Your guinea pig will spend the majority of his or her hours in the cage, so it's essential that this environment meets his or her needs. A cage that's too small, not interesting enough, or set up in a way that may injure your guinea pig will result in a sick, unhappy pet and perhaps some hefty vet bills. There are really only four basic steps to designing a cage that's fit for your animal.
Make sure the cage is large enough and has a safe floor.
Guinea pigs need enough space to roam around and get exercise, as well as enough space to make it possible for them to eat and poop in different areas. The Humane Society recommends a cage that offers at least 7.5 square feet of space for a single guinea pig. Make sure the one you choose has a solid bottom -- not a wire bottom, as these can trap your pet's feet and lead to injuries.
Add some shelter.
Guinea pigs can be shy. There are times when they will not want to be out socializing, but will rather want to hide from loud noises like crying children or your vacuum cleaner. Invest in a simple guinea pig igloo or tunnel so he or she has a place to hide. If you're short on cash, an old tissue box with a hole cut in the side will do. Just replace it when it gets too dirty or chewed.
Include some chew toys.
Guinea pigs need to frequently chew on hard objects in order to keep their teeth from becoming too long. If they don't have something to chew, they may try chewing on their cage -- or they may develop painful dental conditions. Provide a basic chew toy made from wood, which can be found at most pet stores for just a few dollars. The style that hangs in the cage is nice, since it won't become soiled as easily as one that's tossed on the floor of the cage.
Pick the right bedding.
Cedar shavings, though sometimes marketed for guinea pigs, can cause eye irritation due to the oils they contain. A safer choice is aspen shavings, which do not give off harmful oils. Manufactured, paper-based bedding is also a good choice for your guinea pig.
Visit affordable providers, such as Petland of Crystal Lake, to make sure you have a cage with adequate size, a safe bottom, the right bedding, shelter, and chew toys, and that you're ready to give your guinea pig a safe and secure home.