Your Guinea Pig Habitat: A Cozy Set-Up
As you welcome your new guinea pig into your family, you want to make sure they feel right at home. The best way to do that is by creating a cozy environment for your new pet to live. Since your guinea pig will spend most of their time, in a habitat, it is important to create a safe and welcoming home for your pet. By properly setting up your guinea pig’s new habitat, they will be on the right path for their physical, mental, social and emotional needs to be met.
Selecting a habitat
Your first decision is which habitat to purchase. Because you don’t want your guinea pig to get their toes stuck, avoid habitats made only of wire, or those with a mesh wire floor. Instead, purchase a habitat that is either plastic, metal or a combination of wire with another material. Make sure that the bottom of the habitat is solid plastic or plastic covered wood.
When it comes to the size of a guinea pig habitat, bigger is better. The Humane Society of the United States says that guinea pigs that are in small habitats are at risk of developing medical conditions, and depression, and more likely to fight with other guinea pigs in the same habitat. It is also much easier to clean a larger habitat because, if space allows, guinea pigs will contain their waste to one section of the habitat. GuineaPigCages.com, a website recommended by the Humane Society of the United States, recommends that a habitat for a single guinea pig be at least 7.5 square feet and ideally 30" x 36". For two pets, the ideal size is 10.5 square feet. Three guinea pigs should have 13 square feet. The recommended size increases with each additional guinea pig that lives in the habitat.
Accessorizing your guinea pig’s new home
Luckily, making your new pet’s bed doesn’t involve fitted sheets and hospital corners. But since guinea pigs love to burrow, you need to provide at least two inches of bedding in the habitat. Because of harmful chemicals, make sure not to put cedar and pine shavings in your guinea pig’s habitat. Recommended bedding includes recycled paper mill by-products, pelleted litter made from aspen bark or pelleted litter made from recycled paper fiber.
On top of the bedding, set a nesting box for your guinea pig to use for some quiet time. Many pet parents also put a bed for sleeping in the cage, such as a lamb’s bed. You can also put a nest box in the cage instead of a bed. Since guinea pigs have a habit of chewing plastic, use earthenware or metal feed dishes. Many pet parents find that a water bottle is easier because it doesn’t spill or get dirty. However, to avoid having a chewed up water bottle, make sure that the straw is stainless steel.