Category Archives: Housing

Steps to Setting Up & Caring for Fleece Bedding

Fleece bedding, for those who don’t know, is a reusable bedding system using fleece on top of towels or other absorbent fabric instead of costly and wasteful disposable bedding. The fleece, when prepared properly, will wick urine and moisture through the fleece and down to the absorbent fabric beneath. The surface of the bedding stays dry and odor-free, providing a more hygienic environment for your guinea pigs. Cleaning is also easier because the waste is on top and easier to remove. With proper preparation and maintenance, fleece bedding can last years and can save thousands of dollars over the life of your guinea pig. Here’s how to get started:

1. Buy Your Fleece Fabric: Go to your favorite fabric store or go online (I like YourFleece) to purchase an anti-pill or blizzard fleece pattern or solid that you like. I like to use patterns, since hair and poop aren’t as obviously visible as with solid colors. To determine how much fleece you’ll need for your cage, simply find the inner dimensions of your cage base, and add about six inches to the length and width so you have a little extra to work with. The average yard of fabric is 36″ x 60″.

2. Prepare Your Fleece Fabric: Your fleece has a waterproof coating that must be removed before you can use it in your cage. To strip the fleece of this coating, simply wash and dry it at least four times on hot settings in your washing machine and dryer.

3. Choose/Buy Your Absorbent Fabric: Underneath your fleece, you’ll need to use some sort of absorbent material to absorb the moisture. Popular options include UHaul furniture pads, bath towels, mattress pads, and puppy pads. One to two layers is usually sufficient. Using disposable bedding underneath fleece usually does not work because the bedding sticks to the back of the fleece.

4. Install the Fleece Bedding in Cage: To install the fleece bedding in your cage, lay down the absorbent fabric to cover your cage bottom. Next, lay down the fleece on top of the absorbent layer, and fold the edges under the absorbent layer for a clean appearance. Your fleece is now ready for your guinea pigs to enjoy! Trust me, they will!

To clean the fleece:

1. Daily Care: Remove feces and any food debris (including uneaten vegetables, dirty hay, and uneaten pellets) every day. I use a small broom and dustpan which works quite well and takes only minutes from my day. Other options for removal include handheld vacuums and plastic scoops/spoons.

2. Full Clean: Every five to seven days, or as needed to maintain a hygienic environment, you will need to wash your fleece. This includes both the fleece and the absorbent fabric you use.

  • To prepare for the wash, remove as much hay, feces, and other debris as possible from the fleece. You can do this by sweeping up as much as possible, shaking out the fleece and towels outside in your yard, or using a handheld vacuum. Be sure to shake out and brush off the fleece and towels vigorously outside to remove as much hair as possible. Your washing machine will appreciate it! I use the “Fur-Be-Gone” cat grooming brush to brush off hair:
  • Wash the absorbent material and fleece in a washing machine with hot water and with laundry detergent. You should add either vinegar or bleach to kill bacteria as well. I like to wash my towels and fleece in separate washes. For the towels, I add 1/4 cup bleach to the wash to sanitize them; and for the fleece I add 1/2 cup white vinegar.
  • Once the towels and fleece have been washed, dry them in your dryer on low to medium heat or put them outside in the sunshine to air dry.
  • Replace in the cage and watch your piggies discover their “new” cage!

3. When Washing, Do Not Use:

  • Fabric softener
  • Dryer sheets

4. For Best Performance:

  • Change your fleece every five to seven days for optimal odor control, performance, and hygiene.
  • You may want to put small towels or pads in the most frequented areas of the cage (i.e. under hiding houses, in eating areas, favorite corners, etc.) to help your fleece work more efficiently and contain the mess where it is most concentrated. Remember to change these towels frequently.

More questions? Just ask in the comments!


The Lowdown on Bedding


Because guinea pigs are low to the ground with their short legs, it is important to keep your guinea pig’s living space clean and dry. Urinary tract infections can be more common in guinea pigs when the bedding in the cage is wet or dirty for a prolonged amount of time.

To keep your guinea pig healthy, dry, and comfortable, you need to select safe bedding that works best for you and your situation. There are many options for bedding, but the most popular methods are disposable bedding and fleece. Here, we’ll break it all down and explain exactly what you need to know.

Disposable Beddings

The Options

Disposable bedding can be great for pet owners who do not want to use fleece. It is simple to use — just buy it, fill the cage with it, and remove it all every week.

The most popular disposable beddings include CareFresh and wood shavings. Both are available online and in pet stores.

Beware of cedar wood shavings, which can be unhealthy for guinea pigs and other small animals as the phenols (that “woodsy” scent) in the wood shavings have been linked to respiratory issues. Even though you may see cedar shavings on the pet store shelf, or the pet store employee may recommend it to you, please do not use cedar shavings.  Aspen shavings, however, are a safe wood bedding and do well with odor control and absorbency. Pine shavings are acceptable as well.

CareFresh has long been a favorite of the disposable beddings in view of its safe ingredient list and trustworthy performance with odor and absorbency. It is made of reclaimed wood pulp, which is not risky for guinea pigs as wood shavings can be. It also has a very cushy and soft texture, which is great for guinea pigs. One drawback is that it is on the pricey side.


As for cleaning with a disposable bedding, you’ll need to scoop out the wet areas and pick up the feces frequently. Every five to seven days, you should do a full clean and remove all of the bedding. Clean the bottom of the cage with a vinegar/water solution made of two parts water and one part vinegar. Once you have cleaned the cage bottom, replace with clean bedding. About one to two inches of bedding is sufficient.

You can order disposable bedding online from Amazon, PetFoodDirect, or Drs. Foster & Smith.


How It Works

Fleece is a great bedding option. With fleece, one of the most environmentally- and budget-friendly options, you only need to buy a piece of blizzard or anti-pill fleece and cut it to size to fit your cage. Underneath the fleece, you need to put some sort of absorbent layer. This may be bath towels, UHaul pads, Zorb, mattress pads, even disposable puppy pads. Fleece doesn’t absorb the moisture; instead, it allows the moisture to go through the fleece by wicking it away down to the absorbent material underneath.

If you want to make your own system and buy your own fleece and absorbent layer, you can visit fabric stores or shop online for fleece. One of my favorite places is YourFleece, but you can also buy from Hancock Fabrics or Joann. Be sure to prepare the fleece to wick moisture by washing and drying it on hot settings at least four times before use. This is to strip the fleece of its waterproof coating.

If you don’t want to purchase the supplies yourself, you can order ready-made cage liners online. Liners are made of fleece and absorbent material already sewn together to form a seamless liner that fits right into your cage. Using liners makes it very easy to clean and remove from the cage. You can order liners at many places, including Cassandra’s Cuddle-Wee Things, CobbCabinCrafts, Piggy Bedspreads, or at Jens Custom Crafts. What’s more, cage liners can be reused many times (will last at least a year or more with good care). Though up-front a liner may be a more pricey investment, when you consider the monthly expenses of disposable bedding you’re saving a lot of money in the long run.


See this page for more information:!

So there you have it! I hope this post has helped you choose the best bedding option for you and your situation. Any questions, feel free to leave a comment!

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The Benefits of a Larger Cage

A lot of people are suprised to hear their basic pet store cage is much too small. If you think about it, what DOESN’T make sense about a large cage? Just as we humans would prefer a mansion over an apartment, guinea pigs are noticeably more happier, active, and vocal with a larger area to live in. A few main benefits of a larger habitat include:

More Activity – A more active guinea pig will keep amused and will be less likely to resort to chewing or other destructive behaviors that are usually instigated by boredom.

Fewer Vet Bills – A healthier guinea pig means fewer trips to the veterinarian’s office and more money in your wallet.

Convenience – If you are unable to get your guinea pig out of the cage on a busy day, you don’t need to worry with a larger cage. The guinea pig will be able to exercise whenever he or she wants to. The convenience factor is very appealing to busy working families.

Increased Muscle Tone – Male guinea pigs especially benefit from a larger cage with more opportunity to keep toned and fit. This prevents impaction, which occurs when there is a lack of muscle tone in the anal area, causing a back-up of droppings. If your male guinea pig develops impaction, you will need to perform routine cleanings of the anal sac. A spacious cage is central to the prevention of this unpleasant condition.

Prevention of Obesity – Like humans, an overweight guinea pig will be more at risk to health problems, including bumblefoot, bladder infections, and more. A healthy and fit guinea pig will result in a lesser propensity for these health issues—and fewer trips to the vet office.

More Personality – It’s been said many times before that a guinea pig with more space is happier, and a happier guinea pig shows more personality. With a larger cage, you will see your guinea pig’s personality blossom. You may see more popcorning and lap-running (signs of a contented and comfortable guinea pig), and you may see your guinea pig grow to be more vocal with a larger cage. Improved activity and perkiness is frequently observed with the addition of a larger cage.

If this isn’t proof enough, read some of the testimonials from the Cavy Cages website, home of the famous C&C cages. These are the best cages for guinea pigs and are highly  recommended by both rescues and myself alike.


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