Curious about how to create the best guinea pig habitat for your piggy pal? We reveal 7 tips for making the perfect space for your new guinea pig.
If guinea pigs are from Peru, shouldn’t their guinea pig habitat be based on something from Peru? Maybe in an ideal world, but then that would be like owning a parrot and setting your living room up to look like the jungle. Here are the things you should think about when setting up your guinea pig’s new home.
- A Box Big Enough for Two
Guinea pigs are easily startled, which is one reason why you need some sort of box for them to hide in. They also like to live in groups of two or more otherwise they get very depressed.
Guinea pig cages need to be large enough to comfortably accommodate two guinea pigs, so they can run around. It also gives them space so they can get away from each now and again.
When it comes to boxes, you need to find one that will fit both guinea pigs in because they are both going to want to sneak in there at the same time when they want to go to sleep.
The best bedding for guinea pigs is usually hay or newspaper but remember that both are very poor at absorbing water and urine, so you will need to change the box’s bedding more frequently than you clean out your guinea pig cage.
- A Suitably Sized Cage
The first thing you will have to remember is that guinea pigs need plenty of space. This is so they are not too. They should also be able to do as much exercise as they like without hurting themselves. The cage needs to be large enough to safely accommodate two guinea pigs since they should live in groups of two or more.
In an ideal world, even if you only have one guinea pig, you should have a minimum of a 7.5 square foot habitat. Most people have an indoor cage that really should be around 30″ x 36″ and then allow their guinea pigs out into the garden every day.
With two guinea pigs, the habitat can be 7.5 feet minimum, but to make your guinea pigs really happy you should make sure the habitat is 10.5 square feet, or an indoor cage of 30″ x 50″ and then let the guinea pigs out every day.
The habitat can be 10.5 square feet if you want three or four guinea pigs in one habitat or an indoor cage of 30″ x 62″ and then let their guinea pigs out every day. Two or more places to hide is also a good idea because sometimes they will have little fights and will need places to hide from each other.
- Sawdust and Fabric Materials
As you create the perfect habitat for your guinea pig, make sure you have bought plenty of fabric sheets so your little friend stays nice and clean. Place them in random places in your habitat, though it is best to put them up high on shelves, boxes, etc. It is better to do this because if they get sawdust on them, they are harder to wash.
To make your pet more comfortable, you can buy fleece liners that are easy to wash in the washing machine or by hand. Fleece is soft on your guinea pigs feet and is also waterproof.
If your idea of guinea pig care doesn’t include washing guinea pig bedding in the washing machine, then you can use disposable puppy training pads, as they will absorb urine. The floor of the cage or habitat should be covered in sawdust for the most part because guinea pigs are not fussy about where they defecate.
- Keeping Things Safe
When you are coming up with new guinea pig cage ideas, remember that safety matters. Before you build or buy your habitat, make sure it is not damaged and does not have any sharp edges.
If you opt for an indoor cage, then put the cage on a sturdy table and/or on a stand. Keeping the cage off the floor makes it easier to clean out, and gives you easier access to your guinea pigs, which means you will play with them more and they will stop being as shy.
The sad fact is that no matter what you do, you cannot stop your pet getting sick or injured because life can be very unpredictable, so make sure you are fully insured if you own guinea pigs. You can get pet insurance here.
- Where to Put Your Guinea Pig Habitat
Where are you going to position your habitat? Guinea pigs are small pets they will be scared by loud noises, so it is best to make sure your pigs are in a nice quiet area away from other pets.
Is your chosen area going to be too hot? Are you going to keep them inside or outside and are your guinea pigs going to get enough sunlight?
Guinea pigs have a somewhat of a default setting where they are naturally shy and easily startled. Care, love, and plenty of attention can get them out of this habit, but it is harder to build their confidence if their local environment contains loud noises or threatening elements.
- Toys and Things to Nibble
As this box or cage is going to be your guinea pig’s home, make there is plenty of toys, so your pet doesn’t get bored. You can buy tunnels, igloos that they can sleep in, ramps that they can use to get to the next level of the cage, and much more.
Do not opt for the very expensive hay-woven igloos and houses because your pigs will demolish them in a matter of minutes. Switch their toys around from time-to-time and remember to stuff bedding in their hiding spots so that they can relax without getting sores from hard surfaces.
- More Water Than Needed
A single small water bottle is not nearly enough. Your guinea pigs will have stints where they drink water like blue whales, and they will sometimes drink half a small bottle before you even realize what is happening.
Obviously, it is very cruel to allow a bottle to run dry because the guinea pigs have no idea why there is no water coming out.
You may want to consider having more than one bottle if you have three or more guinea pigs because one may try to claim a single bottle as their own and start jousting with the others as they try to use it.
Pets Are Hard Work If You Do It Right
After reading this, you may figure that having a pet is a lot of hard work, and you would be right.
Most people are completely oblivious to the life of misery their pets lead because they have never been locked in a cage their entire lives.
If you are going to do it right and give your guinea pigs a good quality of life, then you need to go above and beyond with regards to your guinea pig habitat. You need to consider the amount of attention you give your pets, and to how often your pets are able to go outside and play in the grass. On that point, make sure your guinea pigs are in large outdoor runs or are in gardens where cats cannot get them because cats will happily kill a guinea pig.
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