Is your guinea pig messy? Is he leaving a trail of droppings and pee spots all over the floor of his cage? If so, it might be time to change out his fleece bedding. But, how often should you change guinea pig fleece?
The average guinea pig owner changes fleece bedding every 3 to 4 days to keep the floor of the cage dry and stink-free. This duration can vary depending on several factors, such as cage size, number of guinea pigs living in the same cage, and messiness of the guinea pigs.
This blog post will cover what needs to be done to extend the life of guinea pig fleece (because who has the time?) while still keeping your guinea pigs safe and healthy.
But, before we go into those, let’s talk about…
How Often Should We Change The Fleece In A Guinea Pig’s Cage?
I did some research, because I wanted to know how often most other pet parents changed the fleece for their piggies. So, I did a manually sourced survey on 223 people.
Here’s what I found out from my survey:
- 44.6% of the respondents did a full cage clean and bedding change once a week, but most spot cleaned their piggies cage about twice a day and kitchen areas with pee pads in high traffic areas
- 39.6% of the respondents changed their fleece bedding every 3 to 6 days. Most people in this group changed their bedding on Day 3.
- 15.8% of the respondents switched out their fleece bedding every 1 to 2 days
Often guinea owners are given general advice to do things a certain way without really looking at the specifics of their situation.
That’s a mistake.
You have to always consider your circumstances and what makes the most sense for your piggies…and for you.
To keep the cage clean and dry, it is important for guinea pig owners to change their pet’s fleece bedding when it’s needed. Preferably before the fleece starts to get soggy to the touch and begins to smell funky.
But, what you can take from the survey is:
- you likely won’t need to change fleece daily
- every third day is probably your best day to switch out the fleece
- fleece is a versatile type of bedding that can be changed once a week if the proper steps are taken to maintain ir
If you’re a piggie pet parent who is going to use fleece, be encouraged. Fleece will change your and your pet’s life for the better.
To keep your Guinea Pig on fleeces fresh, dry and odor-free all the time you need to arm yourself with some of these awesome tips. Starting with…
1. Make Sure Your Fleece Is Wicking Properly
Most store bought fleece isn’t meant to be used in a guinea pig’s cage. If you want clean cages for your little friends, you need properly wicked fleece.
If your guinea pigs constantly wade through their own urine and the stench of pee is in the air, that often means that fleece isn’t wicking properly.
What is wicked fleece?
Wicked fleece is when fleece has been treated to allow moisture to flow to the edges and be wicked away from the surface – usually to an absorbent layer underneath (e.g. Uhaul pads, towels, washable incontinence pads)
So, when your piggies pee on the fleece, the top layer stays relatively dry. This means you don’t have to change their bedding as often, but your piggie isn’t splashing through pee puddles, day in and out.
2. Use Pee Pads
What’s a pee pad? Pee pads are absorbent pads that guinea pigs can urinate on instead of in their fleece bedding. Usually they’re made of fleece with some sort of absorbent material in the middle
Most guinea pigs have their favorite spots to use the bathroom in their cage. Your piggies probably do, too. Maybe it’s a favorite hideaway or the corners of their cage.
My advice? Figure out where those favorite spots are and start putting pee pads there.
The people who use pee pads in high traffic bathroom areas were less likely to do full cage fleece changings. Instead the pee pads could be switched out daily or every other day.
Reduces the smell and keeps the cage dry for your little friends.
Seriously. Use them. Put the pee pads in caves and cuddle cups, tunnels, everywhere your little friends like to be.
3. Get A Larger Cage For The Number Of Guinea Pigs You Have
A larger guinea pig cage will make it easier for your guinea pigs to create a separate place for their bathroom area and where they sleep or play.
And this will keep the droppings and urine from accumulating too much, which can make them uncomfortable or unhealthy.
The rule of thumb is this: The more piggies you have, the more frequently you’ll have to clean the cage and change the fleece bedding.
Here’s the deal:
If you have four guinea pigs, you’re almost better off having two cages instead of just one. The two cages with two piggies will stay cleaner than one cage with four.
And besides, by giving your guinea pigs enough space in their cage, you can learn more about their personalities. Give them food, games, and toys. Watching your piggie blossom and show their little personalities is half the fun.
The table below give should help you out:
|# of Guinea Pigs||Size Of Cage||Notes|
|1 piggie||10.5 square feet||If possible, bond your fur baby with a friend|
|2 piggies||10.5 square feet||Two is often the “magic number”|
|3 piggies||13 square feet||Bonding a trio of boards isn’t recommended|
|4 piggies||16 square feet||3 sows or 1 neutered boar with 2 sows|
4. Use a Kitchen Area To Help Save Your Fleece Bedding
Guinea pigs most commonly use the kitchen area as a toilet.
To prevent messes, all-the owner of guinea pigs can designate one area of their cage for their food dish, water and hay storage (called “the kitchen”). The kitchen also doubles as a litter box.
The designated area should include a plastic tray or waterproof box (no more than 3 inches high) of some sort. Put paper bedding, kiln-dried pine shavings, or wood pellets and the bottom (to catch the pee and droppings). Pile hay and everything else on top of it.
This helps keep smells under control for longer since most of their waste will go there instead of other places across the cage.
The kitchen area won’t catch all the dropping and urine, but it should catch a good portion of it.
Now, instead of replacing the fleece of the entire cage, you only have to worry about emptying out the kitchen area tray.
5. Avoid Large Amounts Of Watery Veggies
Certain vegetables have a high water content – which is death to your fleece. For example, lettuce have 96% water, zucchini is 95%, and celery is 95%.
A lot of people don’t think about it, but watery vegetables will make your piggie have to go to the bathroom more, which will lead to more guinea pig poo and urine being scattered around.
That means you’ll need to change the fleece more often. In fact, overfeeding certain vegetables can give your fur babies diarrhea, too.
Everything in moderation is best.
Please limit the amount of watery vegetables and fruits you give your piggie. Remember that 80% of what your little friend eat should be hay anyway.
And there are tons of veggies that you can still feel your guinea pig that aren’t as water, but will still keep your piggie healthy and happy.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Using Fleece?
Not everyone is familiar with this material. This lack of knowledge makes the idea of using it in their guinea pigs sound a little strange.
Fleece has many properties that people don’t know. Let’s check some of the advantages of using this material as a sleeping bed for this unique pet.
- Budget-friendly: In the long run, it’s a cheaper material. We no longer have to buy bags and bags of wood shavings. Just by purchasing a couple of yards of fleece, we will see significant savings in our pocket. Best of all, we can wash the fleece and reuse it several times.
- Less waste: Fleece more environmentally friendly than disposable bedding like aspen shavings or other types of bedding. When you reuse this material, you are producing less waste.
- Fleece is cute: We can find fleeces in many different designs and colors. And guinea pigs love the color that these patterned fleeces give to their house.
- It is much easier to clean: You will also save time because cleaning the cage will be much easier and faster – once you get used to it. If you the tips mentioned above, you’ll probably only need a thorough fleece change once a week.
- Comfortable for piggies: fleece has a very soft and comfortable texture for the legs and body of the guinea pigs.
- It’s a material that will improve the cage odor: If you develop a routine, you’ll be able to time your cleanings appropriately before the cage starts to stink.
Helpful Tips For The Use Of Fleece
With this type of material, there are always many questions about how to use it. Due to many doubts we may still have, we will review some practical tips to have an excellent experience with this material.
- Reduce static on the fleece: When washing the fleece, add half a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine. If you do this, you will be reducing the static charge, and at the same time, it will act as a natural softener. The good thing is that this does not diminish the waterproof ability of the fleece. In scorching places, it is best to hang the fleece outdoors to dry, thus saving energy.
- Remove annoying hair from the fleece: Yep, guinea pigs shed like crazy. When the guinea pig has long hair or loses very often, it is best to buy a hair roller or a rubber brush. Use these tools to remove excess hairs that remain on the fleece bedding.
- Use binder clips to hold the fleece in place: Some piggies have the nerve-wracking habit of burrowing under fleece. You can use these clips to attach the edges of the fleeces to the ends of the cage.
- Upcycle extra fleece: You can use the excess fleece to create toys or tents for the guinea pigs. We can also make small pillows or cushions.
Why Is It Important To Change Fleece Bedding When It Needs It?
Frequent changes of fleece are necessary for your guinea pig’s health. Potentially fatal guinea pig conditions like bumblefoot and urine scald are common when fleece bedding isn’t changed when necessary.
Ulcerative pododermatitis(or bumblefoot) is a very painful infection on the footpad. The footpad can swell and be crusty and/or bleeding. In some cases, the guinea pig may not want to move very much or may be depressed and not eat anything.
Urine scald is when urine soaks into your pet’s fur and skin, causing a burn. A guinea pig can get this if its bedding is not changed often and it sits in the wet bedding for too long. To prevent this from happening, change your guinea pigs’ bedding completely every week (at the minimum). Make sure to clean up any wet spots on the cage daily or every other day.
Guinea pigs can also develop respiratory infections from breathing in the ammonia from soiled bedding if the fleece bedding isn’t changed regularly and if the cage isn’t kept clean.
What Is A Fleece Liner?
People use fleeces in guinea pig cages as a kind of bedding. Fleece liners are washable and reusable, making them an environmentally friendly alternative.
They’re made of several layers of fabric. Often the first layer is fleece and the second is an absorbent fabric. The best thing about the liners is that they don’t become soggy with guinea pig urine.
When wicked properly, urine will pass through this fabric directly to the absorbent layer at the bottom.
Many pet parents prefer using fleece liners to regular fleece blankets. But, those that do use fleece blankets just wick their fleece and then use absorbent bedding underneath like puppy pads (washable) or Uhaul pads.
A Final Thought On Guinea Pigs And Changing Fleece Bedding
We hope you found these tips for using fleece to be helpful. Fleece is a great material that can provide your guinea pigs with warmth and comfort.
If you choose to use fleece for bedding, remember that it will only work for your little friends if you do your part to make sure they have clean bedding regularly.
Make sure that you change the fleece bedding when necessary so that guinea pigs can have a clean, dry home.
Check for wet spots and pay attention to the smell to help you decide. When in doubt, every 3 to 4 days is the average.
Always err on the side of caution and change more frequently if you’re not certain if you’re changing the fleece enough to keep your piggies comfortable.
If you’ve been thinking about making the switch from wood shavings or paper bedding, don’t let the thought of fleece intimidate you.
Use the information in this blog post to help guide you on your fleece bedding journey.
You got this!