How to choose the right guinea pig cage size.
One of the biggest misconceptions about small animals like guinea pigs is that they can thrive in tiny cages. But what size cage does a guinea pig really need? This guide will break down the proper guinea pig cage size so you can make sure your pet lives a happy and healthy life!
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How Much Space Do Guinea Pigs Need?
Guinea pigs are relatively small animals, which is probably why it’s commonly believed that they will do fine in a small cage. Pet shops also don’t do a very good job educating new pet parents about the needs of small pets and most of the cages they sell are WAY too small. But guinea pigs are actually pretty active animals that will thrive with plenty of space to run around and stretch out. If provided enough space, guinea pigs will actually run laps around their cages and be much more outgoing and social with their owners.
Guinea pigs need horizontal space. They are not climbing animals, so vertical space doesn’t do much for them. In their cage, they need enough space to move around, while also having space for things like a water bottle, hay rack, food dish, and hiding place. It’s hard to fit all that in smaller cages and still have room for your guinea pigs to move around. Smaller cages will also need to be cleaned more often to avoid any respiratory issues. Providing a large cage will make for happy guinea pigs.
A major factor in what size cage you need is how many guinea pigs you have. Guinea pigs are very social animals and should live in pairs. A single guinea pig is at risk of becoming depressed. Of course, with more guinea pigs you will need more space. For most first-time guinea pig owners, a pair of guinea pigs is a great choice.
Why is the Right Size Cage Important?
Providing a bigger cage for your guinea pigs will help them live a long, happy, and healthy life.
Can you imagine if you had to only live in your bathroom for your whole life? That it’s probably like for guinea pigs that live in small pet store cages. Guinea pigs need room to stretch out, run around, and stay interested in their surroundings. Having open space in their cage to move around is important.
Providing a larger cage will make for a more social and outgoing pet. They will be happier when they’re able to get exercise right there in their cage. They also feel safer when they can actually run away and hide if something spooks them.
Guinea pigs that are kept in too small of cages can become depressed. There isn’t much to look forward to for a piggie that can only take a few steps in any direction. They won’t stay as healthy either when they can’t move around the way they need to or get any exercise.
So, you know why having the right size cage is important – but how do you choose the best cage? We’ll talk about that next!
How to Choose the Right Cage Size
The first step in choosing the right cage is to choose the right cage size.
What cage you’ll decide on will depend on a few things. First up, you’ll need to make sure your cage at least meets the minimum requirement for the number of guinea pigs that you have (or are planning to get). Check out the chart below to get the minimum guinea pig cage size for different numbers of pigs.
You can see this chart breaks down cage sizes in both inches and in standard c&c cage sizes. This chart assumes the grids of the c&c cage are 14″ square. These are also the absolute minimum sizes – extra space is always better!
Now that you know what size cage you’ll need, let’s talk more about how to choose a great cage.
What Makes for a Good Cage?
The best kind of cage for your pets is the one that works the best for your situation. What kind of budget do you have? How much space do you have? Can you DIY a cage or do you want something already built?
Once you’ve determined what size cage you need, you can decide what other features you want the cage to have.
With any cage, you want it to have easy access and be easy to clean. There are different options for bedding you can choose for guinea pigs, but you will always want to be able to wipe down the base of the cage to keep things clean. Some owners use a litter box, kitchen, or bathroom area to make the cage even easier to clean – which requires space. Ease of cleaning is definitely something to think about when picking out a cage.
If you have other animals like dogs, cats, or bunnies, you might want your cage to have a lid. This will keep your guinea pigs safe and your other household pets from getting into the cage! This could also be a good option if there are small children in the home that could potentially get into your piggies’ cage as well.
With some cages, you can also add an upper level and ramp. The floor space in the upper levels shouldn’t count toward the minimum required square feet of space needed, but it can be a good idea to provide extra enrichment for your guinea pigs. Make sure the ground floor is the minimum cage size, and build on from there.
Finally, think about what your plans for the future are. Do you need a cage that will be easy to transport? Will you need a cage that will be able to fit into different spaces – or maybe even expand it in the future?
There are also a few things that you should completely avoid in your guinea pig’s cage. Guinea pigs should never be kept on wire floors. They can have major problems with their feet from cages with wire bottoms. You also want to make sure the cage isn’t completely enclosed by wood or glass. There needs to be good ventilation to avoid respiratory problems and other health problems.
Recommended Guinea Pig Cages
Here are a few of the best guinea pig cages you can use for your pets!
The Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat is the only cage sold at pet stores that is the proper size for two guinea pigs. It’s a great option if you want to buy a cage ready to go with no building necessary. You can purchase a lid for it as well, and the cage is expandable by adding on additional cages. It’s easy to access and pretty easy to clean whether you use fleece bedding or something like aspen wood shavings or paper-based bedding. Shop the cage here.
These are my personal favorite! A c&c cage is a great option if you want something that is a little more customizable. These cages are made with grids and a coroplast base. This type of cage may take some building, but the only tools you’ll need are some scissors and maybe a box cutter. (check out my video on building a c&c cage here) You can buy these types of cages premade as well – you just put the grids together and pop the base in. They are super easy to expand and make any shape you want, so they work great for large groups of guinea pigs!
Where to Place the Cage
The best location for your guinea pig’s cage is a location where they will get a lot of attention. You don’t want them to get spooked by constant loud noises, but you want to be able to easily interact with them.
Avoid placing the cage in direct sunlight so your pet doesn’t get overheated. Depending on where you live, it might be okay for you to keep your guinea pigs outside. In the United States, most climates are not suitable for keeping guinea pigs in an outdoor cage.
You also want to make sure the cage can’t be accessed by small children or other household animals. Putting the cage up on a table or c&c stands can be a good choice in these cases instead of keeping the cage on the floor.
A living room or often visited bedroom makes a great choice so you can easily engage with your piggies, but also give them some downtime.
Final Thoughts on Guinea Pig Cage Size
Providing the right size cage for your guinea pigs is a great way to help them live a happy and healthy life. They will thrive with enough space to run around, interact with you, and hide when they need to. Do your best to provide your guinea pigs with a large enough cage and they’ll definitely thank you!
Learn More About Guinea Pigs:
- What to Feed a Guinea Pig
- How to Use Fleece as Bedding for Guinea Pigs
- 20 Fantastic Facts About Guinea Pigs