Guinea Pigs and Exercise

Indoor Exercise
If you have a spacious cage for your guinea pigs, they will of course be able to run-around and have the much needed exercise that they need. However, to help keep the very inquisitive guinea pig extra happy, they adore free range time. This can be in a safe room which has no reachable wires, house plants etc. Or you could make an extra large pen for your guinea pigs. This option is ideal if you have younger children.

Your guinea pig will especially need daily free range time if they live in a small cage. They need to be able to run and work their muscles, so if your home can't accommodate a large cage, please give your guinea pigs at least 3 to 4 hours of free range time daily. Although my guinea pigs live in large C&C cages, I still allow them to run-around in our hall or in the piggy/bun palace everyday. They thoroughly enjoy running about and going on little adventures. Its wonderful seeing them charging around, you can see how happy they are being free. Let your piggies have as much exercise as you can give them. If your out at work/school for most of the day its best to buy the largest enclosure your home can accommodate, that way at least they have the opportunity to run about. Of course, before you allow your guinea pigs to run-around, you must make sure their exercise area is safe environment. In addition, if your guinea pigs can't get back into their cage by themselves, you will need to provide a water source, provide food for them and toilet areas to protect your flooring. Here are some safety precautions for both indoors and outdoors.

Safety Precautions in-doors
1)Make sure all electrical cables are out of reach. This includes phone wires, computer wires, lamp wires and any other wires that an inquisitive guinea pig could reach.

2)Make sure all house plants are well out of reach as many of them are poisonous to guinea pigs.

3)Think about the location, a kitchen in not an ideal area, often there are too many gaps between kitchen appliances that piggy can get into. Guinea pigs can squeeze through very tiny gaps. A living room is a good place, but remember if you have expensive furniture, piggy might decide to nibble on the furnishing. I personally have never had this problem, but just wanted to warn you that some piggies do like to nibble on soft furnishing or wood.

4)If you have a free roaming pet like a cat or a dog, make sure they don't have access to the room your piggies are using. Always supervise your guinea pigs at all times, never leave them unattended while they are running around free.

5)If you have a busy family life, always make sure other members of your family know that the piggies are having some free range time. You could leave a sign on the outside of the door which says "Piggies are out and about"! This will alert other family members to be careful opening doors and to tread carefully. If you have a very young family, its best to provide the piggies with a large safe enclosure, rather than allow them to be completely free.

6)Guinea pigs need access to fresh water and food at all times, so if your guinea pig is unable to return back to their cage by themselves, please provide them with a water source and food supply. You could use a heavy ceramic bowl for their water or if their cage is in the same room and low to the ground, you could attach their bottle so the spout is facing outwards. Just remember to turn it around again after playtime is over. Provide them with a bowl of hay to nibble on or just place a good handful on a sheet of newspaper. You could also place some veggie treats in some cardboard toilet rolls or spread sheets of newspaper around the room, so they can go on a vegetable hunt. Guinea pigs really do enjoy foraging for their food.

7)Please don't leave plastic bags in the room that piggy could reach. Guinea pigs seem to be drawn to plastic bags, so always keep them well out of reach.

8)Although this should apply at all times, not just for summer months, please never use insecticides like wasp sprays, air freshener, perfumed products like deodorant sprays or perfumes anywhere near guinea pigs or their cages. Even a pump action aerosol like a suntan lotion could be harmful to guinea pigs. The ingredients could also get into their water, pellets and on to their hay. Just never risk poisoning your guinea pig, use another room, well away from piggies and their cages. If you are having a problem with wasps in your piggies room and your a child, ask an adult to try and catch the wasp with a glass and let it go outside rather than try to kill the wasp with insecticides. Wasps aren't my favourite insect, but just think, your keeping your guinea pigs safe and saving the life of the wasp!

Peachy, Squeekie and Clover in the piggy/bun palace

An ariel view of the area

For idea's on how to provide lots of fun things for your guinea pigs to do both inside and outside the cage visit my Toys/Home Comforts page

Outdoor Exercise
During warm summer days you can allow your guinea pigs to go outside. They will love the fresh air and nibbling on fresh green grass. Again, they must always be supervised. During warm summer days my piggies really enjoy having some time outside. I have two areas they can use in our garden. A concrete area at the side of our house where they can run-around, its also sheltered against the sun for most of the day because of the building next to ours. I block an escape route with the tops of my old guinea pig cages. They are of course supervised at all times and are never left alone, not even for a few seconds. They also go into a run that I've made out of left over cube grids, so they can nibble on fresh green grass. Again, I supervise them at all times. Even if you do have a run that you can buy from pet stores with a sheltered area, you still need to supervise them at all times.

Safety Precautions out-doors
1)Provide an outside run with a shaded/covered area to protect them from the sun. Don't leave them without any shelter, they could die from heat stroke. I choose not to put my guinea pigs out during the midday sun. The best time for me is late afternoon or early evening in the summer months.

2) Never put guinea pigs on damp grass. Always wait until the grass has thoroughly dried out.

3)Make sure the grass isn't full of poisonous plants like daisies. See this link to learn about poisonous plants Guinea Lynx: Poisonous Plants Also make sure the grass hasn't been sprayed with chemicals. In addition, make sure the grass area isn't used as a toilet for cats and dogs.

4)Never leave guinea pigs unsupervised, even in an enclosure, you need to stay with them at all times.

5)Block off all escape routes, unlike rabbits, guinea pigs don't dig, but you need to make sure their outside enclosure doesn't have any weak areas where piggy can escape from.

6)Make sure piggy has access to food and fresh water at all times. Remember to change the water regular in hot weather to avoid harmful bacteria building up. Your guinea pig will also appreciate drinking lovely cool water in hot weather.

My girls enjoying the great out-doors at the side of our house

Jake, Sweetpea, Squeekie and Peachy enjoying the carpet of grass

Sweetpea training for the guinea pig olympics!

Further Reading
Here are a few helpful pages on keeping your guinea pigs cool in hot weather. For indoors as well as outdoors. Just click on each link and you'll go directly to the page.

Diddly-Di's Piggy Pages- Tips for keeping piggies cool
Comfy Cavies- Keeping piggies cool in hot weather
Guinea Pig World Forum-Keeping Cavies Cool

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