Can A Dirty Cage Kill Guinea Pigs? Answers And Advices

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 07:10 pm

Guinea pigs require care and attention to be healthy and live longer. We should ensure that everyone has food, water, and normal living conditions.

One of the most important things, of course, is their cage, which we must clean on time to prevent the transmission of bacteria and infections dangerous to the life of the guinea pigs.

Can a dirty cage kill guinea pigs?

Yes, a dirty cage can indirectly kill the guinea pigs. Dirty cages are dangerous for the guinea pig, for example urine-soaked bedding accumulates ammonia, which causes infections in their body and respiratory tract. A dirty cage causes stress and depression, eventually killing the guinea pig.

In today’s article, you will learn how dangerous a guinea pig’s cage is dirty and how to keep it clean and safe for our pets.

Can a dirty cage kill guinea pigs?

Unfortunately, a dirty cage can indirectly kill guinea pigs; although this is a rare occurrence, it can still happen.

When the cage is dirty then there is the development of bacteria and infections that can be fatal for your furry pet.

So let’s see the dangers that come from a dirty cage and how can be dangerous for the life of guinea pigs.

Dirty cages cause stress and depression

Guinea pigs are very clean and take care of their hygiene, they are pets that do not need bathing, they clean themselves, except in some exceptional situations when they still have to bathe.

When their cage is dirty, it negatively affects their mental health and causes stress and depression. When guinea pigs are stressed, they lose their appetite, lose weight, become lethargic and don’t want to play.

Such a bad situation leads to the appearance of diseases and dangers to their lives, because if the guinea pig does not want to eat, it will lose weight and may die.


If the cages are not cleaned and their bedding is full of urine and ammonia, the guinea pigs will get bumblefoot or have skin problems on their feet.

Thereby, the redness of the feet appears accompanied by pain, which is very unpleasant for your pet.

In such situations, you should not wait; you must immediately take the guinea pig to the vet; we cannot help our pet on our own.

If the guinea pig is not taken to treatment in time, the consequences can be fatal for his life.

can a dirty cage kill guinea pigs

Streptococcus pneumoniae Infection

Streptococcus is a bacteria that can indirectly lead to death in guinea pigs if they have a dirty cage.


Since guinea pigs suffer from stress if their cage is dirty, stress combined with strep bacteria can lead to death in guinea pigs.

The danger of this bacteria is that guinea pigs may look healthy and have the bacteria itself, but stress will activate it, and therein lies the danger for them.

Therefore, a clean cage means a guinea pig without stress and without the risk of strep bacteria.

Infections of the respiratory organs caused by an unclean cage

One of the most dangerous things that can kill a guinea pig from a dirty cage is respiratory infection.

When the cage is dirty and has a lot of bacteria there will inevitably be an infection of the respiratory organs of the guinea pigs or bacterial pneumonia, which can kill the guinea pig.

Urine residue in a dirty cage causes an ammonia smell and irritates guinea pigs’ lungs.

When guinea pigs have a lung infection they have the following unwanted symptoms:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • loss of appetite
  • heavy breathing
  • fast fatigue
  • lethargy

If an infection of the respiratory organs in guinea pigs is not treated promptly, it can sometimes end fatally, that is, with the death of our pet.

When a guinea pig has such an infection, it must be taken to a veterinarian immediately to give it appropriate therapy.

Flystrike can kill guinea pigs

Flystrike occurs when the guinea pigs’ bedding is not cleaned, full of droppings, and the flies lay their eggs on the guinea pigs.

When the cage is dirty and there is a lot of urine and feces, the flies will smell the smell and will quickly gather in the cage.

In doing so, the eggs open into maggots and gradually eat the guinea pigs. If you do not react quickly and do not help the guinea pigs, they will die in a short time.

This kind of attack by flies is more pronounced in the summer and open areas, but that does not mean that it cannot happen in the winter period.

In such a situation, only a veterinarian can help your pets to save them and stay alive.

Urinary tract infections caused by an unclean cage

Urinary tract infections are obtained when the cage is dirty, with wet bedding with urine and feces filled with bacteria.

Guinea pigs have short legs, which is a big problem because they keep their body low to the bedding by moving around, and it’s much easier for them to catch bacteria and get a urinary tract infection, which can be dangerous to their health.

When guinea pigs have a urinary tract infection, they have pain when urinating, they don’t want to eat, and blood may appear during urination.

Sometimes red urine can appear if they eat certain foods such as red cabbage or beets, but if they have pain and no appetite, it is surely a urinary tract infection.

In such an unwanted situation, the guinea pig must be taken to a veterinarian for treatment.

What to pay attention to when cleaning the cage of guinea pigs

To prevent the guinea pigs’ cage from being dirty, we need to pay attention to some basic things.

Let’s see in more detail what we need to do to keep the cage clean and our pet happy and healthy.

Irregular cleaning of bedding

Periodic cleaning of bedding is a big mistake we must not allow ourselves. The bedding should be cleaned 2-3 times a week, depending on how much the guinea pigs pee and poop.

Some guinea pigs do it more, some less, but if we regularly clean the bedding, we will always keep the cage clean.

In addition to cleaning, the bedding should also be changed once or twice a month, depending on the quality of urine absorption.

can a dirty cage kill guinea pigs

We use bedding in the wrong way

When you place bedding, you should be careful and check if it is placed correctly.

If the bedding is not positioned correctly, the urine will not be able to pass down and be absorbed properly.

Of course, it also depends on the quality of the bedding, and not all bedding absorbs urine in the same way, always buy and use the best bedding; it is an important factor for a clean cage and a healthy guinea pig.

The water bottle is leaking

When you put a bottle of water on the guinea pigs, you should occasionally check that everything is okay.

Because if the water bottle leaks, the water will drip into the bedding underneath and affect the guinea pigs. A leaking water bottle is rare, but it can still happen, so be careful and check.

Wet bedding is not good for guinea pig health and you must change the bottle immediately if this problem occurs.

Using the wrong means to clean the cage

Some owners make mistakes when cleaning the guinea pig’s cage by using chemicals that irritate the guinea pig’s lungs.

Guinea pigs are very delicate and can easily get sick from strong chemicals, so you should only use water and distilled white vinegar in a 50-50 ratio so that there are no side effects on their health.

Apply this solution with a spray bottle to all parts of the cage and leave it on for a few minutes.

Then you need to wipe with a clean cloth or towel and the guinea pigs’ cage will be clean and germ-free.

Insufficient cleaning of food residues

After the guinea pigs have finished their lunch, all food remains should be removed so that insects and bacteria do not appear.

Especially the fruit is very dangerous because in a short time it will cause the appearance of flies and bugs.

Take a good look to see if everything is cleaned of food, or maybe the guinea pigs have hidden it somewhere in the bedding because they know how to keep it for later.

Food scraps and bedding are the most important factors in maintaining hygiene in the guinea pig cage.

How often should a guinea pig’s cage be cleaned?

The guinea pigs’ cage should be thoroughly cleaned once a week, and food residues should be cleaned daily.

However, this is only an average; it all depends on the guinea pig; some are neater, others less so; you will see that best with your guinea pig.

Both the bedding and its quality indicate how often the guinea pigs’ cage should be cleaned, the better it is, the better for the health and hygiene of our pets.

However, no matter how high-quality the bedding is, cleaning and changing it should certainly be regular.

How to clean a guinea pig’s cage

A clean guinea pig cage reduces our pets’ chances of health problems and death.

Therefore, here are some tips for cleaning the cage:

  • Disposal of waste: when cleaning the cage, dispose of all waste residues.
  • Clean up the droppings: use a small broom or brush to clean up the droppings.
  • Mini vacuum cleaner: you can use it to pick up droppings from guinea pig bedding.
  • Change the water: empty the old bottles or bowls with fresh water.
  • Deep cleaning of the cage: first, put the guinea pig on its side for thorough and deep cleaning of the cage.
  • Disposal of bedding: remove all bedding, wipe the area with vinegar and water, and then put new bedding.
  • Water bottles: also need to be cleaned well so that they can be used again by our furry friends.

How long can guinea pigs go without a cage clean?

Guinea pigs should have a clean cage as often as possible.

A thorough cleaning once a week, and a normal cleaning of the cage twice a week is quite enough to keep the guinea pigs safe and clean.

However, each of us should judge for ourselves when it is time to clean their cage, all guinea pigs are not the same, some make more mess, others less.

can a dirty cage kill guinea pigs

How long does it take to clean a guinea pig’s cage?

Although many people think cleaning a guinea pig’s cage is a complicated process, it is not like that.

Only 5 minutes are enough to clean the cage, as you will have to clean it daily. Because if you leave a long time for example 2-3 days dirty cage, you will need more time to finish the job.

The more often you clean the cage, the less time it will take.

read more: How Long Can a Guinea Pigs Go Without Food And Water?

How often should a guinea pig be bathed?

Guinea pigs should be bathed 2-4 times a year.

Our furry friends take care of their hygiene, they are very clean pets, but we still need to bathe them sometimes.

We have to be careful not to catch a cold, we should immediately wipe them with a clean towel so that they don’t get sick, and they can dry faster so that their body temperature is normalized.

read more: Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate? All You Need To Know


A dirty cage can be the cause of the death of guinea pigs.

When their cage is not cleaned, there is a risk of bacteria, urinary tract infections and respiratory disease in guinea pigs that can lead to serious complications if not treated in time.

Cleaning the cage is an obligation that all of us must implement on time, protecting our pets and providing them with a healthy, safe and clean place to live.