If you are in the market for a new guinea pig cage, then you need to consider the size. What is optimal for a guinea pig and what will help you to equally look after them as an owner. With a lot of different options and styles on the market and a lot of confusion as to what is best, it is not an easy decision. I decided to conduct some research into the topic to help you identify the kind of cage that you are going to need.
So, what size cage does a guinea pig need? Guinea pigs require a lot of horizontal space. If you are looking to house one guinea pig you should opt for a cage that is at least 7.5 square feet. For two, 10.5 square feet is preferable and 3-4 guinea pigs should have between 10.5-13 square feet of room. Ultimately, you need to ensure your guinea pig(s) have plenty of space to move around, exercise and play.
Guinea pigs are very active and love to roam around. You’ll need to take this into consideration along with some other factors. Let’s look at these in more detail in the following sections.
Do Guinea Pigs Need Lots Of Space?
Yes, guinea pigs need a lot of horizontal space. The humane society (an animal welfare protection organization) stipulates that cages for single guinea pig cages need to be at least 7.5 square feet, which is a lot of space.
Here is the full list of recommendations depending on how many guinea pigs you are looking to home:
|Guinea Pigs||Space Recommended||Cage Size (In Inches)|
|1||7.5 Square Feet||30″ x 36″|
|2||7.5-10.5 Square Feet||30″ x 50″|
|3-4||10.5-13 Square Feet||30″ x 76″|
Guinea Pigs are really playful and very social. It is recommended that you get more than one guinea pig to prevent loneliness. If you do, be prepared for the rough and tumble of guinea pig play.
Guinea pigs come with different personalities, some being more dominant than others, but generally, they are very sociable, curious, and playful. They love to interact with humans, and they thrive on the company of other guinea pigs.
They also need time outside of their cage. If you make your home, rooms, or areas guinea pig safe then it can be great to let them run free. You should be present at all times, willing and able to intervene to ensure they remain safe. You should also ensure any wires or items that they can chew are removed ahead of time. Also be cognizant of other pets like cats. You can also let them outside, but again you’ll need to monitor them and be wary of any outside hazards. Playpens are excellent for this,
That being said, you should be sure to let them out of their cage regularly. Freedom to run around and to get the blood flowing is essential to their well-being and health. They also like to designate spots for food, water, nesting, and going to the bathroom
You will notice that the guinea pig cages, pet stores tend to sell, are much smaller than what is recommended by the humane society. Those cages are unsuitable for day to day living, but they are great as travel cages if you plan a trip and decide to bring your little friend with you.
Some people choose to get two cages and join them together with a bridge, which could work, otherwise, they are unfit for habitation.
The Midwest Guinea Habitat Plus on Amazon is one such cage that addresses this issue by providing two separate sections. It is used by many guinea pig owners due to the fact that it is so affordable and versatile.
What Kind Of Cage Is Best For A Guinea Pig?
The cage that most experts recommend for guinea pigs is the C&C cage, which stands for “cubes and coroplast”.
This is a cage that you can make yourself quite easily out of wire shelves and corrugated plastic. You can make it as spacious as you like, change it as and when required and the top is open which allows your cavies to look up and get used to seeing you.
Most owners like to talk to their guinea pigs when they walk past, and it’s a great way to interact with your pets and the C&C cage allows this to happen more easily.
You don’t need to purchase expensive wheels and turrets. Having plenty of room is what you are looking for. Along with easy installation and durable materials.
But you can, by all means, add levels to the cage; this provides them with more space and areas of interest. They will enjoy climbing and getting to the top of the levels.
Bear in mind that the bottom of their paws are very sensitive, so there must not be a floor of just metal wires. You can make the floor of their cage more comfortable by adding a fleece bedding, it’s reusable and you can actually make your own if you wish.
You should put one hiding place, per guinea pig into the cage. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, go with your budget, as even an empty box or carton will do.
The Cages You Should Avoid Are:
While there are plenty of great cages that you can get for good prices, there are some that you will want to avoid altogether. These are generally not very safe, nor will your guinea pigs do particularly well when housed inside them.
Here are the main ones:
- Terrariums – they do not provide sufficient ventilation.
- Cages with wire bottoms – the bottoms of guinea pigs paws are very sensitive and the wire could lead to painful blisters, and nerve damage.
- Pet store cages – they are too small and they tend to have awkward spaces. they are cramp with limited space for your guinea pig to explore. Its also difficult to engage with your guinea pig and socialize with them.
Other Considerations On Cages
- Guinea pigs have sensitive hearing, so you must place their cage away from the TV or stereo, or any other loud media.
- They like to be close to family as they like attention, so placing their cage in the living room or another family room would work well for them. If you do have small children, make sure that you supervise any interaction between child and guinea pig.
- For reasons of hygiene, do not put the cage in the kitchen or in any area where food is prepared.
- Guinea pig habitats should be kept away from strong heat sources and drafts, 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit is their ideal temperature. Make sure that their environment isn’t damp, as mold can grow on their hay and potentially make them sick.
- You must ensure that they have lots of toys in their cage and outside their cage, around your home. Toys provide much-needed stimulation and enjoyment to their lives.
How Much Does A Guinea Pig Cage Cost?
The cost of guinea pig cages depends on the size, the materials, and the numbers of ramps and levels it comes with. A cage can cost as little as $25 and be as expensive as $300.
Your cage may come with a few basics but if not, you must purchase them separately.
Your guinea pig will need several water bottles, spaced around the cage and this is very important if you are housing more than one guinea pig in the cage. It’s essential to have bottles, as it’s not good for water to stand in a bowl in the open-air. They can be knocked over and the water will become inaccessible and dirty. You’ll also want to ensure they are chew-proof and non-drip too.
If you need to purchase water bottles separately, they generally cost between $5 and $20. There’s some excellent brands on Amazon that are toward the lower end of that range.
Hanging feeders are also essential, as your guinea pig will equally not be able to tip them over or fall asleep on them. This is the type of feeder recommended and it comes in under $10.
Some pet stores, sell guinea pig starter kits, for as little as $65. This will include a small cage, a water bottle, a feeder, and hay. However, don’t be tempted to buy one of these as the cages are usually way too small for any guinea pig to live in comfortably and healthily. Plus you can usually get all of those items separately online (like on Amazon) for a similar if not cheaper price.
If you decide to go the full DIY route and build your own C&C cage from scratch, the metal shelves can cost anywhere between $15 – $20, and the coroplast can cost between $10 – $30, depending on where you shop.
Or you can get this all together as a bundle for between $30-$60 on Amazon. Everything you need is included.
The advantage of a cage of this nature, is that it is entirely customizable. It can be as wide as you like, and you can attach the metal shelves with zip ties, so it is easy to construct. Plus, you can always expand it further if you want to get more guinea pigs in the future.
You can effortlessly add levels with the metal shelves, the cage can be as basic or elaborate as you want it to be.
It’s a good idea to invest in fleece liner, some people line the floor of the cage with wood shavings, but shavings can be rough on their little feet and dusty, which can cause respiratory issues.
Fleece liners work out to be very cost-effective in the long run as they are washable and reusable.
Guinea pigs are naturally social, playful animals that require a lot of space to truly thrive. They love to explore and run around.
Thankfully, there are a range of cages on the market suitable for guinea pigs that have been designed with approval from experts, animal welfare organisations, veterinarians and guinea pig breeders.
Ultimately, the more space you can provide them the better. Just make sure they are safe and cannot escape and you can expect a long and happy life from your cavy.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.