Guinea Pigs are docile, but not completely sedentary. They enjoy burrowing, exploring and interacting with animals and other elements in their environment. Giving them lots of variety will keep them mentally active for those hours you’re away. That helps keep them stimulated, a vital component of an overall health program. Animals with nothing to do all day, even ones as relatively simple as cavies, become lethargic.
Small plastic or wood houses with several entrances and exits are a favorite among many cavy owners. They’re healthy for the pig and amusing for the owner as the animal winds its way in and out of the enclosure. Many have multiple levels with small, low-sloping ramps to give the pig still more to explore and a way to get healthy exercise.
A maze that provides a place to explore can easily be built from plasticized cardboard, such as Colorplast. These flat, corrugated panels come in a variety of sizes and colors and can be used to make cage dividers, rectangular tunnels and much more. Many pre-made wooden tunnels in a variety of shapes and sizes are available, too.
Cavies also enjoy burrowing. There are a number of bedding materials that can do double duty, allowing the pig to make its own tunnel. Megazorb, EcoFresh, CareFresh and other paper-based or wood-based materials offer substantial support for small burrows. Allow any such material to air thoroughly before use and keep an eye on possible excess dust that can harm their eyes and respiratory system.
A walking wheel isn’t usually appropriate for guinea pigs. They’re less active than other rodents and the wire is generally harmful for their feet. But they enjoy walking about and a structure with ramps can be perfect for that purpose. Different manufacturers offer plastic pieces that snap together into a variety of shapes.
Toys of a thousand types are available with a few mouse clicks. Balls they can roll around, small rubberized-plastic chew toys and others can keep them healthy and amused. Since a guinea pig’s teeth will continue to grow throughout their lifetime, it’s always a good idea to have plenty of chew toys for them to choose from. That reduces the odds they’ll chew on bedding, the cage walls and any cavy house inside that you have set up.
Beyond toys and other sources of amusement there are a few things every cavy owner will want to have.
You’ll need to transport your guinea pig to the vet at some point. Having a handy carrier makes the task a lot easier. That can be nothing more than a small cage, or it could be a rounded mailbox-style enclosure that is perfect for carrying your cavy.
Guinea pigs are prone to overheating when the temperatures hover above 90F (32C), especially when the humidity levels rise above 70%. Those conditions are common in some areas during the summer. A small, low-power fan can keep them cooled and safe.
Any small household fan could do, but most of them are too high powered to be placed very close by. A specialized, small cage fan provides just the right amount of air for a guinea pig. Some models are battery powered, making them perfect for taking them along on trips.
Get a few accessories for your cavy and let the fun begin!