Guinea Pig Games – environmental enrichment for our small furry friends
What many of us don’t know is that the humble Guinea Pig has a curious nature and loves to be kept busy, so unfortunately many pet Guinea Pigs suffer from boredom, stress, and obesity as a result of poor diet and poor living conditions. Environmental enrichment is vital for any domestic pet (dogs, cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs, hermit crabs, rats and mice alike) to ensure they live a happy and healthy life with purpose and adequate entertainment. This means creating a habitat for your pet which allows them to exercise both physically and mentally, through the use of play toys and food games. So, what’s the best way to enrich your Guinea Pig’s life? Here are some ideas for you and your pocket-sized pet:
- Provide lots of good quality grassy hay for chewing – ‘Oxbow’ brand is the highest quality hay available. Put a handful of hay in a wire or mesh basket and attach or hook the basket to an inside wall of their enclosure. This will prevent the hay from being spoiled on the floor and they will have fun pulling the strands of hay out of the basket to eat. You can buy small wire balls from pet shops designed for holding hay which can be clipped onto the enclosure. A Guinea Pig’s diet should consist of 70% hay, 10% fresh grass, 10% pellet mix & 10% fruit/vegetables
- Make a cardboard castle – Guinea Pigs enjoy hiding so make use of any spare cardboard boxes by cutting the flaps off the rim, turning the box upside down and cutting doorways and windows for your pigs to play in. Cardboard is safe to chew and also helps to keep their teeth trim.
- Hide food – This encourages exercise and foraging behaviours. Pieces of fruit and vegetable can be hidden around the enclosure for your Guinea Pig to find. Use clean bricks with holes and sections of PCV pipe to hide tasty morsels.
- Shredded paper pile – Use spare shredded paper in the enclosure for your pig to burrow through, hide, and chew. A paper pile also makes a very comfortable bed.
- Change their surroundings – Rearrange the items in your Guinea Pig’s house every week or so to provide interest. Your piggy will thank you for it!