Guinea pigs are members of the rodent family and have been domesticated for hundreds of years. These small, short-eared creatures make fascinating and endearing pets. They're easy to care for, though they do have a short list of needs to keep them healthy and happy. One such requirement is time outside of their cage.
Need for Freedom
Regardless of the size of their cage, guinea pigs enjoy free-range time to run around and explore. Exercise is vital to their physical and mental well-being. Guinea pigs that aren't allowed to roam free may become overweight or overly shy and sullen, exhibiting health problems such as an impaction—a loss of muscle tone in or around the anal area which causes the stools to back up—or bumblefoot—an extremely painful infection on the pads of the feet.
Whether you choose to let your guinea pig roam indoors or out, there are certain safety precautions you need to take to keep them safe from harm. In addition to the following safety tips, be sure to provide your pet with toys, objects to chew, obstacles and areas to hide such as cardboard boxes, paper bags, activity balls, cardboard tubes, or large PVC pipes.
- Choose an area free from cables, electrical cords or wires.
- Place any houseplants out of reach, as they may be poisonous to your pet.
- Provide access to food, water, and shelter during out-of-cage time.
- Aim for a minimum of two hours of exercise each day.
- Avoid the kitchen area, where gaps between appliances can provide a hard-to-reach hiding spot.
- Choose a warm day with no wind, and provide your guinea pig cover from direct sunlight.
- Avoid damp grass, or that which has been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
- Use a secure enclosure with a roof so your pets are safe from predators.
For more information or products for your guinea pig, contact the experts at United Pet Group.