ocp guinea pig guide tablet mockup

Get Your FREE Owner's Guide For Guinea Pigs And Help Your Special Friend Live its Best Life.

10 Toys That Are Bad for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are adorable, fun little critters!

They love to run around, hide, and chew on absolutely everything.

We know our piggies are sometimes sensitive animals, though, and they need to be protected from harm at every turn. 

This extends from food to temperatures to toys.

When choosing toys for your small pets, you need to be aware of what they enjoy and what is dangerous for them.

These are animals with fragile bones and small bodies, so it’s essential to always be mindful about what you’re giving them access to.

Always ask yourself: 

Is this toy safe? How might this toy harm my piggie?

Read on to learn about 10 toys that are bad for guinea pigs and why to avoid them.

toys that are bad for guinea pigs

Toilet Paper Tubes

Guinea pigs are known for their love of tunnels and other hiding places. 

As prey animals, they take comfort in being safely hidden away.

Tubes and tunnels are trendy and mostly safe guinea pig toys.

The temptation to make your own toys instead of buying them is strong. 

And usually, this is a pretty good idea!

But with toilet paper tubes, your pet could get their head stuck and panic.

To avoid this problem, make a slit in the tube to give them plenty of room. 

Or fashion a larger tunnel by cutting not one tube but two and connecting them.

These are non-toxic, plain tubes that will be relatively safe. 

But cardboard tubes get wet and take water damage worse than grass tunnels or plastic ones. 

So be prepared to replace them often.

Remember, too: your little friend loves to chew on everything, so don’t use toxic glue or another unsafe adhesive.

Chew Toys with Chemicals, Glues, and Plastics

We all know guineas love to chew. 

So, an essential item for every piggie’s pen is a chewable toy. 

They’ll chew on all their toys anyway, but it’s best to have something perfect for chewing and will help them maintain healthy teeth.

When shopping for chew toys, be mindful of what they’re made with. 

Remember your guinea is at risk of ingesting any chemicals or glues on these toys. 

Chew toys with cheap plastic also have a chance of breaking. 

If this happens, they might end up with sharp edges. 

They can cut your pet, or the plastic may be ingested. 

Clearly, this is not a safe chewing option.

Choose a healthy option like natural wood sticks instead to keep your animal safe.

Toys with Twine

Plenty of toys use twine to hang from cages or even as part of the toy itself. 

Twine may not seem dangerous at first thought, but it is.

Some pet parents describe incidents where pieces of twine have been stuck in a piggie’s eye. 

This can cause infections, extreme discomfort, and possibly even lead to your guinea losing their eye.

Twine, or any other material producing small hairs or fragments, is not safe for your small pet.

Toys With Bars or Gaps

We know our piggies have fragile limbs and bones.

If you give your guinea a toy such as a wheel or a tunnel with bars or gaps along the bottom, they may get their foot caught. 

If this happens, they’re at risk of breaking a foot or getting stuck and panicking.

Use toys with smooth floors so your furry friend won’t get trapped or hurt.

Hay and Veggie Balls

If you’ve ever used one of these, you may have learned the hard way why they are such a bad idea for guinea pigs.

Hay and veggie balls have slats or other openings through which an animal eats. 

For piggies, these are not safe!

Guinea pig owners have had problems with their pets sticking their heads into the holes and getting stuck countless times.

One unfortunate little piggie stuck his head in, panicked, and forced his entire body through the hole. 

He broke several of his bones and passed away.

They seem harmless, but avoid these if you want your pets to stay safe. 

There are plenty of other ways to give your pals treats.

Painted or Varnished Toys

Unless you know the paint used on a toy is completely safe for your pet if ingested, don’t buy the toy.

Guinea pigs have an instinct to chew on everything in sight! 

Even if an item isn’t meant to be a chewing surface, you will occasionally find your guinea chewing on it.

Natural materials are always the preferable healthy option.

Don’t put anything in their cage you don’t know is safe for them to ingest.

Exercise Balls and Wheels

While hamsters and ferrets love to use exercise wheels for physical enrichment, these aren’t suitable toys for guinea pigs. 

For one thing, a guinea’s idea of fun differs from these other pets. 

They prefer to just run freely around their cage or play area.

They’re likely to either ignore wheels or simply start using them as chewable items or scratching posts.

If your furry friend does decide to use an exercise wheel ball to run, they are likely to hurt their spine. 

Guineas aren’t built for the backward bending we see when a hamster runs on a wheel or in a ball.

Hay Racks

Hay racks seem pretty harmless, and they’re very widely used in the piggy habitat.

But because of the slats in them, guineas can get their heads or bodies stuck in them.

There have even been incidents of piggies jamming their heads into the slats and accidentally breaking bones or even hanging themselves there.

Additionally, if you put the hay rack up high to avoid these injuries, you risk hay falling and getting into your piggie’s eyes.

Ferret Leashes

Ferret leashes have been advertised in the past as being a safe item for guinea pigs. 

But they are NOT safe.

If you need to keep better track of your small pets during floor time or one-on-one time, consider creating a whole play area or run for them. 

Or give them some lap time.

Guinea pigs and other small pets have smaller, more fragile bodies than the animals we often see using leashes. 

You’re likely to seriously harm your piggie if you use this item on them, especially if used for extended periods.

Read more in our post on taking guinea pigs for walks on a leash.

Ladders or Stairs

We don’t recommend using any kind of climbing toys in your cavy cage. 

Using these increases the chances of them falling and getting hurt.

However, some of you have two-story cages for your little cavies, which is great! 

Guineas love having all the extra space to run around and play!

Just make sure they can get safely up to the second story and back down.

Do not use ladders or stairs. 

Your guinea could get caught in these, hurt their feet, or even fall through them. 

To be safe, use a ramp instead, and make sure there are no gaps where your little guy or girl could fall through and get hurt.

Leave a Comment