To Fleece or Not to Fleece? That is the Question.
With all this talk about cage type and bedding types, it has come to this. One of the most commonly asked questions we get is “should we switch to fleece” or “what are the pros and cons of fleece”?
I can’t lie. Fleece looks wonderful in guinea pig cages. Customizing cages with different fleece designs has been a favorite activity for many pet owners who use fleece bedding. However, fleece bedding isn’t as easy as it looks. What many people don’t know is that it’s a trade off. Beautiful aesthetic, but more maintenance.
The Three Big Questions
Before you go out and switch over to fleece bedding, you need to ask yourself the following questions (and be honest with yourself because at the end of the day, it is the pig’s happiness at stake).
- Are you willing to take the time and energy to prep the fleece so that it can whisk?
- Are you okay spot cleaning the bedding every day if not more than once a day?
- Is laundry something you enjoy?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, then fleece bedding might not be for you at this time. If you said yes to all of the questions, fleece might be right for you!
Why those questions? What does it have to do with anything?
Enjoy Laundry: Laundry is not everyone’s favorite chore of the week. Even I occasionally put off doing laundry for as long as I can.
Why? Laundry can be time consuming and preparing the fleece for washing can be a hassle. Removing as much hay, hair, and debris from the fleece before washing will take additional time and effort. (We would highly recommend removing as much hair as you can as to not affect the washer and dryer from the hair that comes off.)
Preparing the Fleece: Pre-washing fleece and getting it to ‘whisking’ ability can take multiple washes at the beginning, and even after the first time the fleece is ‘prepped’, you need to ensure you’re giving it proper/special care to make sure it maintains the whisking ability. There is where that love of laundry comes in! This can be frustrating for some people, or un-ideal for those who have to pay for each load of laundry. It can get quite costly and take time to ensure all parts of the fleece bedding is dry. This can mean multiple dryer cycles for the fleece, UHaul, or other absorbent layer you’ve decided to use if it is reusable.
Spot Cleaning: If you have never truly realized why guinea pigs are called mini poop machines, I guarantee you will once you have fleece (unless your guinea pigs are litter trained to go in one place)! Since fleece only allows moisture to go through it, it leaves hay, pellets, and poop on the surface. In paper or wood bedding, the poops, hay, and pellets can drop down to the bottom layer and therefore not be seen.
Fleece puts those things right up in the open.
You cannot ignore the debris without it getting out of hand. Instead, the fleece needs to be spot cleaned of all the poos every day, if not multiple times in one day depending how many guinea pigs you have. If you’re a fan of changing the cage and just not worrying about it for 4-6 days, or if you know you’re generally too busy to clean it every day, then fleece isn’t the best option for you. It only takes two days of not being cleaned for the fleece to look horrible and grungy.
So I said Yes, What Else Do I Need to Know?
If your guinea pigs are being taken care of by children (with your supervision), we highly recommend that you do NOT use fleece bedding UNLESS you are taking full responsibility for cleaning the cage area and the daily care of the fleece. Otherwise, the care of fleece is a tall order for a child when paired with taking care and enjoying their guinea pigs.
Fleece might be a bit more expensive upfront, but is cheaper than paper or wood bedding over time (especially for very large cages)! If you’re okay with all the above requirements for fleece, then that’s great and you can look forward to picking out that perfect fleece for you and your piggies.