If you’re thinking about taking home a guinea pig or cavy, one of the most important parts of caring for these fluffy rodents is ensuring they have a safe and clean living environment. As such, choosing the best guinea pig cage should be on top of your list.
In this article, you’ll learn some of the critical factors to consider when buying a guinea pig cage, as well as valuable tips on how to set it up properly to meet your little pet’s living requirements.
5 Factors To Consider When Choosing The Right Guinea Pig Cages
Did you know that guinea pigs are among the biggest rodents? Unfortunately, most cages marketed for guinea pigs are usually small to fit a full-grown guinea pig. As such, you want to start your search by considering the size.
On a more technical side, the cage size that you need will depend on several factors, including:
- The number of guinea pigs you plan to have
If you’re planning to have two guinea pigs, the minimum cage size is 7.5-10.5 square feet. The more you have, the bigger size you should look for.
You may have taken home a baby guinea pig that’s only the size of a kid’s hand and can fit a hamster’s cage. However, once they start to grow and mature, the cage will soon become smaller for them to move around.
Male guinea pigs are larger than females. Thus, they’ll need a bigger cage. But aside from the average gender size, if you’re planning to have two or more males in a cage, you should go with the biggest cage you can get. Males can be aggressive and territorial. When they start bickering, you can resolve the tension more efficiently with a more extensive setup.
Depending on where you live, you have various breeds of guinea pigs to choose from. And some species are a lot bigger than others, which will require bigger cages.
For instance, the Rex is by far the biggest breed of all guinea pigs, reaching up to 17 inches long as an adult. This is almost one and a half times larger than the average guinea pig breed. A smaller cage may be enough if you have the popular American or Texel guinea pig since these breeds only grow less than 10 inches long.
On average, a guinea pig will need a bigger cage than hamsters and gerbils but a bit smaller than a rabbit’s cage. That said, the bigger the cage is, the more comfortable your guinea pig will be. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a guinea pig should have a cage measuring 30×36 inches, although more is always better.
- Types Of Cages
When searching for a home for your guinea pig, you’ll encounter various types of cages. These include:
- Guinea Pig Hutch
Traditionally, a hutch-type cage was used for rabbits. However, it has also become famous for guinea pig owners, primarily if their furballs are housed outdoors. Hutches are usually made of wood, which helps mimic the elements of nature. However, wood hutches can be challenging to clean and may not be suitable as permanent housing for pets.
It can be a suitable play and resting area for guinea pigs when you take them outside during the day.
- Pet Store Cages
Pet store cages are the most popular type available today. You can find them at local pet stores or the vet’s office. Commercial cages are often constructed from thin metal parts. As mentioned before, most of these commercial cages may be small for guinea pigs, so do your research.
- CC Cages
Short for ‘cubes and coroplast’ cages, CC cages are the gold standard for guinea pig housing. The cubes are the grid pieces that form the cage structure. On the other hand, the coroplast is the plastic bottom that creates the cage’s base. CC cages can give piggies lots of room to roam and check off all the boxes in terms of comfort, safety, and health.
However, when choosing CC cages, ensure the cubes are secured safely to ensure durability and stability.
- Multilevel Cages
Typically constructed from sturdy plastic or metal, multilevel cages feature multiple platforms on multiple floors. This type of cage can provide good airflow while encouraging exercise and playtime.
However, guinea pigs are not excellent climbers like hamsters. Thus, a high cage with several levels isn’t necessary. That said, if you like a cage with an elevated area to give your piggy more vertical space, make sure that the ramps are not too steep for your pet to climb on and that there’s enough space on the higher levels to prevent falls.
- Construction Materials
The most common materials used for guinea pig cases include wood, metal, plastic, or a combination of these materials. Ideally, it’d be good to use metal cages for your Guinea pigs. These rodents are notorious for chewing their way out of plastic and wooden cages.
- Solid Flooring
Before choosing a guinea pig cage, check if it has a solid base. Besides comfort, your guinea pig’s feet are too delicate to handle the pressure caused by uneven bumps or thin wire mesh floorings. Also, don’t choose cages with large mesh gaps, which can cause their feet to get trapped and injured. However, you can quickly resolve the issue by adding thick liners on the cage flooring to ensure a level walking area.
- Hiding Spaces
During the day, your piggy will love walking around its cage. However, it also needs a secure and cozy place to hide when they want to eat or sleep. Fortunately, some guinea pig cages are fully equipped with hiding areas, so you don’t have to get a different hideout.
3 Tips To Setting Up The Perfect Guinea Pig Cage
Once you find the right cage for your piggy, here are valuable tips to create the perfect living space for your furry pet.
- Choose The Best Location
Where you place the cage is more important than you think. To start, place the cage away from windows to avoid direct sunlight and drafts. And since guinea pigs can’t sweat, you should keep their enclosure somewhere cool to prevent overheating.
Guinea pig owners shouldn’t locate the cage in an area with too much noise. Guinea pigs are sensitive to sound and get frightened easily. In addition, keep the cage away from other predatory pets like dogs which can scare and stress your cavy.
- Select The Right Bedding
The type of bedding you use can impact your guinea pig’s health and safety. The best types of cage bedding include wood or hay bedding, paper bedding, and fleece which are highly absorbent. Meanwhile, wood controls odors, paper is gentle on your pet’s sensitive feet, and fleece can help keep them warm.
On the other hand, stay away from aromatic wood shavings such as cedar or pine since they may cause respiratory issues to your pet. Also, don’t use a straw, corn cobs, or sawdust, which can cause allergic reactions or be too hard on your piggy’s feet.
- Get The Essentials
Aside from knowing where to place your piggy’s cage and getting the right bedding, you need essential items for your guinea pig’s cage. These include:
- Food Bowl
You’ll need two food bowls–one for their fresh veggies and fruit and the other for pellets. Consider choosing a bowl made of heavy material such as ceramic to prevent spills or keep your pet from chewing their food bowl.
- Water Bottle
It’s recommended to choose a water bottle instead of a bowl, as water bowls can easily get knocked over by your guinea pig, spilling water over the cage. So, look for a non-leak water bottle with long drips for your piggy’s easy access.
Cage toys can provide enrichment and stimulation, encouraging exercise and play while reducing boredom.
- Bridges, Shelters, And Hideouts
As prey animals, cavies are easily scared, so providing multiple hideouts can help reduce their stress level.
- Burrowing Hay
Ideally, you want to create a separate station for food and water and their resting area. You should also place a few hideouts throughout the cage. Meanwhile, you can place burrowing hay in all areas. This allows for moisture absorption in their play and eating area while providing a safe and warm place to sleep in their shelter.
In addition, you can also attach a hay rack to the cage. This can help bundle hay together and encourage feeding. Make sure to choose a wood hay rack instead of wire racks to prevent the risks of getting your pet’s head stuck between the bars.
Wrapping It Up
Guinea pigs are fun and adorable pets to keep. These fluffy furballs are easy to look after and don’t demand much of your time. However, you must give them a spacious and comfortable living space.
Make sure to consider the factors mentioned above and tips to buy the best guinea pig cage in the market today and set it up properly to ensure that your little fur baby lives a happy and relaxed life.