If you want to let your guinea pigs be “free range” in your house, either on a permanent or a temporary basis, here are a few tips to help you prepare your room for the GP invasion!
- Decide which areas you want your guinea pigs to access
Although guinea pigs can be trained to relieve themselves in particular places, they’ll occasionally go to the bathroom whenever and wherever. Putting down lots of newspaper will soak up any little accidents! But make sure the home owners are okay with this before letting the guinea pigs loose.
- Separate this ‘free-range’ area from the rest of the house
A door might not be enough – guinea pigs can move very quickly when they want to, and even if you’re careful coming in and out of the door then they can still squeeze past you like soap through a pair of wet hands. Use something as a barrier to keep them in their allotted space. Guinea pigs can't jump or climb, so this doesn’t need to be very high - just over a foot high will be fine. You also need to make sure your temporary barrier can't easily fall over.
Guinea pigs love having room to roam
- Make sure other pets can’t get in
Although your cat, dog, or other pet probably has the best of intentions, guinea pigs are very fragile and can get hurt easily, even during what another animal would consider to be playtime. In the case of small children, it’s fine for them to go in as long as they’re properly supervised, and don’t chase the animals around.
- Make sure the area you’ve chosen is safe for your guinea pigs to roam around in.
Keep things off the floor, as guinea pigs will always test things with a little nibble, often with unfortunate consequences for shoes, books, chair legs, and other things they can sink their strong rodent teeth into. Keep all house plants away from them too, as some could be poisonous. You also need to make sure there are no cables or other wires in the free-ranging area.
- Provide a place to hide
Guinea pigs need to feel comfortable and safe when they're out and about, so the free-ranging area should include a covered place for them to hide in. Something about a foot high is ideal. Line the covered area with a bit paper and hay for them to snuggle into.
- Always provide food and water
Guinea pigs are always hungry. A bowl of dry food and a little fresh veg will address this issue, and a water bottle should always be accessible too. Put paper beneath the bowls, to prevent mess.
- Guinea pigs like their toys
Most guinea pigs enjoy the extra stimulation of a few toys. Popular ones include paper tents, chew tunnels, and hideaways. Check out our guinea pig toy section for some great ideas.