Monday, August 18, 2014
When new pet owners bring their furry little bundles of joy home, it doesn’t take them long to realize how much poop piggies can produce. This often leaves them asking the question: Can I litter train my guinea pigs? The answer quite simply is yes, but only to a certain extent.
If you want your pigs to only use their litter box and never have accidents when they are out of their cage, then perhaps you are setting your standards too high. Be realistic. If your guinea pig manages to use it’s litter box even just 50% of the time, it will still help keep the cage tidy and reduce your work for cage clean outs.
We’ve all seen the small corner litter trays available at pet supply stores for various sized rodents, and dream that perhaps our piggies, too, could learn to be more ‘accurate’ with where they go. Well, the next time you’re shopping, I suggest you pick one up to try it with your piggies, or try constructing your own.
Both female and male guinea pigs can be territorial and like to scent mark around the cage. Often guinea pigs will choose corners in their cage to go to the bathroom in, constantly returning to the same corner. When you have seen that your guinea pig has chosen a corner, place the litter box in the spot. Put your normal bedding in the litter box before trying any new types of litter.
Steps for Success
- Allow your guinea pigs to scope out their perfect toilet corner, before placing a litter tray in the cage
- Put the litter tray in the corner that the guinea pigs seem to pee/poop in the most
- Fill the litter box with a familiar smelling and looking litter to the one the guinea pigs are currently on
- Wait to ensure that the guinea pigs are content using the same corner before changing the litter
- Change the litter box every three days as needed, and wash it every other week. This ensures that the guinea pigs’ scent is still strong on it, so they will more willingly go back to use the litter box and ‘re-scent’ it.
If all succeeds, your piggie should still be happy to go in his/her chosen corner; but now you can more easily clean it by simply emptying and refilling the litter box. Some guinea pig owners have tried putting food dishes in their litter trays so that as they eat, they will also pee/poop in the same location. This is a conflicting method as many animals avoid urinating and defecating near their food source. As your guinea pig becomes more comfortable with using the litter tray, try using your preferred litter such as Carefresh or Yesterday’s News.
Despite guinea pigs sometimes not seeming to be the brightest, like when they popcorn, they are surprisingly smart and clean animals. So give your guinea pig the chance to try the litter box, and maybe they’ll be happier to use it than you think!