Pocket pets, like Guinea pigs, tend to pack a lot of cute companionship into a seemingly low-cost package. When you see an adorable Guinea pig next to a double-digit price tag it is easy to think, “Oh, that's not so bad. I could absolutely afford to care for one of these little guys!” However, that price can be quite deceptive.
Like any pet, Guinea pigs are far more than their initial cost. They are a commitment that consists of food, housing, and medical costs throughout their life span. If you are looking to welcome a Guinea pig into your life, it is worth estimating the costs associated with caring for them, that way you can be confident in your ability to provide quality care.
Your New Furry Best Friend
Do you have your eye on a specific Guinea pig from a reputable breeder, rescue, or pet shop near you? Maybe you are still in the early phases of considering a Guinea pig as a companion. Regardless of how you intend to obtain your new companion, you will notice that Guinea pig costs can vary greatly depending on where they come from.
Since Guinea pigs can be unexpectedly labor-intensive for inexperienced and uneducated owners, you may come across some that are offered up for free or a very minimal fee. Rescues may also take in Guinea pigs and adopt them out for a low fee that varies based on the location and any pre-adoption medical care they may require.
Your basic pet store typically has cavies available for around $50, but specialty breeds like skinny pigs can be closer to triple-digit pricing. This is especially true if you are planning to acquire your Guinea pig from a specialty breeder.
The prices discussed prior are in regards to a single Guinea pig, but as any experienced cavy owner knows, Guinea pigs require a companion to thrive. When considering the cost of a Guinea pig most things should be doubled, as two is the minimum for maintaining proper social health.
Funding A Proper Guinea Pig Home
Once you decide on how many Guinea pigs you want to care for, it is time to build their home in anticipation of their arrival! Guinea pigs generally require a minimum space of 7.5 square ft, but more space is better, especially with multiple Guinea pigs! More space allows for your guinea pigs to be more active, which keeps them healthy and agile even as they get older.
Rodent cages with plastic, non-grated floors are suitable and come in a variety of sizes. These plastic bottom enclosures, or coroplasts, with metal grids generally cost between 50 to 150 dollars.
The bigger the enclosure, the more it costs. Some individuals even opt to create or purchase custom enclosures with multiple floors, built-in hides, and other additions. Specialty enclosures such as these are more likely to cost over 100 dollars and can vary greatly in price.
The Offbeat Club Piggy Condo C&C Cage is the best cage out there, especially when combined with our GuineaDad Liner and GuineaDad Premium Liner. We’ve created all these products with not only your guinea pig’s safety and comfort in mind, but with the mindset that we want our cage to be long-lasting and durable. Keeping your guinea pig happy and healthy first starts with a safe living environment!
Once you have chosen an enclosure it is time to decorate! The must-have list includes
- Multiple guinea pig hides, at least one for each Guinea pig - Estimated at $15 each
- Hay! We recommend our GuineaDad Hay Boxes - Estimated at $40 for three boxes (Each box lasts approximately a month for a pair of guinea pigs!)
- Sturdy ceramic food bowl- Estimated at $5
- Water bottle - Estimated at $10
- GuineaDad washable, fleece liners for guinea pig cages - Estimated at $55 per pack
- Enrichment & chew toys - Estimated at $8 per toy
Each of the items on this list comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and prices. The prices listed above are rough estimates based on the current costs of guinea pig supplies and it is worth noting that some of these supplies, like guinea pig hides and hay for guinea pigs, have to be replaced as they get worn down or used up. This means many of these costs will be recurring throughout your Guinea pigs’ lives.
Creating A Well-Rounded Diet
The key to keeping your guinea pig healthy is providing a well-rounded diet. Guinea pigs require a constant supply of low calcium hay, high-fiber guinea pig pellets, vitamin C, and nutrient-rich vegetables.
Our guinea pig hay boxes and hay bars are generally around 40 dollars and fresh vegetables may cost less than 15 dollars a week depending on where you live and which vegetables you chose. Vitamin C supplements, such as Rosehip, are easily accessible in case vitamin C-rich vegetables are not, and they generally cost less than 10 dollars a bottle. These costs all multiply when there are more mouths to feed, so an adjustment period may be necessary before you determine exactly how much you need to purchase each week.
No well-cared-for pet is without medical expenses, guinea pigs included. The basics of medical care for Guinea pigs include wellness visits, grooming supplies, and a spay or neuter depending on their housing situation.
Guinea pigs are generally classified as exotic pets in the world of veterinary medicine, so you will need to find a clinic that is accustomed to caring for them. The average wellness visit for a Guinea pig falls between 50 and 100 dollars. If there is an issue that needs to be addressed, the cost of a vet visit can easily reach over 100 dollars and the cost of treatment can easily reach over 200 dollars.
Grooming expenses are very minimal in comparison. A good brush and small rodent nail trimmers are around 10 dollars and make for easy at-home upkeep!
Overall Financial Expectations
The expenses associated with becoming a guinea pig parent can feel daunting when they are all laid out, but they are manageable. Planning and saving for all of the upfront expenses can put you in a good place to start. Once you get your furry friends, having a backup fund for unexpected fees or pet insurance to help with medical costs can make the unexpected more manageable.
Caring for a guinea pig may not be free, but they are well worth the investment if you have some funds to spare. If you are hoping to become a guinea pig parent it is best to plan out what you intend to purchase, where you intend to purchase it, and you can even reach out to local vets to get visit estimates. Once you total it all up you will have a good estimate of how much money to put aside for your furry new friends!
Now that you know how much a guinea pig costs, as well as how much caring for them will cost, it's time to learn about the type of care they need. You can learn about how to find a great veterinarian, as well as how to groom a guinea pig.