Guinea pig owners with a garden, a balcony, or a terrasse might wonder if their beloved pets can also play outdoors. Guinea pigs are domesticated for centuries and might not be able to survive outdoors, but can they play outside under supervision?
Guinea pigs can live and play outdoors. They should be kept at a moderate temperature and should not be exposed to direct sunlight without the possibility of retreating into a more shadowy area.
In the following, you will find information on the environment you should create to offer your guinea pigs a safe space to play outside.
Can Pet Guinea Pigs Play Outdoors?
Guinea pigs enjoy being outdoors, as long as they are safe and the temperature is somewhat moderate. Guinea pigs enjoy nature in general and like being outdoors.
Keep in mind that they have a lot more fur than you and me and overheat easily. A guinea pig should not have to stay in direct sunlight without the possibility to hide somewhere in the shadow. Set up some houses, tunnels, and other hiding spots for your guinea pigs wherever you let them roam free.
If you own a garden, terrasse, or balcony, make sure that the guinea pigs cannot escape. They don’t jump, climb or dig tunnels, but they can squeeze through holes.
If the head fits through, the rest of the body can follow. That rule does not necessarily apply to all guinea pigs. Some are just extremely furry, and some are overweight and they might get stuck during the attempt to escape.
If you set up a playpen outdoor, always stay close to your pets. Cats, dogs, marten, foxes, or birds of prey can be a potential threat to guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs be Outside in a Cage?
Guinea pigs originally come from South America where they lived in mountainous areas. The guinea pigs that are sold as pets are bred in captivity for many generations and would not be able to survive in the wild anymore. But that does not mean that they cannot be kept outside as long as some requirements are met.
As a whole, guinea pigs can be kept outside in a cage. They need enough space to move around, places to hide, a safe environment where predators cannot get in and guinea pigs cannot get out, and a somewhat moderate temperature.
Some people keep their guinea pigs outdoors. That is possible, as long as some requirements are met to offer them a good and safe life.
The temperatures should not be too hot or too cold. Depending on where you live, it might not be healthy for guinea pigs to stay outdoors during an extremely hot summer or extremely cold winter.
Just like any other living creature, guinea pigs need time to adjust to temperature changes. The majority of guinea pigs that are sold as pets are kept indoors. That means that they need time to get used to the temperatures and weather conditions outdoors.
A guinea pig that is bought in winter cannot be put outdoors right away. Spring and autumn are good seasons to give a guinea pig the opportunity to get used to being outdoors, and either grow enough fur for the winter or get ready for a warm summer.
Location and Safety
If you decide to keep your guinea pigs outdoors, you should choose a spot that is close to the house so that you have visual contact with the enclosure to make sure that the guinea pigs are safe.
The enclosure could also be directly attached to the house wall. The spot you choose should be half shadow, half sun, and water from rain has to be able to flow away quickly to keep your guinea pigs dry in case of heavy rain.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and need their herd and hiding spots to feel safe. In addition to possible natural objects such as trees or bushes, you should offer your guinea pigs houses that are big enough for them to cuddle together, tunnels, and other shelters that protect your guinea pigs from wind, weather, and sun, rain, and snow.
The house the guinea pigs stay in should not stand directly on the ground to make sure that they are dry, even during a heavier rainstorm.
During summer air circulation in the guinea, pig enclosure is important, while in winter good isolation is necessary to keep your pets warm and healthy. The house needs to be isolated enough so that the water does not freeze.
Even though guinea pigs don’t run around as much as rabbits, they still need a lot of space to roam around to satisfy their curiosity and their urge to move. The bigger the outdoor enclosure, the better.
A space of at least 9.5 yard² for 2 to 3 guinea pigs is necessary.
The enclosure has to be surrounded by a fence that does not allow any predators in, nor the guinea pigs out.
The space where you offer your guinea pigs hay, pellets, and fresh vegetables and fruits should be in the shadow and also somehow covered so that your guinea pigs don’t feel exposed while eating.
The outdoor enclosure should be diversified to offer your guinea pigs enough physical and mental stimulation.
Trees, tree trunks, twigs, bushes, and other plants (as long as they are guinea pig safe), tunnels, bark, wooden boxes, bricks, roots, and many hiding spots are great things to make an entertaining environment for guinea pigs.
A guinea pig enclosure outdoors has to be kept as clean as a guinea pig enclosure indoors. That means that you need to keep clean the enclosure at least every week and clean some parts every day.
Make sure to feed your guinea pigs on a daily basis, exchange the water, and clean the dirtiest spots with a hand brush every day.
The enclosure should be constructed in a way that it is easily accessible for the daily feeding and cleaning routines.
Can Guinea Pigs Play on the Lawn?
Yes, guinea pigs can play on the lawn. It is safe for them to eat grass and walk on earth, grass, stone, and hay. Make sure that your guinea pigs are safe at all times and cannot escape.
They also need hiding spots and shadows because they easily overheat in direct sunlight.
Can I Take My Guinea Pig on a Walk?
You can take a guinea pig with you in a carrier to get to the vet or see a friend. But you cannot take a guinea pig on a walk on a leash and expect it to walk beside you like a dog.
Guinea pigs cannot learn to walk on a leash.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂