How To Chose a Guinea Pig Cage
It is very important that you choose the right size and type of cage for your guinea pig. They will spend most of their time in the cage so it is not a good idea to go and buy the first one that you see. You need to take a number of different things into consideration first so that you end up with a cage your guinea pig will be happy with.
Some guinea pig owners choose a cage that is too small for their beloved pet. You need to avoid doing this at all costs. Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures and if they don’t have enough room to move around and play then they can become very distressed. This can lead to health problems and a very unhappy guinea pig.
We are assuming here that you want to get a cage for indoor use rather than a guinea pig hutch. There will be a number of different factors discussed here such as the right size of cage for your guinea pig, the right type, the materials used in construction and the safety issues that you need to think about.
Some people will let their guinea pig roam free around a room at times and there is nothing wrong with this. If you want to do this then you need to take steps to ensure that your guinea pig cannot easily escape and also that it will be safe and not come to any harm. In this scenario the guinea pig cage is like their home base where they feel safe and secure.
If your guinea pig is out of the cage and roaming around a room then it is essential that there is someone there to supervise. Never leave your guinea pig unattended to roam around a room because anything can happen. If nobody is available to keep an eye out then keep your guinea pig in their cage.
Your guinea pig will really love their cage if you choose the right one. They will know that their food and water supplies are there and there is a nice soft bed for them when they need to sleep. So let’s take a look at the important things to consider when looking for the tight guinea pig cage.
What size cage & minimum space do you need for a Guinea Pig and why it matters so much
If you take a trip to your local pet store to look for a guinea pig cage you will find that most of them are far too small for your pet to stay in for long periods. It is very important that your guinea pig gets the right amount of exercise and too small cage will not provide the opportunity for this.
A lot of the cages that we have seen in pet stores are hardly large enough for a fully grown guinea pig to turn around easily in. Don’t subject your guinea pig to this kind of cage. Yes it will cost you a bit more to get a larger cage but you don’t want your guinea pig to be uncomfortable and unhappy do you?
Some people like to own more than one guinea pig. If you want a cage for two or more guinea pigs then you really are looking at a large cage here. It is possible to buy more than one cage and then connect them together. Not all cages will do this so you need to check before you buy.
Think about how big your guinea pig will be when it is fully grown. There are no hard and fast rules about cage sizes but we would recommend that for one guinea pig the size should be a minimum of 7.5 square feet and a larger area is preferred. This is the recommended minimum from the Humane Society.
If you are going to keep more than one guinea pig then obviously you will need a lot more space for them. For each additional guinea pig you will need a further 3 square feet of cage space at the absolute minimum.
There are a lot of good reasons to choose a large guinea pig cage for your pet. The most important of these is that your guinea pig never feels cramped in their cage, and that they have freedom to run around in space and get some of the exercise that they need.
When you guinea pig can exercise freely they will be healthier and a lot happier. If you want to keep more than one guinea pig then a larger cage will significantly improve the chances of them living peacefully together in a single cage.
Having a larger guinea pig cage will provide you with the opportunity to divide it up into eating, bathroom and toilet areas. It will take your guinea pig a little while to get used to these separate areas, but it will be healthier for them as you don’t want them to eat in the same place that they use the bathroom for obvious reasons.
When guinea pigs have more room they will express their natural behaviors a lot more and you can really get to know them. A guinea pig that has a lot of freedom is likely to do a lot of interesting things to keep you and your family entertained!
Another great benefit from choosing a larger guinea pig cage is that it will be a lot easier for you to clean. It can be really difficult to clean a small guinea pig cage properly and this can lead to health problems if the cleaning is not thorough enough.
The size of your guinea pig cage is crucial. If the cage is too small then your guinea pig can quickly get depressed and maybe even sick. A larger cage will ensure that they are happy and this should make them healthier too. So go for as large a cage as you can afford and the space in your home allows. It will make so much difference to the quality of life for your piggy.
How much cage space does a guinea pig need?
- 7.5 square feet or 30″ x 36″ minimum for 1 guinea pig.
- 8 – 10.5 square feet or 30″ x 50″ minimum for 2 guinea pigs.
- 10.5 – 13 square feet or 30″ x 62″ minimum for 3 guinea pigs.
- More than 13 square feet or 30″ x 70″ minimum for 4 guinea pigs.
These are my favorite cages:
The Guinea Pig Habitat “Plus” by MidWest Homes for Pets is an interactive and expandable habitat cage for your Guinea Pig (expand up to 12 square feet).
17.5 Square Feet Outdoor Guinea Pig Cage
What kind of cage do you need for a guinea pig ?
Here we are going to discuss the main types of guinea pig cage. In truth there are many different kinds of guinea pig cage available and one thing that we do recommend is that you go for one with the largest floor space available.
Guinea pigs are not crazy about multi level cages. They prefer a larger single level floor space so don’t waste your money on fancy high rise multi level cages that are very expensive. It will not be interesting for your guinea pig to explore upper levels of a cage.
We will start off with a couple of guinea pig cage types that we certainly do not recommended:
The Guinea Pig Aquarium Cage
In the past a lot of guinea pig owners used aquariums as a cage for their guinea pigs. Let’s make something very clear here. Aquariums are great for fish but they are not for guinea pigs. Even now you will see quite a number of guinea pig owners resorting to using aquariums because they didn’t bother to consider the consequences of doing so.
One of the attractions of using an aquarium as a guinea pig cage is the cost. You can pick up quite a large aquarium pretty cheaply these days. Another benefit of an aquarium is that cleaning it is very easy. But that’s where the benefits end.
If you put your guinea pig in an aquarium instead of a proper cage they will not get the air circulation that they need because the sides are solid. A standard sized aquarium is also far too small to be a good guinea pig cage. Some people try to keep more than one guinea pig in a standard sized aquarium and there is nowhere near enough room.
When you keep more than one guinea pig and there is not enough space for them to live comfortably they will tend to fight each other for the available space. This is definitely not a situation you want to find yourself in.
And finally there is another problem with using an aquarium as a guinea pig cage. The glass sides of an aquarium will muffle sound effectively meaning that your guinea pig will be used to a very quiet environment. When you take your guinea pig out of the aquarium they will have to contend with all kinds of noises that can really frighten them.
Small Guinea Pig Cages in Pet Stores
We have already mentioned these but it is worth telling you again that these are not a good idea at all. Sometimes you will see pet stores offering small guinea pig cages as “good starter homes” and they tend to be at the inexpensive end of the scale. If your guinea pig is a baby then this might be OK for a very short time but soon you will need to get a larger cage.
What’s the point of doing that?
They will also have some larger guinea pig cages to offer you which they consider are fine for adult pigs. These are rarely big enough and you need to be very careful here. The stores will label some of these undersized cages as “luxurious” and “deluxe” but your guinea pig will not think so as they do not provide enough space.
A lot of the commercial guinea pig cages available at pet stores have ledges with them that the store will count as additional space. Don’t accept this because the ledges add nothing to the available floor space which is the most important thing. Ledges can be handy for water bottles etc but they will not make the cage size any larger.
To find the right size cage for your guinea pig in a pet store is likely to cost you a lot of money. Some stores will have cages that you can connect together to make a larger overall cage. This is fine but you need to make sure that the cages will connect together properly. You don’t want large gaps where your guinea pig could get out easily.
Now we will discuss two types of cages that we certainly recommend for your guinea pig:
C & C (Cubes and Coroplast) Cages
C & C cages are some of the best available for your guinea pig. They are constructed using storage cube grids and a corrugated plastic called coroplast also used to make signs. The main advantage of a C & C cage is the amount of room that your guinea pig will have. Your piggy will be delighted with the amount of room that they have to roam around.
The storage cube grids hold together using standard connectors with cable ties providing reinforcement. Most C & C cages will have an open top which provides great air circulation for your guinea pig. If you have other larger pets at home such as a cat then you will need a top for the cage and a wire shelf is a very good solution.
If you want to make your own C & C guinea pig cage this is not too difficult to do. You can purchase the storage cube grids from a lot of large stores and shops that make signs can sell you the coroplast that you need. You will find a lot of resources online showing you how to make a great C & C cage for your guinea pig.
I wrote more on: 8 Reasons Why C&C Cage Is The Best Cage For Guinea Pigs
Homemade Guinea Pig Cages using other materials
You do not have to use storage cube grids and coroplast to make a guinea pig cage. Using some pine, plywood, wire screen and plexiglass it is possible for you to make a really nice cage for your guinea pig that is the right size.
There are many other ways that you can make a homemade cage as well. Just remember that it needs to be large enough to keep your guinea pig happy and sturdy enough so that it will not allow your guinea pig to get out.
Just go online and do a search for “how to make a guinea pig cage” and you will get many ideas from the returned search results. It will cost you a lot less to make your own guinea pig cage but you will need some basic DIY skills to do this.
I was surprised at how cheap I was able to buy the C&C Cage from Amazon
I wrote more on What is the best fleece for guinea pig cage here.
What Materials for a Guinea Pig Cage?
Only get a cage for your guinea pig constructed from materials that are durable and safe. If the materials of a cage lack durability they could be easily broken or your guinea pig can chew through them. Be sure to check that none of the materials used are toxic or can harm your guinea pig in any way.
If you are going for a commercial metal cage, check that the bars are close together and that they are strong. If the bars are spaced too far apart then your guinea pig could squeeze out of them and escape. If the cage has a bottom pan for droppings then make sure that this is not made of wire as it can harm your guinea pig.
It is best to go for a guinea pig cage that has smooth surfaces as this will make it a lot easier to clean. Another thing that you want to look for is proper air circulation. If the materials used are solid then there will not be enough ventilation for your guinea pig.
We recommend storage cube grids and coroplast as the best materials for your guinea pig cage. They are safe and durable and you can certainly buy these cages in larger sizes that will provide the room that your guinea pig needs to be happy and healthy.
Guinea Pig Cage Safety
To fully protect your guinea pig you need to ensure that a cage has no sharp edges and has no toxic materials used in construction. If your guinea pig cage has a top or lid then make sure that this is held in place securely. Guinea pigs are curious creatures and if they can find a way to get out of the cage they will.
A secure lid is also essential to keep other pets out especially cats. If you have a cat at home they will find a guinea pig very interesting and will try all kinds of tricks to get at it. Once they realize that there is no way in for them then they will give up.
Don’t use dusty bedding in your guinea pig cage. Never believe the adverts that tell you this is a good idea. Any kind of bedding that contains dust, pine shavings or powder can harm your guinea pig. If they inhale dust or powder it can cause respiratory problems.
If you have some wooden elements in your guinea pig cage such as a hidey house, inspect them on a regular basis to ensure that they have not started to splinter. You also need to know that guinea pigs really like to chew wood so check to see if any chewing has created sharp edges in wooden elements.
A lot of guinea pig owners add mirrors to their cages. This is fine and they can be fun for your guinea pig but be sure to only use mirrors with rounded edges. If a mirror has sharp edges your guinea pig could suffer an injury. To be completely safe why not add the mirror to the outside of the guinea pig cage rather than the inside?
Although a lot of guinea pig owners choose a cage that has a grid floor this could potentially harm your pet. It does provide additional air flow which is good and droppings can fall between the grid keeping them away from your guinea pig. But your pig can get a foot injury especially with a wire grid floor. We recommend a solid floor for the cage.
The final word on cage safety is on where you locate it. You do not want to put the cage where your guinea pig will be too hot or too cold as this can make them sick. Also make sure that the cage is not in a place where it is likely that a family member will accidentally kick it. Your guinea pig will not appreciate a shock like this.