Guinea pigs are known to be sweet, good-natured creatures that can make great family pets. Although they require a larger cage than their smaller relatives do, the standard-size of a guinea pig cage has been well below what it should be for many years. Whether you already own a guinea pig or are thinking of welcoming one into your family, it's vital that you understand the basics of caring for one and what an appropriate sized cage is. Doing so will help ensure your pet's health and happiness.
Facts about guinea pigs
Guinea pigs can live between 5 and 7 years and typically weigh approximately 2 pounds. They should be fed a diet of commercial pellets designed specifically for them, in addition to small daily portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, like cucumbers, grapes and carrots. To help meet the vitamin C needs of your guinea pig, you should offer your pet foods like oranges, kale and strawberries. Additionally, grass hay should be available at all times.
Choosing a guinea pig cage
When looking for a guinea pig cage, you should stick to the following guidelines:
- Vertically designed cages with different levels work well for other rodents, but guinea pigs are not very agile and thus need more floor space to move about. That said, including some low ramps and platforms can provide stimulation for your guinea pig.
- The cage should be a minimum of 30" x 32" (7.5 square feet) for one guinea pig, or a minimum of 30" x 76" (13 square feet) for up to four guinea pigs.
- Keep in mind that the food dishes, nesting and bathroom areas will also need to fit in the cage.
- Avoid cages with wire flooring, or purchase floor mats to protect your guinea pig’s feet.
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