How To: Exercise your Guinea Pig
How to Exercise Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are small, stocky, and, as many would agree, adorable. Yet without taking proper precautions, these animals have a tendency to overeat. Overweight guinea pigs can have many other health problems later in life, leading to higher vet bills and and a lower quality of life. The best way to help your guinea pig avoid obesity is to encourage it to be active and provide a healthy diet of good quality hay.
Exercising in the Cage
Choose the right cage.Ensure that your cage is large enough to safely and properly accommodate a guinea pig. It must be large enough for them to run around, do laps, and have some piggy fun! Guinea pigs can't just sit around, waiting for someone to take them out-let your guinea pig be able to exercise on its own time.
- For one guinea pig, they cage should be at least 7.5 square feet.
- For two guinea pigs, 7.5 square feet is the minimum, but 10.5 is recommended.
Put some encouraging toys in the cage.There are many wooden balls, chews, and other toys that will encourage your guinea pigs to exercise inside of their cage. As mentioned before, guinea pigs like to exercise on their own schedule, and placing some fun stuff in there will encourage them to play.
- Sometimes your guinea pigs won't play with the toys you got them, and that's okay! It is good to know your piggies' preferences, as they will help you shop in the future.
- Be choosy with the toys you buy. Guinea pig toys with dyes, small parts, or added sugars can hurt your guinea pig.
Position your toys.Don't place all of the toys up against the wall. If you have hidey houses, food bowls, and toys scatter them around the center of the cage. It might look a bit messy, but your guinea pigs will be able to run around much more freely!
- Balls and hidey houses (or other things they can crawl through) will encourage the most movement.
Avoid crowding the cage.Place things properly in the cage, but don't crowd it. If you have so many hidey houses, toys, or food bowls that your guinea pigs hardly have an inch of room, it is best to consider removing a few items.
Change things around.To keep it fun, it is highly recommended to move accessories inside of the cage around once in a while. Some owners do it every day, while others do it after every cage cleaning. Many piggies enjoy a change of scenery once in a while, and this encourages them to explore and play.
Exercising in Your Home
Choose a safe area.Make sure that the space is guinea pig-proof! That means no spare cords (to avoid electrocution), other pets, or anything that is potentially dangerous to a guinea pig. Try to close off spaces such as under a dresser, couch, or bed, as this can tempt your guinea pigs to squeeze under there, and it can be very difficult to lure them out.
Put down some towels.If you don't want your piggies to do their business on the carpet or tile, place some towels (or an old blanket) on the ground. You may even want to put them in a large puppy playpen, with towels underneath.
Grab some toys.Select a few of your guinea pig’s favorite hidey houses, balls, or other toys are position them in your play area. These will signal to your piggy that it is time to play.
Put out some veggies.It is also a good idea to put out some vegetable for your guinea pig to nibble on as he plays. This will give him a small energy boost, as well just make this time a little more fun. Try giving him broccoli, carrots, or celery.
Let your guinea pig play on the floor.Once the area is safe, the towels are down, the toys are positioned, and the veggies are out, there is nothing left to do but let your piggy play!
Check the weather.Before you bring your guinea pig outside for play time, you should check the weather outside. The temperature must be lower than 80 degrees and higher than 60. It should also be dry, but not too sunny.
Beware of chemicals.Plan to bring your guinea pig to an area that has not been chemically treated. If your lawn has been treated with chemicals, you may want to put down a blanket or tarp for your guinea pig.
Use a play pen.Before you take a guinea pigs outside, make sure that you have an escape-proof play pen of some sort. If done correctly, many guinea pigs love to run around, nibble on some grass, and soak up some sunshine. Allowing them to run freely outside (without a pen) can be very risky.
- A play pen can be purchased at any pet store.
- Alternatively, you can make your own using low corrugated plastic meant for lawn borders (from a hardware store), or metal baking cooling racks and zip ties.
Avoid harsh sunlight.A little bit of sun is great for your guinea pig, but too much harsh sunlight can be overwhelming for them. If it is a particularly sunny day, you may want to put up a sunshade or umbrella for your piggy.
Let your guinea pig run and play!Once all the proper safety precautions are in place, take your pig outside and let him play! Sit in a lawn chair near the pen and enjoy the day with him.
QuestionA pet store associate told me not to take a guinea pig outside, as the clover in the grasses can harm it. Is this true? Are there some other plants to be cautious about?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is only a problem if the grass has been sprayed with chemicals, like in a public park or something. If it's your backyard and you don't spray/add anything to it, the grass should be fine. Be careful about other plants that may not be healthy in the area though, as many garden plants are poisonous for guinea pigs.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if you do not exercise them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey can become overweight and sluggish, with many health problems.Thanks!
QuestionI'm planning on going to the pet shop to get some things for the guinea pig I'm getting. Can I give my guinea pig a salt lick?Top AnswererDespite being advertised at guinea-pig owners, salt licks aren't beneficial to guinea pigs in any way. They do quite the opposite. Guinea pigs rarely have salt deficiencies. They tend to lick the salt not for the salt but just for fun, which gives them an over-supply of salt. Too much salt is extremely bad for your guinea pig's health and can lead to serious consequences in the future. Please refrain from buying one.Thanks!
QuestionI have 2 very fat guinea pigs. Neither of them run around when outside their pen, nor do they play with toys. How might I get them more active?Community AnswerMaybe put a treat in a toy, so they'll have to play with the toy to get the treat, or get a treat and make them follow it.Thanks!
QuestionI'm getting two guinea pigs and I have a pool. Can I put the guinea pigs in there?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo! They can't swim and they will almost certainly drown if you put them in your pool. There are plenty of ways for your guinea pigs to get exercise that are not potentially dangerous.Thanks!
QuestionAll my Guinea pig does outside is eat the grass and sit there. How do I make him get exercise?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGive him something to chase, or something to keep his mind on. Using small treat balls are great exercise. Tennis balls also are good if your Guinea pig has dog-like characteristics. If you can, teach him tricks.Thanks!
QuestionCan I put a towel down if I'm outside?Dolphin Dain123Community AnswerI don't see why not. But I also don't see why you would need to.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I make sure a pregnant guinea pig is safe and well looked after?Top AnswererThanks!
QuestionCan I swing very gently with my guinea pig?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEmphasis on the VERY. Guinea pigs are extremely fragile creatures. One false move and it could fall and break its spine. Also, you can only do this if your guinea pig is comfortable with it and isn't squealing and squirming. I wouldn't do it just to be on the safe side, but it's your choice.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a way to get them to run by luring them? When I lure my pig, he just walks.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHe doesn't necessarily need to run. Walking is fine if you can get him to do enough of it. If your pig is older, he might have joint problems that make running difficult.Thanks!
- Consider purchasing a C&C cage, they are very spacious.
- Do not get a cage with too many upper levels, such as a cage meant for ferrets. These can severely injure your guinea pig if it's too inclined.
Video: how to exercise your guinea pig
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