There’s a lot that you can do to keep your guinea pig entertained and it won’t cost you a lot of money or time. You can get a companion pet for it to play with, make the guinea pig home more fun with toys or you can take your guinea pigs outside of their cage to exercise their little legs.
Guinea pigs need companionship
Guinea pigs are extremely social herd animals and they thrive in the company of others of their kind. In fact, guinea owners are recommended to get their pet a companion since if left alone, these little critters can get lonely, stressed, and depressed. When in groups, guinea pigs are more vocal and that makes them more interesting to observe.
While your pet will enjoy toys, exercise, and your company, the best entertainment that you can give it is another guinea pig as a friend. One common misconception is that two male guinea pigs will always fight but compatibility between these critters depends more on the personalities of each individual rather than their gender.
While there are some guinea pigs that will fight with any other critter you bring in its cage, the vast majority enjoy having a companion and the easiest way to match two pets is to do it while they are still babies, either by having two baby guinea pigs in the same cage or bringing a baby to an adult critter.
If you try to match two adults you may encounter more difficulties along the way, but they can be paired successfully as well, it’s only that they might need more time to get along. Once they do, your furball will be happier since it will have a buddy to play and communicate with while you’re not home. Do keep in mind that the more pets you’ll have, the bigger the cage will need to be.
Buy or make toys
Even with a companion, your pet will still require toys to stay entertained since while they might be able to snuggle together and play, having toys that cover their most basic necessities is very important. These can be toys that satisfy their chewing instinct, offer mental stimulation or toys that help them explore and exercise.
While most of these can be bought, if you feel crafty you can quickly and cheaply build all types of toys for your pet. Even a plain piece of paper that has been crumpled into a ball can be entertaining for your guinea pig since they like the crumpling noise and to gnaw on paper.
You can also create cardboard tunnels cheaply by wrapping paper tubes into short lengths and create simple or intricate designs depending on the size of the cage. You do need to make sure that you cut down the side so that you don’t accidentally get your pet stuck inside the tunnel.
If you have an old sock lying around you can make use of that and put some of the guinea pig’s clean bedding material in it. You can then tie the sock and cut a small hole into it so that your guinea pig can pull this new toy around the cage and chew on it.
Make the cage more fun
Guinea pigs like to burrow into their own cave and run through tunnels, so it is important to have these toys inside the cage. You can use our ideas and make your homemade tunnels or you can buy them from any pet shop.
The cage should be kept in an active area so when deciding on a place to keep it, consider the most active room in your house such as the living room. You don’t need to keep the pet in an isolated room that you only enter a few times a day. Guinea pigs are social creatures and they want to be near people.
By simply placing the cage in an active area you will help your critter a lot and keep it from getting bored. With that in mind, try not to keep the guinea pig near sources of noise such as speakers or television since the loud noise can damage their sensitive ears.
Similarly important for your pet is to have something to chew on and chew toys are a must-have for these rodents since their teeth never stop growing and they need to put them to work so they don’t get uncomfortably big.
You can use untreated wood, cardboard boxes or buy specially designed chew toys. Guinea pigs love chewing and if you don’t offer them something they’ll begin chewing at the cage bars which can be very damaging for their teeth and gums.
Exercise is very important
If guinea pigs don’t get enough exercise they can get overweight and that can make it difficult for them to do the things they find entertaining. This is why providing lots of ways for your critter to exercise is essential not only to keep it entertained but also healthy and happy.
While toys can help, the space they have available in the cage is limited and you need to let them in your room as well. Before letting the pet outside the cage you should take the time to make that room safe for it. This includes removing items that may be dangerous to it such as chemicals or cleaning supplies.
Similarly, you should remove or pick up cords since if they are left within your critter’s reach and chewed on, they could cause your pet to get electrocuted. Remove or put house plants out of reach since many of them are toxic to eat. You should also remove plastic bags since while they may look fun to your pet, they are not safe to play with.
Remember to shut the door so that your guinea pig can’t escape and reach other rooms that may not be safe. If you are worried that your furball might leave small accidents on the carpet, you can lay down a layer of plastic to protect an area that might be hard to clean.
Guinea pigs enjoy challenges, so you can create intricate obstacles on your floor such as a maze out of cardboard. It is best to leave your guinea pigs out of the cage each day since this way they can get the exercise they need and you will prevent them from getting bored in the cage. Give them the time to roam and throw a few toys for them to play.
Give food treats
Guinea pigs can also get bored if you keep giving them the same food every time and you can spice up their diet by providing them with fresh fruits and vegetables once in a while. Do remember that just as humans, guinea pigs shouldn’t have too much sugar and you should feed them fruit only two to three times a week.
The fruits you can give them are oranges, strawberries, pears, blueberries, and seedless grapes. With vegetables, you can a bit more generous since most don’t have a lot of sugar. You should offer a small handful of vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, peas, and corn once a day.
You can also save money by giving your pets your food trash, and by trash we mean parts of vegetables that you would otherwise throw in the garbage. While you might not enjoy them, your pet will love them. Think of celery leaves, strawberry tops or the top and bottom of cucumbers.
During the summer when the weather is warm and nice you can let your pet guinea pig run around in an outdoor enclosure, but if you do plan on doing this you will need to make sure the enclosure is very secure. Furthermore, when left outdoors, the pets should be under your watchful eye.
If the weather is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) you shouldn’t leave them outside since they are furry creatures and can overheat.
Even if you might be tempted to leave your guinea pigs outside in your garden which might look safe for you, you need to remember that these critters are great escape artists and they have many natural predators such as birds of prey, cats, dogs, and foxes.