Decorating Your Guinea Pig Cage
An important part of functional design is being sure that what your guinea pigs have, also works for you. Be mindful of your situation and the resources available to you.
First, let’s start with bedding. Here are the two best options for bedding available today.
Carefresh – Carefresh is a really nice disposable bedding. Although a bit more expensive than your standard wood shavings, it handles odor well and is one of the safest beddings since it does not have the potentially dangerous phenols (that “woodsy” smell) found in cedar, pine, and other softwood beddings. Cleaning is easy—simply remove the old bedding, wipe down the cage with a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution, and refill with new. If you’re in the market for a disposable option, be sure to try Carefresh.
Fleece – Personally, fleece is really second to none as far as bedding goes. It’s easy to make, easy to clean, and fun to use. Fleece is safe, too, as it does not have phenols whatsoever, and guinea pigs do not generally chew on the edges. If you have easy access to laundry facilities, fleece is a perfect option.
Fleece is simply a piece of anti-pill or blizzard fleece cut to the size of your cage (plus a few inches added on all sides so you can fold the edges under for a smooth line), with two layers of absorbent material underneath. You could use bath towels, UHaul furniture pads, Zorb, mattress pads, or even disposable puppy pads.
To clean your fleece, simply remove all debris from both the absorbent layers and fleece and toss all of it into the washing machine. Learn more…
If you want a one-piece bedding solution, fleece cage liners might be more your style. Cage liners are essentially a layer of fleece, usually followed by two layers of absorbent material. The difference? It’s all sewn up together in one piece, making it really easy and quick to wash and change your liners.
Add some additional comfort and style with some fun cage accessories!
Beds – Guinea pigs love beds for their softness, warmth, and coziness. Not surprising! The most common type of bed in the guinea pig community is called a cuddle cup. It is usually made with fleece (on the area where a guinea pig would lie) and with cotton or flannel (on the exterior of the bed). In between the layers of fleece and cotton/flannel, there is usually some batting or foam to maintain the shape of the bed. There are all different styles and types of beds for guinea pigs, but any would be a great addition to your cage.
Other Cuddly Things – There are a variety of other cuddly things out there. A few standard items are sleeping bags, tunnels, and various types of hiding houses.
Sleeping Bags – Think of a human sleeping bag, and the guinea pig kind is pretty much the same! Fleece on the inside, flannel or cotton on the outside, and with a layer of batting or foam or boning to keep the “mouth” open.
Tunnels – There are many different styles of tunnels available online. Typically, though, they all have fleece on the inside, flannel or cotton on the outside, and usually a layer of batting or foam or boning to keep the ends open. These are especially loved by my guinea pigs, because they can sleep in them and run through them.
Hiding Houses – There are many different guinea pig accessories businesses online, and there are just as many different types of hiding houses, too. There are different shapes and sizes, complex ones or simple ones, those that are affordable and those that are more of an investment. Whichever you buy, your guinea pigs will certainly appreciate a place to relax. Check out some of the links below for a few online retailers.
Make Your Own – You can save money and reduce, reuse, and recycle by using things you can find around your house. Here are a few ideas.
- Boxes – If you visit Costco regularly, look out for all those boxes they use to store/package/carry your items. With a little creativity and a scissors, you can turn those boxes into fun hideaways.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal tubes make great tunnels! Simply punch the ends out and place into your cage.
- Old Towels – You can make a fun towel tent using an old bath towel. Choose a towel without strings or holes. Simply drape the towel over the corner of your cage and let your piggies enjoy their new cave!
- Scraps of Fabric – If you have old blankets, soft towels, t-shirts, or other fabric lying around, you make a sort of soft padding (a couple layers should do the trick—try folding or cutting and stacking) for your guinea pig to lie on. Add an overhead covering and it’s a perfect hideaway!
- Paper Bags – You can configure these in many ways to provide fun and entertainment for your guinea pigs by cutting entrance and exit holes, but be sure to cut off handles before use. If you use a brown lunch sack, cut a slit down the side about 4-5 inches so that if your guinea pig gets stuck, he or she can likely get out through the larger opening.
- Paper – Go for plain paper, but newspaper is also okay too. (Check with your newspaper company about the ink they use—soy-based is best and safest.) Your guinea pigs will likely chew and eat it, but that’s fine as long as it’s an occasional thing. Crumpled up or laid flat, it’ll be a hit!
- Wood, Plastic, or Tennis Balls – Your guinea pigs may enjoy pushing or pulling or tossing a ball around. Some suggestions include plastic cat balls, chewable wooden balls, and tennis balls.
For more ideas, visit Guinea Pig Cages.
How do I clean fabric cage accessories? Just like cage liners, you need to wash your fabric cage accessories to keep them clean. Here’s how:
- Remove as much debris as possible.
- Place the accessories in your washing machine, washing on a normal cycle with warm water and a fragrance-free detergent.
- Next, dry – either in a dryer without a dryer sheet or air-dry outside or in your home.
How often? Most cage accessories are not designed for absorbency, so you may need to wash your cage accessories once per week or every few days – it depends on the amount of traffic these items receive and the habits of your guinea pigs.
Where Do I Buy…?
But remember, the most important toys or accessories are…
A Same-Sex Guinea Pig Companion – Being incredibly social animals, guinea pigs very much appreciate the companionship of a guinea pig companion. The friendship you have with your guinea pig is different from the relationship a guinea pig can have with another of his own kind. A friend means fun and play and communication, and you can’t always be there to offer that. Talk to a rescue or shelter about adopting a companion for your single guinea pig and visit this page for help on bonding and introductions.
A Spacious Cage – Build a C&C cage, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before! If you don’t already have one, look into building a C&C cage for your guinea pig(s). Not only do these cages provide plentiful space for your guinea pigs, they are easier to clean and allow your guinea pigs’ personalities to blossom. Learn more…
Floor Time – Exercise time for your guinea pig is an important part of your guinea pig’s day. Just as humans are not healthy without frequent exercise, guinea pigs need this time (about 30-60 minutes is usually a sufficient amount of time) to run around and play for health and happiness. Learn more…
Hay – Providing a large pile of fresh grass hay is crucial for digestive health for your guinea pig and should be available at all times, but also doubles as a play area! Put a nice big pile straight on the cage floor and watch your guinea pigs enjoy!
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