Adding a new guinea pig to the family is an exciting event, but it is also quite expensive.
Many new owners are unprepared for what the actual costs of ownership entail.
The cost of purchasing one of these animals is relatively affordable, but their monthly maintenance is a bit pricey.
What can you expect to spend to get set up with one of these new creatures?
The average total cost of a guinea pig is around $400. Most people spend about $200 on a cage, water bottle, food dishes, hideaways, bedding, and feed. The monthly costs range between $50 and $75, depending on how much they eat. Keep in mind the annual costs of a vet are usually between $50 and $100.
If you are thinking about adding one of these delightful pets to your family, you need to know how much it will cost you.
Here is the total cost breakdown of everything you’d possibly need.
Total Cost Breakdown Of How Much Guinea Pigs Cost
Let’s start by taking a look at what each element of owning a guinea pig costs with this chart below:
|Category||Cost||Type of Cost|
|Buying the guinea pig||$25||One-time|
These are for the basics, but if you want to give your pet its best life, you may end up getting more for it.
In the rest of this section, we’ll break down each section into more specifics with our recommendations of items for you to check out.
How Much Are Guinea Pigs?
The first and most obvious expense is the cost of the animal itself.
The average cost of a single guinea pig is somewhere around $25.
Depending on where you live and where you choose to get your new pet, you may spend anywhere from $10 to $40 on a healthy guinea pig.
Sometimes, people purchase these animals without realizing how much care and maintenance they require.
As a result, they will occasionally end up in a shelter or pet rescue.
You might be able to find them here first before you seek out a pet store.
Popular classified sites like Craigslist may also help you to find animals in need of a new home for whatever reason.
If there is a certain type of Guinea Pig you want, such as the Abyssinian guinea pigs, you might want to consider reaching out to a breeder.
While this is likely the most expensive route to take, it may be the only way to ensure you get the animal you are happy with.
Unfortunately, you have to consider these pets are social animals.
They thrive best when they are in a community with others.
In the end, the cost of one pet has to be multiplied by two or even three.
In the end, the average cost of investing in these guinea pigs is typically somewhere in the ballpark of $50 to $80 for a pair of guinea pigs.
Average Hutch Cost
If you want to keep your guinea pig healthy, you need to purchase the appropriate size hutch. Many people mistakenly buy one a few sizes too small.
A lot of the cages out there are made for smaller rodents such as hamsters or gerbils.
Guinea pigs are significantly larger and will require a larger space accordingly.
A standard cage costs around $80 to $100, depending on the size.
Less expensive cages exist, but they are likely to be too small for your new pets.
What size hutch do you need?
This depends on how many you decide to purchase.
If you have lots of guinea pigs, you will need a much larger enclosure.
Their cage should be a minimum of 30″ inches by 36″ inches, but bigger is always better.
If you have a pair of guinea pigs, you need a cage at least 10′ square feet in size or 30″ inches by 50″ inches.
A set of three requires a cage of at least 13′ square feet.
You need an extremely large hutch at least 30″ inches by 76″ inches for more than three.
It would not be unheard of to spend a few hundred dollars on one of these larger cages for three to four guinea pigs.
This is the most expensive part of getting set up with new guinea pigs.
Check out this Delux Habitat with enough space for your cavie.
Unlike some animals who can have a water dish, you will want to purchase a water bottle instead for your new enclosure.
Even a single guinea pig can make quite a mess in its cage.
The price for this varies depending on what size you purchase.
Because they are social animals and are likely to have more than one, you may prefer to buy a larger bottle.
We really like this one on Amazon.
This prevents you from having to worry about filling it up midday.
A sturdy water bottle in a larger size can cost up to $25.
Smaller ones will start at around $5 each.
For this cost guide, the average cost is likely somewhere around $15.
Guinea pig supplies feel like they never end.
In addition to the hutch and water bottle, new owners also need to purchase food bowls.
There are two distinct types available to purchase.
Metal or ceramic bowls go in the bottom of the cage while hanging feeding baskets attach to the side of the hutch.
Metal or ceramic bowls are the cheaper options.
However, you have to consider whether these dishes will lead to more waste.
Because they sit on the cage floor, you might find the food dish gets filled with droppings or shavings from the cage.
Your pet may also decide his food bowl makes a cozy bed, effectively ruining any of the fresh vegetables or pellets you have lovingly placed inside.
On the other hand, hanging feeders are a bit more expensive, but they can preserve the food for longer.
You may save more money by investing in one of these hanging food baskets in the long run.
Metal or ceramic food dishes cost between $5 and $15.
Hanging baskets will cost closer to $10 to $20.
You may also want to consider purchasing a hay rack to keep their hay up off the floor.
Like with a hanging food basket, it keeps them from soiling fresh hay and essentially wasting money.
These hay racks can range in price from $5 to $10.
Guinea pig cage costs are not the only thing to consider.
These animals are very small and are often hunted in the wild.
As a result, they usually prefer to hide away from predators or other frightening items in the environment.
They need at least one hideaway inside their cage so they can feel safe and at peace.
There are many options for hideaways, but most people opt for the plastic ones found at pet stores.
These plastic hideaways are often made of translucent plastic, so the guinea pigs are still visible on the inside.
A plastic hideaway will cost anywhere from $10 to $25 and we like this one.
The cost of guinea pig equipment is just the beginning.
You also have to weigh the cost of their ongoing maintenance.
Bedding is one item you need to purchase regularly to maintain your guinea pig’s cage.
Most people purchase this small animal bedding in a 60-liter package.
There are a lot of different varieties to choose from.
Some owners like the idea of purchasing recycled products, while others prefer using wood shavings.
These are toxic to your new guinea pig and can lead to vet bills, illness, and even fatalities.
How long the bag will last you ultimately depends on the size of your cage.
A 60-liter bag lasts most people about three to four changes.
Keep in mind you need to change the bedding about twice a week.
Depending on the type of material you choose and the size of the bag, bedding can range from $7 to $50.
Most will set you back by about $20.
Check out this cool paper bedding for maximum absorption.
Purchasing high-quality food is essential if you want to maintain your health.
There are four basic components to a guinea pig diet:
- Grass hay
- Pellet food
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Vitamin C supplement
Grass hay is the largest component of the diet and should always be available to your guinea pig.
It helps to wear down their teeth and gives them important nutrients they need to function.
Most owners opt to feed Timothy hay which can cost about $7 for a 32-ounce bag.
When it comes to purchasing pellet food, you need to be very particular about what you get.
It should not be the same food given to rabbits or other rodents.
Food specifically formulated for guinea pigs often has vitamin C added to it as a supplement.
Experts recommend sticking with a Timothy-based pellet to cut back on the calcium levels, leading to bladder stones.
A good quality pellet food should not contain any nuts or seeds.
A 5-pound bag of quality pellets should cost you about $15.
Fresh vegetables and fruit are also important for these herbivores.
Owners should be giving them about one cup of fresh food daily in addition to their pellets and grass hay.
The guinea pig food cost would not be complete without considering what fresh food will cost you.
This can vary based on the season and availability of fresh produce, but most people spend about $10 per week on lettuce, fruits, and vegetables.
If you do not purchase any food with vitamin C in it, you will need to feed them a supplement.
It comes in liquid form and is added directly to their food dish.
A bottle should cost you between $5 to $10.
However, this is one expense you might be able to eliminate if you are careful about choosing pellet food, vegetables, and fruit that contains the necessary vitamin C.
A long-haired guinea pig may need a soft brush to keep its fur from getting tangled or matted.
You may even want to purchase a bottle of shampoo to keep them smelling fresh and clean.
Both of these items should cost about $5 each.
For those who handle their guinea pigs often, you might begin to notice their nails are growing quickly.
They can easily become sharp, making it unpleasant for you to handle them at all.
Many people choose to invest in a quality set of nail clippers to keep this from occurring.
Again, this simple grooming tool should cost less than $10.
Although if you want a high-quality set of nail clippers like these, you may pay slightly more.
Guinea pigs need some way to keep their teeth worn down.
Not to mention, they need a way to pass the time when you are not actively playing with them or entertaining them.
Bored guinea pigs may take to chewing on the bars of their cage.
These typically only cost a few dollars, but they are well worth the investment.
I love these timothy hay chew sticks for guinea pigs; they work great!
While the monthly costs may not seem too bad, you have to consider their routine maintenance and veterinary care as well.
Most small animal vets will not see guinea pigs.
You will likely have to seek out a professional who specializes in exotics.
It is recommended you take your pet to be seen at least once a year.
This can help you catch problems early and serve to make sure you are caring for them properly.
As you might imagine, a specialty veterinarian like this may not be cheap.
Exam fees are $50 to $100 just for having them seen.
This does not include any lab work or medications they may prescribe.
The annual costs of veterinary care should not be understated.
Make sure to budget for veterinary care in case your pet gets sick as well.