This is something good to know before committing to getting one and care for it for the duration of its life. I know some people think that it is a small pet so therefore it wouldn’t cost much. I will delve into what you can really expect to pay per year for the pleasure of owning a guinea pig.
How Much Does A Guinea Pig Cost
To buy a guinea pig at a pet store the cost will be $10-$50. This factor can vary depending on the breed of the guinea pig and the area you live in. You can also check with your local animal shelter to see if they have any, the average cost to adopt from the animal shelter is $25.
The price will vary more if you go to a breeder and are looking to adopt one of the rarer breeds of guinea pigs. Stick around and see what information you can find on to costs of keeping a guinea pig.
How Much Does The Cage Cost?
This can vary greatly, however you can get a new cage as low as $35. And can range up to $300. This wide range is due to sizes, features, and the material it is constructed from. Some come with everything needed to start and some come just the cage. You have a wide set of options to start or to upgrade to.
For one guinea pig (which is not recommended by most) you will need a cage that is 7.5 square feet, or about 30”x36”. And for 2 you will need to have about 10 square feet or 30”x50”.
You can get the material to construct your own cage and maybe save a little on the cost. You can look for used cages and save, while also recycling something. There are many options in this area to help you save with the initial start-up cost. You can upgrade as you go and your guinea pig will be delighted.
Any cage that you get new or used should be thoroughly scrubbed down and set up before getting your guinea pig. You will want to have this ready when you get him home not waiting till afterward.
Items that you will need to set the cage up properly:
Water Bottle $4-$12
Food Bowl x 2: $8-$12 each (options) use something you have.
Hide Away $6-$25 (options) Use something you have.
Chews & Toys $2-$15 each (options) Use something you have.
You will have to double some of these if you have more than 1 guinea pig.
I will give some saving tips and examples further down.
A shoebox could be used for a hide-away to start out. Just cut a proper size hole. Basically, anything that isn’t plastic and will sit stable can be used for your guinea pig to hide in. If you have multiple guinea pigs then you will need a separate hid for each.
The average cost if you buy everything new will be $150.- $400. Depending on where you go and your personal choices. This doesn’t include the food you will need yet. I will cover that later.
Now is when you need to get your guinea pig in to see a vet. Have them checked out properly so you will know that there are no health problems to start out. Your vet will also be able to give you any information about your pet and how to care for him if you do not know.
This will cost around $50. But is essential. And should be done on a yearly basis. They will do your guinea pigs’ nails and check their teeth during these visits. Please never skip having your guinea pig checked.
Now that you have the cage and the healthy guinea pig you will also need everything else to take care of them properly. This is where the ongoing costs start.
You will need Hay. Hay must be provided at all times for your guinea pig. This is essential for their digestive system and for dental care. There is really no option to providing hay. This will be close to 70% of your piggy’s diet.
This will cost $5.-$30. depending on brand and size.
Pellets, this is the main source of your guinea pigs’ nutrients and vitamins. This will need to be pellets that are formulated specifically for guinea pigs. They can not produce vitamin C so need to have it supplemented in their diet. This will be about 25% of the guinea pig diet. Cost $10.-$25. Bag.
Fresh Foods, guinea pigs should get about 1 cup a day per pig. This can be done by giving them the scraps and peelings from your kitchen. They must not be wilted or bad but your guinea pig will eat the parts you don’t want. About 5% of their diet, costs $5.-$8. A week if not done by scraps.
You will need 2 food dishes as well as a hay rack. 1 dish for the pellets, and 1 dish for the fresh food. If you have bowls that are tip-proof and are not made of plastic there is no reason you can’t use them. Guinea pigs like to put their front feet in the dish while they eat so a slightly larger dish with shallow sides is best.
You will not want to mix the fresh foods and the pellets in the same dish. The pellets will absorb the moisture from the fresh food and get moldy faster. The fresh food can also dilute the vitamin c from the pellets leaving it in drips at the bottom of the cage.
You may need a 3rd bowl if your guinea pig will not drink from a water bottle. It doesn’t happen often but there are some guinea pigs that never transition from the dish to the bottle. It is best to provide 2 water bottles, especially if you have 2 piggies. Some do not like to share and will keep one dehydrated.
If you can drink the water it will be fine for your guinea pig as well. Some people will tell you to buy bottled water for your guinea pig. Bottled water wasn’t an everyday thing when I had my Porky, he got tap water just like the rest of the family, including the dog, and cat. He lived to be 14 which is unnaturally long.
This is one of the hardest calculations to make because of the varied beddings that are available. There is also the one-time purchase of fleece linings that are washed and reused. That would eliminate buying bedding all the time. There are wood chips, paper, wood pellets, recycled paper.
You will want to learn about the absorbency and odor control of the product you choose. Do not use any cedar shavings, as cedar is toxic to guinea pigs. The average cost for bedding $7.-$50. You will have to decide what is best for you, your piggy, and your budget.
Toys are not just for your guinea pig to play with, a lot of them are also for chewing on to help keep the teeth at a proper length since their teeth never stop growing. However, this task is primarily taken care of by the hay they chew on. You will want to provide them with other things to chew on as well.
A washed-up old ping pong or golf ball, a wadded-up piece of paper, some twigs from fruit trees, so long as no pesticides were used on them. These are just a few examples of free things you may already have to use as toys for your guinea pig.
They will also play with empty tubes from TP or paper towels. Tunnels can be made of carpet tubes or PVC. there are a number of ways to entertain your guinea pig without a lot of costs. Giving them lots of time with you is their best entertainment.
Start-up costs are $150.-$400. If everything is new.
You can expect to pay about $40.-$100. Per month for your guinea pig. It will all depend on your choices.