In the UK, guinea pigs are popular pets because they are as sociable as they are cute. They also cost a lot less than designer dog breeds or thoroughbred cats. But after you have brought your piggy home, that’s when you start to realise what the real costs of owning a guinea pig actually are.
Are you thinking about getting a guinea pig for yourself, your child, grandchild, or maybe a friend and want to know how much guinea pigs cost? It is a great, and very valid question, so let’s take a look, shall we?
Are Guinea Pigs Expensive?
The answer to this isn’t a straightforward one. Yes, guinea pigs are relatively cheap to buy as far as pets go but to give your piggy the best life it deserves, there are quite a few recurring costs to consider. Researching prices for this article, we found that you can expect to pay between £10 and £45 for a guinea pig from a breeder, pet shop or shelter. The price depends on the breed, but of all the varieties, skinny pigs are the most expensive, with prices ranging between £45 and £150.
But it doesn’t stop there, though. Remember, you will also need to buy a cage or hutch, a run, food, bedding, chew toys and hay. And then there are the veterinary costs. While some of these items are a once-off purchase, others will have to be bought weekly or monthly, for the rest of your piggy’s life with you. And that could be anything between five and eight years.
Preparing For Your New Guinea Pig
Before you bring your guinea pig home, it is important that you are prepared. Having everything ready will help make your new pet’s transition easier, and help it settle in quickly.
Make sure you:
- Have a cage ready
- Have bought all the essential items
- Pet-proofed the area where your guinea pig will be living
- Have set up an appointment with the vet
Checklist Of What You Need For Your Guinea Pig?
So you have your guinea pig, but now what? Have you thought about all the other supplies you will need? The shopping list for your new furry family member includes a hutch or cage, a run, water bottles, bedding, food dishes, hay, pellets, hides for the enclosure, guinea pig-friendly toys and wood shavings.
Our list below explains each item’s purpose as well as the cost. At the end, we will give you the grand total of what you can expect to spend on your cavy.
Your Guinea Pig’s Hutch and Run
Guinea pigs may be small, but they need plenty of space which is why we suggest getting an outdoor hutch and a run. Our hutches are large, predator-proof, and built to withstand our weather. They are also the only hutches manufactured in the UK.
Because guinea pigs love to explore, you will also need to get a run. We have hutch and run combos available, as well as stand-alone runs that can be attached to an existing enclosure.
If you prefer getting your guinea pig an indoor cage, you will be looking at anything between £30 and £80.
You can expect to pay between £50 and £100 for a run, and between £80 and £300 for a hutch.
Food For Your Guinea Pig
For your guinea pig to be healthy, its diet should include good quality pellets, hay, grass as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Home and Roost has a wide range of pellets and nuggets to choose from, and cost between £4.60 and £20. The large bags are more expensive but will last longer and save you money down the line.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an absolute must for your guinea pig. Just make sure you are feeding it the right types, and avoid anything that can make your piggy ill.
Hay is also an essential item, and your guinea pig should have access to it 24/7. A 500g bag is approximately £5.
Bedding For Your Guinea Pig
When it comes to a bed for your guinea pig, you need lining of some sort for the bottom of the cage, as well as soft hay and wood shavings. Whatever you do, don’t get straw. It is too hard, and the sharp ends can cause severe injuries to your guinea pig’s eyes and feet. Not only do they sleep on the hay, but guinea pigs also like munching on it, so you will have to add plenty of fresh hay to the cage every day.
Hay is an excellent insulator, and it absorbs moisture really well. Not only will it keep your piggy warm, but it will also stop your guinea pig having to sit and sleep on a damp newspaper.
On average, hay costs around £6 a bag and wood shavings are between £2 and £6.
Extras For Your Guinea Pig
Food dishes, water bottles, toys, treats, cleaning products and other accessories also need to be bought and replaced on a fairly regular basis. We recommend you stock up on other items too, including anti-mite shampoo, mange treatments, a wide-toothed comb and nail clippers. In our experience, this will cost between £100 and £150 annually.
Veterinary Care For Your Guinea Pig
If you have more than one guinea pig, and you have males and females living together, you will need to include the cost of neutering. Of course, this procedure isn’t necessary if you only have males or females. You can expect to pay in the region of £50 to have your piggy neutered.
Vet bills vary depending on where you live, and the kind of treatment needed, but if your pet is ill or has serious health issues, you are looking at spending hundreds of pounds. To avoid this, it is essential that you keep your guinea pig’s cage clean, provide plenty of water and do an overall health check every day for any injuries or symptoms.
How Much Do Guinea Pigs Cost in Total?
Excluding your once-off costs of a hutch and run, your guinea pig will cost approximately £650 a year, for say, six to eight years. In total, this amounts to £5200
More Questions Related To How Much Do Guinea Pigs Cost
Is it better to have more than one guinea pig?
Absolutely. Remember, guinea pigs are exceptionally social and need companionship. We recommend two or more guinea pigs. Just make sure the hutch is large enough and that they have their own space to relax and sleep.
How should I pair guinea pigs?
It is a good idea to pair a male with another male or a female with another female. This way, you don’t have to worry about neutering or spaying them. You could also have a few females with a neutered male. We also recommend pairing a dominant guinea pig with a submissive one, or an older guinea pig with one that is younger.
Should my guinea pig live indoors or outside?
This is a great question and one we get asked regularly. The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is between 18 and 24 degrees celsius. If your guinea pigs are going to be living outside, it is essential that their hutch is out of the direct sun, and has the necessary protection from rain and wind. But when it gets too hot or too cold, it is a good idea to bring your pets indoors.
How big should the hutch be?
When it comes to guinea pigs, the bigger their hutch, the better. If you have one pet piggy, the cage should be at least 7.5 square feet, while the minimum hutch size for two guinea pigs should be 10.5 square feet. You will also need a run where they can explore and forage to their hearts’ content.
Is it okay for guinea pigs and rabbits to live together?
We don’t think it is a good idea to keep guinea pigs and rabbits in the same enclosure for several reasons. Firstly, they have different dietary requirements, and there is a chance the bunnies will bully the guinea pigs. Also, rabbits could hurt guinea pigs by accidentally kicking them. Of course, if you do have them together, and they get on, then we suggest keeping them together.
Where can I find guinea pigs for sale?
You can buy guinea pigs from Pets At Home, breeders as well as rescue centres around the UK. Adopting a pet is always a good option, but if you are looking for a specific breed, then make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
If you are buying your guinea pig from a pet shop, be sure to check that it is in good health. A fluffy and smooth looking coat is a tell-tale sign that the guinea pig is healthy. There should also be no discharge around the ears, eyes or nose. If there are other guinea pigs in the cage, it is essential that you check them for any signs of illness. If one or two are sick, there is a good chance the other guinea pigs in the cage will get sick too.
As you can see, buying a guinea pig isn’t necessarily a lot of money, but it is the ongoing costs that need to be taken into account. Not only will you be spending £650 or so a year, you will also have to spend loads of quality time with your pet.
whether it is a guinea pig, kitten, rabbit, hedgehog or dog, getting a pet should never be a spur of the moment idea. We are aware that the prices of the items we mentioned can differ depending on where you live, but they should still give you a good idea of how much you can expect to spend as a guinea pig owner.
Was this article of any help? Maybe we have forgotten to include a cost that you think other readers should know about. Feel free to add it in the comments below.