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7 Essential Things That Guinea Pigs Need in a Cage

7 Essential Things That Guinea Pigs Need in a Cage

Guinea pigs need a well-equipped cage to stay safe and happy. There are a few essential supplies that guinea pigs need in a cage. Without those, the quality of life of your guinea pigs can’t be enhanced.

Guinea pigs need a large enclosure to live, eat, and play. The floor of the enclosure must be soft to protect your guinea pig’s paws from health issues. They must have free access to food and water as well. Apart from that, they will also need hideouts to rest and a lot of toys for entertainment.

Also, you will need to evaluate your pet’s security from predators and climate conditions.

It is quite easy to purchase an enclosure for your guinea pig and get your first guinea pig.

There will be more concern in case the enclosure of your guinea pig is located outside.

But your responsibility as the owner doesn’t end there. The owner needs to make some efforts to make the guinea pig’s enclosure into a home.

What do guinea pigs need in a cage?

Guinea pigs need a lot of supplies to begin with. Here are a few supplies that is a must for guinea pigs:

  • Quality Bedding
  • Food bowls and hay racks
  • Fresh hay
  • Water bottle
  • Toys to play with
  • Hideouts to hide and sleep
  • Litter tray to keep the cage clean

How to prepare a cage for a guinea pig?

A living area arrangement is necessary whenever you bring your guinea pig into your family.

Some of the families allow their guinea pigs to run all the time freely.

Though your guinea pig will enjoy this freedom but also there could be many problems. 

Think first before you allow your guinea pig to run freely. Where could be your guinea pig’s sleeping area?

Is your guinea pig safe when you’re busy somewhere? Will it get on the ground and cause damage? Where will your pet eliminate their poop? 

Organizing an enclosure for your guinea pig is always a safer option. They will remain happy if they get enough floor time every day.

Most of the guinea pigs want to have their place. Even social creatures want their privacy.

Large open space to play and exercise

Provide more floortime

Space is the most important thing which your guinea pig needs the most in their enclosure.

Your guinea pigs must have enough space to move and play inside, your guinea pig will remain stressed and unhealthy if they feel that they are trapped inside.

8 Square feet is the basic minimum size of a suitable enclosure for a guinea pig.

Your guinea pig must be able to stand on their hind legs comfortably in the enclosure.

Also, you will need to include a hideout space and a litter tray. Every guinea pig will enjoy the space to play, jump, and run freely. The bigger you get the happier they live.

Try to attach a run to your guinea pig’s enclosure, if possible. That will help your guinea pig to exercise while still surrounded.

You need to give at least 32 Square feet measured area to your guinea pig for exercise. At night, always close the entrance of the guinea pig’s enclosure. It is crucial to protect them from predators. 

More floor time will be required if you cannot incorporate a run with your guinea pig’s enclosure. For guinea pigs, space is essential. Break out attempts will become a regular happening if your guinea pigs feel trapped.

Also read: How big should a guinea pig cage be? Choosing the best one!

Soft bedding to keep their feet healthy

Most of us think that covering the floor of the enclosure is not necessary but this is wrong.

It would be painful for your pet if the enclosure floor has a hard, wired floor.

In the end, this will possibly bring to open sores on your guinea pig’s feet which are known as bumblefoot.

You can choose to get fleece, paper, or aspen bedding for your guinea pigs. In case there are not possible, hay could be a great alternative.

An abundant supply of hay will do the job as well. Though hay must be enough, remember that the feet of your guinea pig should not touch the ground.

Consider vinyl, if you want to apply a delicate flooring for your guinea pig’s enclosure.

Vinyl will be much more comfortable compared to wire or wood. The guinea pig can chew the vinyl flooring, so be aware of that. You will need to change the flooring every day.

Food and water on a daily basis

Best Guinea Pig Hay

Food and water are a must for your guinea pig all the time.

Guinea pigs could not last long without nutrients. Don’t allow your guinea pig to skip a meal. There are three forms of food for a guinea pig. 

  1. Hay is important: Try to fill plenty of fresh hay in your guinea pig’s enclosure as much as you can.
  2. For adult guinea pigs, pellets are non-compulsory: Restrict the access to pellets, once your guinea pig attains six months of age.
    • That could be a little high calcium food.
    • Though it does provide nutrition. 
    • You will not need these if you provide a good supply of vegetables daily.
  3. For guinea pigs, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits are a great pleasure.

Continual access to fresh water is also essential for your guinea pig. Either a bowl or a bottle can be provided for this. It is easier to drink in a bowl, as many guinea pigs prefer a bowl to drink. 

Though, some of the guinea pigs play with their bowl as a toy. As it can be filled up with hay or bedding, or it will be knocked down. Attach a bottle to your guinea pig’s enclosure in such a condition.

Confirming your guinea pig drinks enough water is much more important than how your guinea pig gets water.

Drinking between 50-100 ml of water for every kilogram of body weight in a day-to-day schedule should be enough for any guinea pig.

Hideouts to relax

Guinea Pig Hideouts

Guinea pigs are prey animals. Although they have transitioned through the domestication process, some survival instinct is still present in them.

They usually need a place to hide so they can feel safe and take a nap whenever they need to.

For your guinea pig’s enclosure, a hideout is a necessary item. You need to buy a hideout for each of your pets.

That means you need one hideout for every guinea pig. If you have a pair of guinea pigs you must have at least 2 or more hideouts in the cage.

A separate sleep area

guinea pig

A bedroom is what every guinea pig needs. An owner should make sure to structure a quiet space for their guinea pig, whenever you set up an enclosure.

Fill a hideout up with the bedding, so that your guinea pig could understand it’s for sleeping. That will help in keeping your guinea pig happy. 

If you cannot get a hideout there are a lot of DIY options as well.

A guinea pig’s bedroom can be simple, just like an upturned cardboard carton. For the entrance and exitance of your guinea pig, just cut a hole in the box.

Correctly, place this carton in the corner of your guinea pig’s enclosure, at the lowest level. In this area, your guinea pig will start snoozing. 

There are many reasons why a guinea pig wants a bedroom area in their enclosure. 

  1. Guinea pigs are social, but still, they need some private space. A private bedroom is enough for their privacy. 
  2. Guinea pig sleeping timing is from mid-morning to early evening. The bright light will not disturb your guinea pig if they have a place to nap.
  3. Guinea pigs are known as prey animals, and they know it. Your guinea pig will feel safer with the help of a shielding layer as they will not recognize that the cartoon will not protect them from a predator. 
  4. As guinea pigs are clean animals, they don’t like to eliminate or urinate where they sleep, which means that your guinea pig will remain fresh and smell nice. 

The owner has many options when it comes to the bedding of the guinea pig’s enclosure. The owner must make sure that the bedding is safe to consume. Sometimes guinea pigs end up ingesting the bedding by accident.

Most of the guinea pigs will be glad to sleep on the hay. However, you can prefer to buy a blanket.

A pet shop will sell the best and safety blanket for your guinea pigs. The owner can also purchase a bed frame for a guinea pig. 

Your guinea pig would love to arrange these blankets and will enjoy it by tearing them up.

Lots of toys for mental and physical stimulation

Guinea Pig Toys

The owner will need to fill the entertainment stuff in the guinea pig’s enclosure.

Guinea pigs are always in search of mental stimulation, as guinea pigs are smart creatures. Without a massive collection of toys, no guinea pig will be happy. 

Also read: 16 Ways to keep your guinea pigs happy.

It is recommended that the owner can buy a few of such items for their guinea pigs.

However, necessary household items can also play the role of toys. To be sure what is included as a toy, consider the following. 

  1. Guinea pigs want to chew as this can prevent their teeth from being trimmed.
  2. Guinea pigs like to dig and make a burrow. As it is a natural tendency. A guinea pig would dig a burrow for living in it.
  3. Guinea pigs like quiet noises. They adores playing with those toys which make crackling sounds when tossed around.
  4. Guinea pig likes to be naughty. That means that your guinea pig will enjoy ripping thin items apart and blowing them over. 

Alternative toys

As you will notice that many of the options will be open for your guinea pig. Fill their enclosure with makeshift toys. There are a few examples of what you could include. 

  1. Such as a phone book, fill up the papers in the box. Your guinea pig rips this apart and burrows in it.
  2. Small cat toys can be kept around. Your guinea pig throws these all around.
  3. Just like keys, the owner can provide hard, plastic baby toys. These will serve to your guinea pig’s desire to chew as this will stop your guinea pig from chewing the wire of an enclosure door.
  4. Leave tiny balls and related items for your guinea pig to chase and push around their enclosure.
  5. A Guinea pig can track hidden treats, which could be in your guinea pig’s hay. So barely don’t allow them to go fusty. 

That is just an icing on a cake. Whenever your guinea pig is playing, try to learn what your guinea pig likes the most. From this, you can arrange toys accordingly. 

Guinea pigs get easily bored. A toy could carry your guinea pig’s attention joyfully only for a few hours. Then it would be casually rejected. The owner will need to change the choice of toys regularly.

Cagemates to socialize

These small creatures can survive alone. However, this is far from suitable for most guinea pigs. These animals always feel happy whenever they are with their same species companion. 

You will always be asked to consider two pets whenever you adopt or bring your guinea pig.

That was not for the shop to try to up-sell you or a shelter effort to empty their enclosures. It was done only for the guinea pig’s happiness in mind.

You need to consider putting in another guinea pig to your enclosure if it’s a choice. There will be specific problems.

The owner should need to ensure that the guinea pig’s bonding is excellent, and they both are comfortable with each other. However, it will create a happy life for both of them. 

It could be possible that the second guinea pig is not an option for any number of intentions. But that doesn’t mean the end of the world. Though, it means that the owner will need to adjust.

Don’t leave your guinea pig alone for hours on end in any situation. The owner should need to check them regularly.

Ask your Neighbours or friends to take care of them if you work all day. Your guinea pig will be thankful for the company.

Also read: Can guinea pigs live alone?

Is it better to keep guinea pigs indoors or outdoors?

Both have their pros and cons. Here are few things you need to know:

Benefits of an indoor enclosureBenefits of an outdoor enclosure
Guinea pigs are social animals. An indoor enclosure means that your guinea pig will be surrounded by the members of the human family all day. After a day or two, a guinea pig enclosure starts to smell. If your guinea pig lives outsides then you would not be able to notice much.
Your guinea pig will become more confident and interact faster. Your pet will be used to the vision and noises of a busy house.Guinea pig’s hormones are regulated by natural light. Sleeping and shedding patterns take place naturally. 
Your guinea pig will be safe inside all the time. The predators that roam outside will not harm your guinea pig. This will make your guinea pig less worried in an enclosure. Guinea pigs need a moderate climate to live. Living outside will keep away from artificial heat or cooling sources, for example, central heating or cooling.
Your guinea pig will always be in front of our eyes. This will make it easier to notice strange behavior or potential sickness. Outside life will be silent for your guinea pig. Your pet will not be scared by vaccums, voices, and noise of shutting doors.
The owner need not be worried about the harsh climate. Your guinea pig will always be safe and warm, in any case of the elements.For your guinea pig, living outside is a more natural habitat. Their quality of life will improve.

Also read: Can guinea pigs live outside? Pros and Cons!

Keeping guinea pigs outdoor

Keeping guinea pigs outdoor

It is crucial to decide whether your guinea pig’s should be housed inside or outside.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

If you are trying to understand toward spotting your guinea pig’s enclosure out, consider the following:

  1. Temperature
  2. Safety
  3. Lighting

Let’s take a look at these points in more detail.

Temperature maintenance in outdoor enclosure

The owner would need to put a thermometer inside the enclosure if your guinea pig lives outside. Guinea pigs can survive in a little cold temperatures, but the owner needs to take care of them in harsh weather.

Guinea pig’s body temperatures should run between 100-103 degrees Celsius. As it sounds high, but guinea pig’s fur coat takes care of this. Your guinea pig will hardly become too cold.

It would be dangerous for the guinea pig if the temperature drops to 16 degrees Celsius or lower. Move your guinea pig to the warmer area, if this occurs. That will be non-permanent until the cold weather begins to pass away.

Do not shift your guinea pig between outside and inside living at any different time. The sudden changes in temperature harm guinea pigs. To avoid unexpected danger, your guinea pig needs just to heat up enough.

Unnecessary heat is hazardous for your pet. Your guinea pig will grow uncomfortable if you are keeping them at place with high temperature.

Everything over 24 degrees Celsius is uncomfortable but acceptable. The guinea pig will be in trouble if the temperature reaches 28 degrees.

A guinea pig could get a heatstroke in this condition if proper support is not provided.

The owner must offer plenty of chilled water. When the heat of the sun is too high, bring your guinea pig inside. Your guinea pig can relax on cold tiles to make themselves cool.

Safety of outdoor enclosure

There are many predators that wants to harm your guinea pig. The owner needs to apply a firm, secure cover to their guinea pig’s enclosure.

Predators can eat a thin element. The safest choice is hardware fabric, as it is more robust than chicken wire.

The owner may also need to consider a bright, Perspex cover for your guinea pig’s enclosure. That would be more secure for them. Also, this will protect your guinea pig from any strong winds or rain.

Remember that your guinea pig still wants oxygen if you do cover the enclosure in a durable cover.

Do not include the whole enclosure. Leave at least some space so that your guinea pig would not suffocate inside.

Provide a rehousing for your guinea pig inside if you carry severe concerns for your guinea pig’s safety.

Before bringing your guinea pig to join your family, do some study on the suitable enclosure.

If you do not organise a welcoming home atmosphere, stress and tension can follow.

The owner needs to remember how much time guinea pigs spend in an enclosure.

A guinea pig will wake up hours before the owner and stay active after the owner retires for the night.

A guinea pig wants to feel safe at this time, and the entertainment stuff also needs to be provided.

Lighting of outdoor enclosure

Another consideration for outdoor guinea pigs is appropriate lighting. Your guinea pig will return to its enclosure when you go to bed.

Though your guinea pig is not likely to be sleepy, your guinea pig will entertain themselves before taking a nap.

That is not a problem for your guinea pig. Guinea pigs do not get scared in the darkness. They can’t see in extremely dark. Guinea pig’s eyes are arranged to work best in the morning and twilight.

As this will cause trouble for your guinea pig. Your guinea pig will not be able to see anything. However, guinea pigs can listen and smell predators, which can stress them out.

The hideout area will be helpful with this, which we have discussed earlier. Your guinea pig may sleep peacefully, having no idea of animals watching outside the enclosure.

If your guinea pig looks unwilling to return to its enclosure at night, that means your guinea pig is scared.

You can calm down your guinea pig’s nerves by applying some light as you have two choices for this.

  1. Put a night light to your guinea pig’s enclosure. Torch or battery-operated lamp is best, as this will not contain dragging wires. Be sure that the lamp is dim.
  2. Establish a motion sensor light in your garden, which brightens your guinea pig’s enclosure. That will glow whenever something moves in your yard. Best to keep coyotes and foxes away.

Select the best option for you and your guinea pig.

I would recommend you to house your guinea pigs indoor with all the amenities they need. This will improve the quality of life of your guinea pigs by several folds.

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