My Lola suffered from loneliness at some point, which I didn’t realize until I noticed some changes in her behavior. You see, guinea pigs can become depressed if bored or lonely.
I later learned that she needed more playtime, especially since I didn’t get her a companion. My thoughts immediately turned to the question, “Can you walk guinea pigs?” So, here’s what I found out:
Guinea pigs can’t be taught to go on walks or to walk alongside you on the street. Though you can put a guinea pig harness and leash on them, pulling too hard on it can harm their delicate spine.
When they’re on a leash, it’s best to let them take the lead and you follow. Thus, your best option is a walk in the backyard.
Besides, those furballs can get off the leash and end up in another state before you know it, so I wouldn’t risk it!
How to Walk Guinea Pigs Safely in the Yard
We need to go through a few safety checks before you let your guinea pig out in the yard:
1. Temperature Check
First of all, you must ensure that it’s not burning hot or freezing cold outside. Guinea pigs can easily get heat stroke on hot days or develop a cold on chilly ones. Therefore, you should only let them out when the temperature is between 60 and 85 °F.
2. Grass and Plant Inspection
Check that the grass isn’t wet and that no insecticides have been sprayed on it. Remember, your buddy can nibble on the grass, so it’s better to keep him indoors if it’s dirty or has chemicals sprayed on it.
Moreover, laying their small bodies on wet grass can cause them illness, and eating it can be much worse.
You must also ensure that none of the plants or flowers in your yard are poisonous to guinea pigs.
3. Put the Harness On
Yes, you’ll need a harness to keep those little Dora the Explorer wannabes from getting into mischief.
There must be prior preparations for this part. In other words, you must gradually introduce the harness to your guinea pig. This is to avoid freaking your little friend out when you put it on him and take him outside.
How can this be accomplished? Is there going to be a bribe?
Of course, a bribe will be involved, so prepare his favorite treat and let’s go!
How to Get a Guinea Pig Used to a Harness:
- Give him the treat to keep him occupied
- Put on the harness while gently massaging his body
- Place your finger between the guinea pig and the harness to ensure it’s not too tight
- Remove it after a few seconds and allow him to rest
- Repeat this process later that day while allowing him to walk in it for a few minutes
Treats and massages are essential for making this a positive experience. Over time, your fluffball won’t mind this routine since it only translates in his mind with incentives.
When you sense that your buddy is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash. However, don’t pull it the first couple of times. Allow him to become accustomed to the additional weight and sounds that come with it.
When it comes time to train him on the pull, I recommend purchasing a clicker or anything that makes a noise. Then:
- Reduce the length of the leash
- When he moves forward, click or whistle
- When he turns around, give him a treat and repeat
Your guinea pig will eventually learn to stop whenever he hears the sound used in his training because it’s now associated with a treat. It’ll get to the point that without making any sound, he can stop and turn around simply by sensing the pressure of the leash.
Maintain an accessible source of water for your guinea pig outside. We want to avoid anything that could cause this enjoyable day to end with dehydration.
How to Keep Guinea Pigs Entertained Indoors
If you live in an apartment without a backyard, your furball can still get some exercise indoors.
To begin, you can either choose a location in your home for him to run wild or purchase a playpen.
There are a few things to consider when selecting a play area in your home. This location should:
- Have no furniture. Their tiny teeth can cause a lot of damage!
- Contain minimal hiding places so you can always keep an eye on him
- Be clean with no litter, to avoid choking hazards
- Have no visible electrical wiring
Throw in some safe and fun toys, whether it’s in the play area or a playpen. However, it shouldn’t be overcrowded with toys, to give him enough space to roam around.
It’s worth noting that running wheels and balls will never be suitable for a guinea pig. Even if you see a label that says it is, they’re almost certainly lying.
The body of a guinea pig isn’t built for such an activity. Consequently, those wheels cause severe spinal injuries and can even result in death.
Finally, and most importantly, I strongly advise that you find your guinea pig a best friend. Introducing Mocha to Lola was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
They’re very sociable creatures who thrive in the company of others. So getting them a companion will always be a good idea.
Can you walk guinea pigs? Not really, you can only take them for a tour around the yard. Alternatively, you can take him to his indoor guinea pig Disneyland.
Everything will be fine as long as your little friend gets his daily exercise!