guinea pig playpen

What Do You Put in a Guinea Pig Playpen? 11 DIY Ideas

Wondering, "What do you put in a guinea pig playpen?" is a common query among new pet parents.

Being a skilled Vet and guinea parent, I've been through the highs and lows, trying every new thing to put in their playpens, and found my guinea's all-time favorite combo: cage liners, space and soft materials - but that's not all... [1]

In this article, you'll learn expert insights and practical tips to set up a perfect playpen for your furry friends.

Keep reading to discover 11 brilliant ideas for your guinea's playpen ASAP!

Key Takeaways

  • Provide Ample Space: Guinea pigs need plenty of room to roam and exercise. Ensure the playpen offers enough floor space for your furry friends to move around comfortably. 
  • Include Mental Stimulation: Guinea pigs are curious creatures and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom. 
  • Promote a Safe and Healthy Environment: Use washable liners, such as fleece liners or cardboard boxes, as a soft surface for your guinea pigs. 

11 Creative DIY Ideas for Outfitting Your Guinea Pig's Playpen

A well-equipped playpen includes a comfortable lining material, hideouts, tunnels, and a variety of toys to encourage play and exercise. But because of a high choking hazard, steer clear of sharp toys or accessories, especially if they're brittle.

Here are 11 ideas on what to put in a guinea pig playpen:

1. Cage liners

Cage liners are my go-to for ensuring my guinea's comfort and cleanliness.

Thanks to my years of guinea care, I've found that a well-chosen liner not only keeps the cage tidy but also makes my furry friend's playpen a cozy haven.

These liners, when spread out evenly, offer a soft landing for every hop, skip, and jump. In fact, my guinea enjoys a cleaner, more comfortable space to explore, play, and rest.

Truly, everything you need for a guinea pig includes this essential item - it's a small addition that makes a world of difference in your guinea pig's living conditions.

Before you move to the next tip, check out this video!


2. Soft surface

A soft surface is non-negotiable for my guinea pig's tender feet.

Over the years, I've adorned their playpen with fleece liners or plush fabric, ensuring every step they take is cushioned and comfy.

The variety of colors and designs these liners offer not only pampers my pet but also seamlessly blends with my home aesthetics.

I sometimes layer towels or blankets at the bottom for that extra touch of softness. Safety is paramount; hence, I always ensure to inspect the fabric meticulously for any loose threads to keep my little buddy safe and sound.

After all, every detail counts when it comes to their comfort and safety.

3. Hiding spots

Cardboard boxes and small tunnels aren’t just accessories but essential elements that offer them a retreat, a place where they can unwind and feel secure.

Feel free to get creative - for example, use popsicle sticks to construct unique hiding spots.

Better yet, scatter them across different playpen areas or ingeniously stack them to form an intricate tunnel system.

It’s a sight to behold watching guinea pigs explore, hide, and play in these crafted sanctuaries, echoing a natural habitat where they feel most at home.

4. Mental stimulation

Mental stimulation - like toys and puzzles - keeps your furry friends active and engaged.

My guinea pigs are particularly fond of chew toys, rolling balls, and those ingenious treat-dispensing toys that not only entertain but also stimulate their curious minds.

So don't forget to check their playpen. For example, are there tunnels and cardboard hideaways?

If not, imagine transforming that space into a mini adventure park, a haven where your pet can explore and retreat at will.

In fact, these mental perks are more than mere play items; they are sanctuaries where guineas can exit when they need a moment of solitude.

5. Vegetables

Seeing my guinea pig’s excitement at a bowl of fresh veggies is always a highlight of my day. It’s a joy that’s grown over the years of caring for these little ones.

Adding fresh veggies to their playpen is more than a tasty treat; it’s an opportunity for them to engage in natural foraging behaviors.

But here’s a tip - while these veggies offer essential vitamins and minerals, guineas should eat them in moderation...

And besides, it’s crucial to ensure the veggies are always fresh and to promptly remove any leftovers to keep their play area clean and safe.

Of course, you don’t want old veggies to become a health hazard, right?

So, if you’re thinking of a special treat for your guinea pig, go with a veggie playpen setup. It promotes exploration and foraging while offering nutritious snacks for your pet.

Just keep an eye on the freshness of those veggies to ensure your furry friend is always munching on the best!

6. Separate space

If you have multiple guinea pigs, create separate areas within the playpen with storage cube panels or coroplast bases to prevent dominance issues.

These separate spaces can be used to house different guinea pigs but also to provide a safe space for one guinea pig in case the other gets too rowdy.

Each area should be large enough for the guinea pig to move around freely and should have plenty of bedding for them to burrow in.

7. Litter box

Train your guinea pigs to use a litter tray filled with paper-based bedding, making clean-up easier and keeping the rest of the playpen tidy.

To start the process of how to litter train guinea pigs, select a litter tray the right size for your guinea pigs and fill it with bedding such as shredded paper or wood shavings.

Avoid using sawdust or cedar shavings, which can cause respiratory irritation in some guinea pigs. 

9. Food and water

Ensure that your little buddy always has access to fresh water and a balanced diet.

So, how do you go about it? 

Start with a sturdy food bowl and a reliable water bottle. Fill them up with fresh water and specially formulated guinea pig food, a practice I’ve found indispensable in keeping my guinea healthy and happy.

And this isn't all... A sprinkle of fresh vegetables, hay, and fruits not only adds variety but ensures they’re getting all the essential nutrients.

A quick tip from a seasoned guinea pig parent: Always be on the lookout for any uneaten food.

10. Toys

Stimulate your guinea pigs’ minds and encourage activity by providing them with toys such as tunnels, hideaways, balls, and other interesting objects.

Knowing this, tunnels are a great way for your guinea pigs to explore and express their natural burrowing instinct.

Generally speaking, look for tunnels made of cardboard, plastic, or fabric that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

In fact, providing a well-equipped guinea pig playpen ensures your adorable pets have plenty of space to explore and offers mental stimulation and a safe environment for them to thrive.

11. Blankets

A blanket, hay!

A soft, cozy blanket can turn a corner of the playpen into a comfort haven for your guinea pig.

It’s not just about warmth; it’s about creating a space where your furry friend can relax and feel secure.

I’ve noticed my guinea pig loves to snuggle into the folds, enjoying the softness against their skin. It’s a touch of home, a familiar comfort in a play-filled environment.

Easy to clean and replace, blankets are a staple for ensuring your pet’s playpen is as cozy as it is entertaining. Every new blanket is an invitation to comfort, a small change that brings noticeable joy.

And now, let's learn about some extra features you need to know about...

Enhancing Your Guinea Pig's Playpen: 5 Must-Have Features

Stepping into guinea pig care, certain features can turn a basic playpen into a haven for your little buddy. Let's skip ahead...

1. Ample space

Every guinea pig owner knows the importance of a spacious playpen. It’s not just a confined space but a world where our furry friends explore, play, and live.

But how spacious should a guinea pig playpen be? Well, with guineas hopping around, I’ve realized the magic number is at least 7.5 square feet of space.

In the world of guinea pig playpens, size does matter. It’s not just about giving them room to roam but ensuring they have the mental stimulation needed for a happy, healthy life.

After all, I always find my guinea pigs more cheerful and active when they have plenty of space to explore. It’s a sight to behold – them hopping around, exploring every nook and cranny, and just being their curious selves.

But it’s not just about the floor space. The quality of the playpen, the soft surface under their tiny feet, the absence of loud noises, and the presence of fresh vegetables for a little snack - every detail counts. 

2. Adequate lighting

While guinea pigs enjoy natural light, ensure the playpen is in a draft-free area away from direct sunlight to prevent overheating.

It is important to consider the lighting in the guinea pig playpen to ensure a comfortable and safe environment for your furry friend.

When setting up the pen, look for adequate sources of light that will make it easy to observe your pet.

Soft lighting can help create a soothing atmosphere for the guinea pig and limit its stress levels.

3. Safe Environment

"Guinea pigs are nervous animals and may refuse to drink or eat for a period after any significant change in their location, feed, or husbandry," says Jennifer Frohlich, VMD, DACLAM [2].

To ensure a stable, supportive environment, remove any hazardous objects, toxic plants, or small parts your guinea pigs could chew on or swallow.

Adding cozy bedding is the next step.

Whether you choose specially designed guinea pig beds or other absorbent materials like paper towels or fleece blankets, comfort is key.

Remember to keep their sleeping area clean and fresh by changing the bedding regularly.

4. Exercise Options

I always make sure my guinea pigs have a variety of exercise options. Adding ramps, tunnels, or even small agility courses keeps them active and lets their natural behaviors shine.

guinea pig inside a wooden tunnel

If you pick a ramp, you can choose from wood, plastic, or cardboard and line the edge with something soft so that your guinea pig’s feet are protected.

Besides, for daily exercise, it is important to have a larger playpen for your guinea pigs. Another fun exercise option is to add tunnels to your playpen.

You'll find that tunnels provide a great way for guinea pigs to explore and escape their enclosure.

They also make for great hiding spots for when your guinea pig needs some alone time.

There are a variety of materials you can use, from cardboard tubes to PVC pipes you can cut into different shapes.

5. Temporary cages

I often use a guinea pig playpen as a temporary home, especially during those times when I'm cleaning their main enclosure or when I feel my little pals could use a change of scenery. 

They see it as a mini vacation...

Safety is my top priority when setting up these temporary spaces.

Knowing this, I ensure that every corner is secure and the environment is as cozy and safe as their permanent home, offering peace of mind while they explore a new setting or relax while I tidy up their usual space.

Now let's go into the FAQs section, where I’ll tackle those lingering questions and offer more insights to boost our furry friends' comfort, safety, and enjoyment...


1. Can I put a wheel in my guinea pig’s playpen?

Wheels aren’t recommended for guinea pigs as they can cause back issues due to their natural body structure.

2. How often should I clean the playpen?

Clean the playpen at least once a week, ensuring a hygienic environment and checking the condition of toys and accessories.

3. Is it safe to leave my guinea pigs unattended in the playpen?

Always supervise your guinea pigs, especially initially, to ensure they are safe and the accessories are appropriate.


With your question "What do you put in a guinea pig playpen?" answered, you know how comfort, safety, and entertainment are critical for your guinea's wellbeing...

Thanks to soft lining materials, safe hideouts, and appropriate toys, you'll create a happy and healthy environment for them.

Remember, each pet is unique; observe their preferences and behaviors to tailor the playpen accordingly.

By being attentive, you'll have more to ensure their environment is serene, improving not only their well-being but extending their lives...

Lastly, don't forget to leave a comment and tell me about your tips, tricks, guinea pig lifehacks - and whatnot!

Until next time...


1. Care of Guinea Pigs [Internet]. Available from:

2. DONNELLY.THOMAS. Guinea Pigs [Internet]. Veterinary Manual. MSD Veterinary Manual; 2020. Available from:


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