This is a rather important article for owners looking to purchase a guinea pig cage, so make sure to read this thoroughly before shopping. Remember, this is your pet’s new home, where they will be spending most of their time. A correctly set up cage will ensure a happy guinea pig, which ultimately leads to a healthy and long-living life.
Finding the Perfect Cage Size
A common mistake that many owners make in this early step of raising their guinea pigs is finding a proper sized cage. A lot of people do not realize that a baby guinea pig can potentially grow much larger because of their proneness to becoming overweight. Always keep in mind that even though your pig may be small at the moment, you need to purchase a cage that will fit them comfortably throughout their adulthood.
Most cages sold at commercialized pet stores, including PetSmart and Petco, do not recommend the proper size for cages. Those cages will do for a baby, but certainly not an adult. Simply ask what they would recommend for an adult guinea pig instead. Usually, the bigger the better, as long as you have the budget and space at home.
I believe there is information circulating the web that 2.5 square feet is enough room for one cavy. However, this is not true. Try to aim for 7.5 square feet for a single guinea pig.
I want to reiterate how crucial this is because you need a cage with enough space for them to run around and exercise, even as an adult. Without the proper daily exercise, you can potentially cut their lifespan by a few years. And, we wouldn’t want that would we?
Guinea Pig Cage for Two or More
Of course, the more pigs you decide to bring home, the bigger the cage should be. If you’ve read the section above, this should be common sense. For two, you should try to aim for 10.5 square feet of space to allow plenty of room for each to claim an area of their territory.
This is especially important if you choose to bring home two male guinea pigs. Without a large enough space, they could be fighting for territory all the time, which can potentially lead to one getting injured. Obviously, pay attention to different guinea pig noises to determine if they’re having fun playing or fighting/in distress.
If you’re going to put two females in the same enclosure, then space will not be as big of an issue. Because of their passive nature, they will tend to fight less. However, I would still recommend a large space for them to run around and be active.
There is a lot of misconception on the web when it comes to guinea pig bedding. In fact, a lot of products I see being sold for bedding can actually be harmful to them. I’ll start with products to avoid.
Pine and cedar shavings are a big “no no” when it comes to bedding. These products are poisonous to the pigs and can actually cause problems with their respiratory systems. Although sneezing and coughing will happen from time to time, these shavings can sometimes cause uncontrollable amounts of coughing/sneezing. If that happens, switch out the bedding to see if it ceases. If not, take them to the vet because it might be something more serious. Pine and cedar are a popular choice because of their odor-neutralizing abilities, but don’t use them at the risk of your pet’s health.
The most futile thing you can use for bedding may be straw. Not only is it ineffective in odor-control, but it also doesn’t absorb droppings at all. This will ensure your guinea pig is living in a dirty environment, which will surely take a toll on health in the long run.
What I would recommend is Timothy hay. Yes, the same hay I suggested as the primary source of a guinea pig’s diet. If you decide to go with this, make sure to change out the hay every so often so that they don’t consume soiled hay. Also, you can train them to not eat their bedding hay by providing a hayrack with pellets mixed in.
Don’t forget to add a water bottle. It’s quite common for them to want to play around with their water bottle, so make sure the water is clean by refilling it once a day. Do not give them a small water bowl as their water supply. From personal experience, they’ll usually flip them over and cause a mess.
You should also provide great guinea pig toys for their amusement. Toys can include obstacles that promote exercise or give them entertainment. However, keep all obstacles and toys off to the side to ensure they have plenty of space to roam around and get a good workout. Feel free to add terrain objects like rocks if space permits.
It’s a known fact that a guinea pig’s front incisors are always growing. Throw in a few chew toys, as it allows them to trim their teeth throughout time.
Do not pick a cage with wire flooring, as it can be quite uncomfortable for your pigs and difficult for cleaning. If possible, purchase a cage with a bottom tray so you can easily slide it out to swap out bedding.
Having a large door is also a great idea as it allows you to have easy access to your pigs anytime. There may be emergencies, such as fights or seizures, where you need to quickly get to them.
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Just follow these tips and you’ll have the perfect environment for any breed of guinea pig! But remember that these creatures of habit do not like sudden change. So, once you’ve found something that works, I would suggest sticking to it. No more drastic changes.
If you have any questions regarding guinea pig cage and setup, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.