If you think it's disgusting smelling, your sugar gliders probably think it's disgusting living in it. The cage will need to be completely cleaned out at least a once a week, maybe more if you have more than 2 sugar gliders. You will probably have to do a quick spot cleaning at least twice a week. A clean environment will keep them healthy.
If left in the cage for a long period, urine will begin to turn into ammonia, which is incredibly harmful to a sugar gliders respiratory system. Fecal matter, especially if it is an area where it is getting wet, can give rise to harmful bacteria that can be ingested or even inhaled making your sugar glider sick. Moist bedding or litter can cause fungus growth. A litter box or drop pan will help with feces. A clean cage will also help to make your home environment healthier and odor free. Remember that if you can smell dirty cages it is much more extreme and stressful to the animals living in them.
Step 1. Cleaning (removing visible dirt and debris) First, spray the cage with water to soften the residue. Then clean the cage by using an ordinary household soap such as dish washing liquid. A scrub brush and pressure nozzle for your hose will help you to dislodge stubborn debris from the cage and accessories. Small accessories can be soaked in a sink full of hot soapy water and scrubbed before disinfecting. This is only the first step in full cage cleaning.
Step 2. Disinfecting (destroying microorganisms or pathogens) Spray the cage and the accessories with your chosen disinfectant. Let the solution remain on the articles long enough to disinfect them (reading the directions will give the time it takes each particular product to do its job). These solutions can also be used on floors and walls around the cage as long as you rinse them well. After viral outbreaks use a cleaning agent that is specifically a virucide. Cleaning & Disinfecting Solutions (always rinse well)
- Dish washing soap - cleaner only
- Nolvasan (contains: chlorhexidine diacetate)-Bactericidal and virucidal
- Vinegar (contains: 5 % acetic acid) mildly bactericidal
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% (medical grade) - mildly bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal
- Hydrogen peroxide 35% (technical grade) - bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal)
- Citricidal (contains:grape seed extract) mildly bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal
- Household bleach (contains:5.25% sodium hypochlorite ) - bactericidal and virucidal
- Parvosol (contains: quaternary ammonium chloride) - bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal
- Antibacterial liquid soap- bactericidal
- Spectrosol (contains: quaternary ammonium chloride) - bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal
- Oxyfresh (contains: stabilized chlorine dioxide) - bactericidal, virucidal, and fungicidal
Note: Lysol contains phenols and is not recommended for cleaning cages or accessories.
Step 3. Rinsing Rinse the cage and all accessories thoroughly. Make sure that you can not feel or smell any residual cleaning solution. This is a very important step. Some of the cleaners can be harmful to your small pets.
Step 4. Drying You can either air dry the cage and accessories or wipe them down with a clean towel. Air drying in the sun is particularly good if you want to make sure all organisms are killed.
The Hospital Cage Extra attention must be given when cleaning the cage of a sick pet, especially if it is going to be used later to house healthy pets. Meticulous care also needs to be taken if parasitic infestation is involved. In these scenarios, use strong solutions that kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses. After sterilization rinse thoroughly, and sun dry. After an infectious illness any accessories made from wood, wicker, or grass should be discarded. After a parasite outbreak these porous items need to be thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and not used for any other animals for a minimum of two weeks. Food dishes should be cleaned, disinfected and then run through the dishwasher. Water bottles need to be completely taken apart (be sure to remove the washer) and all parts cleaned and sterilized.
Fabric Accessories You will want to thoroughly clean all cloth items used for your pet on a regular basis. Change the pouches, cage sets, tray liners and other fabric items as they get soiled (in-between cage cleanings). Wash with hypo-allergenic soap in warm or hot water in your washing machine. To clean fabric accessories that are particularly soiled, used in a sick cage, or contaminated with parasites, add a small amount of bleach or Oxyclean and use hot water. When using bleach or another disinfectant rinse twice to be sure that all chemicals are removed. Drying these items in the dryer at a high temperature for a minimum of 20 minutes will aid in combating microorganisms and parasitic infestations. Cleaning Tips
- Avoid perfumed household cleaners
- Spot clean in-between cage cleanings
- Keep a smaller cage for your pets to go in during cleaning
- Always clean in a well-ventilated area away from your pets
- Remove all accessories and clean well
- Spray the cage with water to soften the debris before cleaning
- Be sure all debris is removed before disinfecting
- Leave disinfectant on for a minimum of 10 minutes
- Take extra care with disinfecting hospital cages
- Rinse carefully to remove all cleaning agents
- Dry cage before putting your pets back in
- Use direct sunlight to dry and sanitize whenever possible
- Always sanitize and refill water bottles and food dishes
- Clean nursery cages more often
The whole process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each week, but remember it needs to be done. Just like you clean your shower and toilet, or wash the kitchen counters after cooking, sugar gliders need their cages as clean as possible because they can be messy and if that continues to build up, not only could it endanger them, over time it could possibly endanger your health as well.
For a complete guide to caring for Sugar Gliders, visit Sugar Glider Pet Guide . You will also find out more information regarding what states Sugar Gliders are legal in .