Other Guinea Pig Equipment
A good layer of woodshavings on the floor of the guinea pig cage or hutch provides a soft, comfortable surface for the guinea pig and also soaks up the urine. Fine sawdust should be avoided as this can cause irritation to the eyes.
Cedar woodshavings (usually distinguished by a red tint) should not be used as the phenols they contain can cause severe irritations in guinea pigs. Although pine is also a softwood, pine woodshavings cause less problems than cedar and kiln dried (processed) pine woodshavings can be used without problems.
Any form of scented woodshavings should be avoided as these can also cause irritation and corn cob bedding is not generally recommended as it has a tendency to mould and guinea pigs have been known to eat it and it can then swell when wet inside the stomach.
Woodshavings from hardwoods such as aspen or small animal litter made from wood pulp, cardboard or paper are the safest forms of floor covering to use.
A guinea pig will appreciate some bedding material in which to "nest" and this is best provided with a deep layer of woodshavings and large amounts of hay.
Any hay given should be clean and free from dust or mould as the guinea pig will eat the hay as well as use it for a bed and this is vital for their digestive system. Therefore hay needs to be topped up daily.
Straw should not be used as the sharp edges can injure a guinea pig eyes.
A guinea pig requires constant access to water and this is best provided by using a water bottle attached the side of the hutch or cage attached at a height that the guinea pig can comfortably reach.
Water bottles with ball-bearings in the tube tend to be less prone to leaking than those without. In any case it is best to provide two water bottles as a precaution, then should one water bottle leak and empty the guinea pig will still have access to water from the second water bottle.
If the guinea pig is kept outside it is important to ensure the water does not freeze during the winter months and therefore it may be necessary to insulate the water bottle by wrapping some padding or thick cloth around it and checking daily to ensure that the water has not frozen. It should also be noted that a completely full water bottle may crack if the water inside becomes frozen as the water expands so the water bottle should be filled to 2-3cm from the top and never completely to the top.
A food dish placed in the guinea pig hutch or cage will ensure that the guinea pig's food is kept clean.
Plastic food bowls or lightweight metal dishes are unsuitable as they are easily knocked over or thrown about by the guinea pig. Plastic food dishes are also easily chewed.
A heavy ceramic food dish is best as this is not easily knocked over or thrown about by the guinea pig.
Toys can also be added to the hutch or cage such as shelves, tunnels, balls, and other toys.
Guinea Pig Run
If the hutch or cage does not allow the guinea pig access to the grass then purchasing a "guinea pig run" (a wooden frame with wire mesh sides and no floor) is a good idea to allow the guinea pig time to exercise and feed on grass.
The guinea pig run should be placed over an area of grass that has not been soiled by other animals and not had any chemicals used on it. The run should be situated so that at least part of it is sheltered from direct sunlight on a hot day or a towel or sheet can be placed over one end to provide shade. A couple of water bottles should be fixed to the side of the run when being used.