Kid-friendly Guide to cleaning out your pets
This is a general guide for cage clean outs and not species-specific. Some pets need more frequent cleanouts due to their odour, or diet, animals such as degu or gerbils may need less frequent cleanouts. Remember, cleaning out too often can actually increase odour due to the stress this caused in additional scent-marking - especially in mice.
Ask an adult for help with any difficult steps!
Assemble your tools!
- You will need
- A safe carrier or place to put your animals in whilst you clean their cage. A pet-safe disinfectant such as F10, bin liners, separate wash cloths, a dustpan and brush, cleaning spray, tub/crate to put old toys in, new toys.
Place your pets in a suitable carrier with some distracting food or toys, ideally away from the noise you will be causing . Empty all items in cage, unclip any hammocks and ropes, and remove food and water bottles. Use your dustpan to empty the substrate and bedding into the bin liner.
Time to scrub
Clean the base of the cage and bars. Some wheels may need to be cleaned in situ, so dry and sweep under this if done. Dry the cage thoroughly. Some toys may need a wipe and pat dry only, some wooden ones may need a proper scrub with pet-safe disinfectant. You can leave these to dry on an old towel no-one likes.
Substrate and bedding
Fill your pets cage with a decent layer of substate, allowing plenty of space for burrowing - especially for gerbils! Replace hayracks, wheels and cleaned and refilled water and food bowls as needed. Select some new toys and sort out a good cage layout. Remember to check any hammocks for dangerous loose threads and any wooden toys for rough edges. Keep a layout without any long drops, remembering what type of behaviour your pet likes to do e.g. burrow, climb, chew, run.
Clean and tidy
Tidy up cleaning products and sweep or hoover around the cage where you have been cleaning. Sort out the full bin liner.
Put your pets back
This is a good opportunity to handle your pets and check they are all okay and healthy. When you've had some time with them return them to their cage. It's fun to watch them for a bit as they explore their new layout, and don't be afraid to change the layout if you spot something not working well for your pet. As they age, you'll find they can do and enjoy different things. Good Work!