in a small pet store cage because it is far too small to provide a healthy living environment for your pig. So it doesn’t meet the win-win criteria mentioned above. In other words, it’s good for you (easy to clean), but bad for your pig (unhealthy living conditions).

In recent years, largely due to the internet, people have become more informed about humane and healthy guinea pig living conditions and many are recognizing that standard pet store cages are sadly inadequate in terms of space requirements. While they may have been economically feasible in the past to house laboratory guinea pig test subjects, they fail to provide ample space for our much-loved family pets.

Because of this, people have been turning to C&C (cubes and Coroplast) cages as a much-healthier alternative – and this is great for the pig. However, many of these C&C designs are equipped with small doors (approximately one square foot). Once again our win-win criteria are violated. This type of cage is good for the pig – but bad for the human owners.

A large cage – like a C&C cage – may hold as much as 25-lbs. of bedding. You can imagine how time-consuming it can be to remove 25-lbs. of soiled bedding through a small opening. Then, you have to clean the entire bottom with vinegar and water and replace 25-lbs. of bedding – again, all through that small opening.

A great solution is to get a cage with a large opening. Cages with entire sides that fold down like a pickup truck tailgate are available and can make cage-cleaning very much faster, easier and less frustrating. Bedding can be shoveled out easily. And the large opening offers easy access for cleaning. Alternatively, the entire Coroplast bin can be slipped out through the large opening for very easy cleaning. And lastly – putting in fresh bedding is a snap. No more endlessly shoveling tiny amounts through a little opening. The bedding can be poured in directly from the bag.

Large openings are a factor that most of us rarely consider when selecting a new guinea pig cage. However this situation must change if we wish to save hours of time and frustration in our cage-cleaning routines.

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Categories: Guinea Pig Cages

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