Guinea pigs are prone to becoming obese if they do not get enough exercise.
A large guinea pig cage allows a guinea to move around more, but it is more beneficial for the animal to get some free time to roam several times per week.
When the weather is warm, an outdoor excursion may be very stimulating for your cavy.
But is it possible to walk your guinea pig on a leash?
You will not be able to walk a guinea pig on a leash like you would walk a dog. However, it is possible to put your guinea pig in a harness with a leash attached, so they can roam safely. Using a leash with your guinea pig prevents your pet from running away or hiding.
Guinea pigs like to go wherever they feel like going, so they will not walk in a straight line on the sidewalk as a dog would.
Walking your cavy on a sidewalk where dogs may attack your tiny pet is also dangerous.
Only let your cavy explore in a controlled environment, so the animal stays safe.
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Are Guinea Pig Leashes Safe?
Guinea pig leashes are safe as long as they are attached to a harness on the animal.
Cavies have delicate spines, and they should not be pulled on a leash like a dog.
Pulling on a leash will easily fracture your guinea pig’s spine.
Using a leash and harness made explicitly for a guinea pig is also essential.
Never use a dog leash with your cavy, even if the collar is small enough to fit your pet.
Letting your cavy roam while being tethered to a leash is safe as long as you monitor your pet.
You need to make sure your cavy does not get tangled in the leash, which could cause injury to the animal.
Cons Of Walking Your Guinea Pig On A Leash
There are a few drawbacks to walking your guinea pig on a leash.
If you do not have the proper harness and leash for your cavy, your pet may be injured.
Some guinea pigs will get very scared and freak out when you put a harness and leash on them, and this will cause them to run and hide.
You also have to be very aware of your surroundings when walking your cavy outside on a leash.
Guinea pigs are prey animals, and a large animal could easily cause them harm.
Also, don’t expect your cavy to go where you want it to.
Guinea pigs love to roam and explore, so expecting them to walk in a straight line like a dog will not happen.
It is important to closely monitor your cavy to ensure it is safe when walking it on a leash.
This constant monitoring may take some fun out of the experience since you may be worried about your pet’s safety the entire time.
Pros Of Walking Your Guinea Pig On A Leash
On the other hand, there are some good things about walking your guinea pig on a leash.
Guinea pigs are speedy movers, so having them attached to a harness and leash will give you more control over where they go.
Your cavy will not be able to dart underneath a fence or get stuck anywhere if they are on a leash.
Walking your cavy on a leash will also allow you to protect them from other animals.
Keeping your leashed cavy away from harmful plants or unsafe areas is also possible.
Your guinea pig will genuinely enjoy being able to explore outdoors and get some fresh air.
An indoor playpen may be fun for your cavy, but it is not nearly as stimulating as the outdoors’ sights, smells, and sounds.
You may even want to use a leash during indoor playtime, so your guinea pig is not able to hide under the couch or get into a closet without you knowing.
Tips On Choosing The Right Harness For A Guinea Pig
It is vital to choose the proper harness for your cavy to prevent injury and reduce the chance of your pet slipping out of it and becoming lost.
Harnesses made for guinea pigs are usually made of mesh, so the animal does not get too hot.
To check the fit of your cavy’s harness, place a finger between the harness and your pet’s torso.
If you are able to do this freely, the harness is a good fit.
If you are unable to get your finger in the harness, it is too tight for your cavy and needs to be adjusted.
You also do not want the harness to be too loose, or your cavy might escape.
Before buying a harness for your guinea pig, consult with your veterinarian to learn what is best for you and your pet.
It is also wise to ask the pet store employees for advice on the harness and leash options they have to offer.
How To Teach A Guinea Pig To Walk On A Lead
Before you ever take your guinea pig for a walk outside, you will need to get them used to wearing a harness.
Some cavies will never get used to the idea, while others will take to it right away.
Plan to spend a few minutes getting your cavy used to wearing the harness every day.
You will likely have to do this for several weeks before your cavy is completely comfortable with the harness.
If you do not see any improvement or the harness seems to be stressing your guinea pig out, you may need to stop the process altogether.
Things To Consider When Taking Your Guinea Pig Outside
Always make sure it is warm enough outside before taking your cavy for a walk.
The ideal temperature needs to be between 60-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C) with low humidity.
The best time for outdoor exploration is usually in the early morning or evening when it is not too hot.
It is especially important to only let your cavy outside during the cooler times during the summer.
Guinea pigs do not have sweat glands, so they cannot cool themselves down when they get too warm.
This lack of temperature regulation is another reason a breathable mesh harness is so important.
If your cavy gets too hot, it will quickly suffer from a heat stroke.
Ensure the area you are letting your cavy explore does not contain any pesticides on the grass, is free from animal waste, and has no toxic plants.
It is also important to limit your walks to just 10-15 minutes.
Related: How hot is too hot for guinea pigs?
Another Way To Exercise Your Guinea Pig
If you are not keen on letting your guinea pig roam around the yard, or if your pet refuses to adjust to wearing a harness, there is another way for them to get the exercise time they need.
A small plastic kiddie pool with no water will provide a large area for your cavy to run around.
Place some of your pet’s favorite toys inside of the pool and let your cavy have some fun for a while.
Your cavy will also enjoy laying on a towel in your lap for cuddle time, and it is a great way to bond with your pet.
Since cavies do not jump or climb, they rely on floor space to get their exercise.
Letting your cavy out on the floor for some playtime is another good way for your pet to get some stimulation and bonding time with you.
This will help a fat guinea pig lose weight too.
You may even want to create a floor game with exciting activities for your cavy to explore.