Guinea pigs are very popular small animals, and many people want to keep them as pets.
They can be a lot of fun to have in the house! But what do you need to know about keeping them happy?
Are they better off inside or outside? How long will your guinea pig live if it is kept indoors all the time?
Read on to find out more about this topic!
Can a Guinea Pig Live Indoors?
Guinea pigs can definitely live indoors and there are many aspects that make it even more suitable for them than the outdoors.
As long as they have a space for exploration inside and a good amount of mental exercise, they should thrive in an apartment.
They should also have a steady supply of fresh water at all times as well as food that suits their eating habits which may not necessarily be the same as what you would give them outdoors.
If they are not cared for properly, they will have an increasingly high risk of developing health problems as they age which may eventually cause death if left untreated.
Boredom is one of the biggest causes for illness and behavioral issues and develops from a lack of stimulation when confined too much.
So it is super important that they have enrichment toys and time outside their cage in an exercise pen or if possible in a whole room that is dedicated to them.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live Indoors?
Guinea pigs usually live 5 to 8 years indoors which is also their average lifespan.
But it really depends on a number of factors including the health and breed of your guinea pig, how old they are when you bring them inside, what type of house or enclosure you keep them in, whether they have a sufficient amount of mental stimulation, etc.
The right care is a big contributing factor so make sure to do a lot of research prior to getting any pet to ensure that they can live happily as long as possible.
How Do You Look After Guinea Pigs Indoors?
First and foremost guinea pigs need a big enough cage depending on the number of pets that you want to keep.
Keep in mind that when it comes to guinea pigs bigger is always better and rectangular-shaped cages work best for them.
The cage size recommended for two guinea pigs is 7.5 to 10.5 square feet but I would give them a lot more than that.
Next you will need a bedding that will fill the cage. The most common choice is hay but if you are allergic choose fleece liners instead.
Food bowls, water bottle or bowl, shelters and toys will also need to be added to the cage.
Set up your own dedicated space for cleaning and grooming products preferably in the same room for convenience.
Guinea pigs like to eat all kinds of vegetables and fruits but their diet mostly consists of high quality hay.
You can also provide them with a limited amount of treats and chews that should not exceed 10% of your their total food intake.
Cleaning and disinfecting of the cage will need to happen every week and wet areas need to be removed daily.
Untouched food should not left be in the cage for more than 24 hours and water should also be changed once a day.
Regarding grooming and bathing, guinea pigs are very clean and don’t need to be bathed.
If they have soiled themselves or are sick and cannot perform their usual cleaning routine, use baby wipes or pet grooming wipes to get rid of any dirt.
Guinea pigs that have long fur such as the Texel or Peruvian will need to brushed occasionally.
Nails can be clipped once a month however their teeth won’t need extra brushing.
It is super important to check on your pets everyday and spend enough time with them.
Guinea pigs are highly social creatures and you can also take the time to check for any health issues or behavioral changes.
As I have mentioned before, you can use those hours to provide your guinea pigs with supervised outside of the cage time where they can play and explore their environment.
Is It Better to Keep Guinea Pigs Inside or Outside?
Guinea pigs are pets that can live outside and inside.
Both options have their advantages and risks and in the end, it is your decision where you would like to keep your pets.
Regarding the outdoors, two of the main risk factors are weather and temperature.
Guinea pigs cannot tolerate extreme temperatures and it is dangerous for them to get wet.
Your pets will need to be moved inside during extreme weather conditions to safe them from any harm.
Furthermore, some predators including rats, snakes, cats, and foxes pose a serious risk for your small companions.
Having a sturdy and fully enclosed cage without any holes is mandatory for outside living.
But you may also need to secure your cavies indoors if you have other animals that are not familiar with them or have strong prey drive.
You may not spend as much time with your pets outdoors as you would inside. Most of our day to day life happens indoors so they can quickly become neglected.
Their outdoor hutch will need to be placed far away from vehicles, pesticides or other strong odours.
Indoors, your guinea pigs well be exposed to much less dangers and there are no harsh weather conditions or temperature changes.
This is a controlled environment where your piggies can feel safe and protected.
However a large cage will need space which could be a bit tricky in a small apartment.
They will also need a “run” (preferably outdoors) where they can exercise for a few hours on a daily basis.
If you are allergic to guinea pigs or hay, keeping them inside will be dreadful and most likely not an option.
Although they are such small animals they can be quite noisy so make sure to put them further away from your bedroom.
When Can I Put My Guinea Pig Outside?
During summer, the best time to let them out for fresh air is in the morning when it’s cooler, and they’ll need a cool place indoors that doesn’t get too hot where they can retreat if necessary or just rest up during the day so their body temperature doesn’t rise dangerously high.
The ground should be warm and dry without any dampness.
Cold days are not a time when you should put your guinea pig outside as their bodies are so close to the ground that they get cold in a matter of minutes.
Never take your guinea pig outside in the rain or snow! The midday sun also needs to be evaded.
You should also never leave your guinea pigs unsupervised when they are exploring the outdoors.
Moving Indoor Guinea Pigs Outside
Indoor guinea pigs can be moved outside in a weatherproof hutch preferably during the warmer months of spring so they can get accustomed more easily.
A super sturdy hutch is key for your guinea pigs’ well being outside.
I have written a whole guide on how to safely keep your guinea pigs outside so make sure to check that out.
If your guinea pigs have never been outside, it is best to first get them accustomed to the outdoors by using an exercise pen.
During the first week, two hours a day outside should be enough preferably one hour in the morning and one in the evening.
You can increase the duration in the second week until you reach about 8 hours per day.
Provide them with some time inside their new hutch and then finally let them spend their first night outside.
Continue to spend as much time outside with them as would have inside as social interactions are very important for them and will make the transition period much more comfortable.
It is important to leave them outside permanently as a constant change of habitat is too stressful for them.
Guinea pigs are a great pet for indoor living and they can enjoy a happy and long life with he right care.
They have many qualities that make them an enjoyable housemate, but they also need some special care and attention in order to thrive indoors.
If you’re going to be keeping your guinea pig indoors, there are some things you should know.
Guinea pigs do best when they have a large cage with plenty of room for their bedding and hay, many hiding places like tunnels and shelters, fresh vegetables or fruit every day (but not too much), clean water that stays fresh in a ceramic dish or bowl at all times, a dust-free environment free from toxic chemicals where they can exercise outside their cage once in a while…
Have you decided whether or not keeping guinea pigs inside will work best for you? Let me know!
I can help answer any questions about caring for these adorable animals so that your family has the chance to enjoy their company both inside and outside.