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nikilovesdogs
03-22-06, 12:27 pm
After the tragic events of last night, the wheels in my brain have been turning. I'd like to compile as much information on dog-proofing cages as I can. Can you share with me your tried-and-true methods for making your cages stronger, more substantial, and more pretective?

My goal is to take this information and try to expand on an idea for a stronger cage that might help others from experiencing the pain that I am going through right now. Thanks in advance!


Niki

C&K
03-22-06, 01:20 pm
I think it is important that if the cage is on a table, that it is ancored onto it, so that it cannot slide off. You can build a bottom onto the Cage with grids, then make sure your ziptie or weld all the grids together. Take a few metal bars that you can find at a hardware store, and screw them into the table, over the grid bars on the cage bottom. ( that is what I have done)

Alternately, you could build a table with a lip, similar to a train table, and set the cage into it. then bolt the grids to a few sides so that it will not slide off.

I think that getting the cage off the table is the key to most dogs success, as the falling will either break it up, or it brings the cage to there level, so they can more effeciantly attack it.

Using zip ties to tye every grid to the adjacent grid may help, but is not fool proof. You could probably take it one step further, and weld the bars together with soder...

nonamian_girl
03-22-06, 01:52 pm
http://cavycages.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12636

aqh88
03-22-06, 04:59 pm
If you have a dog over 30lbs I do not think you can dog proof a cage. The size of the wire bars and plastic used to build any type of small animal cage can be destroyed. I've kept a heck of alot of different pets in the same house and I can tell you from experience no cage is safe. I've even got a cat that can not only open doors but apparently latched gerbil cages. If you have predatory and prey animals in the same house put them in seperate rooms and if you have something like a door opening cat reverse the doorknobs so you can lock them from the outside of the room. At my mom's house is a rott/lab mix that weighs 80lbs and loves guinea pigs. Luckily he truly does love them and licks them all over instead of hurting them because in the past he's broken into several petstore cages including an all wire chinchilla cage that I kept them in before I found this site. I have no doubt if he really wanted to see them no height and no cage design would keep them safe. I really do not believe you can make a cage sturdy enough to keep out large dogs.

nikilovesdogs
03-22-06, 05:03 pm
Because of the events of last night, I am more determined than ever to make sure it doesn't happen again. Obviously, putting any piggers I adopt into another locked room would be best, but I am going to find a way to make a stronger, safer, economical cage. Mark my words. ;)

C&K
03-22-06, 05:24 pm
I wonder if using rubbermaid shelves, cut to size for all the walls would help build a stronger side wall. (similar to Voodoo's alternate C&C) There would not be as many joints that could break apart, and it could possibly be welded at the joining corners.

I do think though that securing the cage to the table top is key, if it can't fall off or be dragged off, no dog is going to have as easy a time getting at it.

I agree with Aqh88 though, that no matter what you do, you can't make it 100% dog proof, their will always be some degree of risk, it is just a question of what that degree is.

vlb_21
03-23-06, 06:48 am
I know you don't like me and I know I should have perhaps waited a day or so before making my suggestion but really the only way to make the guinea's safe from dogs is to put them in a room which is locked and keep the key on you at all times.

Oh and for gods sake don't loose the key! i did once and went hysterical trying to find it so now i have 2 copies, one is kept nearby as a standby and the other in my pocket. Its frustrating having to remember to lock and unlock but you get into the routine.

Hope you find a solution that works for you

C&K
03-23-06, 08:17 am
:rolleyes:

When I was really small, My mother had a dog that could not open doors, but it could eat right through them!

A lock is not the end all be all of safety. Seriously, pinning or locking the crate in a couple of places to make sure the dog stays in is probably the first line of defense, strengthening the guinea pig cage is another. Putting them in another room is yet another. Most dogs can't open doors with regular knobs, more can eat through them!

Niki right now is looking for advice on the second line of defense: strengthening the guinea pig cage.

nikilovesdogs
03-23-06, 08:30 am
Niki right now is looking for advice on the second line of defense: strengthening the guinea pig cage.

I'm glad to know that *someone* "gets it." Thanks so much.

I'm considering getting a two bedroom apartment before I purchase my house just so I can have piggers again. I miss them so!!!! :(

aqh88
03-23-06, 02:28 pm
My cousin had a dog that they kept locked in a room because it kept breaking open the crates and destroying things. They came home to find nearly all the bottom 1/4th of the door destroyed. I'm aware some dogs won't even pause to go through a door but if you have a dog like that they aren't even gonna pause to go through a cage either unless you've got some steel plates around it. I really think the best and first line of defense is keeping them in seperate rooms. I've seen lots of busted crates and busted cages but only 1 busted door. A crate is secondary and will hold most dogs but is definitely breakable and a sturdy cage might slow them down for a few minutes. Half hour at the most.

If you want to try to make a sturdy cage then I would suggest either fairly thick wood boards or well attached pvc pipe for a frame and some really heavy duty mesh wire. More like chainlink than hardware cloth. That's what I was planning for an outdoor pen to let them eat grass while I was around. I'm hesitant though to make any suggestions unless you definitely plan to keep them in a seperate room because I think the rate of success from reinforcing crates and cages is pretty low. Been there, done that, luckily my mom's dog is not interested in killing them or it would have happened a dozen times over. Eventually I kept them in open topped c&c cages in my room with the doorknob reversed to lock from the outside(no key needed) and never had another issue with the other animals in the house.

TNpigowner
03-23-06, 02:44 pm
first off, lit me say-niki, i'm was so sorry to hear of what happened. :(

as for dog proofing, we have our Cand C cage on a frame my husband made, so it's at table height. my parents have 2 brittany spaniels (mid sized) and when they visit they can *just* get their noses to the bottom of the cage...
hope that helps.
so sorry again.

nikilovesdogs
03-23-06, 03:36 pm
I'm hesitant though to make any suggestions unless you definitely plan to keep them in a seperate room because I think the rate of success from reinforcing crates and cages is pretty low.

I think if you take just a moment to learn anything at all about me by reading my recent posts about what has happened to my guinea pigs, you will realize that without a doubt, I will be keeping any future piggers in a separate, closed room. Thanks for the lecture, but I am 32 years old and a pretty responsible pet owner, despite this one horrible accident having occurred. Can I consider myself properly reprimanded, or do you need to dig deeper and cause me more pain?

aqh88
03-23-06, 04:19 pm
All I've found is that you are quite defensive. Since you were set on making a sturdy cage I did not know if you had a seperate room to keep them in and no matter how responsible people are they make mistakes and sometimes many mistakes before they get it right. I do not see where you said you are keeping them in another room but would also like a sturdy cage. Sorry if I missed it but you don't need to get so upset and ready to attack me for simply trying to help. I'm not going to help you build a sturdy cage only to find out you didn't think you needed to keep them in another room and you end up getting hurt again. I don't want to hear about anymore dead guinea pigs and devastated owners.

nikilovesdogs
03-23-06, 06:02 pm
Been there, done that, luckily my mom's dog is not interested in killing them or it would have happened a dozen times over.

Consider yourself lucky.............AND playing with fire when you say that. I'm glad your circumstance did not lead to the awful tragedy that mine did. I'm not defensive. I'm just not in the mood to hear someone threaten that they won't give me good information until I've "learned my lesson." My pigs are dead because of a stupid mistake *I* made. Lesson learned. Enough.

cavypaulita
03-25-06, 12:15 am
Hi,
I just wanted to say that I feel for your situation, and I am so sorry that happened...
Please don't be so hard on yourself...
I wanted to send you my support during this difficult time for you
pauli

Emmett
03-27-06, 01:20 pm
I have my gpigs in a very large metal dog crate. It has a choroplast bottom and a top floor. It is not as large as some CC cages but it is dog safe. I suppose a larger cage could be made by welding cube grids together. Good luck and please let us know what you come up with.

nikilovesdogs
03-27-06, 01:31 pm
Emmett,

Because of the fact that my Husky/Chow escaped from what I deemed to be a *very* secure metal dog kennel, I'm not going to use your suggestion. If he could get out of one that easily, I am pretty sure he could also break into one. I'm certain that for people who have smaller dogs (under 50#) or animals with a smaller drive toward prey, this would be an excellent solution! :) Thanks for the idea.

twinkies
03-27-06, 01:37 pm
We have a table that my hubby made and our c&c cage is on it. It sits about 30 inches high. We have 4 dogs. 3 of them are large and 1 is a pee-a-poo. They don't even go around the cage. I know I won't take it for granted that they will leave it alone. It's a open cage, but they can't get their noses up over the open top. We are going on vacation later this summer, and going to put a top on it. We have a family friend who is going to take care of them while we are gone. We are going to put a wall around the cage while we are gone. Any other suggestions?

nikilovesdogs
03-27-06, 01:44 pm
twinkies,

I had my cage 36" off the ground up on a table with my dogs in kennels. The cage was 100% covered as well. My dog still escaped and killed my beloved piggers. If you can keep the dogs/pigs separated while not attended, please do. Don't make the grave mistake I did of thinking that your dogs would never hurt the little cavies. It can happen in an instant, and you cannot bring back a dead pet. I hope I'm not sounding harsh here, but please make sure you take every precaution. Moving forward, I certainly am doing so! :)

C&K
03-28-06, 05:54 pm
We have a table that my hubby made and our c&c cage is on it. It sits about 30 inches high. We have 4 dogs. 3 of them are large and 1 is a pee-a-poo. They don't even go around the cage. I know I won't take it for granted that they will leave it alone. It's a open cage, but they can't get their noses up over the open top. We are going on vacation later this summer, and going to put a top on it. We have a family friend who is going to take care of them while we are gone. We are going to put a wall around the cage while we are gone. Any other suggestions?

I would make sure that all the connections on the cage are zip tied with heavy duty zip ties, and that the grids themselves are actually bolted in some fashion to the table so that the cage cannot be knocked down from the table with ease.

I agree that some creative furnature re arranging should take place to make sure they get behind a door though! That is the only way they really will be safe.

Are all the animals staying in the trailer with a friend peeking in, or are they going to your friends?

nikilovesdogs
03-29-06, 09:02 am
I got some VERRRYYYY exciting news last night - well, more of a proposal!!!! (maybe my babies didn't die in vain)

Texas Rustlers has asked me to put together a one page brochure to help new piggy owners know about the dangers of dogs and guinea pigs if not properly supervised and protected. I'm going to take many of the suggestions here and apply them. It will be posted to their website and given to each of their adopters as well.

Thank you for your help!


Niki

PiggieMom
03-29-06, 10:47 am
That's awsome new Niki! I'm sure it will help save many piggie lives. Aw, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now.

nikilovesdogs
03-29-06, 11:02 am
Gosh, I really hope so. If only one life is saved, it's worth it. I'm going to really work hard on it! :)

Slap Maxwell
03-30-06, 12:16 pm
Awesome for you Niki! Make sure you share it when you are done.

ScottandDebbie
03-30-06, 12:24 pm
Niki... Because of what happened to you and your babies, Scott and I are now so much *more* careful about making certain that the baby gate is smugly closed tight when we are away, to keep the dogs out of our bedroom, where our boy's cage is located.

Even though we have highly trained service dogs... one NEVER knows.

Hurray for the Texas Rustlers... they have a wonderful, knowledgeable person working with them. Congratulations Niki.

nikilovesdogs
03-30-06, 12:28 pm
Thanks for all of your support! Of course, I will share the finished product. It may take a while, because I am soooooo swamped right now in taxes - ugh!

Debbie, I am glad to hear that! I can understand what you mean. My dogs are so well-behaved when supervised, that I just didn't realize how things could turn out as tragically when they did with a prey-driven dog and guinea pigs in a "safe" environment. :weepy:

I have some extra, super exciting news! This morning, I signed on for a much larger townhome in my complex. We're moving from 750 square feet to 1,000 square feet. The guinea pigs will have their own room, as will the dogs! YAY! I'm going to be moving June 16th. WOOO HOOO!!!!! I must be insane to be getting a larger apartment for my pets. :D

ScottandDebbie
03-30-06, 12:35 pm
Good News Niki.
That extra room space will certainly make a big difference.

So Happy For You. :)