How to Activate Your Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
Providing your small pets with enough exercise and activity is extremely important for their mental and physical well-being. An under stimulated rabbit or guinea pig will easily become bored, which can result in unwanted behaviors and a lot of frustration. Luckily, there are things you as an owner can do to encourage movement and introduce more excitement into their lives. Here are some of our top tips:
Provide more space
It might seem obvious, but it’s much easier for a rabbit or guinea pig to get enough exercise if they have plenty of space to move around on. Extend their current run, add new playpens, or set up a room in the house or area of the garden where your pets can securely roam free.
Change things up
New things will excite and stimulate your rabbits and guinea pigs. However, they don’t need a completely new home every month to stay interested. Regularly swapping toys around or changing the setup of their hutch and run by moving accessories to new places will encourage them to explore, stimulating both brain and body!
Get them foraging
Rabbits and guinea pigs instinctively love searching for food. You can help them live out this natural interest by hiding treats in their enclosure, stuffing hay into small nooks or putting leaves, fruit and vegetables in a Caddi Treat Holder. Anything that gets your pets working for the reward of some really good treats is great in terms of activating them!
Adding guinea pig and rabbit platforms to your enclosure is a great way of utilizing all the space available. Guinea pigs will love running down ramps, and rabbits can use their long leg muscles to jump up onto platforms or steps. As if that wasn’t enough, rabbits especially love sitting up high and inspecting their surroundings, so giving them a lookout space is going to be very popular!
While it might not apply to the average guinea pig, you will struggle to find a rabbit that doesn’t absolutely love digging. If you don’t want them to ruin the lawn, giving them a designated digging pit is a good idea. A large plant pot or tray with loose soil will be a great start. You can also put some crumpled up newspaper in the bottom for your rabbit to shred.
Get involved with the playing
If your pet is comfortable with it, a great way of activating them is to play together. Get down to their level and give them some time to get used to your presence. Eventually they will likely approach you and you can slowly introduce games and interactive playing. You can bring toys and treats for encouragement, depending on what your pet likes.
Some rabbits and guinea pigs can also be mentally stimulated by learning tricks. We’ve got a blog on how to train your small pet if you think this might be for you!
Rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ teeth never stop growing, so to keep them in tip top shape your pets will need something to grind them down with. A constant supply of hay is the most important thing, but you can also give them gnaw toys and pet friendly branches to nibble on.
Give them a space to rest
While it’s important to give your pets enough space and opportunities to move and exercise, it’s just as important to make sure they have places in their home where they can settle down and relax. Being prey animals, they will benefit from having somewhere secluded to return to where they know they will be safe. This could be snuggling down in the bedding of their hutch, or peeking out from a shelter on the run.
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