Probably the world’s most favorite family pet, guinea pigs are loved by all. They are very social and playful. They also require daily exercise, which they usually get by roaming and jumping around their cage.
But can they roam free? Yes. Wild guinea pigs roam freely in grasslands in herds of at least 10. This allows them to forage for vegetables and leaves. But it also leaves them exposed and vulnerable to predatory animals. While they do not face the threat of being hunted inside the house, certain precautions need to be taken for letting them roam freely.
Do you want to know what precautions to take to let your guinea pigs run loose inside your house?
Necessary Precautions For Allowing Guinea Pigs to Roam Free
1. Litter Box Training
Before you decide to let your guinea pigs loose in the house, you need to make sure they are adequately trained to use the litter box.
Untrained piggies can make a mess in your home by excreting whenever and wherever they want.
While it may not seem as too much trouble for you to clean up the visible spots, the many unreachable corners of the house may pose a challenge.
This can often lead you to being frustrated with your pet piggies.
Avoid this issue by training your guinea pigs to use the litter box properly before setting them loose.
Simply get a litter box for their cage and put a few droppings inside it to let the piggies have an idea of what it’s for.
You may have to do it for a couple of days before your pets pick up on the idea and start using the litter box.
Once you see them use the litter box regularly, you can allow your guinea pigs to roam free in a particular room with their cage in access so they can get to the litter box when the need arises.
When you are sure that they return to the cage every time to use the litter box, you can give them more access to the other areas of the house.
2. Use Guinea Pig Diapers
If you haven’t had any success yet in potty training your guinea pig, don’t feel terrible. It isn’t quite as easy training any pet to start using the litter box as it might seem.
However, if you do want to let your guinea pigs roam free and enjoy seeing them play around your house, there is an alternative that you can use.
Like babies, you can also diaper your guinea pigs and let them enjoy their freedom without worrying about them leaving their feces all over the place.
Unfortunately, guinea pig diapers aren’t something that you can get over the counter from any pet store. Yes, some manufacturers do offer them but they are a little expensive and hard to come by.
But a lot of guinea pig keepers often use diapers that are DIY and ultimately serve the purpose.
You can use your old socks to design a diaper suit for your pet guinea pigs easily.
Just cut a hole on both toe corners to fit the hind legs of your pigs. Tuck a sanitary pad inside the sock. The pad is to help contain feces and absorb the animal’s urine.
The diaper is ready for use. Just make sure of one thing that your piggies aren’t in their diapers for a longer duration or they risk developing infections.
3. Pasturing in the Backyard
Backyard Guinea pigs are the best thing ever.
Guinea pigs really enjoy running around in the green. If you allow them to roam free in your backyard or garden, you will notice their excitement through their wildly playful movements.
Before you take them out, make sure your garden does not have any toxic plants.
Guinea pigs like to nibble on plants, and toxic plants pose a threat to their lives.
Also, guinea pigs need places to hide as well as places where they can soak up sunlight. Such places help them maintain their body temperature.
Stillwater and water from sprinklers is also dangerous for them.
If they get too drenched, they become vulnerable to diseases like hypothermia which can at times be fatal.
Another thing to take a note of, before letting your guinea pigs free in the garden, is to set up water bowls for them.
They need access to plenty of fresh water while playing and running around. But make sure the bowls aren’t too deep, or your guinea pigs could drown themselves.
4. Other House Pets
Another thing that you need to take into consideration before taking your guinea pigs out of the cage is other pets that you may have around the house.
Guinea pigs are small in size and can be victims to other house pets that may be predatory in nature. These include the likes of ferrets, cats, and dogs.
Make sure you do not own any such pets or if even you do, make sure they are in a different room or their cage before letting your guinea pigs out. This is the only way to ensure the safety of your piggies.
While it is true that guinea pigs enjoy roaming free more than anything, it isn’t quite as simple. And there are some rudimentary considerations and precautions involved to make that happen. However, all the precautions that I have discussed also come with certain consequences.
For example, letting the piggies roam free inside the house allows them to nibble on upholstery, furniture, and even electrical wiring.
Also, if they are not litter box trained, they may urinate around the house. And their urine leaves a nasty odor behind.
And while you may not own a cat or any other predatory animal yourself, your neighbors might. Guinea pigs are also very capable of chewing holes through wood and digging under the fence.
So, leaving them out in the open may not be such a good idea.
To sum it all up, yes, it is essential for guinea pigs to roam free in large and open spaces as it provides them with their required exercise.
But they shouldn’t be left unsupervised, or they may be exposed to many dangers.
Hope you find this post useful and get the answers you are looking for. If you have other questions, stick around for the related questions section below:
I don’t want my guinea pigs running free around the house. What do I do? Guinea pigs need a lot of space to run around and stretch their legs.
Many people often assume that since they have provided a large cage for their guinea pigs, they do not need to let them out and allow them to roam free.
This is completely wrong. Despite the size of the cage that you may own, the confined space can never compare with an open one.
So, the best you can do is not to take them out daily. Instead, do it just once a week. But it is essential that you do it.
What else do guinea pigs like to do other than running around? Other than exploring the surrounding and running around, guineas also like to nibble on anything they can get their paws on.
They also enjoy music and respond very well to all kinds of pleasant noises. They also like to chill around, sleep, and just be comfortable. And they like to socialize.
They enjoy interacting with other guinea pigs and other animals resembling their size. All in all, there are a load of activities that you can enjoy with your guinea pigs without taking it out of the cage.
Do all dogs try to kill guinea pigs? A simple, one-word answer to this question would be, yes.
However, in rare instances, if the dog is brought up with guinea pigs since puppy-hood (if that is even a word), he may not see them as prey.
This is still uncertain, though. Dogs are predatory in nature. So, there is no guaranteeing that he would not act out of instinct and attack or even kill the poor creature.
In any case, it is better to avoid letting your dog come close to your guinea pigs even if they were brought up together.