Keeping your guinea pig active and happy is key to keeping them healthy. However, it’s not always easy to find time to exercise them with work, school, friends, family and a million other things to think about – let alone a guinea pig! It can be especially difficult if you live in an apartment or house with limited space. Fortunately, there are several ways you can give your guinea pig some much-needed exercise every day. Ideally, you will want to dedicate around 20 minutes a day to their activity. Read until the end to nibble up some ideas on how you can help your guinea pigs get the exercise they need while still fitting it into your busy schedule. Firstly, lets cover the importance of Guinea Pig exercise.
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The Importance of Guinea Pig Exercise
You might think that guinea pigs will be happy lounging around the house all day, but this isn’t true. In fact, keeping your guinea pigs sedentary can lead to many health issues. This is because exercise helps to keep your guinea pigs’ muscles and joints healthy. It also improves their mental health. Guinea pigs who are allowed to exercise have a lower risk of developing depression, anxiety, and boredom. So, by helping your guinea pigs stay active, you’re not only improving their physical health – but their mental health as well. Exercise can also help to prevent or control your guinea pigs’ weight. This is because it increases the amount of calories your guinea pigs burn. If your guinea pigs aren’t allowed to exercise, they are at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Tips for Safe Guinea Pig Exercise
Before you begin exercising your guinea pigs, make sure that both your and their equipment are safe. If you’re using a leash for your walk, for example, make sure that it’s safe and doesn’t have loose parts that might injure your guinea pig. You’ll also want to make sure that your guinea pigs’ housing area is safe. This means it must have minimal unsafe objects that might injure your guinea pigs. If you’re going to be rotating housing areas or using multiple guinea pig play areas, make sure these are safe as well. If you notice something in your guinea pigs’ environment that might be unsafe, remove it; look out for broken glass, metal filings or general DIY garbage and household refuse. This will help to minimize any potential injury to your guinea pigs as they trundle about here and there.
1. Walk With Your Guinea Pig on a Leash
If you live in a building with a courtyard or a path you can walk your guinea pig on, this will be a wonderful way to get some exercise with them. However, as I touched on previously, make sure, the path is safe for both you and your guinea pig. If not, you can always walk them on the sidewalk. Just be sure to keep them on a leash to avoid any accidents.
If you have a larger guinea pig, you may want to use a harness instead of a leash. Harnesses are safer and less likely to injure your guinea pig if they slip or fall. If you have a smaller guinea pig, however, a leash may be easier and safer to use. If you do walk your guinea pig on a leash, you should keep the walk short. This is because guinea pigs don’t have good endurance. After a short while, they’ll begin to get tired.
2. Play Tug of War
If you’re looking for a fun way to exercise your guinea pigs, you can play tug of war with them. This will help to improve your guinea pigs’ mental wellbeing and help them burn calories. Be sure to take things slowly, though. If your guinea pigs become overexcited and start to get too excited, you can end up injuring their muscles.
If you notice this happening, stop playing right away. You can also create your own tug of war equipment. To do this, you’ll want to get a piece of cloth or fabric. You can then wrap one end in a small ball of fabric. By doing this, you will have created a soft yet challenging toy for your guinea pigs to play with.
3. Create a Safe Indoor Playground
If you have an indoor guinea pig, you can create a safe indoor playground for them. For example, you can create a miniature jungle gym for your guinea pig to climb on. You can do this by placing a piece of cardboard on a table or other surface. Next, you can place a variety of small toys and fabric pieces on the cardboard. You can also place a few pieces of hay or grass on the cardboard to give your guinea pig a softer place to stand. Make sure that you clean all of your guinea pigs’ toys and play areas when you’re done exercising.
Another way to create a safe indoor playground for your guinea pig is to use a hammock. You can place a hammock on a table or other surface and fill it with hay. Doing so will provide your guinea pig with a soft, comfortable place to lie down and relax while still getting the mental stimulation they need.
4. Rotate Your Guinea Pigs’ Housing and Exercise Area
As previously mentioned, guinea pigs are very clean animals. This means that their bedding will become dirty very quickly. If you don’t clean your guinea pigs’ bedding regularly, it can become unsanitary which is dangerous for your guinea pigs. Additionally, guinea pigs whose bedding has become dirty will not want to use it. This means that you will need to go without any exercise if you don’t clean their bedding often enough. You can avoid this problem by rotating your guinea pigs’ exercise area and housing area weekly which will help to keep the bedding clean and fresh for your guinea pigs.
5. Get an Indoor Guinea Pig Treadmill
If you have the space, a treadmill is a great way to provide your guinea pigs with a safe and enjoyable way to get their exercise. You can purchase a treadmill specially made for guinea pigs. Or, if you have a treadmill that doesn’t get used, there are ways you can modify it to make it safer. Make sure, however, that your treadmill is in operating condition before you begin using it. You don’t want your guinea pig to run on a broken treadmill. Alternatively, a wheel for your guinea pigs is a good choice in 5 Ways to safely exercise your Guinea Pig .
A wheel is a popular exercise tool for many small animals. It is especially helpful for indoor pets such as guinea pigs who cannot go outside every day. A wheel can be hung on the side of a cage or on the outside of it and gives your guinea pig a great chance to run as they get exercise. A wheel can also be used as caged exercise for your guinea pig if they are put in a smaller cage.
How To Get Your Guinea Pigs Eager to Exercise
If you always use the same toys and activities for your pigs, they will grow bored and lose interest in them. Try varying the toys you use, or the places you let them play in, to keep things exciting. You can also look into guinea pig forums online and read up on owners’ suggestions for boredom-busting activities. Similarly, if you always go for the same route when walking your piggies, they’ll get bored with the same path day after day. If possible, try to vary the route you take with your guinea pigs so that they don’t get so bored with their daily exercise.
If you have more than one guinea pig, they’ll probably enjoy exercising together. This can be a great way to encourage your guinea pigs to walk more and relieve boredom if you have more than one cavy. You can even make an event out of it and turn walking your piggies into a fun bonding experience for you and your pigs. You can even use this as an opportunity to train your pigs to walk on a harness and leash, if you wish. Guinea pigs are generally easier to train than other rodents, and most piggies will quickly learn to enjoy the experience of walking around outside with you.
Give Your Guinea Pigs a New Place to Hide
If you have your guinea pigs indoors, it’s important to provide them with a hide-out or two somewhere in your house. The best type of hiding place is a cardboard box, as guinea pigs like to chew on cardboard. You can also use wooden boxes or other platforms, though, or even old pieces of furniture. If you want to buy some hide-outs, though, be sure to avoid anything made of toxic materials like plastic. If you want to build your own hide-outs, try using a wooden frame with cardboard or wood slats as a base. Make sure you’re providing your pigs with enough hiding places, as having too few can cause stress in your cavy.
For an easy to assemble run for the garden we found the LANGXUN Pet Panels, Metal Wire Storage Cubes Organizer. Create a small hide away section by partitioning off the main run with wire racks. Suitable for indoors or outdoors, customize the design to suit your space and help keep your cavy comfortable. Check it out on Amazon (we may get a small commission for purchases)
Treats and Rewards
Using treats to reward your pigs for exercising is a good way to encourage them to get more active. When treating your pigs, make sure you’re not overdoing it, though, and be careful not to give them too many sugary or fatty foods. You can reward your pigs with treats like fruits, vegetables, and pellets, or you can even use toys as treats.
Using special treats like pigs’ noses as rewards for your cavy’s good behavior can be rewarding. Pigs’ noses are treats made out of dried fruit and nuts, and are a great way to reward your pigs for exercising regularly. When giving treats or rewards to your pigs, though, be sure to only do so on a special occasion, like after a walk or a play session. If you reward your pigs for doing normal daily activities, they’ll expect treats for everything and start to get lazy again.
If you want to get your guinea pigs moving, the best thing to do is change their routine in ‘5 ways to safely exercise your guinea pig’. Try new activities and games with your pigs, and reward them when they exercise regularly. Be careful not to push them too far, though, and don’t force your pigs to exercise if they don’t want to. Pacing yourself is important and makes it easier to reach your goals over time. Read more about the history of guinea pig care on Wikipedia.
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