Getting an apartment can be difficult at most times and having a pet can make it more difficult. I guess it boils down to if you think your guinea pig is a pet.
This is a tuff question and will depend on if the landlord considers a pet that is clean and lives in a cage as a risk to the rental unit. It’s best to ask first to avoid any problems later.
Guinea pigs don’t take up a lot of space and spend most of their time in their cages. You’ll need to provide them with some exercise outside of their cage to stretch their legs. If you’ve had cats, or dogs you’ll know that guinea pigs are much less trouble and don’t require the space and outside visits that cats and dogs need.
Is your Apartment Guinea Pig Friendly?
To begin you’ll need the following for your guinea pig supplies:
- A cage at least 2 feet long, 12 inches wide and 12 inches high. [This is the minimum size, larger is better] Make sure the cage has a good solid bottom to it. This size cage is for 1 guinea pig, if you’re planning on more than one than make sure your cage is large enough.
- Water bottle and food dish.
- A small container to hide in.
- Some toys that they can chew on.
- Bedding… hay, paper bedding or fleece bedding [Don’t use cedar!].
- Timothy hay.
- A blanket to protect carpet during play time.
- Some different size cardboard boxes for play time.
Foods to Feed Your Guinea Pig
Generally guinea pigs are herbivores; they have a diet of fruit and vegetables as well as hay and really love the leafy types of vegetables. Remember these 2 things when preparing your guinea pigs daily diet:
- Foods that have a good supply of vitamin C. When you buy pellets make sure they contain vitamin C and you’ll have a healthy and lively pet.
- Guinea pigs teeth are constantly growing so it vital to give them some foods that have fiber content to keep their teeth growth in check. Hay is excellent for this and pellets help to.
As with most herbivores your guinea pig is a grazer, they will be chewing and eating 90 percent of the time so you’ll need to keep their hay supply freshened up many times during the day. Get into a habit of giving them fresh water and food daily.
Most folks will fed their guinea pigs pellets and hay which will need to be purchased, make sure that the pellets you get are made for guinea pigs, so read the labels and talk to the staff to ensure you get the right pellets.
When getting hay you want to use a good combination of timothy, orchard as well as oat would be the preferred combination. Limit the quantity of alfalfa types of hay these have too much calcium for them. Be sure to keep your hay in a cool dry location so there’s no chance of mold.
Adding pellets to the hay in small amounts is also necessary and when you purchase pellets get the plain ones so your guinea pig will have a good supply to eat.
You can also feed your guinea pig these foods:
- Green peppers.
- Leaf lettuce [green & red].
Preparing Your Apartment For Your Guinea Pig
Get everything ahead of time and keep a good supply of toys and yummies, try to keep their first few days as calm as you can. If you have other larger pets find a secluded location to keep them and make sure it’s not close to drafts from windows and outside doors.
One good idea especially if your limited to space is to get a cage that has some storage underneath it. A great option is the “Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation” that can be configured in a one or two story application. You can check it out here on Amazon.
If you need some supplies and toys your local pet supply store should have some. You can also check out Amazons full line of guinea pig supplies here.
Your guinea pig will love to have cuddle time with you, but give them a bit of time to get used to their new surroundings. Talk to them in a soft tone and gentle pet their head, if they shy away…no worries they settle in pretty quick.
Guinea pigs typically won’t be litter trainable; there are some owners who have had some success with litter training. Guinea pigs don’t usually pee when there having play time away from their cage; the little poops can be easily gatherer and disposed of.
They are very clean and don’t normally have much odor, they are great groomers and this is one perk that a landlord can like about guinea pigs over dogs or cats.
Exercising an Apartment Living Guinea Pig
Having Guinea pigs will require that you give them some exercise which will keep them happy and healthy. Because they love to eat all the time having a good exercise plan will keep those calories burned off.
A good healthy nutritious eating plan combined with routine exercising will be very beneficial for them here’s 3 good ways to give them exercise:
- In cage exercises.
- Out of cage exercises.
- Outside exercises.
You should try to give them at least an hour a day using one or all 3 methods, just simply having a bigger space to run about and play will give them the exercise they require. There are various activities they can do as long as you keep them safe. If you’re using a smaller cage due to space issues then you’ll want to increase their out of cage exercise time.
In Cage Exercises… Consider getting a large cage that will give them lots of space to wander around in. If you can get a 2 story cage that connects with a ramp gives them lots of space to explore and keep busy in.
It’s not recommended to keep them in a small space or cage, they need some room to move about, hide and frolic around in. The advantage of having a large cage will allow you to add some toys and different hiding places, this is especially important if you’re going to be leaving them alone for times during the day.
Out of Cage Exercises… You should give your guinea pig/s some out of cage exercise time too. You’ll need to take some precautions and only let them run about with supervision and block off any places where they could escape. Be very careful when you have other pets and introduce them slowly and with a watchful eye on them.
Make sure you deal with loose cables and extension cords so they’re not going to chew on them. Keep doors closed and block off any places they could hide and get stuck in, its best to just keep them in a room on an old washable blanket I case they have an accident and soil the carpet.
Having an indoor play pen can be the ideal solution especially if your apartment isn’t pet friendly. Take a look at the “Langxun 16pcs Metal Pen” its multi-configuring will provide your Guinea pig with a safe play to get their out of cage exercise time. You can see it here on Amazon. You can also have a look at Amazons full line of Guinea pig play pens here.
This are can be a great place to add some toys and a few hiding spots to encourage them to run about and have fun in a safe environment. Set out some vegetables for some healthy snacks during play time.
3 Fun Games You Can Play With Your Guinea Pigs
The whole purpose of having pets is to be able to spend time with them having fun. Nor is it a very good lifestyle for your pet if all it does is spend all its time in its cage. If you can manage it you should have more than one guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are very social animals so it’s nice if you have at least 2. To get the most enjoyment from your Guinea pigs you can play some games with them. Just remember their small and yelling and screaming games will startle and scare them. So keep that in mind when you’re playing games with them.
3 Games to Play With Your Guinea Pigs.
- Hide and Seek.
- Scrabble Using Food.
- Building Mazes and Tunnels.
Hide and Seek… Being quite curious guinea pigs will want to check things out, play this game when you’re having floor time with them. Lay down on the floor close to them head down hiding your face from them; they will be coming over to check things out.
This game also helps build a stronger bond with them and is good for guinea pigs that are somewhat shy and scared of you. They are very friendly animals, but it’s quite common that their scared of people particularly if you just got them from a pet store where they likely didn’t get much physical bonding, give it a few days and they will warm up to you.
Scrabble Using Food… Zoo keepers very often play this with the animals they look after and it helps entertaining them and keeps them more active. You’ll need to find a hollow tube or some other type of container that they can’t eat. Have some of their special treats inside of these containers.
Set the items out on the floor during floor time and sit back and watch them work hard to get that special treat out. Great exercise for them and help keeps them stimulated and it’s good for them to give them a challenge especially when the reward is a yummy treat.
Building Mazes and Tunnels… This is a really fun game for your guinea pigs and you’ll need some duct tape, cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes that they can fit into. Arrange the boxes and tubes taping them together as needed and put some food treats at the end.
Now they will need to figure out how to get to the treats, make different configurations with the tubes and boxes, you can vary the box sizes and even make some ramps, not too high to keep things exciting. Your Guinea pig/s will love playing this game.
4 Activities to Try to Challenge Your Guinea Pigs
In addition to playing games you can add some exciting activities to keep them happy and maintain a good quality of life for them here’s 4 activities to try:
- Playing Tug of War.
- Playing Ball.
Burrowing… Tunneling is a natural instinct for guinea pigs where in the wild they would burrow their nests into the ground to provide a safe place for themselves and their babies. If your cage is large enough you can use wood chips for the cage bottom fill and they can burrow into it like they did in the wild. This is an instinctive response that can also be a fun activity for them.
Tunnels… This fits in with their borrowing instinct and you can make some tunnels from cardboard tubes and sometimes I have seen them stop midway to have a little nap. If you have a couple of guinea pigs they will start follow and chase each other thru the tunnel. This works better when their on the floor having their out of cage exercise routine.
This is a great way for them to have some fun exercise, you can get the tubes from your local hardware store, I use the 6 inch solo-tubes which can be cut and duct tapped into different configurations to make ramps, you can even cut them open to make a slide. Whatever you choose to use for your tunnels just be sure there big enough for them to move thru.
Playing Tug-of-War… You’ll need to have two guinea pigs to play tug-of-war and a large cage or they can play during their out of cage exercising time. Use and old sock or even a rolled up newspaper for the game. Gives them a good workout for their legs and teeth you can even pore some vegetable juice on it to get them more interested.
Playing Ball… Get a few different colored ping pong balls or even a cat sized ball toy will work that are light enough for them to be able to easily push around. If you don’t have any balls you can just use a piece of crumpled newspaper that resembles a ball.
2 Ideas to Make The Cage More Friendly
- The Floor.
- Food Bowls.
The Floor… Your cages floor needs to be smooth and the metal bottom not exposed. Use some absorbent material that will absorb any moisture and pee. Use a material that is easy to wash and dry so you can change it with every cage cleaning.
Avoid using hay for a floor, that is his food not the floor or toilet. Use pressed straw, paper or aspen for your floor. Whatever you select its need to be non-toxic you may need to experiment until you find the one that they like the best.
Food Bowls… Guinea pigs have a bad habit of tipping over regular bowls which is OK for dry foods; however the fresh vegetables that get tossed under something can spoil smelling up the cage.
Heavier bowls that they can’t toss around and easily tip over are a good choice. There are feeder options that attach to the side of the cage which keeps the cage cleaner which means you won’t have to clean the cage as often.
Guinea pigs make good pets and are a great choice if you live in a small apartment, just make sure to let your landlord know. Unlike cats and dogs your guinea pigs are much cleaner and are less likely to damage the apartment. Thanks for reading and enjoy you bundle of joy.