Cleaning schedual while on vacation

Pixie66

Active member
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
27
Location
Port Moody, BC
Hi all,

My two Chins live in a two story Critter Nation cage, with fleece bedding (with towels underneath) and two bowls of aspen shavings that they use for peeing - some of the time. They also have two water bottles.
I am changing their bedding once per week (and sweep their floors every other day, or two).
We are soon going for a 3 weeks vacation, and planning to ask our daughter's friend ( a teenager) to drop by every 2-3 days to refill the water, food and hay, sweep their floor and give them a quick dust bath. This is the first time we are about to leave the Chins for a period longer than a week. I am concerned the process of changing the bedding will be too complicated for the teenager, and mostly concerned that they will somehow escape the cage while she changes the bedding. I will, of course, change the bedding right before leaving.

Can we skip changing bedding for 3 consecutive weeks? Do you have any advice for me...?

Thanks!
 

Amethyst

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
2,610
Location
Alberta
I really wouldn't skip changing the fleece for 3 weeks, one down side of fleece is if not washed it can hold and grow bacteria very well. If your chin happens to get a cut or cracked foot it could end up with a bad infection. Fleece really needs to be changed at least once a week, at the very minimum, ideally more if they pee on it. Also if they pee on it a lot or the water bottle leaks you can run the risk of mold or fungal issues.

I assume by two story you mean double unit? If so how is your cage set up? Do you still have the middle floor in the cage? If so you can have them trap the chins on one level while they change out the fleece on the other level, no risk of them escaping. I don't know how your fleece is set up, but I would at least have them change the bottom floor fleece, that one would probably get the most dirty.

Also just a word of caution, towels are not really considered safe to have under the fleece, if the chin ever decides to chew the fleece it can get to the towels, if chewed it can unravel into strings that can tangle in the gut or around a limb or neck. I just use more fleece under my fleece. Even if you have had the fleece and towels in the cage for years chins can still once day just decide to chew them, it's up to you though but it's not advised due to the risk.
 

Jawramik

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
57
I'll preface this by saying that I'm new to chins (just got my first about a month ago), so others may have better chin-specific advice, but I have had many different pets all my life and have had to deal with travelling and pet-sitters, so I can offer my perspective in that context.

I think some of it is going to depend on how reliably they pee in the litterbox. If they pee in the litterbox all or most of the time, then you can get away with changing the fleece less often. But if they pee on the fleece quite a bit, then I definitely wouldn't let their bedding go for three weeks without a change. Honestly, I wouldn't feel good about leaving it for that long even if they never peed on the fleece, but it's definitely not good for them if they're peeing on it a fair amount. Also, will they be getting their dust bath in their cage? Dust is another thing that can build up to unhealthy levels if you don't clean/change the cage and bedding often enough.

I feel like even if they're good about using the litterbox, the liners should be changed at least once while you're away. Perhaps you could teach your teenage pet sitter how to do it before you leave. They could confine the chins to a single level of the cage while they clean one level, then confine the chins to the freshly cleaned level while they work on the second one. That would ensure that the chins are safe and secure, and the teenager wouldn't have to deal with getting them in and out of the cage. Changing liners really isn't that hard, I feel like it should be well within the ability of most teenagers.

Also, if at all possible, I would see if there's any way the pet sitter could stop by at least once a day. I would personally feel VERY uncomfortable leaving any of my pets for more than 24 hours without at least being checked on. Chins are so delicate and can go downhill so quickly if something goes wrong (heat/AC goes out, they eat something they shouldn't, they injure themselves while zooming around the cage, etc.). My chin is also a bit of a picky eater and generally won't eat hay and pellets that have been out for more than a day, but maybe that's less of an issue with yours. If it were me, I'd want someone there at least once a day to give them fresh food and water and check to make sure they seem to be eating, drinking, and pooping normally. At the bare minimum.

Of course, they're your pets and it's your decision, but I wouldn't leave them on the same liners for three weeks. That just doesn't seem like it would be good or healthy for them.
 

Pixie66

Active member
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
27
Location
Port Moody, BC
Thanks a lot, Amethyst and Jawramik, for the good advice and encouragement! The Chin-sitter said they are perfectly willing to learn and practice, so we will do a change of bedding / cleaning together at least once before we live. And I got a new set of bedding that will be easier for them to fit (less chances of leaving an opening for the rascals to get to the plastic trays...
Thanks again,
P.
 

JamaisVu

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Messages
121
Agreed with all the above. I actually prefer to have a house sitter, if possible, just to have that peace of mind. My chin really loves TV at night, so it makes me feel better if someone's there to make sure she has her entertainment and that everything's going well.

If I can't get a house sitter, I ask the pet sitter to check once a day, and change the fleece every 2-3 days and wipe things down with a white vinegar solution, since my current chin isn't too keen on using her litter box and things get dirty fast.
 

Latest posts

Top