Creating a home for your guinea pig

Guinea pigs, whether kept indoors or outdoors, need a home consisting of a large shelter and exercise area, which should be strong and secure, draught-free, well-ventilated and receive natural light.

The shelter is somewhere for your guinea pigs to rest, hide and feel safe. This area needs enough space for your guinea pigs to rest together, stretch out when lying down and spend time apart if they wish. It must be raised off the ground slightly to keep the floor dry and improve ventilation. Cover the base of the shelter with a thick layer of newspaper, paper-based litter or dust-free woodflakes, and fill the bedroom areas with plenty of hay.

A large exercise run connected to their shelter, filled with tubes, tunnels and boxes, will allow your guinea pigs to walk, run around, hide and explore. It’s important to provide plenty of hiding places they can use to avoid their companions if they want to, or they may become stressed and bully each other. They should be allowed to access their exercise area from their shelter at all times

Never put your guinea pigs in a used garage as the exhaust fumes from your vehicle can be very dangerous.

Their whole home can go straight onto the grass to allow your guinea pigs to graze. If kept outside, your guinea pigs’ accommodation needs to be weatherproof. An insulated, weatherproof cover provides extra protection from wind and rain. Guinea pigs should be brought indoors or into an unused garage or shed over winter; however, they will still need free access to a secure exercise area. If guinea pigs cannot be brought indoors, provide extra bedding to help them keep warm.

Alternatively, you can keep your guinea pigs indoors. You’ll need to give them a large indoor shelter with free access to a secure exercise area. This could be a large guinea pig playpen or a guinea pig-proofed room (where electrical wiring is covered, poisonous houseplants are removed and anything you don’t want chewed is covered or removed). Place their home in a quiet area of the house away from radiators and other animals. Ideally provide access to a secure outside exercise area in fine weather or provide daily opportunities to graze on grass grown in trays.