Solid floors prevent damage to small feet. Cleaning is a breeze, and owners like how easy it is to accessorize.
Shallow bottom tray can lead to bedding being ejected, but deeper alternatives are available. Assembly could be easier.
There's lots of room, flexible accommodation, and owners love the easy access offered by the top opening.
Many would prefer a hay bin that fit inside the cage, not outside (it can get messy). The supplied water bottle is prone to leaks.
Lots of room for 1 guinea pig. Owners like the covered area and praise how easy the cage is to set up.
Full-width opening makes it difficult to keep pet inside while feeding. If you want a second guinea pig you'll need a second cage.
Roomy cage can accommodate 3 guinea pigs. Includes essential accessories like water bottles and feeding bowls. Several doors provide easy access.
Time-consuming and difficult to assemble. Plastic parts feel flimsy and are prone to cracking.
Design is suitable for guinea pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits. Can be attached to compatible cages to extend your little pet's living space. Easy to clean.
Frustrating to assemble, and the included instructions don't help much. Some of the parts don't feel very sturdy.
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Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, definitely belong on the list of small pets that are impossible not to love. They are highly social creatures, and they form strong bonds with their owners. A guinea pig is a sturdier alternative to smaller rodents such as hamsters and gerbils, which makes it an ideal choice for older children and adults. Guinea pigs are strict vegetarians, and they require very little daily maintenance.
One important element of successful guinea pig ownership is proper housing. A good cage or hutch should provide enough living space for each cavy to feel unrestricted. Good ventilation is also important because guinea pigs eliminate urine and feces in their cages. Having a protected area for sleeping is always good, especially with younger cavies. They also appreciate accessories and toys that help keep their minds engaged and their bodies active.
New owners should consider the benefits of a “starter” cage kit. These sets should include a cage that meets minimal living space standards and basic accessories such as water bottles, hay dispensers, and sleeping quarters. More experienced owners may want to upgrade to a sturdier hutch or even create their own enclosures with wire packing cube grids and corrugated plastic flooring.
One of the most important considerations for guinea pig owners is sufficient living space for their new pet. Many cavy experts recommend at least 7.5 square feet of living space for a single guinea pig, although more is better. For two or more guinea pigs, the minimal space is at least 10.5 square feet. This living space can be calculated by measuring the height, length, and width of a cage, but that number can be misleading. Guinea pigs are not great climbers, so vertical height is not as much of a factor as the cage’s length and width.
When shopping for a guinea pig cage, avoid the smallest “starter kits” generally promoted as suitable for gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs. Guinea pigs grow to be much larger than other small rodents, so a larger cage designed for guinea pigs, rabbits, and ferrets would be a safer investment. The dimensions of a DIY grid-and-Coroplast enclosure can be as large as the owner’s budget will allow.
Guinea pigs cannot sweat in order to cool down during hot conditions. A quality guinea pig cage should provide enough ventilation to keep air flowing through the entire living space. This also helps dissipate some of the unpleasant odors associated with urine and feces. One important note on ventilation concerns very young cavies, under the age of 6 months: Some DIY wire grid systems have openings larger than a small guinea pig’s head. It is important for owners to use caging material with smaller grid openings.
Because guinea pigs eat, sleep, and relieve themselves in the same space, frequent litter changes are a necessity. The cage floor should be deep enough to hold 2 to 3 inches of paper-based bedding. The upper part of the cage may be held securely in place with special clips, but those clips should be easy to remove before routine maintenance. The floor should be easy to sanitize and dry during bedding changes. Accessories such as sleep shelters, water bottles, and hay holders should be simple to detach from the cage for maintenance.
Because guinea pigs are considered prey animals in the wild, they have an instinct to seek protection from predators. This means owners must provide some form of sleep shelter. They also need to feel protected from other household pets, which means the cage should be sturdy enough to discourage dog and cat paws. The better guinea cages use thicker wiring to form the shell, and allow space for a “safe room.” Owners should also look for cages with large access holes, either in the roof or on the side. Adult guinea pigs can be difficult to extract from smaller cages, so a cage with a hinged roof is often useful. The openings should be large enough to extract a fully grown cavy safely.
Many guinea pig starter kits include a number of useful accessories a young guinea pig might need, but these kits aren’t always complete. Sometimes the individual items in a starter kit are not as durable as other products sold separately. A good guinea pig cage system should include a water bottle, a hay holder, a food bowl for pellets, a separate sleeping dome, a salt wheel, and a large exercise wheel. A few ladders and platforms may be useful, but guinea pigs are not great climbers and prefer to say on the ground floor.
Some guinea pig starter kits also include special toys to help keep cavies engaged when owners are not present. These toys include rope ladders, metal mirrors, and hollow plastic balls. Guinea pigs have unique and individual personalities, so some may take advantage of these toys while others may not. Some owners may want to invest in a few toys for guinea pigs while they are out of the cage or grazing in an outdoor enclosure.
Very few guinea pig cages include bedding as part of a starter kit. This is actually a good thing because the choice of bedding varies among owners. Many cavy experts do not recommend bedding derived from oily wood shavings, such as pine or cedar. They can produce harmful off-gassing, and the urine-soaked chips create an unhealthy environment. Instead, veterinarians recommend paper-based bedding produced from toilet paper or recycled paper towel stock.
Guinea pigs cannot sweat, so owners should avoid placing cages in direct sunlight or near strong sources of heat.
Many ready-to-go guinea pig cages priced under $45 are considered starter models, and often include a few essential add-ons such as water bottles, exercise wheels, and food bowls. Some guinea pig owners prefer to build their own enclosures, and some manufacturers offer DIY elements such as wire mesh modules and corrugated plastic sheets.
Cages between $45 and $75 usually have the generous dimensions most veterinarians recommend for guinea pigs. The ready-to-go kits feature a better grade of accessories, along with various platforms and ramps. Modular DIY kits can be constructed for indoor or outdoor use.
High-end small-pet enclosures priced over $75 are considered large enough to accommodate animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, and ferrets. Solid wooden or metal frames are the norm at this price point. The largest cages sold for multiple guinea pigs are generally marketed as hutches, and they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Some ready-to-go guinea pig cages sold in pet stores do not meet minimal living space dimensions. Be sure to measure the cage before purchasing.
Avoid small pet cages with wire-grid flooring. These can cause serious damage to a guinea pig’s sensitive feet. Always choose a model with a smooth floor surface.
It is a good practice to remove any high platforms or levels from a guinea pig cage. Guinea pigs are fragile, and can be seriously injured from falls.
Paper-based bedding should be at least 2-3 inches deep for maximum health and sanitation benefits.
Guinea pigs are prone to respiratory illnesses, so cages should never be placed in unheated, drafty or humid locations.
Cages used to house very young guinea pigs (up to 6 months) should be “baby proofed” with additional Coroplast siding and smaller grid holes.
A. Most cage manufacturers only use non-toxic materials to construct guinea pig housing, including the wire coating. You may want to add special chew toys to discourage unwanted bar chewing. If you choose to create a DIY guinea pig enclosure with packing cubes or other alternative materials, you should discuss potential toxicity issues with a veterinarian first.
A. The minimal amount of space required for one guinea pig is approximately 7.5 square feet, but more is definitely better. This works out to a cage with dimensions of 30” x 36”. For two guinea pigs, the minimal space is around 10.5 square feet, or a 30” x 50” cage.
A. Some low level ramps and platforms are nice additions, but not strictly necessary for guinea pigs. Unlike some other small caged pets like hamsters or gerbils, guinea pigs appreciate maximum floor space for exercise, not vertical layers inside the cage.