Before getting a guinea pig cage, people think of putting a top on the cage just like other small pets. But, do guinea pigs need a top on their cage?
Guinea pigs don’t need a covered cage as they can’t jump or climb out of the cage. Besides, guinea pigs like an open-top cage with enough space. However, you should use a top for the guinea pig’s cage if you decide to put the cage outside your house for their safety. Besides, if you have other pets at your house, you may also need a top to protect the piggies from them.
You may also consider a top for the cage if you have 4 or more piggies at the same time and you plan to build a multi-level cage.
But, this is also not necessary for guinea pigs and there are other strategies to make cages for multiple guinea pigs.
But, how to make the top of guinea cages or what cage you should buy, and what to do to protect them?
Let’s find it out.
Why doesn’t the guinea pig cage need a top?
As a veterinarian recommends not to put a top on a guinea pig cage, you may wonder, why is so even though you feel it’s so important, at least to protect them.
Here are causes for which you don’t need a top on a guinea pig’s cage.
1. Guinea can’t climb out of the cage
It’s the nature of the guinea pigs that they can’t climb or jump much. They can climb up to 12 inches which are too rare.
Besides, they have no intention to escape the cage if you build it properly and they don’t feel any danger.
Their calm nature makes them so popular and loved by everyone. However, the exception is always there. But, you will know it within the first few days after having them
2. To maintain open space where air can flow
Piggies are just your baby. They need proper accommodations. They aren’t comfortable in an enclosed cage or cave-type place. So, you need an open-top cage.
Instead, you can check out the best extra large cage for guinea pigs.
3. Unnecessary investment
You need to invest in a lot of things when you have a guinea pig. So, buying a top is unnecessary if no other special circumstance is there.
What are the concerns of owners about using the covered cages for guinea pigs?
Before I tell you about guinea cages and how to take care of them, I want to address your concern.
Guinea pig owners become worried about using a covered cage because of a few reasons.
Take a look at the few of them that you can solve without putting a cover.
1. Saving your kids from guinea pigs
If you have kids at your home, you might think that guinea pigs may come out of a cage and hurt your children.
First of all, piggies won’t climb out of the cage and secondly, they don’t hurt someone in this way.
If your children know how to hold or stay with the piggies and don’t hurt them, they won’t do any harm.
Introduce themselves slowly when you adopt the piggies for the first time.
You shouldn’t leave your kids alone until they know how to take care of piggies.
Besides, give your guinea pigs some time so that they get used to your home’s environment and become friends with your family.
You may also be worried about what if your child enters the guinea pig’s cage. It’s unlikely for a kid to climb that cage.
Teach them how to become friendly with guinea pigs.
2. Protecting guinea pigs from child
Guinea pigs are so sensitive. They can be afraid of high noise. So, if you have children at home, try to avoid this from happening.
Besides, protect the piggies from toys or balls or any flying object that may hurt their delicate body.
3. Saving guinea pigs from other pets
This can be a bit hard. If you allow your other pet to stay in the room with piggies, they may hurt them, especially when they are new to each other.
Keep them a separate place. If you want to introduce them, do it slowly. Still, I will suggest don’t let your other cat enter the room where you have placed the guinea pig cage.
4. Separating male from female
Many owners are concerned about putting male and female guinea pigs in the same cage. Yes, it may be a matter of concern but you don’t need a cage top for that.
You can use a cage divider and septate a single cage. But, ensure that there is enough space for the separated part of the cage.
5. Protecting from the outside environment
If you plan to out the cage outside your home, you should be worried about saving them from outside threats.
6. For making the multi-level stacked cage
If you are planning to make the multi-level stacked cage, you may want to use the covered cage. But, the stacked cage is bad for guinea pigs.
7. Saving from cold whether
You don’t need to put on a fixed top to protect your guinea pigs from cold weather. There are other techniques to keep the cage warm in cold seasons
8. Protecting at night
One of the most common concerns of covering a cage is to ensure extra security for guinea pigs at night.
But, if you are out of the cage indoors you don’t need to use a top for the guinea pig’s cage as they can’t climb out of a cage.
However, if you are worried about other pets or a cage is outside, a covered cage may be needed.
When does your guinea pig cage need a top?
You don’t need a covered guinea pig cage in most circumstances, as they don’t climb out of cages and don’t hurt others so easily.
However, in many situations, you may need to consider using a covered cage. Let’s find out.
1. For outdoor cage
You should use a covered cage if you put the guinea pig’s cage outside your home. This will protect them from predators such as dogs, owls, and cats. This is so important to save your piggies at night.
However, try to use a removable cage top. Lock that down when you aren’t around the cage and open it to provide them free air when you are with them.
2. To protect from other indoor pets
If you have other pets like cats or dogs at your home, you may need to enclose the cage and out a top so that pets can’t hurt or kill your guinea pigs.
When you have a small home, you may consider that. But, ensure that the height and width of the cage are enough for the piggies.
However, it’s still not recommended to use a covered cage for guinea pigs. If you have other pets, you should keep both of them separately instead of using a top.
Even if you introduce them to each other, give them some time to become friends.
Keep them in a separate room especially at night so that cat or your other pet can’t enter the piggies’ room.
3. To ensure safety at night for indoor cage
If you have other pets at home and you can’t ensure a separate room for your guinea pigs and that pet, you need to provide a cage top to keep your guinea pigs safe from them at night.
Use a too that’s removable so that you can detach it in the morning. However, don’t use it for a long time or it will be suffocating for the piggies.
Learn more about when guinea pig cages need to be covered at night and how.
4. For multi-level cage
Some owners don’t have much space inside the house and so they decide to go for a multi-level cage. However, it’s also not recommended to use a stacked cage for guinea pigs.
If you still use it, it will need to cover the cage top. But, make sure that the piggies get enough horizontal space to walk freely.
However, you can multi-level cage that uses one portion of the cage for the level. In that case, you can use a cage top for the portion. Many owners prepare this type of cage.
Check out how to plan a multi-level cage.
What are the factors to consider to buy guinea pig cage cover?
Before purchasing a cage cover, you should consider the following factors to ensure the top is perfect for your guinea pigs.
1. Must allow sufficient air to flow
Let air flow around the cage freely is the most important factor to consider when you build a top for a guinea pig cage. Whatever structure or technique you use to build the cage cover, you have to ensure proper ventilation.
As the cage top makes a restriction, there should be enough space horizontally. Don’t use a top that doesn’t have any space inside the body to allow air to enter the cage.
Find out the best indoor guinea pig cages.
2. Mesh tops with securely latched
Use wire mesh tops as they allow sufficient air to flow inside the cage. Moreover, make sure that wire mesh tops are securely latched so that if piggies try to grab them, climb there or take a bite, the top doesn’t get loose or fall off.
3. Ideal for guinea pigs health
You have to consider guinea pigs’ health while building a cage or cage cover because they are so sensitive. Ensure that after putting a top, they get enough open space and air doesn’t get blocked by anything.
If you can’t maintain it they can get stressed easily and alter their mood and habits and eventually become sick.
4. PVC coated top
If you build an outdoor hutch, try to use a PVC-coated top to protect your guinea pigs from rain and snow.
5. Strong and rigid materials
The structure of the cage cover should be strong and rigid enough. It can withstand the weight of guinea pigs. When they try to jump or climb the top, it shouldn’t be broken or loose.
Some of them will decide to chew the cage materials frequently. So, it should also stay strong even after the biting.
6. Predators not able to breakthrough
If you have an outdoor enclosure, your cage cover should protect your little piggies from other animals or predators during the night.
7. Removable top
You should consider using a removable cage cover. This ensures proper cage cleaning. Besides, you can also keep it open for some time to let your guinea pigs enjoy the open air.
8. Easy to use
The cage top should be easy to build. If you use a removable top, it should be easy to use.
9. Not restrict your access to the cage
The cage top should not restrict your access to cages and different areas. You should be able to put food, clean bedding, and remove poo without any blockage.
10. Easy to clean
Maintaining cage hygiene is mandatory for your guinea pigs. So, a cage cover should not cause any restriction to do it. It must be easy to clean as well. You should be able to clean it with simple cleaners or DIY stuff.
11. Ensure enough lighting
The cage top should not block the lighting from entering the enclosure. If the cover causes darkness, guinea pigs will be stressed out and that will be bad for their health.
Guinea pigs have the nature of being prey animals and that’s why they are used to sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. This is another reason for which you should let the light enter the cage.
There are so many products and brands out there that provide cage tops for guinea pigs, but all of them aren’t good and appropriate for them.
Here is the list of top products that you can use if you decide to use a covered cage for guinea pigs.
Best guinea pigs indoor cage top
1. MidWest Top Panel for Guinea Pig Habitat
2. Living World Deluxe Habitat
3. Cagetopia’s Flip-Fold Cage Covers
Best guinea pigs outdoor hutch with top
1. Trixie Natura Guinea Pig Hutch With Sloped Roof
2. Aleko Wooden Small Pet Hutch
3. Advantek Stilt House Guinea Pig Hutch with Outdoor Run
Do guinea pigs try to escape?
Guinea pigs may only try to escape the cage if they perceive any threat or danger which is a very rare scenario.
However, even if they try to escape, they can’t climb out of the cage, as their body and nature don’t allow them to climb more than 12 inches.
Is it safe to cover a guinea pig cage?
Covering guinea pig’s cages isn’t mandatory, but it can save them from predators if you place the cage outside your home, especially at night.
For an indoor cage, a top doesn’t provide any extra safety unless you have other pets. Moreover, covering the guinea pig’s cage may not allow air to flow adequately which’s so important for guinea pigs.
Do guinea pigs like to be covered?
Guinea pigs don’t like to be covered with a cage top or something else. They love open spaces where air can flow nicely. So, you need to provide them with an enclosure where guinea pigs can walk freely and don’t suffocate.
It’s not recommended to cover guinea pig’s cages at night, as they can’t get out of the cage.
But, if you put the guinea pig cage outside your house, you have to put a top on the cage to protect them from wild animals or other unfriendly situations.
You may need to use a top for indoor cages to protect them from other pets at your house.