We believe that, no matter the size of your pet, they should have a home that meets all of their requirements and needs for a happy, healthy life. Both guinea pigs and rabbits are social creatures and isolation can lead to distress or health issue, so their home environment should be suitable for a pair. Show your furry little friends that you love them by housing them in the right size cage or hutch with all the essential accessories for feeding, sleeping, and playing.
Rabbits and guinea pigs, despite their size, are extremely active creatures and need plenty of space to scamper or hop around and stretch their little legs. The RSPCA recommends a minimum hutch size of 4ft x 2ft (1.2m x 0.6m) for guinea pigs, but larger is better. For rabbits, the PDSA recommends the minimum space for a pair is 10ft x 6ft x 3ft (3m x 2m x 1m). They should have ample room to hop, run, jump, and dig, and should be able to stand up on their hind legs without their ears touching the top of the hutch.
If you plan to house your pet outdoors, the hutch should be weatherproof, raised off of the ground, protected from predators, and with constant access to safe hiding places. Smaller hutches, such as 1m x 0.9m x 0.5m, can be used so long as your bunnies or guinea pigs have constant access to a larger enclosed area, such as an attached run or secure shed, and can return to the safety of their hutch at their leisure.
Both of these adorable creatures need secure and stable homes with access to a safe hiding space. The materials of the hutch should be chew-proof and damp-proof, and it should provide adequate protection from predators. Multiple floors are ideal as they offer further space to explore and allow your pet to keep their feeding, sleeping, and toilet areas separate.
Rabbits and guinea pigs especially like to stretch their legs on grassy areas in an enclosed run that is either attached to their home or frequently accessible. Their run should be a secure and protected space, offering more, space for them than their hutch. Similar to their hutch, this should have a safe hiding space that they can retreat to. Tunnels and other stimulating toys can be placed in these runs to give them a fun adventure away from their usual home.
Please Note: A run is temporary enclosure. Your pet should not be housed in one permanently or overnight. Please refer to RSCPA guidelines when purchasing a run.
While your smallest family member may be covered in a layer of fur, they still feel the cold and need to be kept warm, dry, and protected during the colder months. Use a proper hutch cover or a tarpaulin as a minimum. If you usually keep them outdoors, consider moving them to an inside space and ensure they are properly sheltered from any draughts. Extra bedding should be provided to help them stay cosy and you should regularly check that it is dry. For extra information, read the PDSA's guide here.
These small critters are extremely sensitive to hot weather and steps should be taken to ensure they don’t overheat. Move their hutch into a shaded spot, make sure they always have pleny of fresh water. The PDSA suggests freezing a bottle of water, wrapping it up in a blanket, and putting it in the hutch so your bunny can snuggle up near it.
The most obvious accessories that your small pet’s home will need is a food bowl and a water bottle. You’ll need to line the hutch or cage with an appropriate and substrate such as dust-free sawdust or hay and newspaper. Lastly, if your cage doesn’t come with a hiding space for your animal to retreat to, you’ll need to purchase one of these, making sure it has ample room for your animals to snuggle up in.
Adding boredom-beating toys to your pets home is essential to keep them both mentally and physically healthy. Wheels, tunnels, and chew toys all help to stimulate your pet while keeping them active and tending to their inquisitive nature.
If you have a trip or holiday coming up, ensure that you’ve made arrangements for someone to look after your pet and their home in your absence. Not only will they need to have fresh food and water daily, but skipping cage-cleaning is unfair and unhygienic for your pet and could lead to serious health issues. Ask a family member or friend to pop round and tend to them, or hire a local pet sitter for the duration of your absence so you know their home is being kept in top condition while you’re away.
For further information and guidance on how to appropriately house your small pet, please take a look at the RSPCA guidelines below: