How Much Exercise Do Guinea Pigs Need? Outside, Indoors and Bonding

Outdoor Guinea Pig Run

Exercise is incredibly important for your guinea pig. Not only does it keep them healthy and fit, but it also provides them with mental stimulation.

However, knowing how to exercise your guinea pig can seem confusing and complicated. Hopefully, this article will give you the answers you need on exercising your guinea pig!

How Much Exercise Do Guinea Pigs Need? Guinea pigs need at least 1 hour of exercise each day. This can be as simple as allowing your guinea pig free range time to burn off some steam.

Read on to find out ways you can exercise your guinea pig, which safety precautions to take, and whether you can use leashes and exercise balls for your pet!

How Much Exercise Do Guinea Pigs?

Although you might not think it, guinea pigs are active and energetic pets that require a lot of exercise.

Guinea pigs need time away from their cage to exercise. This is very important if your guinea pigs live in a small cage.

You should aim to give your guinea pig at least 1 hour of exercise each day, whether it’s free-range time or inside a run/playpen. For guinea pigs who live in small habitats, 3-4 hours may be more ideal.

Exercising guinea pigs isn’t as hard as it sounds. Providing your guinea pig with a run or playpen will be enough for your guinea pig to exercise in.

Make sure the run is big enough for your guinea pig to move freely around in (at least 1.2 meters in length!). You should always supervise your guinea pig when they are in their run or playpen.

You could also use a room in your house to give your guinea pigs free-range time, which will count as exercise.

The room must be guinea pig-proof, which means you should stash away any electrical wires, plastic, household plants, dangerous materials, or any other objects your guinea pig could potentially chew.

Small spaces your guinea pigs could get into should also be closed off. Always supervise your guinea pigs when they are outside of their cages.

Exercising Your Guinea Pigs Outside

When the weather is warm and sunny, you can let your guinea pigs outside to exercise. Your guinea pigs will enjoy the fresh air and grass to munch on.

Make sure the weather is not too hot as this could cause your guinea pigs to overheat. The weather should also not be too cold!

Safe temperatures should be between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, the weather should be dry. If it is raining or snowing, then don’t let your guinea pigs outside!

You can use an exercise run or playpen for your guinea pigs to use when they are outside.

It is not recommended that you allow your guinea pig to exercise outside without a playpen or run. Your guinea pig could escape, chew on poisonous plants/materials, or be targeted by a predator.

Make sure you are always supervising your guinea pigs when they are exercising outside.

Precautions Before Letting Your Guinea Pig Exercise Outside

Keeping your guinea pig safe when they are exercising outside should be your number one priority. That’s why it’s important to put in safety measures before letting your guinea pig outside.

When letting your guinea pigs outside, make sure the weather is dry and the temperature is in their preferred range.

If it has been raining recently, make sure the grass is completely dry before you allow your guinea pig outside.

You should provide your guinea pig with an exercise run or playpen to run around in when they are outside. The enclosed area should be away from direct sunlight and loud noises.

The exercise run or playpen should be sturdy and secure so your guinea pig cannot escape. It is recommended that the run/playpen also has a top or cover.

Make sure your guinea pig has access to shelter and hideaways. Guinea pigs are prey animals so they don’t feel safe in open areas.

By providing your guinea pig with a hideaway, it gives them somewhere to retreat to when they feel scared. It also provides them with a place to cool down when they are too hot.

You should make sure your guinea pig has access to fresh water when they are exercising outside. Playing and running is thirsty work!

Make sure your guinea pig is out of reach of poisonous plants or dangerous materials. Some poisonous plants include poppies, buttercups, foxgloves, honeysuckles, and flowering plants.

You should also ensure the grass has not been treated with any chemicals before you let your guinea pigs graze on it.

Don’t let your guinea pigs come into contact with other animals. Be on the lookout for cats, hawks, and other predators that could be lurking outside.

You should always supervise your guinea pigs when they are exercising outside. Never leave your guinea pigs alone, not even for a minute.

If you plan on going out, don’t leave your guinea pigs outside! Put them back into their cage until you are home.

Exercising Your Guinea Pig Inside

Allowing your guinea pig inside exercise is a great way for it to burn off energy and play.

You could use a safe and secure room to provide your guinea pig with free range time, or you could use a playpen.

Even if your guinea pig lives in a large and spacious cage, you should still provide them with exercise outside of their habitat.

You should aim to exercise your guinea pig for at least 1 hour each day if they live in a big cage. However, more is always better!

If your guinea pig lives in a small cage, then you will need to provide them with more exercise. Between 3 to 4 hours each day should be sufficient.

If you are away from home a lot or have a busy schedule, then it is best to give your guinea pig a large cage to run around in.

That way your guinea pig can still get some exercise inside their cage.

Precautions Before Letting Your Guinea Pig Exercise Inside

Before you exercise your guinea pig inside, you need to put in appropriate measures to keep them safe.

If you plan on using an entire room to exercise your guinea pig, make sure you put away any dangerous materials, such as houseplants, plastic, and wires.

Small spaces your guinea pigs could squeeze into should also be blocked off.

Make sure you provide your guinea pig with fresh water and food when they are exercising inside.

If you own other pets, make sure they cannot access your guinea pig when they are exercising inside.

Additionally, it is a good idea to let all members of your household know when your guinea pigs are exercising inside. That way they will know not to open any doors and to look where they are stepping.

Always make sure you do not use any air fresheners, insect sprays, perfume, etc. into the room your guinea pigs are exercising in. These can upset your guinea pig’s respiratory system or poison them.

Supervise your guinea pigs when they are exercising inside as they could get into mischief!

Why Exercise Is Important To Keep Your Guinea Pig Healthy

Exercise is important for your guinea pig as it helps them stay fit and healthy – both inside and out!

If you don’t let your guinea pig exercise regularly or for long enough, then they are at a higher risk of becoming overweight. This can cause all types of illnesses and diseases.

Guinea pigs also need exercise for mental stimulation. Exercise provides your guinea pig with enrichment.

Without exercise, guinea pigs can become bored and destructive. These behaviors typically manifest into bar chewing, irritability, nippiness, and aggression.

If you own multiple guinea pigs, then they could fight or act aggressively towards one another without exercise as they are bored.

Being inside an enclosed space for too long is bound to make your guinea pig grumpy and destructive. Your guinea pig needs exercise to release tension and burn off excess energy.

Always make sure you exercise your guinea pig frequently!

How Much Human Interaction Do Guinea Pigs Need?

Guinea pigs, especially ones who live alone, need interaction and attention from their owners to thrive.

You should interact with your guinea pigs every day. If you do not give your guinea pigs any attention, then they may become timid and bored.

This is especially true if you only own one guinea pig. Guinea pigs are social animals and do much better in pairs or groups, so if you plan on keeping just one, then it will need extra attention.

Handling or playing with your guinea pigs are great ways to interact with them. You can do both these activities during free range time and when you are exercising your guinea pig.

Do Guinea Pigs Need Exercise Wheels Or Balls?

Exercise balls and wheels are often used for small pets like mice, hamsters, and rats, but are they safe for guinea pigs?

The answer to that question is a resounding no. Exercise balls and wheels should never be used for guinea pigs.

A guinea pig’s build is different to that of a hamster or mouse, which means they can seriously hurt their backs if they use a wheel or exercise ball.

Additionally, being inside an exercise ball can cause your guinea pig to overheat (leading to heatstroke) as there is not enough ventilation.

Even if you see an exercise ball of wheel that is targeted for large rodents and guinea pigs, don’t be fooled.

All exercise balls and wheels, no matter their size, are not safe to use for guinea pigs.

What Toys Should I Provide my Guinea Pigs?

Toys are good for providing mental stimulation and exercise for your guinea pig.

You should use toys inside your guinea pig’s cage to prevent boredom. You can also use toys during free-range time.

Some examples of guinea pig toys that help with exercise include:

  • Tunnels

Tunnels are great toys for guinea pigs to explore. They provide them with shelter and exercise. Your guinea pig will enjoy running through tunnels, so they’re a good toy to have around!

You could even attach multiple tunnels together to create a maze for your guinea pig to run through.

  • Wooden balls

Balls that are made from guinea pig-safe woods, such as Willow, can be great for your guinea pig to chew on and roll around with their nose. This provides them with mental stimulation and exercise!

  • Obstacle courses

Obstacle courses allow you to interact with your guinea pig, whilst also providing them with exercise.

Using cardboard to make your guinea pig a maze with walls, tunnels, and bridges to explore can be a cheap and fun way to exercise your pet.

  • Food toys

Food toys are great for guinea pigs as they have to figure out how to retrieve the treat inside them. You can buy store-bought food toys, such as balls that you place treats inside, or you can make your own.

Scrunch up a piece of paper and place a treat inside it for your guinea pig to play with. Food toys prevent your guinea pig from getting bored and help them burn off a bit of energy!

Can I Put A Leash On My Guinea Pig?

Leashes are used to exercise dogs, so you might have wondered whether you can use a leash to exercise your guinea pig too.

You should avoid putting a leash on your guinea pig. Using a leash can be dangerous, as

yanking or pulling on a leash can damage your guinea pig’s fragile back.

Being put on a leash can also be very stressful and frightening for your guinea pig. Most guinea pigs will not like being walked or the feeling of a leash, which will cause them to panic or wriggle out of their harness and escape.

Frightened and stressed guinea pigs are more likely to bite or to become unwell, so it’s best to avoid these risks by never using leashes.

Related Questions:

Can guinea pigs live alone? Guinea pigs can live alone, but they do best in pairs or groups. If you plan on keeping a lone guinea pig, then you need to provide it with lots of attention.

Do I really need to exercise my guinea pig? Yes. Exercise keeps your guinea pig happy, healthy, and fit. If you don’t exercise your guinea pig, it can lead to boredom and destructive behavior. 

What is the minimum size cage for a guinea pig? For one or two guinea pigs, a cage should be at least 7.5 square feet. Bigger is always better, so try to provide your guinea pig with the largest cage you can afford.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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