How to find the best guinea pig cage.
Preparing to get your first guinea pigs but not sure what to keep them in? There are a lot of misconceptions from pet stores about what is appropriate housing for small pets. Today we’re going to break down guinea pig housing basics and I’ll share what makes for the best cages for guinea pigs!
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Guinea Pig Housing Basics
The best cage for your guinea pigs is going to depend on your lifestyle and budget. A proper cage is part of the cost of owning a guinea pig, so you want to do some research and consider a few important factors before bringing your piggies home so you can get something that is going to work for you and your guinea pigs long term.
Something I do want to note before we go any further is that guinea pigs need to be kept in pairs. A single guinea pig can easily get depressed and live an extremely boring life. They are social animals and will be more outgoing and confident if you house them with a friend. When deciding on a cage for your guinea pigs this needs to be taken into consideration, as a pair of guinea pigs require more space than one.
When it comes to guinea pig housing, the main things you want to consider in a cage is the size, how easy it is to access, and whether it has all the features you’ll need.
Proper Cage Size for Guinea Pigs
One of the biggest misconceptions spread by pet stores is the proper size cage needed for a guinea pig. Most of the cages sold at pet stores are not only expensive but they have way too small of floor space to house a guinea pig. I don’t recommend any cages with wire floors or that are marketed as a “starter kit” for small animals.
The minimum size for two guinea pigs is 7.5 square feet of space. This is larger than pretty much any pet store cage on the market (other than the Midwest Habitat). The chart below shows the correct size cage for different numbers of guinea pigs.
Having a large enough cage is important for a few reasons. First, it provides a better life for your pet. You wouldn’t want to live in a room the size of your bathroom for your entire life and your guinea pig doesn’t either.
Second, a larger cage won’t get dirty as fast. This helps keep your pet healthier and means you may not have to clean the cage as often. This also helps reduce any smell from a dirty cage.
Finally, your pet will be much more outgoing and will interact with you a lot more! They’ll be more confident when you interact with them in their cage if they know they have the option to run away. Guinea pigs also love to run and jump around! You’ll get to see a lot of happier behavior with a bigger cage.
Guinea Pig Cage Features to Look For
Depending on your lifestyle there are certain cage features you may want to look for.
If you have other pets in your home, like dogs or cats, you may want to look for a cage with a lid. This will keep any curious animals from bothering your guinea pigs. A lid might also be a good thing to have if there are small children in the house that might try to pick up pigs when a parent isn’t watching.
You also want the cage to be easy access for easy cleaning. This may depend on what type of bedding you choose to use, but in general, you want to use something that can easily be wiped down on a regular basis. It should have a good place to put a food dish, as well as hang a water bottle and hay feeder.
Guinea pigs need a horizontal living area when considering if a cage has enough space. You don’t want to use a multi-level cage – vertical space doesn’t help the guinea pig have room to run. you also don’t want a cage that has wire mesh flooring as this can cause bumblefoot and other health issues for your pet.
Guinea Pig Cage Options
Since I’ve mentioned a few times now that most pet store cages are too small for guinea pigs, you might be wondering what options you have. Let’s go over some of the most popular options!
C&C stands for cubes and coroplast. These cages are a little bit of a DIY project, but they work really well for guinea pigs and are not too expensive to build. Basically, they are made using storage cube grids as the sides and coroplast for the bottom.
The cheapest route is to build your own c&c cage. You can buy the grids from Amazon and find coroplast and zip ties at the hardware store. If you want to build your own cage you can check out this video to see the process!
You can also buy a pre-made C&C cage online, from somewhere like Kavee or Guinea Pig Cages Store. These are going to be more expensive than putting it together yourself, but it’s a good idea if you don’t have the means to DIY.
I personally think c&c cages are the best option because they are easy to adjust to different sizes and shapes and can easily be built to have plenty of space.
Pet Store Cage
The Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat is the only cage sold at pet stores that is large enough to house two guinea pigs. This is a good choice for a first-time owner as it meets the minimum requirement for size right out of the box.
This cage is easy to set up and is similar in layout to a C&C cage. The midwest cage has a canvas bottom that is easy to clean. You can add on additional cages to expand them to make an extra-large cage, and you can also add a lid. It’s an easy way to provide your pigs with ample space without having to do any measuring or building.
DIY Wooden Cage
A wooden DIY cage is definitely the most work to get set up since you have to build it yourself! If you don’t have any power tools or aren’t very handy then this likely isn’t the route for you. But if you do want to try and make your own cage it can turn out great!
With a DIY cage you can make it exactly how you want it. You can use materials that match the décor of your house and make it any size you need. However, this is the most expensive option since you have to buy all the materials.
What is the best cage for a guinea pig?
So, which cages do I think are the best for guinea pigs? Here are two options that are my top choices!
C & C cages are my personal favorite for guinea pigs. You can easily modify them if your needs change and they are pretty affordable. While they do require a bit of DIY, they don’t require any special power tools and the materials are pretty easy to find.
I’ve used C&C cages with my guinea pigs for the past 5 years. They are easy to keep clean and very easy to move around and change. They’re my favorite way to house guinea pigs.
You can check out my cages in this video!
Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat
I recommend the Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat for first-time owners and anyone that doesn’t have the means or desire to build their own cage. It’s the easiest and quickest way to have a cage setup that is the right size for your guinea pigs and these cages can easily be found online or in pet stores. Shop the Midwest Guinea Pig Cage here!
Although I generally don’t recommend pet store cages, it is nice that there is one great option that’s easy to find that is suitable for piggies!
How to Set Up a Guinea Pig Cage
I also wanted to give you a quick guide to setting up a guinea pig cage, as this might help you decide which cage is going to work the best for you.
The main items guinea pigs are going to need in their cage are safe bedding, hay, a food bowl, water bottles, hides, and maybe a few toys.
There are several different safe bedding options or guinea pigs to choose from. Check out this article about the best bedding options for guinea pigs to learn more! The type of bedding you choose can also have an impact on what cage type you choose since some are easier to clean than others.
You want to be able to hang water bottles and a hay rack in your guinea pigs’ cage as well – though you can choose to use water bowls if that works for your pet. I find that using a hay bag or hay rack cuts down on the mess, but you can also just put a pile of hay in a litter box as well. Guinea pigs need hay 24/7 so some method of feeding hay must be included.
You do need to have room for enough hides for your pigs. I like to recommend at least one hide per guinea pig. That way, there’s no fighting over sleeping space.
Finally, you can get a few chew toys to scatter around your guinea pigs’ cage. These aren’t totally necessary as long as you’re feeding hay, but they can provide some enrichment for your pigs if you want to provide them.
Final thoughts on Guinea Pig Cages
Do your research before bringing your new guinea pigs home and find a cage that is big enough for your piggies, easy to clean, and has the features you need. Having the right cage is important to the health of your pet.
Do you have a list of vets that care for piggies? If so, I’d like to add our vet here in Austin, Texas. She is awesome.
I don’t, but that’s a great idea! I will work on that this weekend and add a page for that.