When thinking about getting a guinea pig, you probably want to know how much guinea pigs actually cost.
We’ll explore all the costs involved with guinea pigs here, so you can have an accurate idea of what you’ll be spending to acquire or maintain your guinea pig.
- Essentials for A New Guinea Pig
- Optional Items for a New Guinea Pig
- Monthly Maintenance Cost
- How To Get Free or Discounted Guinea Pig Accessories
- Poll: Tell us How Much You Spend on Your Guinea Pigs Each Month
- Is Your Cage Big Enough Calculator: Inches to Square Feet
- Calculate Your Actual Startup Cost
- Calculate Your Actual Monthly Maintenance Cost
Guinea pigs are cute, gentle creatures who make wonderful pets. Before you get one though, you need to know what you’re in for and how much you’ll be spending.
We’ll look at the initial costs costs of acquiring a guinea pig, as well as the on-going monthly maintenance costs. We also provide a handy calculator so you can get an accurate estimate based on your own geographical area and preferences.
If you are acquiring a guinea pig for the first time, there is an initial investment that you’ll need to come up with to prepare for the arrival of your guinea pig. We’ll list the necessities, the optional items, and a section on how to get what you need for free or at a discount.
Necessities For a New Guinea Pig
These are the items you absolutely need, and what they’ll cost. This list assumes you are getting a single guinea pig.
What You Need
The cost of the guinea pig itself can vary from $10 to $40. You can acquire them from breeders, a rescue shelter or humane society, or from a pet store.
Store-bought cages can range anywhere from $25 to $300. An inexpensive 7.5-sq. ft cage can be purchased here f0r anywhere from $50-$200. We will use $80 as an average starter cage price.
Feel free to check out my recommendation to the right here. If you have two guinea pigs, you are going to need something slightly bigger! I wrote an article all about the best guinea pig cages for two guinea pigs. Check it out here.
I recommend water bottles instead of setting a water dish in the cage, which can easily get overturned or soiled. A larger water bottle needs refilling less often, so I recommend an 8 oz. bottle as a minimum.
A non-tippable metal or ceramic food bowl costs anywhere from $6 – $15. A hanging feeder ranges from about $8 – $20. We will use $10 as an average.
Alternatively, if you don’t want a bottle, you could get a guinea pig bowl. Check out the my article on how to decide what would be a good guinea pig bowl here.
SOMETHING TO HIDE IN
Guinea pigs need to feel safe, so they need a hideaway to be able to snuggle inside and hide in. There are many options. You can use plastic store-bought hideaways, homemade hideaways, or hideaways made from fabric, wood, wicker, or even metal.
Prices for bedding can range from about $7 – $50, but we’ll just assume you’ll purchase a 1200-cubic-inch bag of aspen shavings, which will cost you about $8 on
Grass hay is especially important. It should always be available to your guinea pig and should comprise about 75% of his daily diet. Grass hay provides roughage, which helps keep their ever-growing teeth trimmed down, and it provides necessary fiber and nutrients.
The best grass-based hay to use is Timothy hay. Of course, the price will depend on what type of hay you choose, what brand, and how much you get.
It’s important to buy high-quality food, so we will not consider the cheap, low-nutrient foods in our price calculation. Prices vary widely, but on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $8 – $25. We’ll assume you’re going to buy a 5-pound bag of Oxbow pellets. That will cost you about $20.
You should provide your guinea pig with about 1 cup of fresh vegetables per day. Fresh vegetables are a necessary part of his diet. They provide Vitamin C and other important nutrients. Be sure to wash them, and make sure they are pesticide-free. For a list of which vegetables are good and which ones you should avoid, see What Can Guinea Pigs Eat.
You can spend anywhere from $30 $40 on the various Vitamin C supplements. We’ll assume you purchase a small bottle of liquid Vitamin C, which will cost you around $5.
These things a great just due to the fact that vitamin supplements can really help balance out your guinea pig’s diet.
So taking all the essentials and put them together as a total, a guinea pig will cost you (on average) anywhere between $208 and $238. Of course, this can change depending on the level of quality in regards to the products your purchase.
Optional Items to Prepare for a New Guinea Pig
These are items you might want to purchase when getting a new guinea pig, but they are not absolutely needed.
Optional Guinea Pig Items
You can pick them up for pretty cheap on amazon and some of them even have some really nice health benefits to them and can act as a food source.
Toys vary in price, depending on the kind of toy and which brand you buy. Prices range from $2 to $20. We will use $10 as our price for one toy.
If you are after some nice guinea pig toys, feel free to check out an article I wrote up about this topic.
A hay rack lets you provide hay for your guinea pig while keeping it off the ground so it doesn’t get soiled. Make sure you get one that’s big enough to hold a good amount. Otherwise, be sure to include some loose hay as well.
These are not expensive items, and you might not need to purchase them at all if you have something handy at home. We will assume you purchase one of these items for about $15.
Taking your guinea pig outdoors for some fresh air and fresh grass is a good idea, but you’ll need to contain and protect them. You might want to purchase an outdoor run if you don’t want to make one yourself. These can be rather expensive but obviously, building one your self is always an option 🙂
The image to the left is actually showing a completely self contained outdoor guinea pig hut, rather than an all together seperate outdoor running hut.
We’ll assume you’re going to buy a 5-pound bag of Oxbow pellets. That will cost you about $15.
Fresh Vegetables & Fruit
You should provide your guinea pig with about 1 cup of fresh vegetables per day. Fruit can be given daily or even just once or twice a week. Each owner has different preferences.
All the optional treats and toys will cost you around about $130.
How To Get Free or Discounted Guinea Pig Supplies
If you have a little bit of patience and time, you can get what you need for free or at a reduced cost. Here are some tips to help get you started. If you have an idea, please share it with us in the comments below!
How To Find a Free Guinea Pig
Sometimes people have a guinea pig but can no longer care for it. Some will choose to sell their guinea pig with his cage and accessories, and sometimes they give them away for free. I found a guy in Akron on Craiglist just yesterday who said he didn’t have time to devote to his guinea pig, and as a result, was giving it away for free along with his cage and accessories.
If you’re not in a rush, you can find great deals on these websites.
- Craigslist is a great place to find free or discounted guinea pigs and supplies. There are several ways you can set up alerts to look for what you want, such as “free guinea pig”. One way is to set up an alert at If This, Then That. Start a new recipe. For your trigger, select “craigslist”. Set up your search terms, like “guinea pig” or “free guinea pig” or whatever you want to filter your searches for. Then when something does come up with that term, you will receive an email letting you know.
- Check your local animal welfare league or nearby rescue shelters. Sometimes, when they are searching for a home for an abandoned guinea pig, they will give them away for free or for a very low cost. There are several guinea pig rescue directories online. Just do a google search for one nearby.
How To Spend Less on Guinea Pig Supplies
Deals on guinea pig supplies and accessories are out there, but it takes a bit of time to find them. Here are some options to help you find great deals and save money.
- Utilize IFTTT (see above). Lifehacker has a good tutorial on how to use it effectively.
- Go over to slickdeals once a week, type in “guinea pig” and hit search to see if there are any deals listed there.
- Petco offers a special sales page you can check weekly. Go to Petcos sales page, and just check for guinea pig stuff.
- Go to DealsEA and search for guinea pig to find deals listed there. You can set up alerts that will get delivered via email or text as soon as they appear.
- Check Bens Bargains for their list of deals. Type in either “guinea pig” or “small animal” as a search term. You can also set up alerts to have deals matching your words emailed to you.
- If you shop at amazon.com and buy certain products, you can go to CamelCamelCamel and set up an alert. They monitor price fluctuations at amazon, and when the price of your item drops, they will notify you via email or twitter.
- Create an account at coupon sites like retailmenot as they provide discount coupons for thousands of stores, including petsmart, amazon.com, walmart.com, etc. These are coupons that you have to use while shopping online, however. I don’t think you can print them out and take them to the store to use. But if you buy pet supplies online, you could get a great deal using these coupons.
- Another site that a lot of people are using is ebates. You don’t actually save money on the things you buy, I believe. You just earn money back or gift cards for the money you spent, as long as you did your shopping online. I haven’t used it, but I have friends who use it regularly. Check it out and see if it’s something that interests you at price checker app. You scan a barcode on an item you’re thinking about buying (or enter the name, etc), and it compares the price with prices for the same item at amazon. It helps you make sure you’re not paying too much.
- Another deal-checker site you might want to check is