Exercise to Help Maintain Good Health
Just as exercise is essential for us, so is it important for our pets. Daily exercise will help your guinea pig maintain good health. Find an enclosed space with an easily cleaned floor such as a bathroom or kitchen and they will slowly begin to look forward to the freedom a larger space will give them. They will especially enjoy this time if you hide favorite foods in the area.
A few hiding places provide a place to feel protected while they are getting used to the new space. Brown paper bags with the lip folded over for stability, soda can and tissue boxes with holes cut in the sides work well. You can also include a few pieces of PVC pipe fittings for him/her to race through, as well as a brick or rock as obstacles to run over (useful for wearing down their nails). Some guinea pigs enjoy chewing on cardboard tubes (slit lengthwise for safety) from toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay make especially fun toys for cage or floor time.
ItsaZoo writes: "I have a single female. Without a cage mate it would be easy for her to just lay around. So to keep her interested in moving I rearrange her cage daily so her hideys and hay pile are in different place. I scatter fresh grass and corn husk around the cage so she has to forage. I also have a couple of toy balls that dispense treats. One is a cat toy and I put a teaspoon of pellets in it so she has to walk around rolling the ball to get the treats. I put veggies on a baseball-size wiffle ball and she pushes that around for the veggies. She also likes to explore when several hideys are lined up in a row like a tunnel."
A large cage which is laid out to encourage movement from one area to another through placement of food, water, and shelter can help keep your guinea pig healthy. Introducing a second level or moderate barrier that must be climbed over will help develop and maintain agility.
Not Recommended: Exercise wheels or balls are not good for guinea pigs and may injure their spines, legs or feet.
Amanda Jenkin's limber guinea pig begs for treats, top right.