Guide to taking your guinea pigs outside

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.

Guinea pig outdoors on grass

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 keeps them 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).

Two guinea pigs munching on vegetables outside

    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.

    The best time to take your guinea pigs outside

    Bring your guinea pigs outdoors when the temperature is mild (ideally around 16-23°C/60-73°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 to keep your guinea pigs safe outside

    Whenever your piggies leave their cage to venture outside, an outdoor run is a must-have. 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.

    The grids on these outdoor runs for guinea pigs are designed small enough to keep your adventurous piggies safely inside, and keep other animals out of reach. 

    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

    Kavee 4x4 outdoor playpen for guinea pigs

    Outdoor guinea pig risks to consider

    Outdoor time for piggies has its benefits but also comes with risks. It’s important to do some planning before bringing your guinea pigs outside to ensure their safety. Let’s look at all the potential risks in more detail:

    Avoid direct sunlight - Direct sunlight increases your piggy’s risk of heatstroke. Set up your guinea pig outdoor run in a shady spot in the garden or try a shade cover to protect them from sunlight. You could also add a lid and lay a blanket on top, which would turn this into a cosy hidey!

    Protect from pesticides and toxic plants - As you’ll know, guinea pigs love to nibble on anything they can get their teeth into. For their safety, place the playpen somewhere without grass treated with pesticides or toxic plants. So that the only thing they taste is the safe foraging plants you pick for them!

    Protect from predators - While the playpen ensures that your piggies don’t go exploring somewhere unsafe, it doesn’t prevent predators from approaching. Animals like cats, foxes and birds of prey all pose a great danger as they're quick and stealthy by design. That's why it's important to be aware of the potential predators in your area and closely watch out for them! Get a sturdy lid on your guinea pig outdoor run to keep other animals away, but always remain nearby to keep an eye on your piggies.   

    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:

    1. Select an area that has a flat surface to avoid gaps in your enclosure. 
    2. Choose a patch of grass that is untreated to avoid pesticides and chemicals, but also any poop or pee from other animals. 
    3. 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. 
    4. Set the enclosure close to your house so that you can easily reach them as needed.
    5. Place the outdoor run half in sunshine and half in shade, for optimum temperature regulation.

    Garden full of plants and flowers under the sunshine

    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 16-23°C (60-73°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.

    How tosSpring/summer

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