Guinea Pig Floor Time: Indoor Playtime For Your Guinea Pig

Wild cavies are constantly active and their domestic relatives, guinea pigs are no different. Guinea pigs need daily interactions, social time as well as plenty of exercises. This is where guinea pig floor time comes in.

Unless your cage or hutch is enormous then it’s likely your guinea pig will benefit from some playtime in an environment they are safe to explore.

Don’t forget how curious guinea pigs are! They just love exploring and giving them an extra space to run, popcorn and explore will help keep them healthy along with preventing obesity.

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Let The Run Free

Due to guinea pig’s curious nature, it’s common for them to become bored stuck in a cage or hutch all day. Allowing them to have a large, safe place to explore can relieve that boredom. 

Orange exploring during playtime!

Guinea pigs that don’t have access to a large open space to run in often become bored, depressed, hold extra weight and interact less with their owners.

Hosting playtime also lets you spend extra time with your guinea pigs and watch how they move and play. In time your guinea pig will interact with you. Ours run through our legs, lean against our backs and generally come over to investigate what we are doing! 

The Best Places For Indoor Play

easy to store guinea pig cage

 A clear, dedicated area is required for guinea pig floor time. The area needs to be away from other pets and is safe for your guinea pig to run around. Some people have a whole room dedicated to their guinea pigs and so the guinea pigs are able to run free after the room has been safeguarded.

If you don’t have a whole room to spare then you can make a playpen from cardboard boxes, use a large easily manipulated cage or if you are stuck for space, buy a pop up cage. Ensure whichever form of playpen you choose that your guinea pigs are in a draft-free area and are protected from loud noises. 

How To Set Up For Guinea Pig Play

how to play with your guinea pig

The floor should either be one that’s easy to clean or be covered with a waterproof fleece or piece of material. Guinea pigs have very small bladders so do expect multiple droppings and little accidents.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t be placed on hard surfaces that could damage their feet or legs. They are delicate creatures with tiny bones. If you are not using fleece, a thick old towel with a soft blanket is fine. Choose any blanket or fleece that is easy to place in the washing machine but remember not to tumble dry since this makes fleeces ineffective. 

If you are creating a closed playpen then you can use cardboard boxes. Ensuring they can’t be moved easily by your piggies or you can buy a specially designed pet playpen.  They are easy to clean especially if you buy one with a waterproof blanket for the floor. The bars can be easily wiped clean as and when needed.

Don’t forget to put things inside the playpen for your little guinea pigs to play with and explore. Our favourites are tunnels edible huts and homemade toys that can be chewed on. We always put some cardboard boxes to be chewed through along with some upturned old ice cream tubs to be used as “poop trays.”

Swap the toys you put in the playpen the same way you do with their cage and hutch to ensure they don’t get bored with the same toys. 

How To Start Indoor Playtime 

If your guinea pig is a new arrival or has never had indoor playtime then it’s important to remember to be patient. Ensure the playpen is out of household foot traffic and isn’t in a noisy area of your house. To start, ensure you have set up the playpen and have it all ready for their arrival.

Next carefully hold your guinea pig and place it inside the playpen. It’s likely it will run for the nearest cover, so make sure the playpen is all set up before you start.

Don’t take their running personally. Guinea pigs are prey animals so it’s their nature to run and hide in their favourite hidey hole. We always like to sit with our guinea pigs during floor time.

For the first few times sit in the playpen and talk calmly, trying not to make any sudden movements. It’s best to start getting them used to floor time by letting them spend a smaller amount of time in the beginning and watching how they behave. Refrain from touching them or picking them up during this time.

This is their special time to run, play and explore. Gradually increase the time they spend having playtime and eventually, you will have your guinea pigs confident enough to investigate everything in it – even you! 

How Long Should Floor Time Be?

Why does my guinea pig bite me

This is a question we get asked a lot and many sites give many different answers. It is recommended between one to four hours a day. If your guinea pig lives outside and has a large run then it is likely to need less than four hours. If your guinea pig lives inside, then it depends upon how large their cage is.

Many pet shops sell cages that are far too small for guinea pigs to live in once they get past six months old.

We have found that whilst it depends on the personality of your guinea pig, it is useful to host indoor playtime in a place where your guinea pigs can access their cage safely. This way they are able to dictate when they have had enough. Our guinea pigs generally have around two hours of indoor play.

This is broken up into two one-hour sessions. It varies on what we are doing that day, or how our little piggies are feeling. As a general rule, they should have at least one hour of floor time.  A good rule of thumb is the smaller your guinea pigs cage, the longer their floor time should be. 

Ideally, indoor floor time should take place at the same time each day and should take place daily. Obviously, life is unpredictable so missing the odd indoor floor time isn’t the worst thing. Just make sure they are getting out at least once every other day. 

Mostly Importantly, Have Fun!

Guinea pig playtime isn’t just for guinea pigs! Make sure you get involved too as this is another excellent way to bond with your guinea pigs! What mischief do your guinea pigs get up to at playtime? Comment below as we would love to hear!

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  1. If I put my guinea pigs house in the playpen with him, can I leave him there for a few hours? That way if he gets tired he can go in and sleep. He is only 2-3 months old.

    • Happy Guinea Pig Admin says:

      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for your comment. As long as your guinea pig has hay, fresh water and plenty of things to keep him occupied (hiding places and toys) then 2 – 3 hours is fine.

      This is assuming any other pets in the house are securely out of the way.

      Let me know how he gets on!

      • Sophie Nelson says:

        Is a guinea pig a good pet for a twelve year old girl? Also, would you prefer ferrets?

        • Happy Guinea Pig Admin says:

          Hi Sophie,

          Thanks for your comment. Guinea pigs make wonderful pets! They are kind, gentle and very loving. That being said, they are not easier to take care of just because they are smaller than a cat or dog. Many people refer to guinea pigs as “starter pets” but that implies they are required little care.

          Us personally, we have two guinea pigs and our 10-year-old adores them! She’s involved in every part of their lives – filling up their nuggets, changing their water bowl and even helps cleaning them out. Obviously, children aren’t able to cut up their fresh food but they can grab their bowl for you or even fill it up with a handful of kale or spinach from the fridge!

          Check out our article about guinea pigs and children –

          Keep us updated on your possible guinea pig journey!
          Happy Guinea Pig Admin

  2. If he is squeaking while walking around during playtime, is he happy?

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