Guinea Pig Run FAQs

Welcome to the world of guinea pigs. If you’re reading this, you either already care for your own ‘piggies’ or you’re thinking of getting one as a pet. Before you spend any money on guinea pig runs, check out the information and useful links here. You can easily spend $100 / £70 or more on runs, or perhaps a house for your guinea pig, only to find its simply too small.

Whilst the average pet store sells all manner of ‘small animal products’, a little reading here could save you a small fortune and keep your guinea pig healthier and happier. Here’s some FAQs – click on the sections on the left for more detail.



Why do I need to buy or make a guinea pig run?

Modern domestic guinea pigs are thought to be the descendants of wild cavy from South America. Just like their roaming ancestors, they need plenty of space to roam in to keep them healthy and contended. They absolutely require daily exercise – this is not an animal that can live in a cage or house all the time. You need a run to allow them their natural behavioural patterns, exercise and mental stimulation. Apart from avoiding boredom, guinea pigs biologically need exercise to maintain bodily function. If they become overweight they are prone to ill-health, including cardiac problems, diabetes, bladder problems, breathing problems, foot diseases, constipation, and ovarian cysts in females (1).

There are many options for making or buying something suitable to allow your guinea pig his or her freedom in.

How big should it be?

You might read that guinea pigs need a minimum size of 4 square foot of space per guinea pig for housing. This is now considered by many guinea pig experts to be totally out of date – as we know more about keeping guinea pigs as pets, standards change. The modern trend is for a 7.5 foot square house area – for one guinea pig, and more for multi-guinea pig ‘households (1).

You’ll also need the run for exercise – as big as possible. Happy guinea pigs literally run around, cavorting about, making little bucking and twisting movements referred to as ‘popcorning’. Think of a guinea pig shouting ‘wahay!!’ – using body language only, and you kind of have the idea of popcorning.

Where do I buy a good, cheap run?

With space in mind, you may find cheaper runs sold in pet stores are simply too small. Second hand runs will be cheaper, but see the section on Safety before buying one. You could also make on yourself. We’re mentioning experts Cavy Spirit guinea pig rescue recommend Sue’s C & C cages (2) for cheap, quality modular housing – you could try adapting the designs to make a large indoor run. A percentage of proceeds from the sales also support their work and the cages can be delivered outside the US on request.



Can I use it outdoors?

You can’t use a C&C cage – indoor use only. But you can buy or construct an outdoor run – great for exercise, natural behaviour and stimualtion. Only use it when the weather is mild. Guinea pigs don’t tolerate extremes of temperature – so they should never spend all their time outdoors, even in an outdoor hutch. Make sure its is predator proof, escape proof and child proof.

What’s the difference between a cavy and a guinea pig?

Trick question really – a guinea pig is a cavy; it’s just a more ‘zoologically’ correct name for them. But they are totally distinct from wild cavy – pet guinea pigs are domestic animals, needing care and suitable temperatures, unlike their wilder and hardier cousins.

Jules Hanson

Useful Resources

  1. Guinea Pig Cages [online] – site provided by  Cavy Spirit {online}. Your Guinea Pig’s Home.

2. Guinea Pig Cages [online] – site provided by  Cavy Spirit {online}. Buy A C C Cage.

Photo Credits – fantastic photos by:

1. 2.

Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on at and is filed under FAQs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.