How to Exercise Your Lazy Guinea Pig Now (13 Easy Tips)

The guinea pigs are your treasures. You love them, but they seem to have gotten lazy lately (really, really lazy) and you know that’s not good for the little guys! It has you asking: How can I get my guinea pig to exercise?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Owning a lazy guinea pig is a common problem for many. It can be hard to find ways to exercise your pet and keep them from becoming overweight or unhealthy.

how to exercise a lazy guinea pig picture

Luckily, there are plenty of activities that you can do with your pet without needing any special equipment or being a guinea pig fitness trainer (is that even a thing?).

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some simple yet effective ways to keep your non-athletic guinea pig active. Let’s dive in!

If you’re in a hurry or just curious, check out this list of highly-rated, bestselling guinea pig toys on Amazon. You’re sure to find something to exercise AND entertain your fuzzy, little friends.

1. Veggie Marathon

This game is deceptively simple. It’ll help you get your steps in as well as keep your guinea pig active.

  • Create a play space. Section off a secure area of your house. It could be your living room, a child’s bedroom, or a basement. You want an area your guinea pig can access freely but isn’t exposed to anything dangerous.
  • Tie a vegetable treat for your guinea pig on the end of a string.  Alternatively, you could tie the string to a (piggie-safe) rolling toy and place the vegetable inside it.
  • Give your little friend a tiny taste of the treat.
  • Show her the treat on the string – so she knows that it’s there
  • Then, drag the string around your house. 

Your guinea pig will follow it, and you’ll have a great time watching her explore her new play area! 

Just make sure you let your piggie “catch” the veggie treat at some point – to keep her encouraged and happy with the activity.

2. Fun Food Brick

Food can be a great source of exercise for lazy . 

The food they get in their cages is usually boring and bland – plop it in the food bowl and done. Boring and a waste of a perfect exercise moment.

Let’s mix things up a bit.

With a one-of-a kind toy you can make it much more fun for them – make a food brick for your little friends.

It’s easy enough for anyone to do.

All you need is some vegetables (carrots, fennel, bell peppers), cilantro or parsley if wanted) chopped into small pieces. Shove them into the holes of the brick.

Your guinea pig will have to put some effort into pulling these treats out from their little holes – as enrichment or just for fun!

3. Food Hunts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “putting food in a bowl is so passé'”. So, why not turn mealtime into a game of hide and seek for your guinea pigs? Try it two different ways:

  1. Put the different veggies around their cage to keep them on they’re toes! Don’t forget to make the hiding places all over their cage, not just in one corner!
  2. Hide the treats hideaways or in piles of hay to make the search a little more challenging.
  3. Toss an old, child-sized sweatshirt with pockets into the cage filled – sprinkled with hay and veggies inside. Your piggies will go nuts (in a good way) burrowing for their meal.

These are great ways for your lazy guinea pigs exercise while they eat. They’ll be running around and making sure there’s no food left behind – which helps kick their laziness to the curb.

4. Let Your Guinea Pigs “Hang Out”

Carrots and peppers work best for this activity.

Chop up some vegetables and hang them from the top of your guinea pig’s enclosure with some string and clothespins . They’ll have to stretch up and walk around if they want a tasty treat!

Try to keep the food a few inches off of your guinea pig’s enclosure floor, so they have some room for stretching – pay attention to your piggies height. Don’t make the string too high.

And spread out foods that you’re hanging by a few inches , so that your guinea pig is forced to walk to get to each piece. Little actions like this will get your guinea pig to do a little more exercise – and have them healthier in now time!

5. Remix The Food Bowl Experience

Don’t make it too easy for you guinea pig to get to their food or water (from their bowl or bottle)

No, I’m not talking about denying your guinea pigs food – that’s not a good idea.

Guinea pigs always need access to unlimited hay (and water) to stay healthy.

Instead use flat stones or rocks as mini obstacle in your guinea pig’s cage to promote more movement – and make it more difficult for your guinea pig to reach their food and water.

Try putting the stones in the following places:

It may not seem like it, but stepping up and down on these stones will give your guinea pig a bit of a workout – which can help make for healthier animals!

You don’t need to go crazy, you can just put one stone out of the way in each location for a more active pet! Or take a few stones and rotate them in different areas of the enclosure every few days to keep them on their toes.

6. Start Slow to Go Fast

If you’re concerned that your guinea pigs aren’t very active, it can be tempting to jump into this blog post and do everything at once.

But, don’t.

When you begin floor time (or any other new activity), it’s best to start with just a few minutes at first – and to just try one activity at a time. Then see how your little friends respond.

If you start out too vigorously, your guinea pig may get stressed or overwhelmed and will want to retreat back into their cage for some peace of mind – not what we’re going here!

Generally speaking guinea pigs are creature of habit and aren’t always fond of change.

Easing them into it, is your best bet.

Within a few days, you’ll observe your furry burritos carefully – paying attention to their sounds and body language. Are they loving it? If so…

You can increase the duration of playtime as they become more comfortable – or try new activities in smaller doses if that’s what is needed!

7. Avoid Slick Surfaces

Encourage your guinea pigs to move around more during floor time by making sure that the floor is to their liking.

Some guinea pigs find slick floors (e.g. kitchen linoleum or bathroom tiles) very off-putting.

Sometimes laziness is piggie anxiety in disguise.

So, do what you can to make your piggies less skittish.

Provide some traction by using soft bathmats, untreated carpet scraps, or a blanket in their play area for easier movement and a more comfortable walking experience.

The more comfortable your piggies are walking, the more they’ll do it, and the more exercise they’ll get.

8. Use Hideaways to Encourage Movement

Merge veggies and a quiet shelter in this game to get your lazy piggies moving and exploring.

  • Create a large play area – enough for several hideaways and other similar toys without seeming crowded.
  • Place them in opposite corners of the play area (spread them out).
  • Plop a veggie treat in each one – let them see you do it , then hide them in the opposite corners.
  • Then have fun watching your guinea pigs scurry from one to the next, trying their best to get each of the treats.

This will encourage your piggies’ natural instinct of exploration and make their movement more purposeful.

9. Playtime Should Happen At Primetime

Not many people know this – but guinea pigs are crepuscular animals.

Crepuscular animals are most active during twilight hours – which is before sunrise and after sunset.

That means they’re most likely to play when the sun goes down (or is just coming up)!

Increase your guinea pig’s likelihood of physical activity by having floor time a little before dinner time, when they’ll be most likely to get moving.

10. Deliciously Different Levels

It’s recommended that guinea pigs are housed in enclosures that have square footage of floor space as opposed to a lot of vertical height – as this allows them to have more space for zoomies and playing which is essential in keeping your little pet happy (especially males) as well as healthy and active!


If you already have the recommended 7.5 square feet (or hopefully more) on the “main level” of your fur babies’ cage (and you have a C&C enclosure), it’s still okay to add another level if you’re willing.

A second level and ramps can be your best friend when trying to get your “I-don’t-want-to-move-bring-me-my-veggies-hooman” little friends up and at ’em.

It gives your piggies farther to travel – which is also excellent for health and fitness. Plus it gives you more space for hiding treats around like some hay, some strips of red leaf lettuce, or even another type of their favorite veggie – to encourage your “not-so-athletic” piggies to move around!

Make sure your ramps aren’t just a one-time use toy! Mix it up by creating tunnels for them to explore, or toss some hay in the middle of their ramp and watch as they climb over each other trying get at this new treat you’ve put out – good exercise too if nothing else!

So, go ahead and build that second level on your cage!

11. Make Exercise A Routine

When your piggies are lazy, you have to put in a bit extra effort to make sure they’re getting the exercise that’s good for them.

Make exercising and playing with your guinea pigs a routine – and scatter reminders around your home until it becomes a habit for you (and your piggie).

Here are a few tips to help you keep your guinea pig’s movement activities consistently:

  • Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder.
  • Write a reminder on a poster in marker and tape it over your guinea pig’s cage.
  • Create a Google Calendar event for every week and time slot that you plan on exercising with or playing games (like hide-and make me seek) – this way, everything is accounted in one place! Make sure the times are spaced out enough so both of these activities don’t happen at once but close together
  • Put a calendar next to your home’s entrance and write an exercise reminder on it.

Piggies love order and routines – they’re creatures of habit. The more consistent you are with exercise, the more likely your pet will be to get moving and to get the healthy and fit results that you’re hoping for.

12. Teach Your Guinea Pig Tricks

When you adopt a guinea pig, you can teach them a wide range of tricks ! Want to keep your fur babies active and mentally stimulated (and bond with them)? Tricks are the way to do it.

You can make your pet guinea pig shake paws, turn in circles or stand on his back legs and beg. It won’t be long before he learns how to come when called push the ball around with its nose! 

But it’s usually best to start with something simple.

Here’s a video to that explains how to teach your little friend to come when called:

13. Provide A Really, Really Big Cage

Having a large enough enclosure is critical to encouraging more movement in your guinea pig’s life – it’s really the simplest way to provide exercise.

Who knows?

Maybe your guinea pig isn’t lazy – she’s just unmotivated and uninspired by her living space.

Use the table below as a reference for the size you should shoot for.

# of Guinea PigsCage Size
1 Guinea Pig7.5 ft2 (minimum) but more is better
2 Guinea Pigs7.5 ft2 (minimum), but more is better
3 Guinea Pigs10.5 ft2 (minimum), but more is better
4 Guinea Pigs13 ft2 (minimum), but more is better

(The information from the table came from this source)

A really, REALLY big cage might offer her more opportunities to explore and get some exercise! It’s worth a try – your furry friend deserves nothing less than the best life possible (and that includes plenty space for play time).

Frequently Asked Questions About Exercising Lazy Guinea Pigs

Can Guinea Pigs Die From Being Overweight?

Unfortunately, guinea pigs can die from being overweight. It is common for overweight guinea pigs to suffer from a variety of different illnesses such as diabetes, bumblefoot, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It’s important to be mindful of the number on that scale, and keep it in a healthy range for your fur baby!

What Time Of Day Are Guinea Pigs Most Active?

Since guinea pigs are crepuscular, they’re most active and alert in the morning and early evening (e.g. dawn and dusk) – but they nap throughout the day and night. Keep that in mind when planning lap time or floor time.

Guinea pigs can become overstimulated if you exercise them for too long or at inconvenient times of the day; this will have a negative impact on their health and well-being in general!

Consider your pet’s needs when it comes to timing both physical activity as wells social interaction – much like humans do with one

How Much Exercise Does a Guinea Pig Need Each Day?

Typically, an hour of exercise outside of their cage a day is recommended to keep a guinea pig healthy – especially if your guinea pig is a little lazy. If you’re unable to take your guinea pig out each day for that amount of time, take steps to ensure your guinea pig is getting sufficient exercise in their cage.

A few ideas include: make sure they have the largest possible cage, equip their cage with a variety of toys for them to enjoy (e.g. hay stuffed toilet paper rolls, untreated chew sticks, cardboard tunnels), and low platforms and stones to safely climb on.

Is It Okay To Let Your Guinea Pig Run Around The House?

As a general rule, it’s okay to let your guinea pig roam around your house as long as you’ve taken precautions to keep it safe. Here are a few tips to keep your guinea pig safe while enjoying free reign of your home.

  • Make sure there are no poisonous plants or other household items available for your guinea pig to eat
  • Supervise to make sure your guinea pigs don’t get too close or interested in things that may cause them harm, such as electrical cords or heaters
  • If you have other pets (like dogs or cats), tuck them into another room or outside while your guinea pig is running around.
  • Make it a habit to close doors of cabinets or any other rooms you may not want your guinea pig wandering into. And block off areas that might be too dangerous for your little friend – you want them to have fun, but not to be in danger.

Final Thoughts On Exercising Lazy Guinea Pigs

In conclusion, if your guinea pig isn’t super active, they can still exercise! You now have lots of tips and tricks to get your lazy little friends back in the activity game.

Let’s recap the activities

  • Veggie Marathon
  • Fun Food Brick
  • Food Hunts
  • Let Your Guinea Pigs “Hang Out”
  • Remix The Food Bowl Experience
  • Start Slow To Go Fast
  • Avoid Slick Surfaces
  • Use Pit Stops To Encourage Movement
  • Deliciously Different Levels
  • Playtime Should Happen At Primetime
  • Make Exercise a Routine
  • Teach Your Guinea Pig Tricks
  • Provide A Really Big Cage

Remember that you’re not going for Olympic gold here – choose a few to try out and see what works for you and your little, fuzz butts!

And remember, the idea is to have fun. If it’s not something that both you and your little friends are enjoying doing any more then stop – and try something else.

Exercise and interaction with your piggies shouldn’t be a chore or punishment, but a fun, bonding time (with added health perks).

Any type of movement is good for your guinea pig, and it’ll make you happy too!

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Behrend, K. (1999). The Guinea pig. Barrons Educational Series.

Bucsis, G., & Somerville, B. (2011). Training your Guinea pig. B.E.S. Publishing.

Environmental enrichment – Guinea pigs, rats & snakes, oh my! (2020, April 17). Dane County Humane Society.

Guinea pig care. (2020, December 5). School of Veterinary Medicine.

Guinea Pig Care. (n.d.). ASPCA | American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Guinea pig care. (n.d.). Animal Humane Society.

Guinea pig housing. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States.

Guinea Pig Size-O-Meter. (n.d.). UNC Research.

Guinea pig wheels. (n.d.). Guinea Pig Information, Advice, and Fun.

Guinea pig. (2020, January 31). Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Pellham, K. H. (2015). Guinea pigs: The essential guide to ownership, care, and training for your pet. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

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