More Ideas For Indoor Floor Time

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Some guinea pig owners have gone one step further – and given their guinea pigs the run of an entire room in their home. This allows the guinea pig plenty of space to exercise in, plenty of mental stimulation and plenty of interaction with their human friends. We recommend the Useful Resources below for plenty of tips on how to do this. If you can’t dedicate a whole room, you may be able to section some of a room off just for them, using the grids from C & C caging. These are grids which you connect together using cable wire and must have square spaces in the grid no bigger than 1.5 inches to avoid serious or fatal injury to your pet (1).

You will need to clean up occasional urine and droppings – although these are not prolific with guinea pigs, think carefully about what type of flooring is underneath – can you protect it with a cheap, washable rug?

Slippery flooring is probably not a good idea, as they need a bit of ‘grip’ to not stressfully slide about.

Watch out for tight spaces they could squeeze themselves into and get stuck. A bit like cats, they are capable of getting into spaces you would not believe possible.

Chewing is an issue:

Watch out for electrical wires – they will chew them

Little bits of plastic flex, wire or similar chewable ‘small bits’ can seriously hurt their insides

posion sign by drmatiz

‘Poisons for pets’ are also an issue. Houseplants can be poisonous to animals – see useful resources for some ideas on staying safe. Easiest policy is probably to avoid plants in the area altogether while your ‘piggies’ are out and about. Also be aware of chemicals used to clean surfaces and floors. Plants and products vary by region, so please see Useful Resources for expert opinions.

They will need a ‘hidey place’ to tuck themselves away in – they have a natural instinct to hide and this will make them feel more secure. You can buy them at pet stores or see Useful Resources for ideas on making them on the cheap! Also place a bathmat in one corner to make a psychologically secure ‘home base’ for them and other familiar items.

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Exactly like using indoor and outdoor runs, you will definitely need to be aware of who and what is around in the house at all times. This includes:

Other pets – although cats and dogs can get on great with guinea pigs, they shouldn’t ever be left unsupervised or in the ‘run’ or ‘room’. Just to re-iterate: animals are instinctual creatures and your generally beautifully behaved family dog or cat could unpredictably be overcome by the urge to chase, play or worse attack. Other pets may also see your guinea pig as a tasty snack.

Kids – children need to learn good animal handling and be supervised by an adult at all times. They may want to ‘cuddle’ the guinea pig, perhaps accidentally drop it causing serious injury, or feed it harmful foods (2). They may accidentally frighten it by getting its attention in the wrong way – perhaps by tapping or banging on runs or grids or calling it too loudly.

Guinea Pig Toys – although there are many marketed for guinea pigs and some cat toys will be ok, some experts warn not all are necessarily safe due to chewing and small parts becoming detached. Toys are a great idea for preventing boredom. The market is constantly changing so we would suggest getting expert advice on which products to buy – if your vet is experienced in working with guinea pigs, they may be able to recommend. There are also of course organisations who work with guinea pigs and animal welfare charities who can give their experience on specific products. For example, some advise large exercise balls and exercise wheels can cause serious injuries (see Useful Resources).

Maggie & Claire Down

IMPORTANT:

None of this information is intended to replace the advice of a knowledgeable professional vet on guinea pig care. These articles are intended as a general introduction to the topics only. Every single animal has different needs – so whilst efforts have been made to provide helpful information, we respectfully advise you to check with your vet to accommodate your individual pet’s needs. Thank you.

Useful Resources

1. Guinea Pig Cages – site provided by Cavy Spirit rescue [online]. Cubes & Coroplast.

http://www.guineapigcages.com/cubes.htm

2. ASPCA [online] People Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Pets

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.html

Cheap and not-so-cheap hidey place and toys information:

http://www.guineapigcages.com/photos/showgallery.php/cat/519/page/7

http://www.guineapigcages.com/toys.htm

Floor Time advice:

http://www.guineapigcages.com/floortime.htm

Poisonous plants and substances

ASPCA [online] Animal  Poison Control Centre

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/

ASPCA [online] ASPCA Guide to Pet Safe Gardening

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/pet-safe-gardening.html

ASPCA [online] A Poison Safe Home

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/a-poison-safe-home.html

Photo Credits – fantastic photos by:

1. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/rosym 2. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/drmatiz 3. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/starfish75

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