Guinea pigs are small rodents renowned for their chattering and social nature. They make great pets for children as long as an adult is prepared to be responsible for the majority of their care.
They do, however, have certain specific needs which are essential to their wellbeing. One of the most important of these being the correct size cage.
This will depend on how many guinea pigs you would like to keep in one cage. A single guinea pig will need 7.5 square feet minimum with 30 by 36 inches being a good size. A pair will need 10.5 square feet with 30 by 50 inches being a good size.
What Size Cage Do Guinea Pigs Need?
At lengths of up to 25 centimeters and weighing in at around 1.2kg, the guinea pig is one of the larger rodent species and needs a cage size that reflects this.
Room for roaming, nesting, feeding, drinking, and going to the bathroom are essential for them to lead a happy life.
Unfortunately, many marketed cages are just not big enough to keep guinea pigs in.
It is essential that you have knowledge of the size they require. This will stop you from buying one that you have been recommended and finding that it is just not right.
Guinea Pig Cage Size Guidelines
- One guinea pig – 7.5 square feet minimum with 30 by 36 inches being a good size.
- Two guinea pigs – 10.5 square feet with 30 by 50 inches being a good size.
- Three guinea pigs – 13 square feet with 30 by 62 inches being a good size.
- Four guinea pigs – 13 square feet minimum with 30 by 76 inches being a good size.
As you can see from the above, a cuboid is the best shape for a guinea pig cage. The ample length and widths also mentioned above give them plenty of space to move around.
Why Does Size Matter When It Comes to Guinea Pig Cages?
As mentioned previously guinea pigs are one of the larger rodents kept as pets meaning they require larger cages than most. Activities they participate in also make large cages with plenty of floor space advantageous to this active pet.
Digging, burrowing, and climbing are all day-to-day activities for the guinea pig, but they do not suit cages with multiple levels.
Ramps and platforms at small heights are perfectly acceptable to provide variety. You should keep most of their space on one level.
It should be noted that even if you provide the roomiest cage possible, guinea pigs still need to be given playtime outside of their cage.
This is not only to ensure that they get plenty of exercise but also to give them extra interaction time with you.
What Are the Main Benefits of a Roomy Cage?
Just imagine for a second what your life would be like if you lived it solely in a walk-in closet!
Undoubtedly, you would be extremely bored, life would be dreary, and you may even suffer from depression.
Well, this is what it is like for guinea pigs who live in small cages and have a total lack of stimulation.
As well as ensuring that there is room for stimulation, larger cages can help to prevent your guinea pig suffering from many major health issues.
They provide room for them to exercise, lessening the chances of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, bumblefoot, and anal impaction.
In general, an active guinea pig is a happy guinea pig, but they need the ability to be active on their schedule, not yours.
Guinea pigs, you see, are most active during early morning hours. This may not be convenient for you to let them out and play.
A large cage means they can get plenty of exercise inside it, when and for how long they want.
Larger housing also increases the chances that multiple guinea pigs will live in harmony together. As social animals, guinea pigs are best kept in pairs, but preferably groups.
They need ample space to be kept so. Cleaning is also easier with a bigger cage. You’ll find this is a bonus if you’re going to keep more than one guinea pig.
Listen out for strange noises and behaviors which can be a tell-tail sign that your Guinea Pig is unhappy. Read our article and learn all about the strange noises Guinea Pigs make and what they mean.
Is There Anything Else to Take into Account When Choosing a Guinea Pig Cage Size?
Yes, you should also remember that every guinea pig cage needs equipment that has to fit inside with plenty of room for movement to spare. The basics that your Guinea pig will need are as follows:
- Bedding – Ideally made of paper or straw. Bedding needs to be at least 2 to 3 inches thick to keep your guinea pig warm and allow burrowing. Do not use cedar or pine shavings as these contain chemicals.
- Water – A sipper bottle is far preferable to a dish. Firstly, they do not take up as much room, and secondly, they are more hygienic. A 32-ounce glass bottle is recommended that can be hung from the side of the cage.
- Food – Guinea pigs like to eat with their front feet on the rim of the food bowl. For this reason, try to purchase one that is shallow and wide and preferably made of ceramic. Plastic bowls are a chewing temptation that your guinea pig will have trouble resisting.
- Toys – Simple wooden blocks and cardboard boxes are always a good choice of toy for guinea pigs. They love to gnaw, and gnawing keeps their ever-growing teeth worn down – creating a win-win situation.
- Privacy – Guinea pigs can be shy and do like to retreat for some peace and quiet. Tunnels and houses make excellent spaces for them to do exactly this. Even better, is that if you make your own from cardboard, they become an extra toy that your guinea pig can gnaw on.
Conclusion: What size cage do Guinea Pigs need?
There is no doubt that we all want to provide the best life for our pets. Because by doing so we keep them healthy, happy and within our families for a long time.
This is no different whether we are talking cats and dogs or our fine, furry, and friendly rodents.
It perhaps seems strange that the simple provision of a cage that is suitably sized can make a huge difference in the life of a guinea pig, but it does.
However, don’t forget that the best things in life for guinea pigs also come for free. Give them the love and attention that these sociable lovable rodents need, and they will be as happy as can be!