It’s all about Location, Location, Location!
Cage location is of great important to ensure your guinea pig's long terms health and happiness. The location of any cage should also factor in the environment. We highly recommend an indoor cage location be provided. See Indoor housing for more information.
Factors which you should always consider in any cage environment are:
Your guinea pig should be housed in an environment which enables the temperature to be monitored. Temperature fluctuations are not ideal as the domesticated guinea pig cannot cope with temperature extremes or constant fluctuations. If an area is too hot or too cold for you, it is also too hot or cold for your guinea pig.
According to the ANZCCART and The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Australia, the environmental requirements of domesticated guinea pigs are similar to those of the common laboratory species. ''Sutherland and Festing (1987) recommend the following conditions: Temperature 18-22C, 8-20 air changes/h, relative humidity 45-70%, 12-16h light/day cycle. Group- housed guinea pigs provided with bedding withstand colder conditions, but neonates have reduced survival at temperatures below 17C. Temperatures over 30C are not tolerated well, particularly by pregnant sows.'' (The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Australia)
Indoor housing is recommended for temperature monitoring. Having the ease of electrical appliances such as fans, ice is nearby, air conditions in summer; Hot wattle bottles, microwaves for gel pack reheating for the winter months, it creates an environment that can be monitored in any extreme
Humid, hot or moist air needs to be avoided in your guinea pigs environment. A low, stable and humid free room is ideal. Rooms to avoid include bathrooms and laundries which will often have fluctuations in humidity levels. These levels can cause respiratory distress if your guinea pig is exposed to these humid extremes for prolonged periods of time. Choose a room where these fluctuations will not be a daily issue.
A source of indirect sunlight is recommended for your guinea pig, to ensure vitamin D is present in their environment which is derived from sunlight naturally, and also that they have enough light for natural daylight activities. An adequate source of light helps your guinea pig become used to a routine. Guinea pigs love routine, its helps them become comfortable and secure in their environment. A set feeding time early in the morning and in the evening will also assist it making sure your guinea pig becomes more comfortable in your home. Please note: Do not choose an area for your guinea pig that it is direct sunlight or against glass windows or doors. You do not want your guinea pig to be in the sun all day as the temperature will be too hot.
Guinea pigs should be able to hear, see, smell and be present in all family activities. Choose an area where they will be part of the family. When guinea pigs are in a room which is excluded from household activities they may be forgotten or only noticed when needed. Guinea pigs can become quite tame and often will love being petted by family members once they are recognised in a room which is used by the rest of the household
If any drafts are present they can cause URI (Upper Respiratory Infections). Choose an area which is draft free or alternatively if a room has drafts present ensure the room is made draft proof prior to placing your guinea pigs cage inside the area.
Garages: A garage can be an ideal cage location IF it is a finished part of your household. Garages which have walls which do not offer sufficientdraft, pest and predator protection are not ideal nor should they be considered as a suitable cage location. You also need to consider if your guineapig will still be seen as part of the household and have interaction with you and your family. Guinea pigs should be seen as a part of your family notsimply as a commodity.
Be Mindful Of
Ensure no cars are stored or kept in the garage with your guinea pig. Car fumes in small amounts can be toxic both in the short and long term. Nodangerous chemicals can be kept in your garage, no flammable equipment. You must ensure you create a safe, secure environment - essentially ahousehold environment for your guinea pig.
These locations are very popular in Australia mainly because they offer a sheltered environment for your guinea pig whilst alsohaving the benefit of storing your guinea pigs accessories, hay and other equipment outdoors. Some owners also prefer these locations as they offer the adaptability of creating a larger cage size then they would be able to offer indoors. It may also be a concession for owners who cannot keep theircavies inside the house, but still want to offer a protected area for your guinea pig.
Some helpful hints and tips to consider when choosing a cage location are:
•Do not keep your cage on the ground - Vibrations, vaccuming , footsteps and other tremors can cause your guinea pig to become unsettled.
•Imagine living in a house which is constantly vibrating! Keep your cage off the ground. Stands can easily be made. See Cage Design for some ideas.
•Maintain adult supervision - Any pet is a responsibility. Guinea pigs are no exception. Always choose a location where an adult can keep an eye on activities surrounding the cage and how the guinea pigs are handled.