Why you should keep guinea pigs indoors

While their wild ancestors lived a life of adventure (and danger!) in the Andes mountains, domesticated guinea pigs get the luxury of having a hooman who loves them and looks after them all day long. So is there any benefit in housing your piggies outside or do all guinea pigs live better when they’re in the comfort of a home?

From increased bonding opportunities to reducing potential hazards, there are plenty of reasons why you should keep your piggies indoors. In this blog, we’ll explore all the pros and cons of both indoors and outdoors, hoping it helps you make an informed decision. Let’s get started!

6x2 C&C indoor guinea pig cage

Benefits of indoor guinea pig cages

Since your piggies’ ancestors spent their lives outdoors, some may think that keeping guinea pigs inside a cage makes for a less natural environment. However, much has changed in the history of cavies, and piggy parents everywhere have discovered plenty of ways to make a piggy’s indoor life just as exciting. It all starts with the right indoor guinea pig cage, which should be spacious enough for plenty of popcorns and zoomies.

Then come the accessories and toys, which should provide entertainment and enrichment. Finally, it’s all about making time to bring your piggies outside the cage for playtime and bonding, including the occasional trip to the garden where possible (made safer with the use of a secure outdoor run for guinea pigs).

But let’s have a look at what exactly are the benefits of keeping your piggies indoors compared to outdoors: 

Increased Safety

Housing guinea pigs indoors gives you more control over their safety. This way, you can keep your piggies at a comfortable temperature (around 16-23°C/60-73°F), protect them from the elements, and prevent outside predators from approaching them. Opting for an indoor guinea pig cage also reduces their exposure to the parasites and pests that are commonly found outdoors.

Two guinea pigs inside a Kavee C&C indoor guinea pig cage

Better Health Monitoring

Guinea pigs are skilled at hiding illness so the best way to catch early signs of sickness is to monitor your piggies for any changes in habits or behaviour. Anything from an abnormal poop to a reduced appetite can ring alarm bells and, if you keep your piggies outside, it would be harder for you to spot any of these changes. 

By choosing an indoor guinea pig cage, you’ll always be nearby to notice signs of illness and react promptly by giving them the care and attention they need. 

Easier Bonding

Let’s be real, with a packed schedule and piggies living outdoors, the number of times you’ll hang out with them will be lower than if you simply kept them inside. An indoor guinea pig cage encourages more bonding moments throughout your day, from the morning wheeks to the occasional cuddles, your piggies will feel more like a part of your day.

Plus, as they spend more time around you, your guinea pigs will also have more time to get comfortable with your presence and learn all of your smells, sounds, and quirks. 

Person holding guinea pig

Better Care

We can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your guinea pig cage clean. If it’s located indoors, its smell and appearance will help remind you to care for it. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, it’s more likely that you’ll skip a daily spot clean or weekly full clean if the guinea pig house is placed outdoors

Plus, an indoor guinea pig cage is designed to be easy to clean. With a C&C cage, for example, you get full access to every corner of their house, allowing you to scrub even the toughest-to-reach spots. 

Drawbacks of indoor guinea pig cages

Of course, every piggy family is different, and there might be situations in which an indoor guinea pig cage isn’t right for you. Here are some of the drawbacks that come with this type of guinea pig set-up.

Space limitations

As much as you can find plenty of spacious indoor guinea pig cages on the market, your piggies’ cage will only be as big as your house allows it. While we can all dream of having an entire room transform into a piggy haven, the reality is that sometimes creating an indoor set-up comes with its limitations. Especially if you have to meet the space requirements of a whole piggy herd!

Other pets

If you live with other pets that aren’t guinea pigs, you’ll have to get used to separating them. Even if your dog or cat seems comfortable and not aggressive around your piggies, they should never be trusted to be left alone as at the end of the day they still remain a predator, and your piggies are the prey animals. So if keeping them apart is challenging, housing your guinea pigs outside might be the only alternative.

Dog laying next to guinea pig on the couch

Indoor Mess

There’s no way around it, guinea pigs are messy pets. Regardless of how well you stick to a cleaning routine, some of their messiness will find its way out of the cage and everywhere in your home. Hay is often the culprit as it gets scattered from bedding to floor and so on. Of course, this isn’t ideal if anyone in your household is allergic to hay! So if you need to keep your indoor spaces as hay-free as possible, an outdoor cage for guinea pigs might be a better option for your household.

However, there's another option to contain some of this mess: fleece linersFleece liners do a great job at containing a good chunk of the mess your piggies create, from absorbing moisture to trapping loose hay. Plus, they're easy to maintain and reusable, meaning that they work great as a long-term solution for easy indoor piggy living.

Benefits of Outdoor Guinea Pig Cages

While we always recommend housing guinea pigs indoors for all the benefits listed above, we understand that in some situations an outdoor set-up might be the best option for your furry family. But before you decide, let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of outdoor cages for guinea pigs.

Extra Space

Adopting a herd of guinea pigs can be difficult when you have a small home, so a spacious outdoor enclosure can sometimes be the best option for bigger furry families. This will ensure that your piggies can popcorn, zoom, and explore without feeling like they’re always on top of each other. The bigger furry family will also keep each other company, something that’s quite important when you consider that they’ll be living outside without your constant presence.

Herd of guinea pigs in an outdoor cage

Natural Living Environment

Keeping your guinea pigs outdoors is the closest living environment to what their wilder ancestors experienced. There’s no doubt that your piggies will love smelling the fresh air and being so close to nature

Drawbacks of Outdoor Guinea Pig Cages

As much as your guinea pigs love the outdoors, keeping them outside comes with its own set of drawbacks. Let’s have a look at what you should watch out for when opting for outdoor cages for guinea pigs!

Increased Risks

Housing guinea pigs outside presents some risks and requires more thorough planning than if you were to house them indoors. Everything from fluctuating temperatures to predators can easily be reduced as a risk by simply bringing your floofs inside. Find out what are the predators in your area and assess whether the danger would be too high to even consider keeping your piggies outside - realistically, if they’re out of the home 24/7, you won’t always be there to supervise them!

Another reason why you shouldn’t house piggies outdoors is if you live somewhere with extreme temperatures and unpredictable weather. Your piggies shouldn’t be exposed to the elements and will be uncomfortable with temperatures above 25°C/77°F or below 16°C/60°F. A solution to this would be to bring them inside whenever the temperature drops/rises, or it starts to rain, hail, snow, or get windy. 

Guinea pig looking outside of wooden hutch

Reduced Interactions

Generally, most people would never spend as much time in the garden as they do indoors. So even with the best intentions, you’re unlikely to hang out with your piggies outside as much as you would if they were inside. A solution to this could be to schedule some daily bonding time but even then, when the days get busy and other tasks get priority, you might forget and spend less them than usual with your piggies.

Difficult Cleaning

Most piggy parents who decide to house piggies outside opt for wooden hutches, as these are the most common solution. While the wood makes them a sturdy choice, it also means that your piggies’ home won’t be as easy to clean. A guinea pig hutch doesn’t give you full access to every corner, increasing the risk of dirt piling up around their home. And with a dirty cage, your piggies get more exposed to parasites & pests, potentially leading to fatal conditions like flystrike.

Plus, some wood might also let any cleaning products sink in, posing another danger for your piggies. 

Outdoor cage for guinea pigs

What to consider when choosing between indoor and outdoor

If you still can’t decide whether to house guinea pigs indoors or outdoors, here are some simple questions you can ask yourself to try and come to a conclusion:

How much space can I offer to my guinea pigs? Once you have learned what is the right cage size for the number of guinea pigs you have, ask yourself whether you have enough space in your home to accommodate it. If you can only meet that size requirement in your garden, an indoor guinea pig cage might not be feasible for you right now. While we always recommend housing piggies inside, we also recommend you give them plenty of space to be their best popcorning selves!

Do you have another pet? As we mentioned above, if you have other pets living in your house, consider if you can keep them away from your piggies. Regardless of how sweet your other pet might be, never leave them alone with your piggies. If you suspect that could be difficult, moving your piggies outside might be the best choice.

Do you live somewhere with extreme weather conditions? If you live somewhere that tends to be extremely cold or warm, with frequent showers, snow, and wind, it would be kinder to keep your guinea pigs indoors where you can better control the climate. Even if you plan on bringing them inside every time the weather turns, its unpredictability could leave your floofs exposed to the elements too often, affecting their health.

5x2 Kavee C&C indoor guinea pig cage with stand for extra storage


Deciding where to house your guinea pigs is an important decision, influenced by many factors such as the space you have available and the area you live in. Before you commit to an indoor guinea pig cage or an outdoor hutch, take into consideration all the pros and cons of each choice. Overall, we always recommend you keep your guinea pig house indoors for increased safety and bonding time, but there are some situations in which an outdoor set-up might be better suited. 

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to have fun finding the perfect guinea pig cage for you and your furry family - check out our Cage Builder tool to easily find the best option.
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