Can you leave guinea pigs alone for the weekend? Although you won’t want to do it too frequently, you can. You will absolutely need to make sure they have everything they need, however. Among other things, this means heaps of food and multiple bottles of water!
Leaving any pet alone for days is not something we recommend. If you feel the need to do so then you’ll need to make sure they have all the food and water they’ll need for the weekend. Day and night safety is also something you’ll need to consider.
Your guinea pigs must also be able to get along with each other on their own OK.
How Long Can You Leave Guinea Pigs Alone For?
Can you leave guinea pigs alone for the weekend? You can leave your guinea pigs alone for three days, max. Why no longer? Because your guinea pigs will lack vital care and become lonely.
It’s just not worth the risk!
If you must be away from home for more than three days, you will need a very competent pet-sitter, with experience with guinea pigs, to ensure your pets are properly looked after.
Guinea Pigs Need Attentive Care
Guinea pigs are sensitive little critters, and they depend on their people more than some other pets (cats, for example).
Leaving your guinea pigs alone for more than three days not only risks their physical health, it will also cause them to experience feelings of neglect and abandonment – clearly not things you want your beloved pet to feel.
Every day, guinea pigs need exercise, fresh vegetables, grooming (if you have a long-haired breed), and cleaning up after.
Without these things, guinea pigs will quickly become unhygienic, depressed, and even sick.
Why? Because fresh food will rot, and need cleaning up; they will soil their bedding and need it taken care of. Guinea pigs should be allowed out of their cage once a day, as they are foragers and naturally very active.
Guinea pigs also become attached to their people and, like any pet, like to feel cared for.
Can You Leave Guinea Pigs Alone for the Weekend?
You can leave your guinea pigs alone for the weekend, yes – but only when certain requirements are met! In order to safely leave guinea pigs alone for the weekend, you must ensure that they have:
Heaps of Food
You’d be surprised at how much guinea pigs can eat at a time… this in mind, you will need to leave your guinea pigs with heaps of fresh food before you leave.
Feed your guinea pigs some fresh vegetables prior to departure, and clean the leftovers up after. You probably won’t want to leave any fresh veggies with them, as the leftovers may rot while you are away. This is not hygienic, clearly!
Instead, provide your guinea pigs with heaps of hay – far more than they could eat in three days. They may get bored and decide to over-snack. You wouldn’t want them to run out, so better safe than sorry, right?
To prevent your guinea pigs from accidentally spoiling their hay with urine or droppings, store the food in a cage wall-mounted rack.
Multiple Water Bottles
Guinea pigs should always use a water bottle rather than a bowl. Otherwise, they’re sure to spill the water. When you are away for the weekend, you will need multiple water bottles, in case the ball in one or two of the spouts becomes jammed or begins to leak. Three water bottles or more are ideal.
The Ability to Get Along With Each Other
You won’t want your guinea pigs to fight when you are away. They could hurt each other. Only guinea pigs that are sure to get along should be left alone with one another. Otherwise, they should be kept separate or monitored by a pet-sitter.
A Clean Cage
Before leaving on a trip, you will need to get your guinea pig cage spic and span. You may wish to give it a deep-clean, and remove everything from the cage. Spray the cage down with a guinea pig-safe cleaner, along with any plastic toys, bowls, etc.
Get rid of the old bedding and replace it entirely with new bedding, so it will stay fresh longer. Remove any fruits, veggies, or greens that are leftover. Replenish their hay and their water.
Along with this, tidy up your guinea pigs, as usual, removing any droppings from their fur. If your guinea pig has grooming requirements (like the long-haired Syrian), make sure this is also properly taken care of.
Plenty of Space
Is your guinea pig cage nice and big? If not, you may want to get your guinea pigs a ‘vacation cage,’ so they have plenty of space to maneuver. You will not be around to let them out for their daily exercise, after all. Just make sure the bars are spaced closely together and chew-proof.
Nothing can beat an outdoor run with an automatic opening door. Never heard of one? Take a look at these hutches from Omelt.
Lots of Toys
Toys are a fantastic way to keep your guinea pigs entertained while you are away. These lively little animals love toys – especially ones they can chew.
A few extra toys can really do wonders when it comes to keeping boredom at bay! Some of the best toys are aspen wood blocks, sticks, etc., as they are non-toxic and perfect for guinea pigs to chew.
Guinea pigs also enjoy stuffed animals (free of parts they can choke on, of course), bells, balls, or even a hay stuffed sock.
An Environment that is Predator-Free
You should never leave guinea pigs unattended around predatory pets. If you have a cat, dog, or ferret, they should not be anywhere near you guinea pigs without your supervision. Your guinea pigs should be kept in a private, safe room of their own. This will keep them safe, and allow them to relax.
The Proper Temperature
Guinea pigs can easily overheat, or even catch a chill. Your home will need to stay at a consistent temperature, between 65-75 F. You may need to leave on the air conditioner or heater. We also use rabbit and Guinea Pig fleeces. See our recommendations here.
As you can see, guinea pigs have some very specific requirements for being on their own. You should only go away for the weekend if you can meet them. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a reliable pet-sitter!