Guinea pigs can be kept outdoors, in specially designed enclosures or rabbit and guinea pig cages, but mainly during the warmer seasons. You should make sure they are sheltered from rain and cold temperatures, give them access to fresh water and food and also keep a close eye on their health.
When considering what the most suitable enclosures or cages for your pet guinea pigs are, you should first decide whether you want to keep your guinea pigs indoors, outdoors, or both, on a seasonal basis. According to the decision you make, you will then choose the appropriate guinea pig enclosure.
There are quite a few issues to be addressed when thinking of keeping your pet guinea pigs temporarily, or exclusively, outdoors, such as safety issues, temperature associated issues, and the frequency of their health check-ups. Since guinea pigs are pets that adapt easily to various conditions, they could be kept either way, but certain requirements need to be met first.
Things are a lot simpler when the guinea pig owner chooses to keep their pet exclusively indoors. All you need to do is purchase the right cage, make sure the pet is well fed and cleaned on a regular basis, and all is well. Keeping the guinea pig inside also helps you keep a closer eye on its health status.
Since guinea pigs are so good-natured pets, another advantage you might have from keeping them indoors is teaching young children how to be responsible, care for them, handle them, and play with them. Guinea pigs make an excellent choice when it comes to children learning about the responsibility of caring for a pet.
If, however, you choose, for any number of reasons, to keep your pet guinea pig, or pigs, outdoors, then there are a number of things you need to consider and prepare before taking the actual step of releasing them in your backyard. Let’s take a closer look at a number of issues that need to be addressed before taking the guinea pigs outside.
Unlike pet guinea pigs kept inside the home, in a special cage, outdoor guinea pigs may become exposed to a number of potential dangers, depending on the type of enclosure you chose for them, the area you live in, and the type of garden you own. All of these things need to be prepared before allowing the guinea pigs to roam freely in the garden.
Since guinea pigs are rodents, just like hamsters and gerbils, they have the tendency of chewing on any hard material they can find, to keep their ever-growing teeth at an optimum level. This means they may even chew on any gardening tools left unattended, and forgotten by mistake in their enclosure. You need to be aware of this.
Although guinea pigs are not known for their digging habits, in some cases, they might dig a hole under the fence and escape the yard, especially if they feel something very alluring on the other side. To prevent this from happening, you need to make sure you keep the outdoor guinea pigs in special enclosures only.
Some wild prey birds or even your household cat and dog may pose a real threat to the pet guinea pigs if they are allowed to access the area where the enclosure is. It is always best to keep other household pets away from the guinea pigs area. Also, having the enclosure covered by a net might be of great use, keeping any unwanted wild birds away from the guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs come from an area of the world where temperatures do not reach extreme points. This needs to be kept in mind when deciding to permanently relocate your pet guinea pigs outside. First of all, you need to make sure you have appropriate cages, enclosures, and guinea pig houses for them to hide and rest in.
This is of utmost importance in both summer and winter times. Having fresh, clean drinking water at all times is also very important to the overall health of your pet guinea pigs. Also, plenty of good quality food should be available at all times since guinea pigs will also eat at night time. Keeping them in good conditions is key to their overall health and well-being.
In the winter time, guinea pigs should be provided suitable places to protect themselves from the cold temperatures, avoiding this way frostbite and other possible injuries or illness. Also, a way of keeping their drinking water at a reasonable temperature at all times is very important to prevent them from becoming ill.
In the summertime, things are quite the opposite since guinea pigs will need plenty of shade and cooler places they can hide out from the burning sun. If left out in the sun for too long, guinea pigs risk getting heatstroke and even death. Also, fresh drinking water should be available throughout the day.
When the rainy season starts, shelter should be provided to the pet guinea pigs, thus avoiding them getting wet and developing lung problems, or other respiratory diseases. When it comes to guinea pigs, it is always easier and better to prevent than to treat them, especially because they are very sensitive to the majority of antibiotics available on the market.
Toxic plants issues
When deciding to keep guinea pigs outside in your yard or garden, you need to make sure there are no toxic plants or flowers they could reach. Since pet guinea pigs have lost a lot of their natural instincts, we need to protect them instead of expecting them to protect themselves. Especially because guinea pigs love fresh greens, toxic plants should be removed.
It is a good idea to check if the plants and vegetables you have in your garden, that seem to be harmless, could hurt guinea pigs or not. It’s best to do this before allowing your pets to roam freely in their new surroundings. Keep in mind prevention is key.
Any signs showing your pet guinea pigs are not well, such as diarrhea, not being able to coordinate their movements, or simply laying too still for too long, should be taken very seriously. The immediate action to take is rushing the pet to a veterinarian clinic for evaluation and treatment if that’s the case.
On the same topic, you should also consider the types of vegetables or plants that are safe in small amounts but could become dangerous if they are eaten in large quantities. The better you control the area guinea pigs are allowed in, the smaller are the chances of anything going wrong, making the guinea pigs become ill.
When you choose to keep the pet guinea pigs outside, keeping a close eye on their behavior and health status becomes a bit more difficult than when you have them inside your home, right next to you. For this reason, you need to periodically perform health check-ups. This way you will be able to notice any abnormality rather sooner than later.
Another reason for doing these periodical health check-ups is making sure your pets are free from any external parasites. For guinea pigs kept indoors, this is not usually an issue. But when it comes to outdoor guinea pigs, they make a very suitable home for a number of external parasites, such as mites, fleas, and ticks.
Any sign of something not being quite right should be a good enough reason to seek out medical advice from your local veterinarian. It’s always better to talk to your local vet than to look up symptoms online because there are a number of diseases that are specific to particular areas of the world.