To raise healthy guinea pigs, diet, hygiene, love and exercise all have their part to play. Exercise for guinea pigs is something that is easily overlooked because guinea pigs are small and don’t seem to need as much exercise as other pets like dogs for instance.
Many families who have guinea pigs live in small apartments, so it can be a challenge to find a suitable space where we can let our pets roam freely. If your goal is to encourage your guinea pigs to exercise more regularly, here are some ideas that you can implement.
How do You Exercise a Guinea Pig?
House your guinea pigs in a bigger cage. The more space they have to run around, the more movement you can expect them to make. A roomy cage is ideal because it gives them the space they need to get some exercise.
Regularly schedule floor time where you take them out of their cages to roam around freely. If you have a backyard, you can create outdoor guinea pig enclosures and let your guinea pig run around inside it. If you live in an apartment, choose a part of the house that is easy to clean and safe (with no exposed electricity cables), such as the laundry room or the bathroom, and let your guinea pig explore freely.
To help make them feel secure in the larger space, remember to put a place where they can hide – a paper bag, or a small cardboard box that’s turned upside down, with escape holes on the sides will do.
Encourage exploration and movement by placing food and healthy treats. Your guinea pig will love the treasure hunt, and they will get a good amount of exercise from running around.
Another way to encourage movement is by using appropriate and safe toys. Many objects around the house can be recycled to make suitable toys. For example, old socks, small stuffed toys, toilet paper spools, small balls like tennis balls and golf balls, cardboard boxes of various shapes and sizes, and even just crumpled pieces of paper. Put the in their cages, or scatter them around during floor time.
Play with your guinea pigs. We often find that the more involved an owner is, the happier and healthier pets are. This is because the more time you spend with your pets, the more you will realize the things that they need, and the bigger the likelihood that these needs will be met.
When you play with your guinea pigs regularly, then that’s one way of encouraging movement and social interaction. It’s exercise that’s fun for both you and your pets.
Guinea Pig Run Help Keep Your Pet Nice and Fit
Guinea pigs are so much fun. You probably want your guinea pig, which are also known as cavies, to be happy so are looking at guinea pig runs. Guinea pig runs aren’t cheap and if you buy them at your local pet store then you can expect to pay a lot, sometimes as much as $150 depending on where you live and where you are shopping.
Before you make the purchase you should do a little homework so you can choose the best run for your guinea pig. Getting the right sized run the first time is easy when you do a little research.
One of the big mistakes many people make when buying their first run is to buy it too small. Even though guinea pigs aren’t very pig they do need an area to run around.
How much space do Guinea Pigs actually need?
There is some debate here, the old advice was 4 square feet and now guinea pig experts are recommending as much as 8 square feet per guinea pig or cavy.
You are probably wondering why such a small animal needs so much space? Guineas love hiding, privacy, and scurrying about, they also have a physical need of exercise. An unexercised cavy will quickly become an overweight cavy.
Overweight cavies may have the same problems as overweight people, diabetes, breathing difficulties, heart issues, etc. It’s best to ensure your guineas have plenty of room to run around and hide so they can remain fit and healthy.
Since guinea pigs are social animals many people choose to keep more than one guinea at a time. Experts recommend you add an additional 2.5 to 3 square feet of additional space per guinea. So if you have 2 guinea pigs you will need 8 square feet plus and additional 2.5 square feet for a total of 10.5 square feet for their run.
As you can see buying the biggest run that your space and budget will allow is the way to go.
Where can you get a big, inexpensive run to keep your guinea pigs nice and safe?
This is the big question most guinea pig owners ask themselves. One of the best ways to find a run is to get the word out to family and friends that you are looking for a very large guinea pig run at an low or free price. In some cases a chicken tractor or a rabbit hutches will also work, depending on what it’s made out of, the size of the wire and the design features.
Your family and friends can keep an eye out for you and you never know, they may actually know someone who is trying to get rid of a great run. Sometimes you can really luck out and find a hutch for sale at a garage sale or maybe even your local flea market. Buying a used run is a good way to safe money, just make sure you give the run a good cleaning with a guinea pig safe disinfectant.
Coroplast Alternative for the Guinea Pig Cage
One of the more inexpensive and easy to add on runs available is called Coroplast. These are made out of plastic and are easy to clean. They will work both indoors and outside in the shade. These cages are a good starting point and are definitely better than having nothing.
One thing I don’t particularly like about some of these habitats is the walls are low and there isn’t a roof so a large dog or any cat could easily come and get inside the open topped run. These open access runs don’t provide enough safely from predators.
On the other hand if your guinea is going to remain indoors and you don’t have other pets this could be the perfect solution for your guinea pig.
Another inexpensive option is to purchase a small animal play pen. These small animal play pens are easy to set up and take down and can be used both indoors and outdoors with some supervision. The walls of the small play pen are tall but again you should supervise.
Since guineas should have exercise daily you may want to consider a large two story guinea pig house with the house on top and run underneath in addition to an small animal play pen. Your cavy will be able to run around both in the cage and in the play pen. Your cavy will be happier and healthier and you won’t have to spend a fortune!
Guinea Pig Toys
You may believe that your guinea pig has toys like an ordianry type of animal just like how the dogs have so many toys. However, it is good to outline that there aren’t many variations of guinea pig toys on the market. There are very little items out there that are made specifically for guinea pigs. Many people are often shocked at the small amount of toys that are made for them.
Excellent Alternative to the Guinea Pig Toys
Tennis balls and ping pong balls are extremely popular among small guinea pigs. They usually like to move them around in their cages if you give them the space. Try to allow them to move around with these balls since it gives them more exercise than usual. It allows them to relax and get their bodies moving. Usually if they don’t move, they will end up with problems later on. Try to also give them only one ball so they don’t overcome the entire space.
These may not seem to be good guinea pig toys, but they make great cushions for guinea pigs. Just give them a nice sock that you used to use, and then stuff them with a bit of bedding if you want. It can really be a nice pillow for them and can be nice for them to drag around the cage.
Their cages are always good, but they need another place to enjoy inside; sort of like how a person wants a couch or a sofa in their home. Give them a nice old bowl or cheese container, and then allow them to lay down in it. This can give your guinea pig a nice place to relax and enjoy themselves when they are tired.
Giving them nice stuffed animals can help keep them company. Usually they need a bit more stuffed company than human company. Just give them one or two and see what happens. If they happen to enjoy it, try giving them another one if you want. Beanie babies make great gifts for small guinea pigs, and they can replace all kinds of toys. You can expect them to drag these around often.
Each of the toys above are extremely popular among guinea pigs. Again, there are very few items and toys out there that were specifically made for them. So, it is all about creativity and finding an item that suits them best. Try out different items that you can give to them and see what happens.
There are all kinds of these items out there, and you will definitely like having your guinea pig having some fun despite your not being there. Each item above should be used with caution, so be sure to take care of your guinea pigs constantly and to always check up on them daily.
Tespo DIY Playpen for Guinea Pigs
- Tespo Playpen helps you create a world for your pets by your own hands.
- DIY expandable feature allows you to extend your playpen to bigger space or multiple layers.
- Ventilated design makes it convenient to interact with your pets from any angle, at any time.
- Ample area leaves your pet enough space for exercising a happier, healthier life.