Guinea Pigs - How to Exercise Your Guinea Pig
With a hamster, you can just toss a wheel in its cage and it'll hop right on it and chug away - going nowhere - and he'll be perfectly happy. It reminds me of the people you see at the health club - chugging away on their elliptical trainers - going nowhere - but getting healthier. Toss a wheel into your guinea pig's cage and see what happens. Chances are she'll chew on it - that is until she gets bored and ignores it.
You also know what to do with a dog. Put it on a leash and take it for a walk. When was the last time you saw anyone outside walking their guinea pig? What's good for dogs is not necessarily good for guinea pigs.
So how do you give your pig exercise to make sure he stays healthy and happy?
Simple - you let him run free. Find a safe area in your home that is confined and free of hazards like electrical cords. Guinea pigs are notorious chewers and, given the chance, can easily chew through the insulation on an electrical cord and electrocute themselves.
Cavies spend most of their lives in their cage. If your pig is confined in an area too small to exercise (such as a standard size manufactured cage), she will need to get at least 25 minutes of free-running exercise every day. If your pig is being kept in a larger C&C (Cubes and Coroplast) cage, then she may be already getting a fair amount of exercise.
If your cavies live in a large cage, watch them when they are in their home. Do they scurry around a lot? Do they run "laps" around the cage? Do you see a lot of popcorning? Do your pigs generally walk and move around much of the time?
If so, then you can be sure they are getting at least some exercise. My recommendation is that if your pig is generally active in its cage, then it should still get out to really stretch its legs and run free at least 25 minutes every other day. If you have a sedentary pig who generally just eats and sleeps, then - even though it may live in a large cage - I still recommend that it get out to explore and exercise daily for at least 25 minutes.
Even if your pig is "hyperactive" in his cage I still recommend that he get out at least every other day for nothing other than mental stimulation. Changing your pig's environment and exposing him to new and exciting situations will stimulate his brain and cause new neural connections to form. Pigs are curious little creatures who love to wander and explore - sniffing and nibbling on new objects as they discover new things.
Guinea pigs spend most of their lives confined in their living quarters. If you have provided them with a large cage such as a C&C cage, then they will have a greater opportunity for exercise in their own home. Regardless, your pigs should still get out and explore daily, if possible, to insure that they get adequate exercise and mental stimulation. It is your responsibility as a caring pet owner.