For most guinea pig owners, one of the top priorities is giving them comfortable accommodation at night.
However, this can prove challenging if you don’t know what they like or how to keep them comfortable without compromising their safety.
Can I cover my guinea pig’s cage at night is a common question that most people would like answered. You can cover your guinea pigs cage at night as long as it doesn’t stress them out and you leave enough room for proper ventilation.
This concern is made more important because guinea pigs are sensitive and any changes in temperature will affect them.
You need to make their cage warm enough without making it too hot otherwise your guinea pigs will become restless. It’s okay to cover the cage especially if you’re sure they don’t have enough heat.
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Is it Safe to Cover Guinea Pig Cages at Night?
Safety is one of the most important things to consider when having pets, especially ones kept in enclosures. Putting a cover over your guinea pigs cage may seem slightly dangerous for a reason like ventilation.
Given their fragile nature, you need to make sure that they get enough air supply, especially at night when you won’t be checking on them regularly.
This means covering the cage partially instead of fully. Full coverage will deprive them of air and they may end up suffocating. Leaving some room will give them warmth and still allow air to get through.
When it comes to safety, it’s actually safer to cover the guinea pigs cage at night especially when you have other pets such as cats or dogs in the house.
They won’t feel as threatened by those bigger pets during the night and will be more relaxed.
Apart from keeping them safe, covering at night also ensures they keep a routine. This is mostly applicable if you started covering from the moment you got your pet.
You can use coverage as a trick to let your guinea pigs know its time for bed. When they get used to it, they’ll know that they should sleep every time you cover their cage.
They’ll also understand that it’s time for breakfast every time you uncover their cage.
Does Covering a Guinea Pigs Cage at Night Stress Them out?
There hasn’t been much proof that covering your guinea pigs cage at night stresses them out.
In fact, it’s actually very common to cover it, and there haven’t been too many cases where pet owners guinea pigs have gotten stressed.
That being said, all guinea pigs are different and you should gauge how they react to having their cage covered at night.
If they seem to be acting normal, then you can keep covering it. If you see any signs of stress take it off for a while. You can try covering it again at a time later if you feel your guinea pigs are up for it.
To keep their stress levels low, you should cover their cage at night if you have kids or pets that are active around them at that time.
That’s because little kids and bigger pets can create a stressful environment for them while they’re trying to rest. If you don’t have other pets or kids playing around at night, you can leave the cage uncovered if it’s not too cold.
The main goal of covering their cage at night is to keep them warm and as stress-free as possible.
If you think their stress levels seem too high for any reason, you can check out my post about 13 tips for keeping your guinea pigs calm.
Does Covering a Guinea Pigs Cage at Night Help Them Sleep?
If your guinea pig is used to having their cage covered at night then it may help them sleep easily.
However, if not, they may be uneasy at first. Covering their cages will also help them sleep if the cage isn’t in a dark place. Most guinea pigs like to sleep in a quiet and dark place because they are prey animals.
The darkness that results from the cover will, therefore, help them sleep better.
If you’re concerned about complete darkness you can turn on a lamp then cover the side of the cage facing that lamp to keep some of the brightness out.
It’s also important to note that since guinea pigs don’t always sleep with their eyes closed.
They also sleep for short intervals to help them stay alert most of the time. As such, you may find them awake during most of the night.
That shouldn’t give you any reason to worry because it’s normal behavior for them to do that.
Should you Only Cover your Guinea Pigs Cage at Night When it’s Cold?
It’s appropriate to cover their cage when it’s cold but that isn’t the only time you should consider covering. You can also cover their cage when you have very active guinea pigs.
Covering the cage will keep them contained and less anxious, thereby preventing them from trying to get out.
Most people have reported having their guinea pigs calm after covering the cages.
An alternative would be to avoid opening doors and windows that can let cold air in.
You should also provide them with a small hutch inside the cage for them to get the extra warmth. You can also block any drafts on the external doors.
Alternatives for Keeping your Guinea Pigs Warm Without a Cover
It’s well known that you can leave the cage uncovered if the cage is in a warm place. There are also other methods to keep their cage heated and your guinea pig warm that you can try.
For instance, you can opt for heating pads for small pets instead of covering the cage. The heating pads are available in pet stores and online.
To use it properly, you first heat it in the microwave and let it sit for about a minute.
Then put it in the included cover for safety to keep your guinea pigs warm. The heating pad will last for up to 10 hours. Check below for a great deal on heating pads for your guinea pig.
- Safe and soothing warmth
- Non-electrical; simply heat up in your microwave
- Plate-size pad easily fits under your pet's bed
You can also provide towels for the piggy to snuggle inside the cage. Make sure the towels are small enough to prevent suffocation.
What can you Cover Your Guinea Pigs Cage With at Night?
Apart from small towels, you can also use waterproof covers on the cages. Use a cover that is easy to clean to make it easier for you to clean it regularly.
A strong cover is also better as it will provide the needed insulation. The cover material should also be rigid to make the guinea pig feel secure.
Make sure it is also opaque to ensure the needed darkness. The quality of the cover also matters because guinea pigs like to chew on stuff especially when they are agitated.
A high-quality cover will not tear easily even when the piggy tries to chew or scratch it. If you have a metal cage then consider the AmazonBasics Cover. It’s easy to clean and has zippers for easy access and ventilation.
- Cover for the Amazon Basics Small Animal Metal Pet Cage, Single-Story with Wheels (sold separately)
- Offers pets a sense of security, privacy, and added comfort, which can help reduce stress
- User-friendly design ensures easy access to inside space
You can also prevent the cover from being damaged by being punctual about when to remove the cover.
Guinea pigs like to feel natural sunlight so when you don’t remove the cover easily, they may try to get out on their own.
Another factor to consider when choosing a cover is how easy it is to remove and put back. Make sure you can take it off and place it back easily.
How Much of the Cage Should you Cover at Night?
Covering the whole cage at night can create problems and affect your guinea pigs breathing. That means that you should only cover part of their cage at night.
This ensures that the cage remains properly ventilated while still letting in some light. It’s also important because it’ll make your guinea pigs feel more secure.
They will feel better in a cage that is partially covered instead of one that is fully covered.
They’ll still be able to sightly see while it’s dim, which will keep them from getting stressed in their covered cage.
There are many designs of covers online as well as in pet stores for you to choose from.
If you’re not sure about what is best for your guinea pig, ask for some expert advice from your vet. You can even get some great suggestions from online guinea pig forums.