Guinea pigs are adorable, social little animals, but they can be prone to a number of health issues, from respiratory infections to broken toes. Thankfully, a lot of these ailments can be prevented by simply designing your guinea pig's cage the right way. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Make sure the cage is big enough.
A lot of guinea pigs are overweight, and being overweight causes issues like diabetes and heart disease – just like in humans. You can help keep your guinea pig at a healthy weight by providing him or her with a larger cage. The Humane Society recommends 7.5 square feet at a minimum for a single guinea pig, but the bigger the better.
Choose a cage with a solid bottom.
Cages with wire bottoms are convenient since they are easy to clean. However, they're just not a safe choice for your guinea pig. Your pet can get its toes or feet caught in the wires, leading to injuries. Choose a cage with a solid bottom. You can find cages with removable plastic bottoms that are pretty easy to clean since you can detach the cage sides and just dump out the bottom tray.
Don't put the water bottle where your guinea pig likes to sleep.
Once your guinea pig has been in its cage for a few days, observe where it has chosen to build a nest. Most guinea pigs will stack shavings up in a certain spot and use this as their main sleeping area. Make sure the water bottle is not near this sleeping area. Otherwise, it may leak or your guinea pig may brush against it often. This could lead to wet fur, which puts your guinea pig at risk of catching a chill and a subsequent respiratory infection.
Avoid drafty areas.
Guinea pigs are very sensitive to temperature. In the winter, a cold draft can put them at risk of infection. So, place the cage away from any windows, doors, or vents. Putting it along an interior wall is advised.
Provide a hiding place.
Stress can make your guinea pig more prone to most any illness, from pneumonia to digestive upset. Provide your guinea pig with a hiding spot, such as an igloo or little house, so that he or she can snuggle away when scared. This will keep your pet's stress levels lower, leading to a healthier guinea pig overall.
Contact a center like Canal Road Animal Hospital for more help.