While adopting guinea pigs is relatively cheap, the costs of food, cage supplies, and medical checkups quickly add up.
However, we think this is important knowledge for everyone considering adopting guinea pigs, as new guinea pig parents are often surprised by the costs stacking up quicker than expected.
Below is a breakdown of the most significant costs of owning guinea pigs.
Be aware that these costs are only estimates and based on 2-3 guinea pigs, which is the most common number of guinea pigs recommended for beginners.
Table: Costs of Guinea Pigs
This breakdown illustrates the estimated monthly cost of two guinea pigs.
Please note: These are only the projected costs of care and maintenance. The price of cages, accessories, etc. aren’t included.
*Emergency savings are recommended for anyone, because guinea pigs may require treatments by a vet once in a while, and depending on your area it can get quite expensive.
How to Reduce the Costs of Guinea Pigs Without Putting Their Health at Stake
If you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in a desperate situation where your finances have gone down for one reason or another, there’s no need to worry.
Below are a few ideas that we’ve successfully applied ourselves, in order to reduce the costs of keeping guinea pigs:
Foraging for edible plants and weeds
Lots and lots of plants and weeds are both edible and very healthy for your guinea pigs, including fresh grass, dandelions, goutweed, and branches from beech trees, apple trees, and more.
If you’re able to forage for edible plants and weeds that are safe and free from any chemicals, you can offer those instead of vegetables, or maybe offer 50 % of each. Just make sure you’re introducing anything new gradually, or else your guinea pigs may get bloated.
Get your hay from a local farmer
If you have any farmers nearby, you may be lucky enough to find one that will sell you a bale of fresh, high-quality hay. Just make sure it’s made for horses instead of cattle, and preferably timothy hay or similar.
By doing so, you can save a decent chunk of money in comparison to getting it online and shipped to your doorstep.
Opt for kiln dried wood shavings in large bags
While some people believe wood shavings are bad, this is not entirely true. Some wood shavings are bad though, but as long as you get the ones that are made for guinea pigs (and other rodents), you’re completely fine.
In order to cut costs, you should opt for large bags of approximately 50 pounds instead of small bags of 5-10 pounds, as it will save you a lot of money. If you’re able to drive and pick it up at a local store, you can save a ton on shipping costs too!
Create your own cage accessories
Guinea pigs are simple creatures, that aren’t difficult to please. Instead of getting those expensive houses that they’ll chew in pieces anyway, go outside and pick some branches for a homemade hut, or try cutting a small cardboard box into a house. Anything works, and your guinea pigs are excited about anything they can hide under.