If you have guinea pigs or other small furries, you can appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to provide them with the best care and attention they need. But what happens if you are temporarily unable to look after them, when going for holidays for example? This leaves many piggy parents scratching their heads and can even deter prospective parents from getting guinea pigs in the first place!
For the guinea pig owners out there, you may be able to enlist the help of a cavy savvy family member or friend; but, what if you are unable to find someone? Boarding services or pet sitting may be a great option for you!
What are boarding services for Guinea pigs?
Similar to boarding for cats and dogs, there are some facilities that offer short or long term stays for guinea pigs and other small pets. This is where you take your piggies to have an overnight stay in the care of another cavy savvy individual. Think of it as a mini hotel, but for small pets!
What do boarding services offer for guinea pigs?
At a basic level, boarding services should offer a safe and spacious setup, a balanced guinea pig diet, and daily exercise or floortime. Some places may also offer other services, such as:
- Boar cleaning
- Ear cleaning
- Nail trims
- Playtime and introductions to other, same-sex guinea pigs
- Grease gland cleaning
- Grooming and hair trims
When do you need boarding for your guinea pigs?
Guinea pig owners may choose to use guinea pig boarding for a number of reasons:
- Visiting family away
- Work trips
- Moving house
- Temporary changes to health (injury or hospital stay)
- Maternity leave
- House renovations
- House guests with allergies
How long can guinea pigs stay with boarding services?
The length of your guinea pig’s stay during boarding heavily depends on the facility you choose. Some places can offer as little as a couple of days whereas others may offer lengthier bookings such as weeks to months. Most are usually flexible and will adapt to your needs.
Where can I find boarding for guinea pigs? What if there is none in my area?
Several professional guinea pig boarding exist in the UK - see our selection and map below. But if you can not find one in your area, you may want to check:
- Guinea pig rescues or sanctuaries
- Local, reputable guinea pig breeders
- Cavy savvy vets
- Other guinea pig parents and enthusiasts
- Friends and neighbours
- Placing an ad online
If you struggle to find someone to care for them, please never abandon your guinea pigs: this is cruel and unnecessary! There are a lot of animal lovers out there happy to care for pets as a way to make some money. Also never leave piggies on their own even for an overnight, as they require regular feeding and cleaning.
What is the difference between boarding for guinea pigs and small pet sitting?
If you’ve been considering guinea pig boarding services, you may have also come across small pet sitting. What is the difference?
As mentioned, boarding is when you bring your guinea pigs to a facility where they can stay overnight or for an extended duration. Pet sitting however is when someone comes to your home and handles your guinea pigs’ basic care. Pet sitting may be suitable for short period of time or for those that have had a recent injury and are still at home but just not able to carry out tasks such as cage cleans or feedings. This may also be suitable for piggy parents that have large herds and are unable to transport all of their guinea pigs to a boarding facility.
How much does guinea pig boarding cost?
Guinea pig parents can expect to pay between £3 - 15 per night, for boarding. Fees will vary depending on the following:
- herd size
- duration of stay
- extra perks (such as piggy spa days)
What should I consider when boarding my guinea pigs?
When choosing a facility for guinea pig boarding, it is important to do some research ahead of time to ensure that they offer appropriate living arrangements and care. Always read reviews from previous customers! Boarding services for guinea pigs do not require licenses to operate unlike cat and dog kennels: that’s why it’s important to research and, even better, to visit the facility before leaving your guinea pigs.
Things to consider:
Experience & reviews
Does the facility have experience with caring for guinea pigs and other small pets? How long have they been offering their services? Do they have any qualifications in animal care or have life experience caring for small pets?
Feel free to check what previous customers' experience by reading online reviews. Always go for a business with great reviews!
Cage sizes & boarding conditions
Does the facility provide spacious setups for your guinea pigs? Do their cages meet the minimum living space requirements for your herd, as outlined by the RSPCA? For a guide to suitable cage sizes for guinea pigs, check our article, 'How Big Should a Guinea Pig Cage Be?'.
How many guinea pigs are being looked after at one given time? Are male and female guinea pigs kept together in the same room? As you may know, this can cause issues between bonded boars. To know more, please check out article about male vs female guinea pigs here.
Location of cages
Will your guinea pigs be boarding indoors or outdoors? This is important to consider especially if you need to use these services during colder months. You may also want to consider if the facility has adequate heating or cooling, or if cages are setup appropriately: away from vents, drafts, and windows.
Other pets at the facility
Does the facility have other animals at its location? If so, where are your guinea pigs going to be kept? Are there separate spaces for each type of pet? Do the other pets have access to the area your guinea pigs will be kept in?
Health and veterinary care
Does the facility have a plan in place for guinea pigs that become sick? Does the facility have a cavy savvy vet that they entrust? Does the facility or individual have the knowledge, skills and judgement to look after guinea pigs that are medicated? Will there be health checks conducted, especially for longer boarding periods? We recommend regular weight checks since guinea pigs are very good at hiding illnesses.
Does the facility offer safe guinea pig bedding? If they are using wood shavings, is it kiln dried and dust extracted? What is their cleaning schedule?
Does the facility or individual provide an appropriate guinea pig diet: ⅛ cup of pellets, unlimited hay and water, and 50 grams or fresh veggies per guinea pig each day? Are they able to care for guinea pigs with a special diet: low calcium, syringe feeds etc?
Now that you know what you need to consider before choosing a guinea pig boarding service, here are some of the top UK boarding for guinea pigs!
TOP UK BOARDING SERVICES FOR GUINEA PIGS
Ian Cutmore, who has been featured in the award-winning documentary, Guinea Pig Diaries, runs this luxury hotel and holiday home for guinea pigs. This piggy hotel offers cozy indoor hutches and 24 hour CCTV cameras so that you can keep watch over your piggies simply by using your phone or tablet. In warm weather, piggies can also enjoy daily floor time in spacious outdoor runs.
Featured in Guinea Pig Magazine and also a Winner of Lux Magazine’s 2020 Best Herbivore Boarding in the East Midlands, Wheek Away provides an indoor boarding service dedicated to guinea pigs! This award winning service is run by Dr Stephanie Hammond. She has extensive qualifications including a qualification as a Rodent Health Advisor (RHA) with the British Association of Rodentologists. While your guinea pigs board with them, have peace of mind by checking their 24 hour cage webcams.
Credit: Wheek Away
Carol, who owns and operates Pip’s house, is a lifelong animal lover who is especially fond of guinea pigs and rabbits. Carol offers boarding for both guinea pigs and rabbits, birds and other small pets. Guinea pigs who board at Pip’s house stay in a spacious 4x2 C&C cage and 2x1 loft as well as larger setup options such as 6 x 2 C&C cages and a 3 x 4 c and c cages. She also offers regular updates and photos to piggy parents for extra piece of mind.
Credit: Pip's House
Based in Sandbach, Cheshire, this guinea pig and small pet boarding service offers purpose-built pet rooms and large spacious runs for your pets to enjoy. This holiday pet home also provides indoor and outdoor options, depending on your pet’s preference. They have 24 hour CCTV to give you peace of mind while you are away!
Credit: Small Pets Holiday Home
This boarding service is not just for rabbits but for guinea pigs and other small animals as well. They offer short term and long term stays with purpose-built indoor and outdoor housing. Ingleby Bunny boarding also provides the added perk of free small pet grooming and nail trims during their stay!
After struggling to find small animal boarding for her own pets, Jenna created the Oakfield Animal Hotel, to support other pet owners just like her: they offer boarding to both guinea pigs and rabbits. This small family business, located in Cheshire, is open all year round, especially during the busy holiday season. Drop off and collection services are also available!
For more boarding options, be sure to check our Guinea Pig Boarding GMAP below. This map is a free tool to access with boarding services that are recommended by other piggy parents! This is a dynamic resource that we encourage everyone to continue to contribute to. If you know of a facility that boards guinea pigs, and they aren't listed, we want to hear from YOU! Simply get in contact with our team and we’ll update our maps.
By choosing a place for boarding, you can leave with peace of mind knowing that your guinea pigs will be looked after, while you are away. As boarding facilities do not require a license, we encourage all piggy parents to follow the above advice before selecting a facility.
These recommendations are based on submissions from the guinea pig community and not Kavee's recommendations: we are not able to guarantee a positive experience with the boarding services listed or provided on our map as this is to be used as a resource only. We also do not support the condemnation of services as everyone’s experience may be different. Each pet owner should further research their boarding facility of choice before leaving guinea pigs for short or long term stays.