Friday, December 28, 2012

Ask A Guinea Pig: Is Floor Time Necessary?

Katrina VanZandt asks: "How necessary is the floor time you mention? Every time we take Sugar and Cinnamon out they poo on the carpet."

Floor time fun! 

Answer: As we've mentioned before in our floor time post, floor time is lots of fun, although you need to keep an eye on us to make sure so we don't eat anything we shouldn't. Floor time provides mental stimulation and exercise for your piggies, so we'd say it's pretty important. If you have a small cage (less than 10.5 square feet), floor time is even more important. Even if you have a large cage, it's still better to give us regular opportunities to explore new environments and run around, and shouldn't be treated as optional.

If you are concerned about your piggies using your carpet as a bathroom, you can put down newspapers or bath mats for easy cleanup. If you have additional concerns about your piggies running loose in your home (pooping under furniture where it's difficult to clean, areas where your piggies could get stuck or hurt, etc.), you might consider getting the largest pet exercise pens you can find and use it for floor time. Alternatively, you might consider using a room of your house that does not have carpet, such as your kitchen or bathroom, for floor time.


  1. Our boys just sit perfectly still when we give them floor time! We do take them out for loads of cuddle time, though, and they love that!

    1. This quite common. One of the websites we cited in this article says: "When you first introduce your guinea pig to the concept of floor time, they typically just sit there and huddle, or they might scamper (or waddle) to the furthest, darkest corner and stay there. Don't worry, many people experience this behavior when starting floor time." They give some recommendations like setting up a bath mat in a corner as their "home base," putting down newspaper to give your piggies a natural border that they'll feel safe on, and adding some familiar accessories from their cage. Another website says: "A few hiding places provide a place to feel protected while they are getting used to the new space." For example, you might try buying them some tunnels to run through. You might also try: setting up a salad trail, giving them a different surface to play on (bare floors vs. carpets) by having floor time in a different room, and sitting very still so your piggies don't mistake you for a big predator who's after them.

      Cuddle time is nice too, but you should try and encourage your piggies to get floor time for exercise and mental stimulation. Let us know if any of these ideas work for you!