Guinea pigs are very popular pets for children and adults and are inquisitive little creatures that will soon be a part of your family. Depending on the weather conditions, you can keep them inside or outside for most of the year but they will need an appropriate cage. It is important that they have enough room to move around and are protected from predators and other household pets.
Guinea pig cages come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so you will have plenty of choices. It is important that you pick one that fits the available space in your home and that safeguards your little friend’s welfare. They must be protected from heat and cold and from draughts. They also have sensitive little feet that can get injured on a harsh surface. To help you with your decision, here is a quick guide to choosing the best guinea pig cage for your little furry friend.
Best Guinea Pig Cage Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Guinea Pig Cage
You will find plenty of choices when it comes to guinea pig cages. Here are some of the things that you should look out for when making a purchase.
- Cage size. A single guinea pig should have at least 7.5 square feet. If you are getting a pair, you would need 10.5 square feet. You don’t need a lot of vertical height because guinea pigs don’t climb but cages that are tall enough to have multiple levels with ramps are more interesting! Big guinea pig cages are preferable to small ones but remember that you may need to move them around.
- Guinea pig cages can be made from a variety of materials. The plastic, aquarium-style hutches are not recommended because they will not provide enough ventilation. Most cages consist of a wire mesh top and a metal or hard plastic tray at the bottom that retains the debris. If the wire mesh is powder it must be non-toxic. The base must be made of a material that is easy to clean and must be waterproof to protect the floor surface beneath it from liquids.
- There are plenty of design features for large guinea pig cages. Balconies and multiple levels are a nice addition but they must be provided with slip-resistant ramps so your pet can get to them. Guinea pigs like to have private areas where they can hide away when they want some peace and quiet. Most guinea pig cages have a lid to protect them from other pets and younger children.
- Access doors. You will need to be able to reach all areas of the cage so that you can get to your little pet and clean out the cage. Cages with two doors are useful and provide access to all parts of the cage.
- Sometimes you may need to isolate your guinea pig in one section of the cage. Internal dividers are very useful for this.
- The floor of the cage can be made of sturdy wire mesh or it can be solid. You need to be very careful with cages that have mesh floors because they can damage delicate little feet. They are convenient because the debris falls through but animal experts tend to prefer a solid cage bottom. A deep plastic base will keep all the debris inside.
- Most cages are easy to assemble but some will require tools so it is always best to check this out before you buy it.
- Indoor or outdoor. Some cages can be used indoors and outdoors. Outdoor cages may need some additional protection from bright sun, wind or rain. Some cages have castors which makes them easier to move from one place to another. An indoor guinea pig cage should not be placed in the main thoroughfare because that can cause stress.
Different Types of Guinea Pig Cages
There are several options for you to choose from.
- Mesh cages with plastic bases
Most guinea pig cages for sale are made out of some sort of wire mesh at the top. This provides plenty of ventilation and allows you to see your pet. The mesh can be of varying thickness. Remember that for outdoor cages it needs to be strong enough to keep predators out. Plastic cages are not likely to provide enough ventilation. The cages can be of varying heights. Guinea pigs do not climb so, in theory, you do not need a lid to prevent them from escaping. However, a lid is needed to stop other animals from getting in.
The plastic bases are gentle on little feet and provide a cozy area for them to sleep.
- Mesh cages with removable trays
The easiest c&c cages to clean out have mesh floors. All of the debris falls through to a tray which may be made from plastic or metal. It can be removed by sliding it out from under the cage. The disadvantage of this type of cage is that the mesh can hurt little feet so you need to be very careful what size you choose.
- Hutch-type cages
Some owners prefer a guinea pig hutch that looks a little like a small house complete with an asphalt roof and several doors. They look very cute inside your home or in a garden and provide plenty of room for running around. Just make sure that you can reach all areas of the cage for cleaning and for checking on your guinea pig.
Indoor vs Outdoor Guinea Pig Cage
Guinea pigs can successfully live both inside or outside but you have to be careful about the weather conditions where you live and you need the right cage. They can be sensitive to noise so if you live in a very noisy household, they may prefer it outside. However, they are also inquisitive little creatures and like to see what is going on so if you use your garden very little they could get a bit lonely.
Guinea pigs have a limited temperature range where they feel comfortable. They need to be kept at between 62 degrees and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a part of the country where the outside temperature is significantly above or below this at certain times of the year, you will need to bring them inside. For this reason, some owners prefer cages on castors that they can move around.
Outdoor cages need to be able to protect your pets from the elements so they need shade to protect them from direct sunlight and a roof to protect them from wind and rain. Guinea pigs cannot sweat so it is just as dangerous for them to get too hot as it is for them to get too cold. They are also sensitive to draughts so pick a sheltered spot for your outdoor cage. Outdoor cages need to be able to protect your little friend from potential predators as well as stop them from escaping so they need to be very robust.
Putting guinea pig cages in a garage where any kind of vehicle is stored is not an option because they are very sensitive to exhaust fumes.
Best Guinea Pig Cages FAQ:
Q: What size cage does my guinea pig need?
A: Guinea pigs need enough room to move around in comfort. The generally accepted rule is that they need a horizontal space that is at least two feet wide and three feet long. Overall, it is usually recommended that one guinea pig needs seven and a half square feet and a pair would need 10.5 square feet. The height of guinea pig homes is not as important as they don’t use up the vertical height of a cage as much as hamsters and other pets that can climb up the wire mesh.
An outdoor or indoor run is also required to give them more space to move around and explore a few times a week when you are supervising them.
Q: Do I need a cover?
A: Indoor cages will not generally need a cover. There should be a quiet, private place inside their cage where they can hide away if they want to. A mesh lid is advisable for protection.
Outdoor cages, on the other hand, need to be able to keep your pet warm and dry. Guinea pigs are very sensitive to temperature changes and do not do well in draughts. Therefore, the wind and rain can cause them a lot of problems and could make them very ill. For this reason, some owners invest in a wind-proof and water-proof cover for the cage. It is important that the cage gets enough ventilation and that you can gain access to feeding, petting, and cleaning. Many covers have sections that can be rolled up or have zippers.
Q: Are these cages safe for guinea pig babies?
A: Baby guinea pigs can slip through the bars of some cages so these cages may need to be adapted whilst the babies are very small. It is possible to buy metal grids that have small spaces between the bars and these can be fitted over the top of the existing mesh. They can be removed when the babies grow. Cages with deep bases are best for babies because they may not even be able to reach the wire mesh!
Don’t forget to check if the babies can reach the water bottle which may be too high in a regular cage. Also, check that they can get to the food. If it is at the top of a ramp they may not be able to access it!
Our Top Pick
“Guinea Habitat” Guinea Pig Cage & Accessories
The clever design of this cage means that there are eight square feet of area for your guinea pig to move around. It has the typical wire mesh construction to keep them safe but has a folding top which makes it easy to clean.
The base is a strong PVC-lined canvas which is gentle on sensitive little feet. There is a handy divider panel and ramps to make the interior more interesting. You can assemble it in seconds.