Guinea pigs are social animals as well as active animals. They are much more extroverted than most people think.
Several factors go into how much playtime a pig needs. Generally, it can be anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the cage, number of companions, and age of the guinea pig.
Playtime is essential, and there are several things you can do.
Several different things contribute to how long a Guinea pig needs playtime. Generally speaking, anywhere from 2-4 hours is best for most Guinea pigs. However, this is all going to depend on your cavy, and the factors outlined below.
- Age: Younger Guinea pigs are big balls of energy. Really young ones are going to want to run around a lot. On the other hand, older Guinea pigs are not going to be as active. This could be because of health issues or simply age. Younger pigs are going to need to be taken out more often than older pigs.
- Social Network: Guinea pigs with several friends will not need to leave their cages as often as lone pigs. Again, these are very social creatures. They need time with their friends or their pet parent. If your Guinea pig is by themselves, they will need more attention and playtime. Pigs with friends still need playtime, but less than if they were alone.
- Cage Size: The minimum size for a cage should be 7.5 square feet, even for just one pig. This is a lot larger than most people expect a Guinea pig cage should be. The larger cage allows the pig to run around and burn off some energy, almost like kids running around the backyard. If you have to keep them in a smaller cage (which is not recommended), they need to be taken out much longer than if in a larger cage.
Playtime is an important aspect of a Guinea pig’s health. These animals can get bored quickly without mental stimulation, and they also can become timid if not taken out every now and then.
Guinea pigs are pack animals. This means they enjoy being in groups and love to socialize with their friends. If they don’t have a buddy to play with, it’s essential to spend time playing with your Guinea pig. This can prevent your piggy from getting depressed and grouchy. Pack animals need playtime.
These friendly animals thrive on energy. Like extroverted people, Guinea pigs need to interact and play with others to be happy.
Another reason why Guinea pig playtime is so important is for mental stimulation. Guinea pigs are smart animals, and this intelligence can be encouraged when they are out of their cages and playing. In fact, many piggies can be trained, and it just takes a bit of patience and persistence.
Young Guinea pigs especially need playtime. Younger guinea pigs have bundles of energy that need to be burned off. This age group should be taken out of their cage so they can stretch their legs and exercise.
The amount of time a Guinea pig gets taken out of its cage is also dependent on various factors. Since we already briefed some other ones, let’s dive into the most critical factors.
When a Guinea pig has ample space and a friend to play with, they do not need as much outside time as they would in a smaller cage by themselves.
Larger space gives them room to run around and burn off some energy. It is always essential to ensure you are providing enough room for your pet, but this is especially important regarding the amount of time you are willing to give your pet outside of its cage.
If you are a busy person or believe you won’t have much time to take your Guinea pig out, providing a larger than an average-sized cage is crucial. However, if you have the time to take them out frequently, an average cage will suffice.
Also, consider their social lives. They do not need to be taken out as often if they have a friend, as their social interaction comes from their buddy. If you do not plan on getting a bonded pair, expect to be the primary friend your pig has.
Based on these factors and your pet’s personality, the frequency of outside time can be anywhere from twice a day to several times. Use your best discretion when deciding whether or not to take your pig out.
Is your piggy waiting by their door? Are they a bit more hyper? Or are they trying to take a nap? These are some questions to ask yourself when deciding on taking your pig out.
Let’s refer to some previous factors that we looked at. Age will be a big factor in the amount of time they are out of their cage.
Again, the personality of your piggy is going to decide some things also. Some pigs are happy hanging out in a bed and watching tv with their owner, while others prefer to be in their home or by their food.
Younger pigs need to burn off more energy than older pigs. Younger ones should be taken out of their cage longer than older ones.
Once your pig seems tired or finally rests, they can go back in. This will take more time if they have been in their cage for a more extended period and are still young.
Keep in mind that when they are out of their cage, they usually don’t have access to their water or a place to poop, which doesn’t stop them! You have the option of giving them treats and food to have, but water is just as important.
Because of the limited access to water, they shouldn’t be away from their cage for more than an hour at a time. If you plan to keep them out longer, be sure to take water breaks.
For optimal health, guinea pigs should get daily exercise of at least a few hours total.
Technically? Yes. However, it is not recommended. There is a lot of prep work involved in letting a Guinea pig free to roam.
You have to make sure there are absolutely no cords or wires that your pig can chew on. Any other pets must be kept in a separate room, and the floor should be clean of any debris.
Also, these are small animals who like to hide. This means they are going to prefer to hide under a couch, bed, or closet.
It will be challenging to find your pet and then get them out from their hiding spot. Also, the underside of couches and beds can be dusty or hold small objects that are not safe for your pet.
If you do decide to let your pig roam around, choose a single room to allow them to roam. Provide a place to hide that is not a bed or couch. Be sure that wires, cords, and other chewable items are put away.
A single room is going to be much more manageable than a whole house or apartment.
When hosting a guinea pig playtime, there are some essentials you need first.
- Guinea pig proof the area. Loose items, cords, sharp corners, etc., should be taken care of.
- Provide snacks
- Provide a comfortable floor cover. Fleece is usually used.
- Provide a place to hide.
Aside from the essentials, there are many things a Guinea pig likes to play with and do!
- Burrowing: Pigs love to burrow in anything they can. Not only does it stimulate them, but it also makes them feel safe
- Tunneling: Guinea pigs love to run through tunnels. There are many options for tunnels to play with. Timothy hay ones also give your pig something to chew on.
- Tug of war: Some feisty pigs love to play like puppies! If this is an option for you, be sure to keep it gentle.
- Play ball: Some pigs love to play with balls. This means pushing them around or chasing after them.
- Obstacle courses: I had a Guinea pig who loved obstacle courses. She would run up my leg and torso, down my arm, under a blanket, and then jump off a small platform. This would go on for several rounds before she got tired.
Guinea pigs are very active and social animals. Giving them a safe environment to play in is an integral part of being a pet parent. Generally, at least an hour a day of playtime is essential for guinea pig health.