A guinea pig is one of the most interesting little pets that you can own. Not only are they adorable, but they’ve got a fun personality that never seems to get old.
While guinea pigs may be small creatures, they do tend to be quite demanding of your time, money, and resources. Many owners seem to be unprepared for the time and money that guinea pigs cost them.
So, how much do guinea pigs actually cost? Are they cheap pets that anyone can afford, or are they only for people with significant money to spend on a pet?
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How Much Does A Guinea Pig Cost?
A guinea pig typically costs between $20 and $50 for a healthy juvenile/adult. However, prices can range from $10 to $100+ depending on the breeder and type of guinea pig.
There are other costs of guinea pig ownership that need to be considered, too.
Essential, initial costs are typically around $150, while ongoing costs of ownership are around $200 per year.
So, guinea pigs really aren’t expensive pets, but there are some costs that you should be aware of
Below, we’ll cover the costs of guinea pig ownership in-depth. This includes the purchase price of the guinea pig itself, in addition to the enclosure and supplies you’ll need to keep a guinea pig happy.
Guinea Pig Cost Breakdown
|Guinea Pig||$20 – $50|
|Cage||$75 – $150|
|Covered Shelter||$15 – $30|
|Food/Water Dish||$20 – $30|
|Bed||$15 – $25|
|Carrier||$15 – $30|
|Toys||$15 – $30||$15 – $30|
|Food||$120 – $150||$120 – $150|
|Bedding||$75 – $100||$75 – $100|
|Treats||$15 – $40||$15 – $40|
|Grooming Supplies||$10 – $20||$5 – $10|
|Vet Visits||$0 – $100||$0 – $100|
|Additional Medical Needs||$0 – $20||$0 – $20|
Cost Of Purchasing The Guinea Pig Itself
The guinea pig itself is only a small portion of the total cost of guinea pig ownership. There isn’t a guideline for guinea pig pricing that people follow, so there isn’t a single price that they’re sold for. However, you should expect to pay around $20 to $50 for a guinea pig.
When it comes to the purchasing of a guinea pig, or any animal, cheaper usually isn’t the way to go. It’s generally not a good idea to seek out the cheapest guinea pig that you can find, as they’re usually neglected and more unhealthy than a standard guinea pig.
Guinea pigs that cost a bit more usually have that price tag because of the better care that they’ve received. These more expensive guinea pigs typically come from reputable guinea pig breeders.
Many guinea pig owners agree that you should try to avoid buying a guinea pig from a large pet shop. This is because these guinea pigs are usually quite unhealthy, and purchasing them just encourages more of their bad behavior. Therefore, it’s best to go to a rescue to get your guinea pig.
The guinea pig population is out of control, with many more guinea pigs existing than homes willing to take them in. Using a website such as Petfinder.com is a great way to find individual guinea pigs that are for sale.
These cavies can be either more or less expensive than a store-bought guinea pig, but there’s no question that adoption is the best thing that you can do.
Initial Guinea Pig Costs
A guinea pig’s cage and the accessories within it are very important. You can’t just throw your guinea pig into any cage without the proper supplies and expect them to thrive. There are a few supplies that are absolutely essential for guinea pigs.
Fortunately, most of these supplies will only need to be purchased once, so it’s smart to invest in a higher-quality variant of the product.
Many new guinea pig owners mess up when it comes to purchasing a proper cage for their piggie. They are one of the largest rodents that you can own, but many people keep them in a cage that is much smaller than what they need.
A proper guinea pig cage is at least 7.5 square feet, with cages for two guinea pigs needing to be around 10 square feet. Additionally, the cage should be easy to clean, very accessible, and made with safe materials.
There are quite a few things to consider when getting your guinea pig a good cage, so that’s why we’ve created a guide on finding the best guinea pig cage. You should expect to spend at least $75 on a cage, with the best cages being priced around $150-$200.
It’s generally a smart idea to get the best cage that you can afford, as you’ll have the cage for a long time and your guinea pig will spend a good portion of their lives in it.
Covered Shelter Cost
Guinea pigs are pretty social creatures and will make an effort to be around you a lot of the time. However, like humans, they sometimes need their space and need to be alone to feel secure. In order to help them be the most comfortable in their cage, offering them a covered shelter in essentially a necessity.
These shelters can be very simple in construction and not cost more than $20. As long as they provide adequate shelter from the outside world while also being made of safe materials, they should be fine for your guinea pig. This shelter is one of the most popular ones available, and it provides enough space for two guinea pigs to relax.
Your guinea pig may chew on the shelter, so make sure that you’re choosing one that’s fine to chew. Additionally, if they do chew on the shelter, be aware that you may eventually need to pay to replace it. Most guinea pigs don’t chew their shelter too much, though.
Litter Box Cost
When it comes to guinea pigs and litter training, things are a bit different from other animals. While you won’t see guinea pigs using a litter box in the same way that ferrets or cats do, they do generally constrain their bathroom usage to a single area.
So, if you can get your guinea pig used to using the bathroom in the bedding contained in a litter box, it will make the clean-up process a lot easier.
A box with higher walls that attaches to the sides of a cage is optimal so that it contains bedding well and can’t be moved around easily. This litter box is a great size for one or two guinea pigs, but you can definitely opt for a bigger box.
You can also make a homemade guinea pig litter box from plastic containers or safe cardboard boxes, but litter boxes are very cheap to purchase, costing only around $10.
Food/Water Bowls Cost
Guinea pigs need some specialty items for their cages, and their food and water containers are no exception. It’s well-known that guinea pigs love to chew on plastic, so plastic food bowls, and water bottles must be avoided at all costs.
Guinea pigs eat pellets in addition to hay, so a quality hay feeder will be required as well. It’s best to get quality food and water containers as they’ll generally last a lot longer than cheaper ones.
For food, most guinea pig owners opt to utilize a 2-in-1 hay rack and food bowl such as this one. This is a wooden container, so it may need to be replaced a few times, but it’s great quality and makes it easy for guinea pigs to get their food.
Your guinea pig’s water bottle should be glass to prevent chewing, so something like this would do nicely. The combination of these two things usually costs between $20 and $30.
One thing to note is that your guinea pig’s litter box can use hay as the litter, as guinea pigs like to use the bathroom where they eat. This hay is safe for them to eat as long as you frequently change it out. So, the litter box can be considered another food container.
Guinea pigs do quite a bit of sleeping, so supplying them with a good bed is a great way to keep them happy and healthy. This isn’t a very difficult thing to get for your guinea pig, as they aren’t very picky when it comes to a bed.
There are two main kinds that you can get, either a cup-like bed, or a covered bed. This is up to personal preference, but most owners opt for the cup bed if they also supply their guinea pig with a covered shelter.
It’s also a good idea to lay down a fluffy towel to act as a simple secondary resting area.
A bed won’t cost you very much money, and most of the time they’re simply a one-time purchase of around $20. It is important to wash the bed regularly, though, as this helps it stay in good shape and also keeps it healthy to sleep on.
If you plan on taking your guinea pig anywhere, you’ll need a secure carrier to keep them in. In fact, it’s recommended that you take regular trips to the vet, so a carrier is basically a necessity.
A carrier works to keep your guinea pig contained and less stressed as it keeps them separated from the strange outside world. You will only use the carrier a few times per year, but it’s a very good piece of equipment to have.
A quality carrier such as this one works to keep guinea pigs safe during transit. Even the best carriers don’t cost much money at all, so it’s an easy investment to make. Also, due to the fact that you won’t be using the carrier very much, it will undergo very little wear and tear.
This will allow the carrier to easily last throughout the duration of your guinea pig’s life. Not bad for around $20!
Guinea pigs have a natural tendency to do quite a bit of chewing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to give your guinea pig an assortment of safe toys that they can satisfy their chewing urges with.
Guinea pigs aren’t very picky, so just pick out a toy that is 100% safe for them to chew. Some toys have caused problems, so make sure that you read reviews before making a purchase.
Guinea pigs do chew a lot, so they tend to make short work of toys. Fortunately these chew toys are very cheap, so replacing them regularly doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Also, supplying your guinea pig with adequate chew toys works to keep them from chewing their cage and cage accessories. Therefore, they end up saving money over time.
Yearly costs of toys for guinea pigs typically runs around $20.
Recurring Guinea Pig Costs
There are quite a few pieces of guinea pig gear that only need to be purchased once. However, there are a few things that you’ll need to purchase pretty frequently that make up the majority of yearly costs.
These are supplies that your guinea pig will use daily, so getting high-quality variants of these supplies is definitely recommended. It will be a bit more expensive, but the benefits are well worth it.
A guinea pig’s food is extremely influential in their health, so it isn’t something that you want to cheap out on. Guinea pigs have specific nutritional needs, so it’s very important that you put in the effort to supply your cavy with the food that they need.
In terms of what guinea pigs eat, there’s two main parts, and those are hay and pellets. Providing your guinea pig with a good mixture of these two foods is a great way to keep their diets nutritionally-complete and tasty for them to eat.
For a pellet food, Oxbow’s timothy hay-based food is easily one of the best options for your guinea pig. As for the hay, something like this orchard grass is packed with nutrients and is very healthy for your guinea pig.
You’ll need to replenish bags of pellets every once in a while, while hay will need to be replaced more frequently. These two foods will make up a bulk of the yearly cost of owning a guinea pig, typically coming out to around $150 annually.
Almost every guinea pig cage is filled with bedding unless fleece is used as a substitute. This bedding works to do a few things for the cage it’s used in. It absorbs urine and odors, provides a comfortable place to walk and sleep, and generally keeps a guinea pig’s cage much more clean and welcoming.
When you’re looking for a bedding for your guinea pig, you need to make sure that it’s dust-free, safe to consume in small amounts, and biodegradable. Our guide on finding the best guinea pig bedding gives you all of the information that you need to know on this topic.
Your guinea pig’s bedding will need to be changed frequently, as old bedding can be a health hazard. Therefore, consistently buying bedding will add up in your yearly costs of ownership.
To save money, it helps to buy bedding in very large quantities, such as this package. You’re going to use the bedding anyway, so buying it in bulk is a great way to save money.
Bulk bedding purchases will keep your costs down to about $80 per year.
A high-quality guinea pig treat is a great way to diversify their diet and reward them for good behavior. There are many different kinds of guinea pig treats on the market, so it’s up to you to decide what to feed your guinea pig.
Do note that there are many inexpensive treats available that are terrible for guinea pigs. While there are cheap guinea pig treats that are healthy, it generally isn’t the best idea to get the cheapest treats that you can find.
You can either supply your guinea pig with a simple store-bought treat such as these timothy hay chew sticks, or you can feed them an assortment of vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and celery. Treats won’t cost you a lot of money at around $25 per year, but they are a consistent thing that you will need to purchase.
Grooming Supplies Cost
Guinea pigs may be small, but they do require a bit of grooming from time to time! There are several things that you can do to keep your guinea pig groomed, such as bathing, hair cutting, and nail trimming.
Each of these things require some supplies, but it’s all relatively inexpensive and usually lasts for years. It’s also up to you on how frequently and extensively you should you groom your guinea pig.
Nail clippers are relatively inexpensive and only need to be purchased once, and the same goes for a brush and scissors. For bathing, you can either go with a pet shampoo such as this one by Kaytee or a standard baby shampoo.
The only thing that you’ll need to replace is the shampoo, although a bottle will last for a very long time. It only costs about $20 to get all of the necessary supplies.
Vet Visits Cost
Just like humans, guinea pigs should see a vet regularly in order to ensure their health and catch problems before they escalate. Taking your guinea pig to an exotic animal specialist once a year is one of the best things that you can do for their health. It can also be a great way to save money, as doing so can alert you to problems before they become expensive and dangerous to deal with.
Checkups tend to cost between $50 and $100, so they can add up over the years.
Additional Medical Needs Cost
The health of any living creature, including guinea pigs, can be unpredictable and full of surprises. If you take good care of your guinea pig, there is a smaller chance of a problem arising. However, no matter how well you take care of your cavy, they can still come down with some kind of illness.
If you’re not financially prepared for these random situations, they can cause financial distress if they do happen to occur. Therefore, it’s a smart idea to set aside a small emergency fund so that you can deal with problems as they arise.
Are Guinea Pigs Cheap Pets To Own?
Overall, guinea pigs aren’t very cheap pets to own. While they aren’t exorbitantly expensive, they do require a substantial initial investment and have yearly costs that may be a lot for some people.
Of course, the initial cost of guinea pig ownership can be a lot if you purchase higher-quality supplies. While the initial hit on your wallet may be a lot, the quality of the supplies will allow them to last for years upon years.
The ongoing costs of owning a guinea pig are highly dependent on the health of your guinea pig. A healthy cavy will cost next to nothing yearly when it comes to medical costs, but a sick one will require a good amount of money in vet visits and medications.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume the worst financially despite the fact that the chances of spending more than our estimated amounts are very low.
So, guinea pigs aren’t “cheap” to own, but they’re not too bad, either. Regardless, guinea pigs make for fantastic pets that provide a ton of love and entertainment. If you’re serious about guinea pigs, the benefits that you’ll get from your pet are well worth the cost of guinea pig ownership.