Picking the right cage for your guinea pig is sometimes time-consuming and even though a lot of people usually spend a lot of time thinking about it, they tend to pick a cage that’s too small. But, this is not their fault. Most cages catered towards guinea pigs are way too small. Those cages that are marketed and offered to guinea pig owners are, in most cases, not big enough.
Guinea pigs are physically active animals. They need some space to roam around, a separate place for a nest, a bathroom area, and a special compartment for food and water. Your guinea pig doesn’t always need to stay in the cage but even then, when it’s in the cage, it needs to have a plethora of space inside.
In this article, we’re going to tell you which cage size is the best for a different number of guinea pigs. But, before we do that, let’s see why size matters!
The Importance of Big Guinea Pig Cage
The cage size is one of the most important factors for a happy guinea pig. You see, guinea pigs are one of the largest, if not the largest rodents that we keep as pets. Rodents tend to move a lot and they prefer physical activity. Despite its huge size (rodent-wise), guinea pigs live in cages that are almost the same size as cages for gerbils and hamsters. This cannot be allowed and it doesn’t make any sense.
The main difference between a cage for a guinea pig and cage for a hamster is in the space layout. Smaller rodents prefer a cage with higher vertical dimensions, while guinea pigs rely on the width of the cage. For example, gerbils may utilize vertical space. They love climbing, burrowing, and digging. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, love to have different types of physical activity. They need some space to exercise even inside the cage.
Best Cage Size for Different Number of Guinea Pigs
So, what guinea pig cage size is the best? It all depends on how many guinea pigs you are planning to get. The best cage size for one guinea pig is 30″ x 36″ (inches). For two guinea pigs, you should get around 30″ x 50″ sized cage (more is better). Around 30″ x 62″ is a good size for three guinea pigs and for four guinea pigs the cage size shouldn’t be less than 30″ x 76″.
In the table below we’re going to break down these typical cage sizes for a different number of pigs. The maximum number of pigs that can live in the same cage is 4 if we want them to a comfortable life.
|Number of Guinea Pigs||Good Size for a Cage
|One||30×36||For a single guinea pig, the smallest cage should be 7.5 square feet. With this size, a guinea pig can live comfortably but as always, if you can find a slightly bigger cage, you should go with that size. Approximately, 30×36 inches is a decent size.|
|Two||30×50||The interesting thing is that even two guinea pigs can survive in a 7.5 square feet cage. But, it’s a bare minimum so we recommend that you go for a 10.5 square feet cage. Converted to inches, this counts as 30″x50″.|
|Three||30×62||Once again, three guinea pigs can survive in a 10.5 square feet cage. However, the recommended size is 13 square feet, which is around 30×62 inches.|
|Four||30×76||Finally, we have the biggest cage for a total of four guinea pigs. Four guinea pigs can easily survive in a 13 square feet cage but we recommend going for a 16 square feet one. This translates to 30×76 inches.|
If you don’t want to be bothered with sizes check out our best guinea pig cages guide, every cage from this list is good for your guinea pig.
Physical and Psychological Benefits of a Larger Guinea Pig Cage
Rodents are very sensitive animals in both physical and psychological sense. Physically, guinea pigs are sensitive as they need a constant dose of physical activity each day. Without that, a guinea pig can get obese and as a result of increased blood sugar, die. As for the psychological part, rodents have a broad range of emotions.
On average, a guinea pig lives 4 to 7 years, in some cases, 8 years. Now, imagine the guinea pig that spends its whole life entrapped in a very small cage. There’s no stimulation, no physical activity, and no FUN. Fun is essential for guinea pigs as they can easily get bored and depressed, much like humans! A depressed guinea pig will then refuse to eat properly and as a result, get ill, which is then a problem of its own.
You see how this can get exacerbated. You can remedy this situation by buying an appropriately sized cage and try not to save money on such things. If you want to buy a guinea pig, then you are also responsible to give it the life it deserves. In case you have the adequate-sized place, the benefits are non-imaginable. This means that your guinea pig will have more time to exercise, it will have space to run around and do its stuff. Furthermore, this decreases the risk of developing diabetes, anal impaction, heart diseases, and bumblefoot. This spacious environment will let the guinea pig exercise on its terms, not yours.
They develop their schedule of exercising, playing, and sleeping, which may not be congruent with yours. For example, they’re the most active in the morning and evening. You might be sleeping at those times, meaning that it’s not convenient to take them out for playtime. (Click here to see if guinea pigs loud at night). But, one of the biggest benefits of a larger space is the possibility for cohabitation. Imagine having to live with 4 other people in a single-room apartment. It would be messy, confined, and far from pleasant.
Well, guinea pigs are the same. Multiple guinea pigs MUST have a spacious cage! Don’t get fooled by thinking that guinea pigs are quiet and peaceful animals. If you think like that, you’ve never seen two guinea pigs fighting.
They can get badly injured and then you have to go to the vet and have a couple of pigs examined. This can induce some unwanted expenses, so it’s better to prevent than to cure.
The benefits for a guinea pig are quite significant but so are benefits on your side. Larger spaces are usually easier to clean, as they prevent the build-up of waste. This allows your guinea pigs to have a separate bathroom area and a separate area for physical activity.
Source: Animals and Their Environment
Don’t Forget the Importance of Cage Location!
Before you put down your expensive, high-quality, spacious, and grandiose guinea pig cage, think about it again. Not every location is suitable for your guinea pigs. One of the most important factors here is the temperature. The ideal temperature ranges anywhere from 19 to 24 degrees Celsius or 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit – read more about it in our guinea pig temperature tolerance: summer and winter care guide. On top of that, the guinea pig cage should be far away from blazing heat sources such as fireplaces, heating vents or direct sun. Since guinea pigs can’t sweat, they can get very warm, which leads to numerous health problems.
The same applies for the opposite case. Don’t put the cage in the cold places – unheated rooms, garage or any other location that’s cold in your vicinity. You also need to think about a draft. A draft can produce some serious problems even in humans, let alone guinea pigs. To avoid this, simply avoid putting the cage near doors and windows.
Finally, it’s important to mention humidity and noise. Guinea pigs won’t enjoy the humid conditions and there’s a good reason for it. Humidity promotes the growth of mold in the cage, hay, and bedding, which can make the pigs prone to illness. As for the noise level, it should be as low as possible. Guinea pigs have a strong sense of hearing, meaning that they’re sensitive to noise such as music, television, etc.
The best-case scenario is somewhere where you and your family reside the most. Remember that guinea pigs are social animals and it’s best to put the cage where they can be in touch with your family activities. The living room works great for that purpose. However, they sometimes need some peace, meaning that you should have another quiet place for them to rest.
If you want you can also build the guinea pig cage by yourself but this process can take a lot of your time.
Now that you’re properly informed about the proper guinea pig cage sizes, it’s time to make a decision and buy a new cage. We wanted to give you an additional piece of advice and that’s to never keep your guinea pigs outside. Even in cases where the cage is made of the most durable, quality, and insulated material, guinea pigs aren’t keen on living outside.
Be sure to always purchase a slightly bigger cage than what’s required as a minimum. Our recommended sizes will serve you well but you can always go for a slightly bigger cage size. A guinea pig can only benefit from the bigger cage, whereas with the smaller one, its life quality can be drastically degraded.
Related: List of Best Guinea Pig Cages