Celia Haddon - Cat Expert

Understanding animals through their behaviour



If you keep your guinea pigs in the house it is important to give them a cage of their own. Guinea pigs are such small animals, that it is easy to step on them by mistake or lose them under the furniture. Guinea pigs living in a house will benefit from a run on grass for some of the time.

Most people keep them in cages, rather than hutches. (Read How should I house my indoor guinea pig for details).  Although it is possible to keep guinea pigs just in a pen, not a cage with a top, this is unwise in an ordinary home. It is just too easy for the guinea pigs to be frightened or even injured by pets, children, visitors or household accidents. Keep dogs and cats out of the room where the guinea pigs live unless supervised. Even if they are safe in a cage, they will be frightened by the presence of these other pets.

Make sure there is a place within the cage where the guinea pigs can hide out. And give them a very deep hay litter so they feel they are safe as they run around. They like burrowing in it. Their water bowl or bottle should be in a safe place where they are not overlooked – otherwise they may not drink enough.

Guinea pigs are susceptible to heat, so they must be kept away from fireplaces, radiators and sunny windows. Make sure the cage is not in a draught. As guinea pigs are frightened of loud noises it is a good idea to keep them out of the busiest rooms like a kitchen. A spare bedroom would be a good idea.

You can exercise your guinea pigs outside their cage but it is important to keep them safe if you are letting them run about freely in the room. Get rid of any electric wires at floor level or thread them through plastic pipes, loop up floor length curtains if you don’t want them to be chewed, and keep houseplants away from nibbling guinea pigs (McBride 2011). Some of these are poisonous. You must supervise them.

And you must remember that some individuals will be stressed by direct human contact. Really frightened guinea pigs may be happier outside.


McBride, A., (2011), Guinea Pigs. Understanding and caring for your pet, Magnet & Steel.

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