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Question
I have fleece bedding for my two guinea pigs.  I read that, to help with the smell, pre-treat by spraying white vinegar (from spray bottle) on the corners before washing it.  My question is, if I were to spray it on AFTER washing and leave it on, can that make them sick or even kill them?

Answer
I don't believe it will harm the pigs to spray after washing. But the vinegar will dissipate in the air and may make the spraying useless. The reason vinegar works to spray in the cage is that it neutralizes the alkaline properties in the urine. Vinegar is acid and therefore cancels out the alkinlinity of urine, thus helping to eliminate the odor.

I sometimes spray vinegar on the metal trays of my cages before I put in the shavings and hay. Vinegar has many uses for hundreds of things. The water in my area is heavily alkaline and my dishwasher gets the white alkaline spots all over my glasses and dishes. If I put a cup of vinegar in the dishwasher, then add the detergent, everything comes out clean and sparkling.

I think you might get a better and longer lasting effect if you put some vinegar in the washing machine when you launder the fleece. That will remove the residual odors left from the urine and help keep the cage smelling fresh.

As far as harming the pigs by spraying before you put the fleece in it's doubtful that it will make a huge difference, but unless it's awfully strong it shouldn't be harmful for the pigs.

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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