You want to find the ideal guinea pig cage for your beloved furry friends.
Well, there are a lot of things you need to consider before making a purchase.
Size is the biggest factor in the cost of your enclosure, but it also matters when it comes to the health of your guinea pigs.
How do you know what size is appropriate for your cavies?
As a general rule, guinea pigs will have different cage size needs depending on how many pigs you have sharing a space, but 7.5′ square feet is the basic amount. Gender also plays a role in the minimum guinea pig cage size. A small cage promotes fighting, less exercise, and ultimately more health concerns.
Let’s look at what’s needed in the rest of the article.
Table of Contents
Guinea Pig Cage Size Chart
This table gives you a basic idea of the guinea pig cage size you want to be striving for.
|Number of Guinea Pigs||Square Feet||Dimensions|
|1||7.5’ square feet||30″ x 36″ inches|
|2||10.5’ square feet||30″ x 50″ inches|
|3||13’ square feet||30″ x 62″ inches|
|4||13’ square feet||30″ x 76″ inches|
Cage Size Broken Down
Guinea pig housing does not have to be complicated.
You need a certain amount of space per animal in the enclosure.
As a result, you will need a larger cage when you have multiple cavies living in a single enclosure.
However, let’s start with what you need for a single guinea pig.
Remember, this is the absolute minimum your guinea pig will need.
Bigger is always a better idea whenever possible.
Of course, guinea pigs are social animals, so you are likely to have more than one.
Two guinea pigs require a cage with at least 7.5′ square feet, but it is highly recommended to get one with 10.5′ square feet or more.
The overall dimensions should be somewhere around 30″ inches by 50″ inches.
Three guinea pigs need a cage with at least 10.5′ square feet.
As you may have guessed, bigger is ideal, and most recommend they receive at least 13′ square feet of space with dimensions of 30″ inches by 62″ inches.
Some people have four guinea pigs, and they absolutely must have at least 13′ square feet of space.
A 30″ inch by 76″ inch cage is ideal when you have this many cavies living in one enclosure.
No matter how many cavies you have, you always need to make sure the walls are at least 12″ inches high.
As long as this is the case, the top can safely be left open.
Double-check to ensure other pets in the home do not have access to the cage if you leave the top open.
Dogs and cats may be too curious to stay back from your cage, and your guinea pig could end up injured.
The size of your cage is also the biggest difference in the cost.
And if you want to learn more about other costs associated with owning a guinea pig read our guinea pig costs breakdown post.
Why Does Guinea Pig Cage Size Matter?
Unfortunately, many of the cages marketed toward these large rodents are designed for much smaller animals like hamsters and gerbils.
They are too small for the larger body size of cavies, and they are designed with the exercise needs of smaller rodents in mind.
For example, these smaller cages are low in square feet on the ground floor, but they often have ramps and upper levels.
While these multi-level cages may be fine for hamsters who love to climb and play, guinea pigs are a different story.
They prefer to stick to the ground and will ultimately need a larger cage as a result.
This is how square feet are tabulated, and it ensures your guinea pigs have enough room to play and exercise.
Even if you take them out of their cage for daily playtime, they still need enough space to run and frolic in their cage during their downtime.
A larger cage is one way to enrich the life of your guinea pig.
You will have more room for hideaways, toys, and chew sticks when they have a larger space to call their own.
Larger Cages Minimize Guinea Pig Health Issues
In addition to generally enriching their life, the proper cage size also minimizes health issues guinea pigs commonly contract.
While these medical conditions can certainly be painful, they are also quite expensive.
Cut down on the veterinary bills by giving your guinea pig all the room he or she needs to be healthy.
Another reason to consider a larger cage size is if you have multiple guinea pigs.
They are naturally inclined to be social animals, so experts recommend you have more than one.
However, they do sometimes want their own space.
The proper cage size helps them get away from the other guinea pigs in their enclosure and get a little privacy once in a while.
Keep in mind cavies need a space to play and a space to hideaway.
Many people keep a small cardboard box or plastic hideaway in their enclosure.
Guinea pigs are used to being hunted, and they feel a lot safer when tucked away.
You need to make sure they have room to run and play and a safe space to hide when necessary.
Last but not least, the cage is likely to be a bit more sanitary when it is the proper size.
Guinea pigs will frequently choose one area of the cage for their bathroom space when it is big enough to allow them to do so.
This allows them to have designated zones for eating, playing, and bathroom use.
Ultimately, this helps to keep the cage cleaner and ensures your guinea pig is a bit healthier.
Read our post on how big a guinea pig cage should be that goes into additional details on the size aspect of these cages.
What is the Right Cage Type?
In addition to the minimum cage sizes you need to be aware of, you need to make sure you purchase the right type of cage.
Multi-level cages may not be the best fit for your new pet.
They are made from cubes and coroplast, which is a type of corrugated plastic.
These cages were designed with cavies in mind.
They have large square footage on the bottom floor made of corrugated plastic.
Ramps and things to climb on take up very little space.
This gives them plenty of space to run laps and exercise in the way they best know how.
These cages are extremely popular for several reasons:
- Easy to clean
- Easy to change bedding
- Good visibility
- Good air circulation
These C&C cages are extremely versatile for your enclosure.
Snap the grids together to make an endless array of shapes and sizes for your cavies.
It is a little like playing with blocks when you were a kid.
With this flexibility, creating a standard rectangular cage or an L-shaped cage is easy.
An outdoor pen for them to play in occasionally is also an option.
The only downside to C&C cages is you may have to make some modifications if you have a baby guinea pig or even a small adult.
They might be able to squeeze their heads through the grids, so it can help to adjust the size.
Using an extra set of grids, zip tie them to the original set off-center to cut the grid size in half.
This should keep everyone safe until they are full-grown, and this is no longer an issue.
Some people are tempted to repurpose other containers to form a cage for their cavies.
Never use a plastic tub or glass aquarium.
You should also avoid cages with metal or wire bottoms because they can injure the feet of your guinea pig.
Ramps should also be made of solid material if your cage has any.
As a result, only look for cages uniquely designed with cavies in mind.
Related: Can a guinea pig use a hamster cage?
Does Gender Play a Role?
Many people never realize there may be more to consider about your enclosure than just the number of cavies you have.
Gender can play a pivotal role in determining how big your cage should be.
You might be able to safely get away with the minimum cage size if you only keep female guinea pigs in your home.
They are often less aggressive and are a bit friendlier with one another.
On the other hand, boars are a bit more likely to clash with one another.
They need roomier enclosures with extra square feet of space to avoid one another.
Related: Do guinea pigs change gender?
A pair of guinea pigs who happen to be male will need a larger than the average cage.
A cage with more space will allow them to take independent time away from the others and prevent fighting and potential injury.
The ideal guinea pig cage is always going to be as large as possible.
Find the right place to keep your cavies and pick a cage to adequately fill the area.
Bigger is always better when it comes to your enclosure!
For additional information, read our other topic about having 3 or more guinea pigs in one cage.
Where Should You Keep Your Guinea Pig Cage?
Once you have roomier enclosures for your cavies, you have to consider where to place them.
A bigger cage takes up more space and may limit the places to place it.
Guinea pig parents must be mindful of where they put their beloved pets.
First, you need to position them somewhere where they will be comfortable with the temperature.
If they are in an outdoor cage, position them somewhere in the shade.
They should be kept away from direct sunlight and any heat sources, even if they are located inside.
Guinea pigs have a hard time regulating their body heat because they do not sweat.
This makes them particularly prone to medical conditions like heat stroke.
On the other hand, you also need to ensure they are away from any cold areas.
Do not position your guinea pig enclosure directly under an air vent or near doors and windows in the winter.
In most climates, it is recommended you keep your guinea pigs indoors most of the time.
It is too easy for them to get overheated during the summer and too cold during the winter.
While it may be challenging to find a place indoors for a larger cage, it is necessary for their health and wellbeing.
Because your cavies need more square feet of space, it may not be feasible to store them in a bedroom.
This might be just as well.
Guinea pigs like to be in the middle of all the activities.
Think about placing them in one of the main living areas of your home where you spend a lot of time.
This can help keep them stay happy and active.
While they love to be in the center of things, make sure they are not placed somewhere too noisy.
Like many animals, they have sensitive hearing, so do your best to keep them away from televisions and stereos.
Speaking of electronics, you need to keep your cavies away from any electrical wiring or cords.
They love to nibble on anything you put in front of them.
These wires can look a lot like fun toys to your guinea pig.
Be to keep them safely away from items which could harm them if they chew on them.