Who said guinea pigs are boring pets? With a bit of patience and tasty treats in hand, you and your piggies can spend some quality time together playing games. Not only is this good for building bonds with your pets, but owning and interacting with your pet can decrease your stress levels, help with depression and even help lower cholesterol levels, according to the CDC. So read on for our guide to the 7 best games to play with your guinea pigs.
So what are you waiting for?
Carry on reading to find out what are the best games to play with your guinea pig. We’ve also included a guide on how to prepare your guinea pigs for game time.
Top 7 Games To Play With Your Guinea Pigs
There is no denying that guinea pigs love to play, but some games are more popular than others. Take a look at our top 7 choices that have been tried and tested by guinea pig lovers the world over.
These games are all safe and won’t cause any injury to your piggies.
While this activity may take a little getting used to, once your piggies get the hang of it, they’ll be able to play a game of tug-of-war with you or each other. Simply get an old sock, and fill it with hay. For guinea pigs that need a bit more encouragement, you can stuff it with their favourite treats. Tie a knot at the end to keep the hay or treats inside.
Give them time to sniff out the treats, and in no time at all, they’ll be pulling at it to get to the goodies. Start off by giving your end a gentle tug while encouraging them to hold the other side in their mouth. Then, watch them as they chase each other to get the sock or dash off, dragging the sock around their hutch.
2. Treasure hunt
Always motivated by treats, this game will stimulate your guinea pigs mentally and physically. All you need for a ‘treasure hunt’ is your piggies’ favourite vegetable and space where they can run. Place the broken up pieces of food or pellets around the room and let your cavies find them. If your pets need more of a challenge, you can hide the treats in tunnels or behind toys.
3. Snuffle it out
Another treat-themed game that will keep your piggies occupied for hours is ‘snuffle it out’. Grab a snuffle mat (watch this video to make your own) and hide yummy treats inside it. Of course, your guinea pigs will need to sniff the food out, but we can guarantee the rewards will be absolutely delicious.
Okay, so it’s more a game of fuzzball rather than foosball, but it’s still a whole lot of fun and a game that guinea pigs love. All you need is a ping-pong ball, a treat ball (like this one) or a crumpled up piece of paper. To get them started, place the ball inside the run or play area and bat it around gently.
Better yet, fill a ball with pellets to encourage them to get involved if they are a little bit hesitant at first. Then, in no time at all, they’ll be pushing the ball around in a frenzied game of fuzzball.
5. Hide and seek
This is an excellent game if you have a new guinea pig that you’re trying to build a bond with or if you have a skittish piggy. While your cavy is looking at you, place a blanket in front of your face. This will let your pet know what’s going on and stop it from getting a fright when you move the blanket.
As soon as it comes closer to find you, poke your head around the blanket. Remember not to shout out peek-a-boo too loudly, as this can scare your piggy.
6. Guinea pig races
Another game guinea pigs love is guinea pig races. It works even better if your piggies come when you call them. Start off by building a racetrack. This can be as simple or complicated as you like, but just make sure all the items you use are stable and won’t fall on your piggies.
If your guinea pigs respond to you calling them, simply walk to the end of the track and call their name. If they need more of an incentive to get racing, you can place a delicious snack at the finish line or line the race track with a few strategically placed treats. To up the ante, you could do time trials.
Check out this video for more ideas…
7. A-maze-ing escape
Escape the maze is an absolute favourite with guinea pigs and their owners. And again, you can make it as basic or as complicated as you like. Create a maze using cardboard boxes and tubes, or use a few tunnels that can be connected. Don’t worry if your piggies need treats to get them through the maze at first. It won’t take them long to get the hang of it.
Not sure your guinea pig is clever enough to play games? Check out this little guy…
A Guide To Getting Your Guinea Pigs Ready For Games
Not all guinea pigs are the same, which means some will take to certain games better than others. To ensure playtime is fun for all involved, you must understand your guinea pigs’ personalities and get them involved in the right kind of games.
Not sure what we mean by this? Carry on reading to find out more…
1. Understand your guinea pig’s unique personality
Don’t assume that all guinea pigs have the same personalities. Observing how yours play and interact with each other, and you should give you a good idea of the kinds of games and activities they’ll enjoy.
For example, a timid or shy piggy may prefer more one-on-one time with you rather than a group activity. Curious and energetic cavies will happily participate in a game of fuzzball or escaping the maze, while your older pet will enjoy a quiet, slower-paced game of peek-a-boo with you.
Watch how your guinea pigs react to the different games. Everyone must be having fun.
2. Create a guinea pig safe play area
We suggest creating a safe play area, preferably on the floor. Remove or cover electrical wiring that can be chewed, poisonous plants or flowers that can be eaten and any other potential hazards. For your guinea pigs’ safety, it’s best to make it a no-go zone for any other pets during playtime. Close doors and check that all possible escape routes are shut off.
3. Establish a routine
A guinea pig is a creatures of habit, so it is a good idea to establish a routine. Let them know, in a quiet voice, when playtime is about to start and when it’s ending. Try to keep it around the same time every day and chat with them when you’re playing. While they may not always know what you’re saying, they’ll definitely understand what you mean by your tone and your actions.
Change activities every now and then to keep them stimulated and make a game a little more challenging once your piggies have mastered it.
Nothing beats playtime with your guinea pigs! By putting in a little bit of time and effort, these activities will quickly become the highlight of your and your cavies’ day.
PS: Look out for weeks of delight and possibly even a little bit of popcorning if they’re really enjoying the game.
What’s your guinea pig’s favourite game? Let us know in the comments below.