Ammonia Build up?


Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:58 pm

Feeling a little relieved Siouxsies weight is up from 611 to 631 today. I know that could just be water weight but after it decreasing everyday since Sunday I am grateful that her weight didnt go down again today.

Soaked the liners that I replaced today and the one that was where we were having the issue with smell and smushed poop turned the water quite dark after about an hour so soaked it again in clean water for another hour. Will do the same with the second set when I switch them.

User avatar

Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:09 pm

The layered liners do have the advantage of being easier to handle but may be harder to clean than multiple thinner layers. It sounds like dissolved poop may be getting inside and holding the pee. Cleaning them thoroughly takes dedication.

I may have mentioned I used cotton diapers for my two kids when they were babies. In the old days, one could purchase the kind that had to be folded (thinner, so they washed more thoroughly) or a more thickly layered one that did not have to be folded. I used the thin ones which I thought washed more thoroughly and dried more quickly. Also, the newer machines use less water so it can be harder to clean thick items. The washer I used years ago, used tons of water (top loader).


Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:32 pm

I remember my Mum soaking diapers in a bucket prior to washing them. She used the Terry Cotton ones on us back in the 60s.

Our washer is a top loader and I set the rinse level to high.

Will see if the soaking helps but that may be the issue, maybe it is too good and soaking up the pee that it takes a bit of a soak to get it to let it go again.

So far the liners have been great as far as keeping everyone dry and smooshed poop free.

Will maybe see about getting a few potty pads as well to see if that helps


Post   » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:15 pm

As I have mentioned in a couple of other threads after another one of our girls , Nala, having breathing issues we have stopped them being able to use the pockets on the Guinedad Liners we have where we were getting the build up of smell.
Since stopping them from being able to sit and sleep in the pockets with their pee and poop (even though we spot clean 3-4 times a day and change them out for clean ones every 2-3 days) we have seen a noticeable improvement in Nala's breathing.
If it all works out we may cut the pockets of completely rather than turning them inside out so they are under the liner and not accessible

Just adding the info here in case it helps anyone out in future.

User avatar
Sewing for a Cause

Post   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:41 am

If the ammonia smell is really that strong, I'd suggest bringing your piggies in for a vet check and x-rays, cyst/cancer and heart being the main 2 possible reasons, 3rd possible reason is diabetes but that isn't usually as strong smelling. The breathing is probably due to the ammonia smell if it's going away after changing things.
The type of fleece on what you are using isn't helping either with the issues.


Post   » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:13 pm

Thanks for the info.

Since we stopped using the pockets they seem to be doing much better. Particularly Nala who was the one who was having breathing issues. She is back to her old self, racing around during floor time, although still on medication for now (Chloramphenicol and Lasix), but she has put on 50g in the last week and almost 100g since she got back from the vet on Sept 7th.

She had been for an X-ray but there was so much liquid in her chest area the vet said they weren't able to see her heart or much else in that area. Now she appears to be much better they are suggesting another X-Ray to see if they can see anything now.

The Ammonia smell was only really strong that one time and I think it was because all 3 of them were sleeping in the same pocket at the same time and peeing in there, however having them sleep in a fleece pocket with no fresh air flow along with their pee and poop in hindsight really doesn't seem to be a particularly good idea, despite what the manufacturers website says.
Now they dont have the pockets or any other enclosed spaces except the fleece forests they all seem to be doing well. I will probably be looking at other fleece options at some point plus more potty pads.

User avatar
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:25 am

I think we both forgot to mention that this fleece is made with bamboo. Don't know if that would make a difference or not. I bought them not only for the built in pockets which the guinea pigs love (I change it out every day) but also for the fact that being made of bamboo made them environmentally sustainable. That's the "greenie" coming out in me.


Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:03 pm

We got them because we thought it would easier and safer than other bedding and the sales info said that they needed to be spotted cleaned 2-3 times a day and then washed once a week. Later they also posted on their website about having to soak the fleeces as well to get the smell out. So not as quick and easy as they were made out to be.

They also talked about "Do your part to prevent the most common guinea pig diseases, like bumblefoot, URI’s, and urinary infections. Our liners are anti-bacterial and dust-free. Unlike U-Haul furniture pads, each layer was specially chosen to absorb and protect."


"Moisture and mess wick through the fleece layer into absorbent bamboo fiber. The waterproof bottom means pee stays put, so owners can relax!"

And the real kicker

"Use the money saved from vet bills and disposable bedding costs to make your guinea pigs happy!"

The reality in our experience was somewhat different. The Pockets look cute but our problems came from the fact that they were spending so much time in them and peeing and pooping in there and sleeping in there with no air circulation seems to be, if not the cause, then at least heavily contributing to, the ongoing respiratory related issues our 3 girls have been having over the last 5-6 months.

All the pictures I see posted on their website and social media seem to show their fleeces clean and pristine as if they just came out of the packet/wash

They are still an improvement on having to deal with paper bedding and easier to spot clean but we had to have two sets that needed to be switched out and washed every 2-3 days so there is still quite a bit of work there.


Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:04 pm

GrannyJu1, GuineaDad liners use bamboo fiber as the absorbent layer underneath the fleece. It replaces the uhaul pad that most people use and which the GuineaDad founder says has chemicals. There is no difference with the fleece.

User avatar
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:12 pm

Duh! (sheepish grin) I knew that!


Post   » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:08 pm

I use the Guinea Dad fleece and the lack of air flow was a concern of mine. So looks like my concerns were valid. What I do is use a couple rubber bands to tie back part of the pocket then put a tall tunnel down the center that holds the pocket up a bit. It allows air flow then I use pee pads in the pocket that I change once or twice a day. It's a bit of a project but makes me feel better about them being under there. And sometimes I don't use the pocket at all but I like to rotate it in to break up the cage set up.

I'm sorry your piggies had problems. : (


Post   » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:53 pm

I've not had any health problems with my piggies using the pocket ongoing but to provide more air flow, last night I used the Kaytee wooden house to hold up the pocket. One piggie spent the night inside the Kaytee house and the other next to the house. They normally each take one corner of the pocket. We'll see where the wooden house is when I get home as the piggies like to rearrange the furniture. I am going to flip the pocket over when I switch out the fleece this weekend. That will help with space as the cage is 2x4 and the pocket takes up 1 grid's worth of space. Because of the pocket, I had been thinking of expanding the cage by another grid.

User avatar
Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:34 pm

Re: smell build up, do you use vinegar in the wash? I pour some white vinegar right on the fleece before I start the load.


Post   » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:09 pm

I had been soaking them in the sink with cold water and a bit of vinegar before putting them in the wash but we were still having to change them every 1-2 days. I tried putting vinegar in the wash but the tub was full of bubbles when the cycle finished. Since we stopped using the pockets the smell hasn't been an issue. We changed the cage layout a bit and removed the loft (after Chunky decided to jump off of one of the ramps halfway down) and it is not a 2 by 7 with a 2 x1 L at one end. We had to get some more Cloroplast and a couple more Guinedads to make sure it was all properly lined, but we still aren't using the pockets.

Since we stopped using the pockets the girls seem to be doing well, we did have a little bit of a worry with Chunkita making an odd noise at one point (sounding like a regular pig) but that went away of its own accord.

I did the weekly weighing yesterday and Nala (who had been really ill lately and who was on Antibiotics and Lasix, she had been down at 752g at the start of Sept when the vet was talking about possibly having to euthanize her ) was up to 944g so I am very relieved to see her putting on weight , Suzi had put on a little bit of weight at 746g and Chunkita is living up to her nickname at 1,105g.

So at the moment, touch wood, they all seem happy and healthy.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:29 pm

That is good news, rjespicer!

Post Reply
35 posts