Can I Take My Guinea Pig Outside? Quick Guide to Do It Right

Guinea pigs can be successfully housed indoors or outside, but they should be keenly monitored outdoors. This is because they are so small and can get into some peculiar situations or be preyed upon.

You can take your guinea pig outside, provided you consider its safety and well-being. For instance, you must ensure it is safe from predators, and it has a place to hide if it feels threatened. Other considerations include ensuring it has enough food and water and a safe place to explore.

It’s important to note that wild cavies are better suited to living outdoors than their domestic counterparts. So, while it’s great to take them for an outing, it’s essential you don’t take your eyes off them and assume they’ll be alright. Let’s look at what you should consider before and when taking your cavy outside so that you can enjoy some fresh air.

12 Things to Consider When You Take Your Guinea Pig Outside

It’s recommended to take an indoor cavy outside for an hour or two per day to offer exercise and entertainment. Suppose you plan to take your pig outdoors. In that case, you probably have a few questions about how to do so practically and safely. Here are some tips to make the most of your little excursion:

Supervision

Always supervise your piggies when they are outside to reduce the chances of them being harmed. Because of their small size, guinea pigs are often preyed upon by other animals like dogs, cats, birds of prey, and snakes. Additionally, they are susceptible to extreme weather conditions and temperatures.

Even if there are no predators around, it’s still wise to supervise your piggies if they’re in an unfamiliar place. You can prevent them from getting into trouble or becoming stressed.

Secure Enclosure

When you take your guinea pig outside, be sure to put it in a secure and escape-proof enclosure. These little piggies are fast and can easily slip away if they feel scared or threatened. Ideally, the pen should also have a covering at the top to prevent predators from climbing into it, plus a section where the piggy can find shade, warmth, or hide if it feels insecure.

If you don’t have a permanent outdoor enclosure, consider using a portable cage fence and include some tunnels and hiding places. The sides should be at least 12″ high. Just ensure the fence is sturdy when erected and the gaps aren’t big enough for the piggy to escape.

Suitable Weather

Guinea pigs are sensitive to temperature extremes, so you should avoid taking them outside in very hot or cold weather. For instance, excessive heat can cause heatstroke, and cold chills can be equally dangerous. Piggies are most comfortable in temperatures between 64°F to 73°F.

Shade And Water

If you decide to take your piggy out on a warm day, ensure plenty of shade is available to protect them from direct sunlight. Also, make sure you provide clean water for your guinea pig in its enclosure. Providing shade and water for your piggy will help to keep it hydrated so it can enjoy its little outing.

Protection From Predators

Whenever your domestic piggy leaves the safety of your home, it becomes a potential meal for predatory animals such as cats, dogs, snakes, and birds of prey. However, it’s worth noting that sometimes dogs or cats and guinea pigs can be friends, but this relationship must be closely watched and supervised. Despite this potential friendship, it’s still essential to have a safe enclosure and ensure it’s free of predators before you deposit your fluff ball into its safe space.

Also, remember that predatory animals may still pose a threat even if your guinea pig is in a safe enclosure. For example, even if they can’t reach your piggy, it might still feel scared and become traumatized.

Avoid Toxic Plants

Some plants can be toxic to guinea pigs if ingested, so it’s an excellent idea to ensure none of those plants are in the space where your piggy will roam. Some examples of plants toxic to piggies include the following:

  • Avocado,
  • Buttercups,
  • Flowers or leaves from bulbs, e.g., tulips,
  • Foxglove,
  • Hemlock,
  • Holly,
  • House plants such as the spider and rubber plant,
  • Ivy,
  • Lily of the Valley,
  • Nightshade,
  • Potatoes,
  • Privet,
  • Ragwort,
  • Rhododendrons,
  • Scarlet Pimpernel,
  • Wild garlic, and
  • Yew.

Avoid Wet Or Damp Areas

When selecting an area for your piggy to explore, it’s better to avoid damp environments and places with mold. This is because guinea pigs are susceptible to respiratory issues, and mold and overly moist environments can exacerbate these problems.

Clean Environment

Ensure the outdoor area is clean and free from any harmful substances or objects your guinea pig could ingest. While it’s easy enough to remove visible objects they can chew on, you might need to confirm the area is free from chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. This is especially true if your piggy enjoys grazing on grass.

Interaction With Other Pets

We know guinea pigs are social creatures, but they won’t necessarily get on with your other pets. In fact, they’ll most likely be scared of other animals because of their skittish personalities. So, to make the outside time less stressful for your piggy, consider keeping other pets, like cats and dogs, a safe distance from your piggy.

Leash Training

Some people opt to leash-train their piggies to keep them close and under control while outside. However, not all guinea pigs take well to leash training. Even if your piggy is used to a leash, it’s still wise to use caution and ensure the harness is fitted correctly.

Gentle Handling

Cavies require gentle handling as they are delicate animals. So, when you carry them outside, be gentle and avoid making sudden movements. Also, avoid taking them in and out of their enclosure while outdoors, as it increases the risk of injury. This is especially true if you have people who want to hold your guinea pig.

Time Limit

It is best to keep piggy’s outdoor excursions relatively short, especially if they’re not used to it. Then, you can gradually increase the outdoor playtime as your pig becomes more accustomed to it.

Conclusion

You can take your guinea pig outside if you prioritize its safety and well-being. Remember, cavies are prey animals and may be easily frightened outside their familiar indoor environment. So, if you notice any signs of stress or discomfort, like excessive vocalization, trembling, or attempts to escape, rather bring your cavy back indoors immediately.