Did you know guinea pigs are naturally curious, energetic and intelligent little creatures? They are also very social and, in the wild, when left to their own devices, will spend hours foraging, exploring and interacting with others. While these characteristics all add to their undeniable charm, it also means they need to be kept stimulated with a wide range of boredom busters to keep the boredom blues at bay.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Get Bored?
There are a couple of reasons why guinea pigs get bored quickly and easily. In the wild, if you think about it, they cover large distances sniffing, discovering, grazing and foraging. They also have other cavies to keep them company, so they have a fairly busy social life too.
As pets, guinea pigs spend their days in a hutch, with limited space and not very much to explore. So it is little wonder they are prone to boredom, depression and obesity. Other reasons cavies experience boredom include a lack of, or no interaction with people or other guinea pigs and unvaried diets.
How Can You Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Bored?
Just like small children need to get rid of pent up energy, so too do guinea pigs. And in much the same way, they rely on a stimulating environment, with constant interaction and engagement from their furry friends and you, their piggy parent.
Your cavy may not be able to tell you it is bored, but it sure as heck can let you know. Look out for the following signs:
- Whining sounds
- Chattering of teeth
- Hissing or growling
- General lack of interest in usual activities
Boredom in guinea pigs can lead to more serious physical and mental issues, including obesity and depression. So understanding your piggy and knowing its needs is the first line of defence to keep it at its happiest and healthiest.
How Do I Keep My Guinea Pig Entertained?
There are a few things you can do to keep your cavies entertained. Firstly, and probably most importantly, is to make sure they have a good-sized hutch with plenty of space to explore and forage, as well as a guinea pig run where they can exercise. Cooped up piggies are prone to all sorts of issues, affecting their physical and mental health down the line.
Other ways to keep them stimulated include:
Adding lots of hay to the hutch
As simple as it sounds, adding lots of hay to your guinea pigs hutch will keep them entertained for hours at a time. Not only do they love chewing on it, but they will also spend time foraging, making nests, burrowing in it and cuddling up with their cage buddies.
Varying their diet
Pellets and hay are essential to your guinea pig’s diet, but occasionally, it is a good idea to add new foods. Not only will they get to experience new flavours and textures, but it also keeps them mentally stimulated. You can also use Tasty treats and snacks to teach your cavy new tricks.
To get them active and hone their foraging skills, you could hide a few treats in the hay. This will keep them busy and have you in stitches as you watch their little noses go into overdrive!
Not keeping a guinea pig on its own
As much as your guinea pig loves you, it likes and needs the companionship of other guinea pigs. Therefore, we recommend keeping two or more piggies together so they can entertain one another when you are not there.
For information on how to successfully introduce a new guinea pig to the muddle (yes, that is what a group of piggies is called), take a look at this article.
Keeping your guinea pigs stimulated with toys.
Providing your guinea pigs with various toys and boredom bustsers is a great way to keep boredom at bay. Balls, tunnels, chew toys and tunnels that double as chew toys make a great addition to any hutch and run and provide your piggies with the stimulation they need for their physical and mental well-being.
Our Top 10 Boredom Busters For Guinea Pigs
Trying to decide on the best boredom busters that are safe for your guinea pigs? Look no further! In this section, we review the best toys and activities for cavies of all ages.
Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
1. Rosewood Small Animal Activity Toy Pop-Up Tent
Your guinea pigs will be popcorning with delight with the Activity Toy Pop-Up Tent from Rosewood. Available in medium and large sizes, this uniquely designed tent easily attaches to the Pop-Up Tunnel and can be used indoors or outside, in your guinea pigs’ hutch or their run.
We like these boredom busters tent and tunnel combos because you can use them to encourage physical activity and playtime while also providing your pets with shelter. It is made from an easy to clean polyester, and comes with a removable mattress. With a 4.8 rating on Trustpilot, you and your piggies won’t be disappointed.
2. HayPigs!® Wheek Wagon™
We absolutely love this Wheek Wagon™ from HayPigs!® and your piggies will too. Fill the circus-themed wagon with your pets’ favourite hay and watch as they wheek with delight as they nibble and nosh their way through it.
Made from guinea-pig friendly, non-toxic materials, these boredom busters have a lid on top to stop over-enthusiastic cavies falling in. The bars are wide enough for your piggies to reach the food without getting their heads stuck. Keen to get one? Act fast as stocks are selling out quickly!
3. HayPigs!® Circus Treat Ball™
Keep the circus theme going with the HayPigs!® Circus Treat Ball™. This 3-in-1 treat ball provides your piggies with hours of endless entertainment, physical exercise and mental stimulation. You can fill it with food, pack it with treats or play a game of hide-‘n-eat, depending on their mood. Another great feature about the circus ball is that it encourages interaction.
A boredom buster with three uses at a very affordable price is a must-have for any guinea pig hutch. And it is made using pet-safe ABS plastic and is non-toxic.
4. HayPigs!® Piggy Weightlifter™ – Vegetable Kebab Maker
Another crazy cute toy for your cavies is the award-winning HayPigs!® Piggy Weightlifter™ – Vegetable Kebab Maker. Yes, we said it; an award-winning guinea pig toy. To set up the tastiest dumbbells ever, simply remove the ends, add your piggies’ favourite fruits and veggies and replace them. Then, when they have finished munching, watch them have a game of tug of war.
5. Rosewood Boredom Breaker Trio of Fun Balls
Rosewood Boredom Breaker Trio of Fun Balls is a great way to get your guinea pigs active and encourage chewing and interaction with hutch mates. The balls are made from natural materials and are 100% safe for piggies of all ages. Watch them as they roll, nudge, and chew the balls to their hearts’ content. We are yet to meet a cavy that doesn’t like these!
6. Boredom Breaker Woodies Fruit Shaped Nibble Stix
New to our online store and already a firm favourite with guinea pigs and their owners are the Boredom Breaker Woodies Fruit Shaped Nibble Stix . Made from wood and coloured with pet-safe dyes, these fruity themes nibble stix promote dental health and are a great addition to any hutch, run or play area, letting your guinea pigs do what they do best…chew!
7. Rosewood Naturals Small Animal Treats Celebration Cake
Every day with a guinea pig is a reason to celebrate, which is why we love the Rosewood Naturals Small Animal Treats Celebration Cake. Made from the tastiest ingredients, including carrots, coconut, flower petals and herb ‘n veg balls, this treat has all the yumminess of a real cake but without the calories.
And there’s more. Simply lift the ‘lid’ and fill the cake with piggies’ favourite hay or treats. Foraging for food has never been this delicious.
8. Rosewood Naturals Hay ‘n’ Hide Play Tubes
Another firm favourite is the Rosewood Naturals Hay ‘n’ Hide Play Tubes. Not only do these provide hours of chewing fun, but when it is time to rest, your guinea pigs can curl up inside the hide house for a quick power nap.
Available in small, medium and large, the hay ‘n’ hide tubes will keep your pets happy, healthy and active, while also encouraging social interaction.
9. Boredom Breakers Woodies 3D Veg Shaped Nibble Stix
Who says nibble stix have to be boring? Boredom Breakers Woodies 3D Veg Shaped Nibble Stix are made from a natural softwood and are perfect for playing with. They also promote good dental health and keep guinea pigs’ teeth short. And with five fruit pieces in a pack, we think they are excellent value for money.
Available in our online store, the 3D veggie shaped nibble stix are coloured with pet-friendly dyes and are perfect for guinea pigs of all ages.
10. Happy Pet Critters Choice Chube Animal Play Toy
A chube is a combination of a tube and a chew toy, two things guinea pigs love the most. And we absolutely love these Critter’s Choice Chubes from Happy Pet. Not only do they make a great hiding spot, but they also double up as a chew toy. Made out of vegetable parchment that is biodegradable, the chubes are 100% safe for your precious piggies and kind to the environment.
How To Choose Accessories For Your Guinea Pigs
With so many toys and accessories to choose from, how do you know which ones are best for your guinea pigs? We have put together a little buying guide, so you know what to look for.
The most important thing to keep in mind is when choosing toys is their health benefits. Toys that stimulate your piggies mentally and physically are best, as are those that encourage chewing. While great for games of hide ‘n seek, hideaways also provide your cavies with a safe place when they feel stressed or need some time out.
Because a guinea pig’s teeth are continually growing, chew toys are a must. Not only do they help keep your cavies’ teeth short, but they also stop them from gnawing their cages, bowls and other non-chewable bits in the hutch.
Make sure the chew toys you buy are made using products that are 100% safe for your piggies, such as non-scented wood and pet-friendly dyes. Also, avoid plastic and rubber chew toys as these can be harmful if swallowed.
We love toys and accessories with various uses, like the 3-in-1 Circus Treat Ball from HayPigs!®. Chubes, Hay ‘n’ Hide tunnels and pop up tents are also multi-functional and can be shared by other guinea pigs in the hutch.
Piggies, like people, enjoy playing with different toys. Don’t assume one toy will keep all your guinea pigs entertained. Nervous or skittish pets may prefer tubes and tunnels compared to a more outgoing piggy. Keep an eye on your guinea pigs when introducing a new toy to see if they interact with it. If your cavy appears disinterested, you may have to find a new toy.
Budget is something everyone thinks about. And with the wide choice that is available, you really don’t have to break the bank to keep your piggies entertained. As already mentioned, choose toys with different uses that can be used by more than one guinea pig. Like the celebration cake, some boredom busters may cost a little more than others, but it is worth remembering that it lasts a long time and is multi-functional.
How To Keep Your Guinea Pigs Safe With Toys
There is nothing better than watching your guinea pigs play with their toys. However, there are a few things you need to do to ensure their safety at all times. Take a look at how you can keep your piggies safe at playtime.
Exercise wheels are a no-no
While some toys are suitable for all small animals, exercise wheels are not. Unlike mice, rats, gerbils and hamsters, guinea pigs cannot, and should not, bend their backs. Although sold as suitable for guinea pigs, exercise wheels can result in serious injuries to your cavy’s back, spine, and feet.
Beware of toys with non-chewable parts
Guinea pigs love stuffed toys. They snuggle up with them, use them as a pillow and will even drag them around the hutch. To keep your cavy safe, avoid products that have buttons, plastic or glass bits. These can easily be chewed off and swallowed. Likewise, balls with bells inside, although fun, can separate and become a potential hazard.
Keep your guinea pigs’ toys clean.
Over time disease-causing bacteria can build up on toys, which means they need to be cleaned regularly. We suggest wiping the toys down with a damp cloth once a week and doing a deep clean with a pet-friendly disinfectant or soapy water once a month. Remember to throw away any broken or damaged toys and replace accessories made out of paper that can’t be cleaned.
Frequently Asked Questions About Boredom Busters For Guinea Pigs
Do guinea pigs get bored easily?
Yes, guinea pigs get bored very easily, which is why you need to create a fun and stimulating environment for them. Signs your piggy is suffering from the boredom blues include inactivity, disinterest and lethargy. But they can also be more vocal. So look out for hissing, growling, whining sounds and chattering of teeth.
Is an exercise wheel a good idea for my guinea pig?
As far as toys and activities go, an exercise wheel (or ball) is the worst possible idea for a guinea pig. Unlike other pocket pets, guinea pigs can’t’ and shouldn’t bend their backs. Not only can an exercise wheel cause back pain, spine and feet injuries, it can also be fatal for your cavy.
What are the best toys for guinea pigs?
Our top 10 toys come highly recommended and are 100% guinea-pig safe. Remember to swap toys every now and then to pique your piggies’ interest and limit the number of toys you place in the hutch. Too much choice can be as bad as no choice at all.
If you would like some ideas on making your own guinea pig toys, take a quick look at this Youtube video. We especially love how curious the piggies are as the toys are being made…
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/1qgMRkyBN4g” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
Remember, as much as guinea pigs love playing with toys; nothing beats some quality time with their humans. So, for easy to do activities with your cavies, why not check this article out?
Now it’s your turn! How do you beat the boredom blues with your guinea pigs? Do they have a favourite toy or activity that you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.