For all you guinea pig fans out there, here is a quick round up of some of the newer products on the market. For people who are thinking of getting a guinea pig, or are new owners, there is a section at the bottom of the page just for you with some essential product ideas.
VERY IMPORTANT: This article is for general educational purposes only – NO information here can ever be used a substitute for professional vetinary advice! PLEASE ASK YOUR VET FOR ABOUT YOUR GUINEA PIG’S HEALTHCARE AND LIVING NEEDS. We therefore respectfully advise we are unable to answer any questions on animal care.
Guinea Pig Carriers
Range from the plain cardboard variety at the lower end of the budget range, up to fancy specialist carriers in funky fabric and foam or plastic. Use them to take your pet to the vets or when moving house, etc.
Toys & Stimulation
You can now buy toys which you stuff with special guinea pig treats & suitable foodstuffs, which makes the guinea pig work his or her ingenuity to get the food out. This may help prevent boredom. Many other toy designs feature ‘gnawing’ or ‘chewing’, as this is natural behaviour. Your vet or guniea pig rescue organisations have tips on which products are ok to give your guinea pig. There are ‘warren runs’ you can use outdoors to allow them to hop about in the fresh air and enjoy a simulation of a natural burrow. Secure safe space to run in daily is an absolute must. One product to avoid are ‘exercise balls’ and ‘exercise wheels’ – these are not safe for guinea pigs. See Useful Resources for expert opinions.
In addition to regular guinea pig food mixes, treats can provide a nice variety to prevent boredom.! (Only buy food products designed for guinea pigs – all small animals need specialist feeding and products aren’t always ‘interchangeable’ between species).
Hutch cleaning sprays
Come in various guises, with disinfectant properties but must be safe for the animals. Some are available in ‘natural’ product ranges too.
Beds & ‘nests’
Days were when guinea pigs had some nice fluffy type bedding to snooze in and that was that. These days, you can buy guinea pig ‘nests’: round balls with a small hole in so your guinea pig can be cosy inside the ‘nest’. Small animals have instincts to hide and, well, nest (that’s why they do all that chewing) and these could well help them fulfil those instincts. Guinea pigs also have an array of little ‘houses’ you can buy for them to hide and snuggle in, in natural wood or plastic designs. We have to admit these all look extremely cute. Check nothing could hurt your pet – for example, make sure they can’t chew something that would then create a sharp bit that could injure their eyes or skin.
For those thinking of getting a guinea pig or newer owners:
The following advice echoes some of the tips of animal charities on guinea pig care. This can help you know what you must organise for you new pet: what basics guinea pigs need to keep them happy and healthy. If you are looking for guinea pig, see the Useful Resources section for organisations worldwide that rehome rescued guinea pigs: plenty worldwide need a loving home.
- A good vet who knows their guinea pigs – for neutering if there’s a male and female living together, taking care of nails and teeth; advice and of course treating any illness / injury. Check they are familiar with working with guinea pigs as some vetinary medications are unsuitable for them.
- A drip-feed water bottle – they need to always be able to have a drink of fresh water
- A spacious cage to live in – they will probably choose one side for sleeping in and one side for everything else. Put the hutch off the ground, (e.g. – on a table) so they feel secure. The ASPCA suggests a minimum of four square feet of hutch space per guinea pig but ideally more – other guinea pig experts state at least 7.5 square feet is needed for one guinea pig and that they need to live indoors only (1,2)
- Places for them hide in the hutch and toys – things to hide in and play with for mental stimulation
- Fresh bedding daily
- Timothy Hay – but see Useful Resources for which hay to give pregnant moms and their young babies (Cavy Spirit’s home page has information)
- A large “secure enclosure” to run around in every day – they 100% must excercise outside the cage to prevent health problems
- A ‘gnawing block’ to help keep teeth healthy
- Food twice daily (see Useful Resources for advice on what to feed)
- Company – they like other guinea pigs and may be unhappy on their own
We would also suggest pet healthcare insurance if you can get it to cover this small pet, to help you afford vets bills – these can be expensive (and have an uncanny ability to arrive when you “least want them”! ).
Posted by Norma De Bloom
Guinea pig close-up http://www.sxc.hu/profile/therysma
Useful facts sheets
1. Guinea Lynx - has a lot of specific information and facts sheets at
2. Cavy Spirit guinea pig rescue organisation has information at two sites, including info on runs, housing, toys and health:
The USA’s ASPCA has fact sheets at
Resources for adoption of rescued guinea pigs- please think carefully about caring properly for one beforehand:
Canada Rescue and Adoption
(USA) Cavy Spirit Guinea Pig rescue
(UK) Guinea Pig Rehome
(UK) Guinea Pig Rescue
Humane Society of Canada
Spain’s Animal Adoption Network
(France) Sauver Proteger Aimer – Refuges Animaux
(Elsewhere) World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)