Do you have pet guinea pigs at your home? We have two guinea pigs at our house named Butterscotch (aka Scotchy) and Twix (aka Twixie Cup). My sons adore them, and I must admit, so do I. These little animals have so much more personality than I expected they would possess. They can be so sweet, cuddly, and even social. Our older guinea pig is so comfortable with us he even gives us kisses all the time. I’m sharing my top 10 Tricks To Get Your Guinea Pig Out Of His Cage More And Interacting With Your Family so your family and your giunea pig can enjoy more time together.
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We bought the pets to have fun with them, so we wanted to have them with us more, but we wondered how we could make that happen. We have found some tips and tricks to get them out of their cages more often and interacting with us as a family more. This means more family fun times! I love these tips too because the guinea pigs aren’t bored alone in their cages so they are happier little guys. Plus, getting my boys thinking about the guinea pigs teaches them empathy and compassion.
My son taught both our pigs how to run up a flight of stairs!
We have two boy guinea pigs so they are very territorial and they will fight. For this reason, we keep them separate and if they are ever near each other we supervise heavily. Yes, we helicopter parent the pigs (we like to call them the pigs because it’s funny). Our pigs hang out with us a lot every day (almost all day when we are home) using the following tricks.
10 Tricks to Get Your Guinea Pig Out of his Cage More and Interacting With Your Family
Guinea pigs do like to have a hideout place to dart into because this makes them feel more secure, so we’ve often incorporated this fact into how we have them out with us. Here are 10 ways we have our pigs out with us:
(10 tricks get guinea pig interacting family)
1. Use Towels and Waterproof Mattress Pads
Towels and waterproof mattress pads are a great way to have them hang out on the couch because all we need to do is shake them off and wash them. This protects the couch from any urine or excrement (they do go to the bathroom a lot). We started putting our pigs on a stack of four folded bath towels on the couch or on waterproof mattress pads and they pretty much think of that spot as theirs so they stay on the towels. They can hang out on the couch with us this way.
We have little washable beds we flip upside down that they like to hang out under like a cave. They feel safe under these beds and will often sleep or lounge for hours but come out every so often to socialize or look for snacks. The kids watch tv or play games while lounging next to the pigs on the couch. Scotchy is sleeping in the bed in the picture below.
Another trick is to lay a towel or two on your chest and let the guinea pig hang out on your chest. This will protect you if the guinea pig urinates as they do unexpectedly at times.
Guinea Pig Bed
Below is the affiliate link to the same bed we have pictured above. We bought it from Amazon. Our guinea pigs LOVE this bed! They love it set up the right way to be used as a bed as above, and they also love it upside down as a cave to hang out under. I am very impressed with the quality of this bed as I have washed it about twice weekly for about a year and it still is in great shape. The softness lessens a bit with multiple washings, but it still looks almost new even though I’ve washed it so many times. I usually wash it on the gentle cycle, then let it air dry.
We wrote each pig’s name on their bed in permanent marker to keep them straight and I’ve just refreshed the writing periodically. I’m very pleased with this product!!
We’ve tried a few other beds but none of them have been as good as this one. We have used it both in the pigs’ cages, on the couch, on the floor, and wherever! We have not found it to be fully waterproof, however, so make sure it sits on a towel in case they urinate.
Kaytee Super Sleeper Cuddle-E-Cup
Read my full review of The Best Guinea Pig Bed Your Pet Will Love!
We also have this cute little tent that the pigs love too. The little pad inside is washable. I have also taken a rag to clean the tent as well when urine has leaked through the pad. I suggest placing in on a towel to prevent leaks.
Isn’t Twix so cute in the tent!!
Living World Tent for Pets, Blue/Red
2. Use a Kiddie Pool as a Play Pen in the Living Room
A kiddie pool placed in the living room works great as a guinea pig playpen, without water of course. We always provide something for them to go into or under so they can feel safe. We use a box or their beds or even a towel for them to slip under. This may not work for homes with cats or dogs who will bother or attack the pigs, but it is a great solution for homes where this will work (our dogs will sit on the couch next to the pigs and not bother them, but always are supervised).
The pool can easily be washed with soap and water to clean it up if they go to the bathroom, which they will because they go all the time;) We often add towels to the kiddie pool too. Kids can easily help clean up any messes by using a towel and mild soap with water in a spray bottle.
Toss some timothy hay in the pool for them to snack on. Any remaining hay can be swept up with a hand-hand dustpan or dumped outside.
3. Use a Kiddie Pool as a Play Pen Outdoors too
We take our pigs outside and put them in the dry kiddie pool on the grass as an option too. This way the pig can enjoy the outdoors also, but we always stay near them in case they figure out how to jump out (ours haven’t yet).
The other reason to stay near them is to make sure a hawk or eagle won’t swoop down and steal them. This would be devastating and something I don’t want to see happen. We stay near our pigs also anytime we have them outside so they don’t run off in a panic and get lost. Their behavior shows they know they are prey animals so they often don’t like open spaces so they will dart for the nearest cover. If a cover is provided in the kiddie pool, they will feel more comfortable, protected, and happy.
We find cleaning up the kiddie pool outside is easy using a hose to simply rinse out the pool. We often grab a handful of grass for them to munch on while they are in the kiddie pool. They happily squeak and munch on the grass.
My boys have had fun putting the guinea pigs in the kiddie pool to float in like a boat in our in-ground swimming pool. Don’t worry, he did not go in the water though and he was heavily supervised for the short time he rode in the pool boat.
Family Fun Play Time
Don’t worry, Twix was very safe as we were all right by him. He only rode around in the pool for a very short time and he never even walked around.
4. Use Boxes as Play Pens/Shelters or Magnet Tiles to Make a Box
We often use boxes as playpens or as shelter. I like to use boxes because they soak up any urine, plus if they do get urinated on, it’s easy to replace with a new box. We are always getting new boxes at our house for deliveries so we never have a shortage of cardboard boxes to use for the pigs. The boxes can be lined with puppy pads or towels too to soak up any urine.
My kids love to make a box using magnet tiles for the pigs to hang out in.
Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set
5. Line Surfaces You Want to Protect with Puppy Pads
I will often line boxes, carpet, or even the couch with puppy training pads to protect the surface. I’ve found puppy pads at many stores such as Target, Walmart, or pet supply stores and these pads work fantastic for soaking up urine. Amazon sells them too. I simply roll them up and toss them, however, this can get expensive so using towels that can be washed is the cheaper way to go. I use the puppy pads sparingly to cut the cost.
All-Absorb Training Pads 100-count, 22-inch By 23-inch.
AmazonBasics Pet Training and Puppy Pads, Regular – 100 Count
Do a search on Amazon for reusable washable pads if you prefer to wash instead of toss. We have the one below, and it comes in various sizes. It is very durable.
6. Use a Shallow Plastic Storage Bin
Another idea that works out well is to buy a shallow plastic bin for your pig to sit in on the couch. We have some friends who have a guinea pig and they came up with this great idea. They can then move the pig around from couch to floor to anywhere they go by simply picking up the bin and moving it. I love how the guinea pig could easily move around with the family from floor to floor in the house or even outside with this option. Simply line it with towels, add some veggie snacks or hay and the bin works as a mobile playpen.
The plastic bin protects the couch or carpet as a bonus, plus it is easy to quickly wash the bin with a rag, soap, and water because it is plastic.
7. Allow Snuggle Time at Your Child’s Bedtime
My son loves to take time each night before bed to snuggle with his guinea pig in his bed. Butterscotch will sit, snuggle, and give my son lick kisses for 5-10 minutes. He would snuggle longer because he loves it, so when there is the time he enjoys more snuggles. This gives them special alone time too. A towel can be laid down on the bed next to a child to catch any urine or stool (or use a puppy pad for extra protection), but we often find our guinea pigs go to the bathroom in their cages or their usual towels. However, we do see them going to the bathroom in the wrong spot occasionally, but they seem to like to go in the same spots if they can.
Guinea pigs are great companions for kids!
8. Take Your Guinea Pigs Outside in the Yard
We love to take our guinea pigs out to the yard to eat grass when it’s warm out. We don’t take them out if it’s below about 68° F. They love to eat grass, but we make sure the grass has not been treated with chemicals before we allow them to eat it. We always stay right near our pigs when outside because if they get spooked they may run under a bush and be hard to find or even get lost. Plus, we stay near them always when outside just in a case a hawk or bald eagle happens to be nearby in the trees.
9. Teach Your Guinea Pigs to Go Up the Stairs
Teach your pigs to go up the stairs for some exercise. My son taught both of our pigs to go up the stairs and the kids love to see them do this so it’s a great way to get pigs out of their cages and interacting with family. This is great too because the pigs get exercise by climbing the stairs. He’s still working on teaching them to go down, they are starting to get it but down is harder for them.
For family fun, teach your pigs to go up the stairs and take videos. The guinea pigs seem to enjoy bounding up the steps.
How to Teach Your Pig to go up the stairs:
My son placed the pig in front of the step and lifted up the front of the pig slightly with a hand on each side of the pig. With a boost, they instinctively jumped up to the next step. He kept giving the guinea pigs a boost at each step all the way up the flight of stairs. He repeated this activity for several days in a row and the pigs learned how to do the whole flight of stairs by themselves. Now they always go up the stairs all by themselves when they need to go up to their cages. It is so cute to watch and they go so fast too! Watch Butterscotch go up the stairs in this video on YouTube.
10. Give Your Guinea Pig a Tiny Bath in the Bathtub or a Sink
Give them a bath in the bathtub or sink in a VERY small amount of water, like a half-inch so they can walk around and feel secure. Guinea pigs like their feet touching something so they feel safe. Or, you can simply put them in a dry bathtub for playtime.
If they need to be cleaned for some reason, we use just a tiny bit of tear-free baby soap or plain water, however, they usually give themselves a bath. We don’t pour any water over them. Always stay near guinea pigs if they are in even a tiny bit of water. We wrap them up in a towel after getting wet to warm them up.
Conclusion: 10 tricks get guinea pigs interacting family
Being a guinea pig owner is fun for kids and the whole family. Getting your guinea pig out of his cage more is the best way to get the most enjoyment out of being a guinea pig pet owner. I hope this helps you find more ways to get your guinea pig out of his cage and interacting more with your family. For more tips on being a guinea pig owner, check out Why Guinea Pigs Make Great Pets for Kids.
Fun Things to do with guinea pigs
Guinea Pig fleece snuggle sack for unparalleled bonding
The Best Guinea Pig Bed your pet will love
Check out this amazing guinea pig fleece bonding bag and travel sling! We love this product for getting piggies out of their cages more. To read my full review of this Guinea Pig Fleece Bonding Bag click here.
Dukes Digs Quality Pet Products Critter Cuddler Animal and Bonding Pouch Anti-Anxiety Interactive Play Exercise Ring Therapeutic for Both Pet/Handler Dog/Cat Soft-Sided Carrier Sling, Small, Gray
Looking for more Family Fun ideas? Check out my post: Visit Bearizona in Arizona for more family fun with animals!
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Theresa | Bridesmaids Confession says
OMGosh this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! My best friend has had guinea pigs for a long time and is obsessed with them. She dresses them up for every holiday. I think you guys take it even further. These pigs have the life of a dog if you ask me. So active within your family and that’s great!
Julie Hoag says
Yes! I agree! They are such sweet little creatures which so much personality! They have WAY more personality than I ever expected they would! Thanks:)
Adorable guinea pigs! This is what we use so we can hold our pigs more and let them on the furniture because they go potty ALOT! ? at rodeysroom
Julie Hoag says
Yes, they do go to the bathroom a lot!! I will have to check it out. Thanks!
Jordyn Galan says
I was just telling my husband how fun guinea pigs are and we should get one for our son when he’s a little older!
Julie Hoag says
Yes! They make great pets for kids and families!! Thanks!
The kiddie pool idea is GENIUS!!!
Julie Hoag says
Thanks! It works very well!!
What great ideas!!! We had a family friend who had the cutest guinea pig, and she was so personable! She used to chirp and respond when we talked to her <3
Julie Hoag says
Guinea pigs are really quite social little beings! They really are personable too, ours both recognize people and respond differently to different people. They have so much personality that I didn’t even expect. They are such great little pets! Thanks!
Sarah Camille says
OMG that pic of the guinea pig with the sombrero is amazing! I have never had guinea pigs and didn’t realize how much you can do with them. I so need one now!! 🙂
Cheers, Sarah Camille // SCsScoop.com
Julie Hoag says
Yes, I was so surprised to find them to be so affectionate and with so much personality! We held ours a lot when they were babies so they are so social now. They are so sweet! And surprisingly they really like to be held and snuggle. They happily squeak when they are around us, it’s so sweet!Thanks for the comment!
This is a great article! Thank you for sharing! I’m always looking for more ways to interact with my piggies. We originally got two female young piggies at an independent pet supply store in our hometown. All the supplies and goodies, too! Did all sorts of research on their behaviors, foods to thrive on, bedding, cages, etc. as a couple of weeks went by, I had figured out one of the females was actually a MALE! SO, we accidentally had babies! That was lots of fun, loved watching the teeny balls of fluff be born and mama caring for them. Found wonderful homes for two of them….both we can visit and one of them was adopted by my daughter’s friend who already had one piggie. We trade babysitting when vacationing if we can’t take them along. Funny that the babies were born at about four in the morning, and we had a trip planned to drive to Delaware to visit my in-laws and then a week after that, a trip out to Ohio to visit my family. And a few weeks after that, to Virginia to my brother- and sister-in-law’s (left one behind with them as they live on a big farm in the mountains to be well loved). Like, the DAY those babes were born, we carefully boxed them up and took with us! Set up their cages and all at both locations. We kept one of the babies. Anyway, it has been quite an adventure!
I DO, however, inform people interested in having guinea pigs, that they ARE a lot of work! And no, you can’t just leave them while you go on vacation. You need to find babysitters that know how to properly care for them, too….not just anyone will do. Maybe I “over-care” for my pigs….hay and pellets I kept full throughout the afternoon, evening and until I go to bed, clean out entire cages every other day with maintenance on non-cleaning day, out to play several times a day, extra cuddles in between. They are right in our living room, so I’m always at their cages visiting and petting them when I don’t have them out. And feeding—-let’s see, they get plates of veggies twice a day. Their favs are green peppers, cucumbers and organic dandelion leaves, which our grocery store carries all year round—but I have a large patch of dandelions along our entire property/crop field line. So in the spring summer and into fall they get hand-picked TOTALLY organic and fresh dandelion leaves I harvest myself….I pick it, wash it, and put it through the lettuce crisper and into a 2 gallon ziplock bag that I squish the air out of—-this process actually keeps it from wilting and lasts a couple of days as when I don’t do it, they wilt within hours!.
Anyway, needless to say I’ve fallen in love with these piggies! My Bichon Frise doggie loves to roll over and lay on her back with all fours in the air to “hold the baby”. She lets the piggies lay on her belly and will actually BEG, whimpering to do this (completely and diligently supervised while doing this) and the doggie loves nudging them along with her nose while they twiddle around on the floor. Love watching them walk!
Well, don’t know why I shared SO much, but you shared a lot so I thought I’d tell you how I loved your article and wow! Your son teaching them to go up the stairs was awesome! How cute! Thank you for your time to post this information. They are definitely things that I will be trying.
Julie Hoag says
Wow! I LOVE all of your information and your story about your life with your piggies! They are such wonderful pets, but I agree, they are work, but I think they are totally worth it! I love your tip about the dandelion greens. Ours love those too but we can only give them to our pigs in the summer. They are such wonderful little companions! I’m happy so hear other dogs are ok being around pigs. We always watch our pigs around our dogs, but they will sit on the couch next to each other and our pigs walk right by our dogs without any issues at all. We never leave them unattended around dogs however in case the dogs decide to snap, that would be devastating and horrific. We always find the best care for our pigs when we go out of town too with lots of instructions AND veggies of couse:) I love to give our pigs fresh veggies and fruits twice a day too. Thanks for your long message, I really loved reading about another pig-loving family!!
Susie Jones.email@example.com says
I wish I would have gotten two guinea pigs instead of just one. They like to have a buddy. Our boy is used to ruling the roost so it is probably too late now. If you want to have a guinea pig, please remember to get a pair of girls or a pair of boys. Being cage mates at the store allows them to bond and they will get along together in one cage. They like to have a friend but must start out together.
Julie Hoag says
Agreed. The are social creatures. We got our boys at separate times so they were different ages when put them together, so now they fight whenver they are together so we keep them separate most of the time. It’s true, I think getting two early on at the same time is beneficial. It could be our pigs don’t get along because of their personalities, I know so many guinea pigs who get along, and honestly they really are social creatures. So if you don’t get two, make sure you spend time with them to give them social time. They crave interaction:) Thanks for your comment!!
Guinea Pig HQ says
Using a kiddie pool is a wonderful idea! It’s washable and easy to use, I’ll definitely use this handy trick, thank you for these tips
Julie Hoag says
Oh yes! It works so well! Our guinea pigs have never gotten out of it, but we still watch them. And yes it’s so easy to wash, you can add things for them to walk around and hang out under. It’s a great versatile little play pen for pigs!