Most of the owners don’t know how much exercise guinea pigs need to do every day. Guinea pig’s bodies are built for speed, and they need to be active to stay strong and healthy. So, today let us learn all about guinea pig’s exercise and floor time needs in detail.
Guinea pigs need at least three hours of exercise every day. They are most active during early morning and evening hours, so it would be ideal to let them play at that time. Guinea pigs are happy to play inside the house, provided they have an appropriately sized area where they can play and exercise.
Preferably, the owner need to allow their guinea pigs to run freely in the house.
If this is not possible for the owner, they must make sure that their guinea pig is getting enough exercise outside.
Guinea pigs will become depressed, overweight, and stressed if the owner doesn’t allow enough freedom to them.
Do guinea pigs need exercise?
Guinea pigs are great pets as they are entertaining, friendly, and love to be petted. But most people don’t realize that guinea pigs need a lot of exercise, more freedom, and physical activity than other household pets.
Pet guinea pigs are descended from undomesticated European guinea pigs. They have been selectively reared in a specified environment to be comfortable around human beings but that doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise like other animals.
Undomesticated guinea pigs can attain speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and can cover many miles every day. They spend their time chasing other guinea pigs, looking around for food, and try to escape from predators by running.
Domestic guinea pigs don’t need to search for food on their own, nor they need to escape from predators, but generally, they still need to do exercise.
Guinea pigs are high-energy creatures. If guinea pigs do not get enough exercise, then they can have psychological and physical issues. Like, for example:
- Boredom: Guinea pigs can act unhealthy when they are bored. For instance, creating bald patches or may over-grooming themselves. They can also damage their teeth by chewing on the bars of their enclosure.
- Weight gain: Those guinea pigs who don’t exercise enough can gain fat. That puts a burden on the skeletal system and the cardiovascular, also it can cause insulin resistance, which gives rise to diabetes.
- Behavioral difficulties: Most guinea pigs don’t get socialized with a human being because they usually don’t get enough exercise, which is why guinea pigs sometimes become destructive or aggressive.
Guinea pig exercise requirements
So, for guinea pigs, exercise is very much important. But the question is, how much exercise do guinea pigs need? It is not an option to keep your guinea in an enclosure all day. It can be stressful being restricted to a small enclosure for 24 hours each day.
The owner must let them out for exercise daily if they put their guinea pig in an enclosure. Smallest mammals also want time to run around, out from their enclosure freely. Mental and physical health is vital for your guinea pig.
The owner should provide their guinea pig at least 3 hours to exercise out from their enclosure every day. As this is a minimum, but if you want to give your guinea pig more time than this, then 7 to 8 hours every day is enough for your guinea pig.
However, guinea pigs should be let out twice a day. Guinea pigs are most active in the morning and evening twilight so it is the best time to channel their energy.
Allow your guinea pig to come out for exercise from 6-9 am, and then again from 4-8 pm. Guinea pigs mostly sleep during the middle of the day, occasionally wake up to eat the hay.
Don’t force your guinea pig to stick fast to your schedule. Maybe 6 am seems early, but you must appreciate your guinea pig’s natural habits.
Swimming is an activity you like, but guinea pigs don’t, so never force your guinea pig into a bathtub or swimming pool, as it can cause extreme shock.
How much time should you spend with your guinea pig a day?
You will need to provide continual supervision on your guinea pig whenever you take them out of the enclosure.
If guinea pigs are left alone, then they could be in danger. Guinea pigs have a natural tendency to chew things up.
Their teeth and claws always grow, and the owner needs to trim them. Also, they throw the items around and tend to jump on the things.
The owner should also need to spend at least 3-4 hours every day, interacting with their guinea pigs if they have only one. Guinea pigs are social animals and need to keep company with other creatures to keep them happy.
The perfect partner for a guinea pig is another guinea pig. Two guinea pigs will keep each other company all day and build a strong bond.
If you can’t buy another guinea pig, then be prepared to give your entire attention to your guinea pig. You can play with your guinea pig by getting down on the floor.
How much space do guinea pigs need?
Many people have an impractical idea of how much space a guinea pig needs. That is because most of the promotionally-sold guinea pig pens, enclosures, and runs were not designed for guinea pigs.
On the other hand, guinea pigs can live for 5 to 8 years. You will deliver enough space to your guinea pig if you want them to live for a long time.
Those guinea pigs that are kept in poor conditions will probably pass away before their natural lifespan. If you are having a pet guinea pig then you have various options for their housing:
- If you want to sleep, keep your guinea pig in a large, guinea pig-proofed and make them out during the day while you can attend to supervise them.
- Allow freedom to your guinea pig to run in the house. Guinea pigs can be trained for using the litterbox, as many owners select this option. If your guinea pig has not been acting under supervision, you will have to guinea pig-proof the house.
- Keep your guinea pig in an enclosure most of the time, and let them out to observe and direct the execution of the exercise. That is the most inferior option, as most guinea pigs don’t like being restricted in a small, surrounded space.
Guinea pigs should not live outside. Domestic guinea pigs live as long as compared to outdoor guinea pigs. They always have their lives shortened by adverse weather, disease, predators, and extreme temperatures.
Letting guinea pigs roam free
Most of the owners allow their guinea pigs to roam in the house freely. Domestic guinea pigs are much happier as compared to those guinea pigs that are kept closed in.
Guinea pigs are clean creatures and can be trained for a litter. They like to execute their toilet activities in one place only. That is because in the undomesticated area, Leaving poop everywhere can alert the predators that guinea pigs are close to them.
Guinea Pig-proofing a home is similar to baby-proofing. The owner needs to make sure that everything within your guinea pig’s reach is safe for them to examine and eat. Those objects which can harm your guinea pig should be kept on high or in a cupboard.
Most of the owners keep their guinea pig cramped into one room. There is no need to guinea pig-proof the entire house; you can do it in an extra bedroom. It is okay for your guinea pig to have only one room, as long as you interact with them daily.
How do you guinea pig proof a room?
Guinea pig proofing is essential for safety reasons and stops your guinea pigs from destroying your properties. Here are some tips to make a room safe for guinea pigs:
- Cover those areas ultimately which you don’t want your guinea pig to access. For example, guinea pigs enjoy biting the holes in the clothes so that you can block the entry to your closets.
- Place the baby gates at the top and bottom because guinea pigs can also hurt themselves by falling from the stairs.
- Cover any expensive carpeting with a short-pile, inexpensive rug. Most guinea pigs like to chew and dig at carpets so you can cover your expensive carpeting with a cheap rug or a short-pile.
- Keep the cables and wires of your house away from your Guinea pig because they will naturally chew the cables or wires, as for them its looks like a root. To keep the cables and wire safe, you can use plastic piping.
- If you want to protect your furniture from your guinea pig, you can put wire mesh, fencing, or baby gates in front of the furniture. Guinea pigs love to chew wooden furniture.
- Never leave anything in front of your guinea pig if you don’t want them to chew. Blankets, Clothes, laundry, bags, laptops, and children’s toys are all fair games for a bored guinea pig.
- Clear out all vase flowers and houseplants, or keep them away from guinea pigs, you can put them on high. Many common plants are harmful to your guinea pigs, including irises, daffodils, and ivy.
Other helpful tips
You can provide the toys to chew, lots of hay, and other stuff to your guinea pig. Allowing your guinea pigs to do these all keep them happy. Unhappy or bored guinea pigs will destroy and chew everything that they can reach.
A handy discouragement for guinea pigs training is a spray bottle of water. If your guinea pig chews on anything that they should not, give them a quick spritz of some water along with an act of telling no to them.
Give your guinea pig positive reinforcement whenever they chew on something acceptable, such as a toy.
What games do guinea pigs like to play?
Guinea pigs need to be provided with something to chew on, as they are intelligent animals. It is not enough for a guinea pig to only run around, and it is not that they all like to do.
They also want to search for food, play, and explore their surroundings. Some ideas for guinea pig exercise equipment are:
- Tunnels: The tunnels are something that guinea pigs can’t seem to get enough of. They love to move or run rapidly when they are allowed to do so, and they do this at their high speed.
- Wicker balls: Some guinea pigs love to poke and chase wicker balls all around the house. Also, they love to chew on them.
- Ramps and platforms: Guinea pigs love to jump upon things and back down again. Build some height for your guinea pig’s space by loading boxes and bending planks against them.
- Cardboard boxes: Guinea pigs love to hide inside the boxes, chewing, and climbing on them. Also, this will help to trim your guinea pig’s teeth down.
- Buckets of hay or shredded newspaper: Guinea pigs love burrowing and digging. To make it more exciting, you can hide their favorite food throughout the hay. Don’t allow your guinea pig to eat newspapers.
- Treat ball: These are wooden balls or hollow plastic that you can hide treats inside. The guinea pigs have to push the hidden treats around to get them to fall out. A couple of raisins will work very well as an encouragement.
Also check: 25 boredom buster ideas for your guinea pigs
Do guinea pigs need an exercise wheel?
Many people think that guinea pigs are the same as mice, rodents, and hamsters, and their needs are also the same. But the skeletal anatomy of guinea pigs is different from rabbit or hamsters.
Hamsters are those creatures who are built to make their stress out on their spines. However, guinea pigs are very delicate creatures, and their feet are sensitive to the wire netting on the floor of the wheel.
Also, exercise spinal wheel injuries to your guinea pig. So, the exercise wheels will harm your pet guinea pig.