The ideal home for your guinea pig
Guinea pigs are very active animals and you’ll need to provide them with lots of toys and objects to keep them active. They’ll need a lot of space to be happy and healthy. A large hutch and a big, grassy exercise area provide them with the ideal living area.
They can live indoors or outdoors, so long as they have enough space and are kept comfortable in summer heat or bad winter weather. You can even keep your guinea pigs in a heated outhouse in a cavvycage.
If your guinea pigs live outdoors, don’t let them exercise in bad weather. Their bodies are very low to the ground and they can get cold and dirty on their bellies. Consider keeping them in a warm shed or outbuilding where they can exercise indoors during winter.
The ideal guinea pig enclosure will include:
- A large hutch. The RSPCA recommends an absolute minimum size of 4ft by 2ft but the bigger the better. Make sure it’s weatherproof and raised off the ground.
- A safe and comfy lining in their hutch. Clean woodshavings or sawdust are suitable. It’s best if any lining used is dust-free.
- Clean dry hay, straw or shredded paper as bedding. Your guinea pig will also need feeding hay to eat. You can read more about this on our guinea pig diet page.
- Constant access to a large, grassy exercise area. Guinea pigs don’t sleep much but take naps throughout the day and night. They’ll need to be able to choose when to go to bed and when to be active.
- Lots of tunnels and hides in their run so they can move around confidentially and hide if they want to.
- Plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained. You can read more about ways to prevent boredom on our guinea pig health page.
Guinea pig paradise
Here are some great guinea pig enclosures to inspire you:
What to do in summer and winter
Summer heat or stormy winter days can be a danger to your guinea pigs. You’ll need to make sure they’ve got suitable shelter:
- Guinea pigs are sensitive to hot weather and can get stressed if they temperature goes above 27°C. In hot weather, move the hutch into a shady area and make sure your pigs have some shade in their run. Find out more about caring for your guinea pigs in summer.
- Protect your guinea pigs from cold winter weather by bringing them indoors. You could also keep them in a warm shed or car-free garage. Give them extra bedding when the weather gets really cold. They’ll need a large indoor exercise area or they could develop brittle bone disease from not being active enough. Read more about caring for your guinea pig in winter.
Keeping your guinea pigs clean
Regularly clean out your guinea pigs to make sure their home is healthy and hygienic. They’ll need daily, weekly and monthly
- Get rid of any wet or dirty woodshavings and bedding.
- Throw away any uneaten fresh food so it doesn’t go mouldy.
- Wash the food and water containers before refilling them.
Clean the hutch more thoroughly once a week to keep it hygienic
- Empty the hutch, clearing out all bedding and lining material.
- Scrub it thoroughly, inside and out, with a pet-safe cleaner. You can buy safe cleaning products in pet shops or on our online pet store.
- Only let your guinea pigs back in when the hutch is completely dry.
Is your home and garden safe for guinea pigs?
There can be hazards around our home that spell trouble for curious pets. Give your home and garden a quick guinea pig safety check and look out for:
- Potential predators. Check your guinea pigs’ hutch and exercise run are escape-proof and secure from prowling predators like foxes and cats.
- Electric cables. Keep your guinea pigs well away from any electric cables – they might chew through them and get quite a shock!
- Poisonous plants. Some common garden plants – like poppies, tulips and daffodils – are toxic to guinea pigs and other pets. You can read more about poisonous plants on our poisons and hazards page. If in doubt, keep your guinea pigs away from flower beds so they can’t nibble anything that might harm them.
- Herbicides and pesticides. These garden chemicals are poisonous to pets. Keep your guinea pigs well away from any areas that have been treated with them.