I wish I could talk to Mr./Ms./Mrs. Guinea Pig about their housing needs. I am a realtor. Do you think they would hear me out? Of course not, they are too busy having fun. But in the meantime, since you are in charge of all their decisions, I would like to enlighten you on the same.
I will give you all the information you need to choose the best place to keep your pals safe. Starting from where to choose the cage, which cage to choose, to where to keep the cage. This post is your one-stop destination to learn everything about the best place to keep your guinea pigs.
So, let me cut to the chase. What´s the best place to keep a guinea pig? I do not believe there is a better place than their natural habitat for that purpose. But if you are looking for the second best choice, it would be something that imitates their natural habitat. Filled with their favorite foods, lots and lots of hay, stuff to play with, enough area for them to jump around and have fun in!
Now I know that the above data is way too vague to act on. You must be 100% caught-up on all necessary data. That is exactly what I will do in the upcoming sections. If you keep reading, your furry pals will thank you with the best of love. Else, they may be pissed that you didn´t provide them with the best home possible
How Should the Cage and Habitat be?
Let’s take this step by step now. The first step, obviously, is how to choose their cage correctly, which is where they will be spending most of their time. Let’s break this down, shall we?
What Material Should the Cage be Made of?
Guinea pigs are soft. They cannot withstand an injury from a hard material. Their feet cannot practically walk on meshed surfaces.
So, here’s a couple of tips:
- Make sure the bottom of the cage is solid. When you search for cages for your guinea pigs, results may include other cages that are used for carrying birds. These are the cages I ask you to strictly avoid.
- Guinea pigs love hay. Not just for food, but for their surrounding too. So having the hutch’s and run’s bottom covered in the hay will be soft on your guinea pig’s feet, and yumy-yumy on their tummy!
Also, I guess it is time for a pro tip:
- Use second cut timothy hay. It is neither too fine, nor too coarse. Some people raise a question as to whether the breed of your guinea pig has a say in the cage material. The answer to that is: hell no! So you should only focus on finding a cage that has the right size, which is not too small, then just fill the cage with hay and other things such as toys and things to gnaw on! (don’t forget the water)
Another important thing for your guinea pigs well-being is your choice of bedding. If you want to see our top picks and read more about how to choose the perfect bedding, check out this post.
What About the Habitat for Everyday Life?
Obviously, you cannot live in a car forever. You need a home too. The same way, your guinea pigs aren’t gonna live in a cage forever. They need a habitat. A hutch and run is the perfect example, a hutch and run are a bit bigger, where they can walk out and feel more free!
Just try to have a big area for your guinea pig to be in on a regular, this will make your guinea pig feel better in the long-term!
What Shape Should the Cage be?
Newer and newer products are getting released in the pet supply market. You have versatile habitat shapes to choose from. The hutch and run set could be made in multiple combinations. Guinea pigs are literally unique. I mean, each individual has its own personality, guinea pigs are the same. Each one likes their habitat to be according to its own tastes.
Indeed, there are some features that every guinea pig would love. Based on such common grounds, there are products available in the market. But you know what? I would suggest that you take this as a DIY project. Observe how your guinea pigs behave in the first few weeks after they get comfortable with you.
Once they get cozy with you and the new environment you´ve brought them into, they will start expressing their traits. That will give you a chance to design in your mind, an idea of how the habitat should look like for your guinea pig.
You will be able to identify which area of your home they are the happiest at. Then you can buy or build the hutch and run and place it where they are the most comfortable and happiest! If you decide to buy a hutch and run instead of building your own I found this really cool one on Chewy which isn’t too big, nor too small! Check out the hutch and run here.
This hutch and run is a standard design that literally has a hutch attached to an external run. One guinea pig will probably be happy inside this hutch, But even though some people say the size of this is enough for two piggies, I wouldn’t recommend it. It clearly explains that I have more concern for your guinea pig’s happiness than your budget or space. Because it matters!
I also found this other cage on Amazon that looks awesome, especially if you have kids. It’s a two-story high cage with wheels. Check out this cool cage on Chewy here.
How Big Should the Cage be?
Ah, this question could lead to very heated debate! Some people who are rather concerned about space limitations and money, tend to mislead the prospective owners into putting their piggy pals into small spaces. Of course, they are small animals. But that doesn’t mean that they should be kept in small areas.
They deserve the space that they need to happily play. When you are looking for answers to this question, I would suggest that you rather listen to people that care. The people that care about your guinea pigs, and not just your budget. BlueCross suggests that the minimum size for a cage should be 120cm in length, 80 cm in width, and 80 cm in height, for a cage that is to hold two guinea pigs.
While that is literally the absolute minimum, you should do your best to make sure your guinea pigs get much bigger than the minimum needed space.
Some guinea pigs have special needs. Some guinea pigs are chubbier than others, and they obviously would need larger space in their cage. Other cases include pregnant females. In that case, I do not recommend a cage at all. Have them free in a playpen that is secured with cuddly and warm bedding on the inside.
Where in Your Home Should You Have the Cage?
This question needs to be broken down. First, ask yourself if there is a place in your home that is away from direct sunlight. If it is, then you may proceed with the next section. Yeah, believe it or not, finding the perfect location for your guinea pig’s cage, is not as easy as it seems.
Another thing to consider is the temperature where you keep your guinea pigs. You may be able to live in extreme temperatures, or not. But your guinea pigs? They definitely cannot! They cannot be subjected to a wide range of temperatures.
There is different and contradicting information on the temperature range in which guinea pigs can live healthily. But keep this in mind: neither too hot nor too cold! And which range suits such a description? 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit! Even 90 degrees is a temperature that some guinea pigs seem to resist. But any temperature lower than 65 degrees could kill your piggy. Although, it is advised that you be precautious. Some facts claim that you should not have your guinea pig in the ranges between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though they can endure that when they are awake, they may be prone to respiratory problems in the same temperature when they are asleep.
Lower temperatures mean irregular oxygen availability in hiking and dropping circles. And that could mean the possibility of an infection in the respiratory tract, leading as deep as the lungs. And when that happens, the air sacs get blocked, making it worse every minute further. Leading to death!
So, you may now be able to figure out the location in which you have to have your guinea pigs within your home. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, you need to make sure that the location meets the above-mentioned criteria. Although, I would recommend that you have your guinea pigs indoors. Indoors are easier to condition and regulate in terms of temperature. But if you always have the weather in mind your guinea pigs love to be outside!
Where Not to Keep Your Guinea Pigs
The best way to know a subject perfectly is to know all sides of it! So if you are looking to know where to keep your guinea pigs, knowing where not to keep them could help understand the conditions better. So, I am going to elaborate on where you should never keep your guinea pigs. I repeat, NEVER!
- Any place that is exposed to wind currents is off-limits. Wind currents give a tough time for your piggy’s eyes. And their fur will get very dirty if they´re exposed to wind currents because of the dust carried by the wind.
- Moreover, your piggies are not fans of any form of force or pressure, except maybe the pressure to eat- but only if you are pressuring them to eat their favorite treats! Any metal shed or sheet as the roof is totally unsafe. When there occurs a heavy wind, these sheets are not reliable at all.
- This point should enter straight to your head. So make sure you are reading with 100% concentration when you proceed. No cars! I mean, not a no to cars at all. But when it comes to choosing a location for your guinea pigs to live in, you should never even consider any area nearby motor vehicles. Whether the vehicle is switched on or off, it doesn’t matter. At any given instant, there are fumes coming out of vehicles. Let me tell you something. Unlike humans, guinea pigs don’t just get mild nausea or respiratory problems when exposed to such fumes. Something worse can happen to them in that case which is death!
- Any place that could expose your guinea pigs to their predators? Totally off the list! When I say predators, I know you are thinking of animals with huge teeth and dangerous claws. Well, you are not completely wrong. Those animals prey on guinea pigs too. But even cats and dogs could potentially harm your guinea pigs. Nevertheless, in fact, much worse, hawks and eagles are the deadliest predators of guinea pigs.
- Other predators include foxes and snakes. If you think that any of these animals could get access to your guinea pigs when you place them in a particular place, that place should not be your choice to keep them- for obvious reasons!
Do Guinea Pigs Prefer Being Kept Indoors or Outdoors?
There is no definitive answer here. Most guinea pigs, almost every, love being outdoors. But rarely, some guinea may prefer indoors to be more relaxing. You have to observe their behavior in both conditions. Any signs of happiness shown by your guinea pigs will show you the way you should adopt!
Pro tip (Or rather a heads-up): Always, yes ALWAYS, have an eye on your furry pals whenever you take them outdoors in the open. Staying beside them is more advisable. “Why”, you ask? Because there are hawks flying above the clouds waiting for a guinea pig to come out of your home!
So keep your guinea pig in a place you know is safe from predators, but also safe from unhealthy temperatures.
Read this post next to find the perfect outdoor hutch for your guinea pigs.