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CAGE LOCATION It’s all about Location, Location, Location! Cage location is of great important to ensure your guinea pig's long terms health and happiness. The location of any cage should also factor in the environment. We highly recommend an indoor cage location be provided. See Indoor housing for more information. Factors which you should always consider in any cage environment are: Temperature Stability: Your  guinea pig should be housed in an environment which enables the temperature to be monitored. Temperature fluctuations are not ideal as the domesticated guinea pig cannot  cope with temperature extremes or constant fluctuations. If an area is too hot or too cold for you, it is also too hot or cold for your guinea pig. According to the ANZCCART and The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Australia, the environmental requirements of domesticated guinea pigs are similar to those of the common laboratory species. ''Sutherland and Festing (1987) recommend the following conditions: Temperature 18-22C, 8-20 air changes/h, relative humidity 45- 70%, 12-16h light/day cycle. Group- housed guinea pigs provided with bedding withstand colder conditions, but neonates have reduced survival at temperatures below 17C. Temperatures over 30C are not tolerated well, particularly by pregnant sows.'' (The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Australia) Indoor housing is recommended for temperature monitoring. Having the ease of electrical appliances such as fans, ice is nearby, air conditions in summer; Hot wattle bottles, microwaves for gel pack reheating for the winter months, it creates an environment that can be monitored in any extreme. Humidity:  Humid, hot or moist air needs to be avoided in your guinea pigs environment. A low, stable and humid free room is ideal. Rooms to avoid include bathrooms and laundries which will often have fluctuations in humidity levels. These levels can cause respiratory distress if your guinea pig is exposed to  these humid extremes for prolonged periods of time. Choose a room where these fluctuations will not be a daily issue.   Light:  A source of indirect sunlight is recommended for your guinea pig, to ensure vitamin D  is present in their environment which is derived from sunlight naturally, and also that they have enough light for natural daylight activities.  An adequate source of light helps your guinea pig  become used to a routine. Guinea pigs love routine, its helps them become comfortable and secure in their environment. A set feeding time early in the morning and in the evening will also assist it making sure your guinea pig becomes more comfortable in your home. Please note: Do not choose an area for your guinea pig that it is direct sunlight or against glass windows or doors. You do not want your guinea pig to be in the sun all day as the temperature will be too hot. Mental Stimulation: Guinea pigs should be able to hear, see, smell and be present in all family activities. Choose an area where they will be part of the family. When guinea pigs are in a room which is excluded from household activities they may be forgotten or only noticed when needed. Guinea pigs can become quite tame and often will love being petted by family members once they are recognised in a room which is used by the rest of the household. Drafts: If any drafts are present they can cause URI (Upper Respiratory Infections). Choose an area which is draft free or alternatively if a room has drafts present ensure the room is made draft proof prior to placing your guinea pigs cage inside the area. Other Locations to Consider and TIPS Garages: A garage can be an ideal cage location IF it is a finished part of your household. Garages which have walls which do not offer sufficient draft, pest and predator protection are not ideal nor should  they  be considered as a suitable cage location. You also need to consider if your guinea pig will still be seen as part of the household and have interaction with you and your family. Guinea pigs should be seen as a part of your family not simply as a commodity. Ensure no cars are stored or kept in the garage with your guinea pig. Car fumes in small amounts can be toxic both in the short and long term. No dangerous chemicals can be kept in your garage, no flammable equipment. You must ensure you create a safe, secure environment - essentially a household environment for your guinea pig.   Patios/Sun Rooms: These locations are very popular in Australia mainly because they offer a sheltered environment for your guinea pig whilst also having the benefit of storing your guinea pigs accessories, hay and other equipment outdoors. Some owners also prefer these locations as they offer the adaptability of creating a larger cage size then they would be able to  offer indoors. It may also be a concession for owners who cannot keep their cavies inside the house, but still want to offer a protected area for your guinea pig. The main concern with the above cage locations are: Heat and Cold Management - Ensuring that temperature extremes and fluctuations are handled and maintained. Can you ensure your guinea pig will be kept cool in summer and warm in winter? Will they be protected from the elements such as wind, rain and hail? Pest Control - All cages need to be protected from insects especially flies to avoid fly strike Predators - If your cage is exposed so are your guinea pigs not only to animal predators but to human predators as well. Guinea pigs have been known to be stolen from patio decks and sun rooms if no locked doors are in place. It is highly advised to ensure you fully secure the area via installing a padlocked, secured door to the entrance of your sun room or patio, thus creating an “indoor” secure environment. Patios and Sun rooms can make very good cage locations provided they are secured, finished as part of your existing house hold structure and measures have been undertaken to ensure your guinea pig is as protected as it would be from a fully enclosed indoor environment. Hutches and Lawn Cages: Please see Outdoor vs Indoor Housing to obtain a comprehensive guide as to why these housing options are not considered a permanent solution for your guinea pigs well being or long term happiness. TIPS Some helpful hints and tips to consider when choosing a cage location are: Do not keep  your cage on the ground - Vibrations, vaccuming , footsteps and other tremors can cause your guinea pig to become unsettled. Imagine living in a house which is constantly vibrating! Keep your cage off the ground. Stands can easily be made. See Cage Design for some ideas. Maintain adult supervision - Any pet is a responsibility. Guinea pigs are no exception. Always choose a location where an adult can keep an eye on activities surrounding the cage and how the guinea pigs are handled. See Before Adopting for key points on responsible pet ownership.
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