It is difficult to find a pet easier than the Guinea pig. Guinea pigs (also called cavies or piggies) are listed among the most popular household pets just behind dogs, cats, and rabbits. Guinea pigs are not really pigs – they are members of the rodent family. The remarkable “cavy” actually resembles a cute, cuddly teddy bear rather than its rat, mouse, and hamster cousins.
People have enjoyed the companionship of the Guinea pig for hundreds of years. The friendly, docile, affectionate nature of cavies seals their popularity. Guinea pigs make excellent “first” pets for children. Relatively inexpensive to purchase and nurture, their entertaining, whimsical personalities, ease of care, and cuddle factor appeal to owners at any age.
A pet piggy needs certain basic supplies for a healthy life.
- Proper food
- Food/Water Containers – Guinea pigs like to gnaw and shred anything possible.
- Hideaway hut
- Chew sticks
- Pet carrier
- Appropriate Guinea pig Cage/habitat
A HOME OF MY OWN
Guinea pigs require a safe, comfortable habitat. They are social animals. It is one reason they make terrific pets. They thrive best in groups of two or more. It is important to make sure a pair of cavies is the same sex or males added in a group are neutered. Male Guinea pigs live well with other males providing they are introduced at an early age, there are no females in the mix, and they have ample room to claim territory.
As social creatures it would seem reasonable a Guinea pig could share a living space with another rodent, or other small pets like a rabbit. As a general rule, Guinea pigs do not coexist well with other animals. The submissive cavy is often the target of more aggressive pets. Dogs and cats typically see a Guinea pig as prey. Some pets like gerbils or hamsters can carry infections that transmit to the Guinea pig. Rabbits, even dwarf rabbits are bigger and stronger than the little cavy and can cause significant injury to the weaker Guinea pig.
The best way to protect your Guinea pig is investing by in a good, quality, safe cage. All pet habitats are not created equal. Cavies have special needs that other small animals may not require. A good Guinea pig cage should have the following features.
- Ventilation – Solid glass, plastic, or plexiglass enclosures are not recommended for Guinea pigs. To provide adequate ventilation wire cages are the preferred cavy enclosures. Make sure the wires a close enough to prevent escape.
- Temperature Control – Guinea pigs thrive in temperatures of about 80° F. Cavies do not tolerate direct sunlight. Avoid drastic temperature changes and drafts.
- Bigger is Best – An adult cavy can weigh up to 3 pounds. Closed containers are recommended to protect your cavy from other animals (cavies do not jump). It is important to think about providing enough room for exercise. A suitable cage to house one Guinea pig should measure 3.5-square feet. The overall room should increase with each additional piggy added to the group. The bigger the home-the happier the pet. True piggy-enthusiasts have dedicated entire rooms in their home to their favorite furry creatures!
- Sanitation – To ensure a healthy environment for the Guinea pig, as well as the human residents, maintaining a sanitary habitat is essential. Many rodent cages are made with wire flooring that allows waste to drop through the grid into a removable waste pan. While good in theory wire mesh does not work well on a Guinea pigs sensitive feet. Choose a solid, removable, washable, floor for the enclosure. Clean and disinfect the enclosure and replace bedding at least once a week.
- Bedding – Guinea pigs love to tunnel and dig. The best bedding is shredded paper and wood shavings. Do not use cedar based wood. Piggies will “mark” their territory including bedding. It becomes soiled quickly and should be changed often. Cages should provide for a comfortable sleeping environment.
To determine the best cage for your piggy pet(s) read on.
THREE GREAT GUINEA PIG CAGES
These great Guinea pig cages were ranked according to value, durability, expandability, and consumer satisfaction (5-star=excellent to 1-star=poor).
LIVING WORLD DELUXE HABITAT
4.6 out of 5 stars from 3,104 customer reviews.
The Living World Deluxe Habitat, “Provides everything you need for safely housing a small pet.” The hybrid cage features a wire upper frame and solid plastic base. The enclosure measures 37.8”l x 22.4”w x 22”h. A side door provides access and the entire hinged top opens for interaction and easy cleaning. Included with purchase is a hideaway, balcony, and a tip-proof food dish. The Living World Deluxe Habitat is a great option and available in an extra-large size for additional piggies.
PROS – “This is the bestest cage ever!”
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to clean
- Lots of extras
CONS “Flimsy parts.”
- Not expandable
- Not easy to move
- Gaps between parts
- Quality of materials
MIDWEST GUINEA PIG HABITAT CAGE PLUS
4.1 out of 5 stars from 1766 customer reviews.
The Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat Cage Plus is designed to be interactive and expandable. The cage features 8-square feet (36”l x 25”w x 38 ½” h) of living space for pet exercise and overall health. The modular configuration allows for “unlimited expansions.” Multiple top openings and, wire sides provide security and easy access. A PVC-lined cavass bottom offers traction, and the material is easy on the cavy’s sensitive feet. Hinged ramps and dividers separate play and care areas. Mounted on rolling casters for easy maneuvering, the Midwest Guinea Pig Habitat Cage Plus is easy to maintain, fully washable, and leak-proof. The enclosure folds for transport or storage and requires no tools for assembly. Included with purchase 1- ramp, 1-perch, and 1-dish.
PRO “Price is worth the time you save cleaning it.”
- Fun, easy to accessorize
- Easy to clean
- Easy assembly
CON “Poorly Manufactured.”
- Manufacturing glitches
PREVUE PET SMALL ANIMAL HOME ON STAND
4 out of 5 stars, 233 Customer reviews
Prevue’s Pet Small Animal Home on Stand is among the most popular Guinea pig cages. The enclosure measures 33 ½l x 20 ½w x 33”h this cage comes equipped with a ramp and platform. The wire bars provides for easy observation and interaction. A removable weave mesh grill covers a 6 ¼” deep, plastic debris tray which simplifies cleaning. A side door provides quick access and a large top door opens the entire enclosure for playtime, cleaning, and feeding. The tubular steel structure sits on roller casters make moving from room to room or inside/outside a breeze AND for the fashionista cavy; the Prevue Animal Home on Stand is available in a variety of colors.
PROS – “I am glad I purchased this [Guinea pig] cage.”
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to reach inside cage from side or top
- Easy to clean
- Easy to move
CONS – “Doesn’t help one bit with mess control.”
- Wire floor – must use a liner for safety
- Not expandable
- Quality of material
The lifespan of a Guinea pig is about 8 years. Providing a healthy environment will add to the happiness and well-being of your pet piggy. For more information about caring for pet Guinea pigs, check out our Guinea Pig Care Guide.