Guinea pigs are active and energetic small animals. They are always running and playing all around their cage.
Two or more guinea pigs will enjoy some endless chatter, games, and keeping each other company. One guinea pig though is prone to getting bored and lonely due to being alone.
This is why you need to spend as much time as possible with your guinea pig. They need and require attention naturally.
So if they don’t have a partner, you are the only companion they have and you should take time to be with them to avoid them getting ill out of loneliness.
Let’s look into their exercises and requirements.
How much exercise do guinea pigs need a day?
Guinea pigs need an hour of exercise a day. That should be enough for their daily exercise needs which they require to remain healthy, fit, and for mental stimulation. Keeping guinea pigs in their cage most of the time will lead to a depressed, destructive, and bored pet. Letting them out enables them to breathe fresh air, have little adventures, and be active and happy overall.
Why should guinea pigs exercise
Guinea pigs when out in nature will look for their food while avoiding and running away from predators. This makes them highly active.
Pet guinea pigs, however, will have their food brought to them and will live safely in secured spaces. This makes them less active compared to how they should be normally.
Lack of enough exercise in your guinea pigs leads to some problems like:
Just like with humans, inadequate exercise leads to weight gain in guinea pigs. This brings about obesity in your cavy and more problems will begin to arise from this.
A guinea pig that’s obese has trouble with movements and they are prone to certain health conditions.
Being inactive and excessive weight gain brings about insulin resistance which causes diabetes. A guinea pig not getting exercise is highly prone to diabetes.
Lack of exercise will make your guinea pig bored. Because they need to be always on the move, when they are bored they tend to be destructive as they look for something to keep them busy.
They may begin over-grooming themselves leading to bald patches on their skin, biting on their cage bars, or rattling their water bottles.
If your guinea pig does not exercise enough you will notice that they mostly look withdrawn, sad, and unhappy. They will be lethargic and depressed. That’s not the type of pet you want to keep.
Guinea pigs are nocturnal animals meaning they are most active in the early mornings and the evenings. These are the most ideal times to exercise your guinea pet.
They will enjoy spending time and playing with you. It is also a good bonding session for both of you.
You can have them exercising indoors if you don’t have enough space outside or you can let them out if your outdoors are spacious enough.
When indoors, you can have floor time together. Place a big rug on the floor and lie on it then let your guinea pig come to you.
They will sniff you and walk all around you. This is especially helpful if they are new and you are trying to get them used to you.
You could also have some toys to play with or take the opportunity to teach them a few tricks. A tennis ball is a great toy that you can roll over to them and teach them to push it back to you.
You can also teach them how to pass through a hoop. Having some small rugs on the floor may help with their peeing and pooping traits as they are incontinent and cannot control themselves.
At all times you should ensure that you:
- Keep electric wires and cables away as they can chew on them.
- Fence out the area you need them to stay in to keep them from certain places like where your closet is.
- Keep them away from your furniture.
- Cover expensive carpets with cheap rugs so that they’ll chew on the rugs if they have the urge to chew.
- Put away valuable things that they may ruin including children’s toys.
- Put away things that could harm them like some flowers, plants, and human foods.
- Keep an eye on them and cover any small spaces they may get into because they could get stuck somewhere you can’t easily reach.
- You can always provide chew toys to keep them from chewing on your valuable property.
When taking your pet outdoors, the first thing you should look out for is the weather. Adverse weather conditions can cause fatal harm to guinea pigs because they are very delicate animals.
If it’s too hot your guinea pig may get heatstroke which may lead to death. If it’s too cold they may freeze to death.
Guinea pigs simply cannot control their body temperatures. Their temperatures are regulated by environmental conditions.
Therefore do not take them out when it’s too hot, too cold or when it’s raining. This is why the morning and evening hours are essential as the weather conditions are not too adverse.
Always ensure that they have a little shade to hide under in case they feel hot and always have some water for them.
Remember to cover any openings in your fence that they could fit through and get away or escape. Also, put a fence around any garden plants you may have as some may be toxic to their health like tomato leaves.
Some good exercise games for your guinea pig are:
- Tunnels – running around tunnels is such a delight for them.
- Mazes – finding their way around mazes provides mental stimulation which they need as they are smart animals.
- Cardboard boxes – not only will they enjoy jumping over and climbing them, but also chewing on them.
- Toys – homemade or store-bought toys are essential too like stuffed socks or chew toys which will keep your pet entertained.
Some harmful exercises are:
- Swimming – swimming terrifies guinea pigs and stresses them out. Avoid it at all costs as they could even drown.
- Exercise wheels and balls – exercise balls can make your guinea pig suffocate while the wheels will bend their backs extremely which may cause injuries to their delicate spinal cords.
Exercise is vital for the good health and overall contentment of your pet. Ensure that they get daily exercise whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
Do not substitute exercise for other activities like lap time and tv time. Let your guinea pig be active to prevent health issues like obesity and diabetes.