As proud piggy parents, we can’t get enough of our sweet furballs. This is one of the reasons why keeping guinea pigs indoors (aka as close as possible!) is so popular. We get plenty of chances to check on them during the day, have a cuddle, and can also feel at ease knowing they’re safe and secure in a homely environment.
However, when the weather is nice, there is nothing that your furry friends will enjoy more than spending some time outdoors. Of course, this has to be done in a way that still guarantees their safety since the outside world can present all kinds of dangers to your sweet little piggies!
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know when it comes to taking your guinea pigs outside - from when it's the best time to give your guinea pigs outdoor time to how you can prevent any potential risks.
Why should you take your guinea pigs outside?
So, if the outside world can be so dangerous to your sensitive piggies, why should you bring them out? Well, a short yet regular outdoor adventure can do a world of good to your fluffy friends.
- Outdoor time for guinea pigs ensures that they stay active and healthy.
- Your garden would be an exciting new environment for your piggies to explore, boosting their moods and fighting off any boredom. Just imagine all the great things their little noses could smell!
- Let their foraging instincts kick in by giving them super fresh wild greens to graze on (check out this guide on foraging for guinea pigs to learn which plants are safe and which ones you should avoid).
The most important thing you should do before you let your piggies' outdoor adventure begin is to carefully consider the risks of predators where you live. From any other household pets like cats and dogs to even some local birds, your guinea pigs can be quite vulnerable so always make sure that you secure your piggies in an outdoor run!
Outdoor Time for an Indoor Guinea Pig
Now that you understand why your guinea pig needs to spend some time outside every once in a while, let's look at exactly when you should do so and how.
When should I take my guinea pig outside?
An appropriate time to bring your guinea pigs outdoors is when the temperature is mild (ideally around 17-20°C/62-68°F) and there are no elements getting in the way of your piggy’s fun day out. Never take your guinea pig out if it’s raining, snowing, or if it’s really windy!
Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals, meaning that they’re most active at dawn and dusk. If you’re able to, this is a great time to take them outside as they’ll be wide awake and ready to explore. This is especially a good time during summer, as you’re more likely to avoid the hours of the day when it’s too hot to go out.
In Spring, the best outside playtime is between 2-4pm as the temperatures are more likely to be warm enough. However, when the weather gets warmer, make sure you avoid bringing them out if the temperature is at or above 25°C/77°F. This is to best prevent any risk of a heatstroke!
How long should I keep my guinea pig outside?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that guinea pigs spend at least 1 hour outside of their cage every day. However, if your piggy has never been outside, start small and increase this time gradually. It can be quite tiring at first with so many new sights, sounds, and smells!
If at any point they appear tired, afraid, or uncomfortable, don’t push it and let them go back inside to calm down and rest.
How can I keep my guinea pigs safe outside?
Whenever your piggies leave their cage to venture outside, an outdoor run is a must-have to ensure they can’t explore too far away or have any stranger animals get too close.
C&C playpens are a great option to keep your guinea pigs safe during outdoor time. They’re flexible and can be easily folded away when you don't need them. You can also get extra doors and lids if you wish to upgrade the number of ways your little explorers can get in and out and also enhance their outdoor protection.
We strongly suggest opting for a lid for your guinea pig enclosure. Adding a lid to your run or playpen is vital to help protect your guinea pigs from potential predators, especially if you’re not able to closely supervise your guinea pigs at all times. Even your family cat could harm them when left unchecked for just a minute!
A lid or roof can also be an ideal way to offer your guinea pigs some shade if you lay a blanket on top. As prey animals, piggies naturally feel vulnerable when they don’t have anywhere to hide, so this also gives them a safe space to retreat to.
The grids on these outdoor runs for guinea pigs are designed small enough that no adventurous piggies will be able to escape from them the moment you turn around. Same goes for animals trying to venture inside to disturb your furry friends.
Before buying an outdoor run, you should always keep in mind the size that you’ll need to give your piggies plenty of room to popcorn about and explore. Remember that two piggy pals require at least 8 square feet of floor space but the more the better, as this is the perfect time for them to stretch their legs outside of their indoor cage.
Don’t forget to add a few accessories to your playpen to meet your little piggy’s needs:
- A water bottle for refreshment
- Some fresh hay to nibble on
- A few comforting hidey holes or tunnels
- Pet-friendly toys and games to keep them entertained
Where should you keep your piggies outside?
When you’re bringing your piggies’ outside, it’s important to carefully consider where to let them roam. Here’s how you can find the perfect spot for them:
- Select an area that has a flat surface to avoid gaps in your enclosure.
- Choose a patch of grass that is untreated to avoid pesticides and chemicals, but also any poop or pee from other animals.
- Choose a patch of grass that has not been mown, since mowing creates a blend of all sorts of plants, some potentially toxic. Eating grass cuttings can also lead to a build-up of gastric gases, which can be harmful to your piggies.
- Set the enclosure close to your house so that you can easily reach them as needed.
- Place the outdoor run half in sunshine and half in shade, for optimum temperature regulation.
Guinea Pigs Going Outside FAKs - Frequently Asked Kavees
Can guinea pigs be in the cold?
Guinea pigs are most comfortable in mild temperature of around around 17-20°C/62-68°F. Ideally, you should avoid giving your guinea pigs outdoor time when the temperature drops to and below 16°C/60°F as that would be too cold for them.
Won’t my guinea pigs catch parasites outside?
Nasty little critters may be more common when roaming around in the grass, but there are never any absolute guarantees against parasites in piggies (although worms are very rare). Parasites can be found in fresh hay, so these pesky mites can easily latch onto piggy fur - even if your guinea pig spends the vast majority of their time indoors! Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be too worried, as the benefits of taking your pig outside largely outweigh the risks.
What outdoor temperature is dangerous for guinea pigs?
Temperatures above approximately 25°C (77°F) can lead to heat stroke, so make sure you closely monitor their wellbeing when they’re outside in warmer weather. The opposite effect can occur when temperatures reach below 16°C/60°F.