In my household we have a small group of 3 guinea pigs: One neutered boy and two old ladies, and they’ve been with us since late 2016. They were originally for our son, but these lovely little creatures have been a part of our family from day one.
When it comes to supplies, we’ve spend hours upon hours researching and searching for their needs. We’ve made our own list of essential supplies to keep them healthy and happy.
I know for a fact that some areas have very sparse access to experienced vets specialized in guinea pigs, so it’s super important to know how to take proper care of them and stock up on the items they need to stay healthy.
For this purpose I’ve made this essential supply list, so you won’t end up wasting your time and money on getting things that’ll end up collecting dust – or worse: Making your guinea pigs sick.
Quick Supply List
Before going in depth with this topic, here’s an overview of the supplies needed for guinea pigs:
- Cage of a proper size
We recommend 30″ x 50″ for 2 guinea pigs. See examples here.
- Bedding or cage liners
Kiln dried aspen or pine shavings work well, but cage liners are more comfortable. You can make your own – or buy the best cage liners online.
- (At least) one hiding place per guinea pig
Otherwise they’ll fight over it.
- Water bottle
12 oz. or more. Some prefer bowls, which is also fine.
- Food bowl
Heavy ceramic bowls preferred, so they won’t tip over.
- Hay rack
Most people put the hay at the bottom of the cage, which is recommended, but a hay rack ensures a steady supply of fresh hay on the side.
- High quality hay
Guinea pig’s teeth are always growing, and they munch on hay throughout the day to keep them from overgrowing. Hay is also a natural source of fibers.
- Food pellets
You HAVE to buy specific guinea pig pellets of a proper quality, with vitamin C added.
Fresh vegetables is an important source of nutrients that they can’t get from hay and pellets.
- Nail trimmer
A proper nail trimmer is required to keep their nails from overgrowing.
- Electronic kitchen scale
Keeps track of your guinea pig’s weight – this is important to determine their general well being. Find the best kitchen scales here.
- Comb and scissors
Only for long haired breeds, to keep their hair from tangling.
- Coconut oil or similar natural moisturizer
For the skin care of hairless guinea pigs, also known as skinny pigs.
That’s it! Despite popular belief, guinea pigs are not high maintenance pets, as long as you keep them well fed and clean their cage regularly.
Details about all 13 essentials below:
1. Cage of a proper size
Guinea pigs need a cage in a proper size to be happy. It should be at least 30″ x 50″, or equivalent to 10 square feet to accommodate two pigs.
This is absolutely crucial to their well being, because it enables them to move around and explore the space. If the cage is too small, your guinea pigs may pick on each other and feel unhappy.
Also worth adding, is that a one-level cage is preferred over a multi-level cage. Mainly because your guinea pigs get more space to run around on, but also because it relieves the burden of keeping it clean.
Here’s our top picks among the best cages for 2 guinea pigs.
2. Bedding or cage liners
Wood shavings are super cheap and can be bought in most pet stores, and even some large hypermarkets and department stores. As an added bonus they’ll give your cage a wonderful wooden smell, and because wood shavings are highly absorbent, your guinea pigs can pee all over the cage without getting their little feet wet.
On the other hand, cage liners are more comfortable and suitable for skinny pigs or long haired guinea pigs. Cage liners are reusable too, just wash them and they’ll be as good as new.
If you’re looking into cage liners, make sure you check our top picks among the best cage liners for guinea pig cages.
Be aware that your guinea pigs should have wood shavings that are dried in a kiln, so it isn’t toxic for them.
3. One hiding place per guinea pig
Guinea pigs need houses, nests and shaded areas around the cage so they can hide and feel safe.
They are prey animals after all, and they are hard wired to flee if they feel scared. And being a guinea pig, even a sneeze could scare them.
Hiding places are essential for their well being, and they should have at least two entrances so they won’t block each other off.
Check out these hiding places for guinea pigs.
4. Water bottle
Water bottles supply your guinea pigs with plenty of fresh water to keep them hydrated.
It is important that your guinea pigs have access to fresh clean water 24/7, especially during the summer. You’ll see them drinking lots of water whenever it gets hot.
You can also give your guinea pigs water in a bowl, but then you’ll have to change it multiple times throughout the day to keep it clean.
Water bottles of clear glass is recommended, because you’ll be able to see the water level and see if the bottle is clean.
Check out these water bottles suitable for guinea pigs.
5. Food bowl
Food bowls are available in lots of different shapes and sizes, and they don’t necessarily have to be big.
Guinea pigs need food pellets in order to get a supply of their most important nutrients, and food bowls is a proper way of serving these.
This cheap food bowl is a great choice.
6. Hay rack
A hay rack is a great way of keeping your guinea pig’s hay fresh, and available to your piggies 24/7.
Proper hay racks function as hay dispensers for steady supply of hay for your guinea pigs.
You don’t necessarily need a hay rack, but if you’re in an area where hay is not widely available and prices fluctuate, it’s a great way of saving money by ensuring the hay ends in your piggies stomachs rather than at the bottom of your cage with pee and poop.
I recommend this affordable hay rack.
Hay is a basic necessity for your guinea pigs, and maybe one of the most important items on this supply list.
Because guinea pig’s teeth keep growing, they have to eat plenty of hay in order to keep them from overgrowing.
Hay is also a natural source of fibers, and serve as the main component of your guinea pig’s diet.
I recommend this package of timothy hay. Remember to order plenty of hay, your guinea pigs will eat lots of it. My little herd of three eats at least 1 lb each week.
8. Food pellets
Food pellets is an important source of nutrients for your guinea pigs. They aren’t able to produce vitamin C on their own, and pellets made specifically for guinea pigs contain vitamin C that’ll keep your piggies healthy.
I recommend food pellets of high quality with no grain, such as these food pellets.
While vegetables are not very specific, your guinea pigs need a proper supply of various vegetables to munch on.
Stables among vegetables include:
- Bell peppers
- Herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, parsley, dill, etc.)
- Corn on the cob
You can give your piggies a bit of fruit as snacks from time to time, but most fruits are high on sugar, which is why your guinea pigs shouldn’t have too much of this.
10. Nail trimmer
A proper nail trimmer is crucial to keep your guinea pig’s nails in a proper length.
I recommend you trim their nails once every second month, and use a nail clipper of this type.
If you have a skinny pig, you may need a file to make sure their nails don’t have any sharp edges.
11. Electronic kitchen scale
A kitchen scale is crucial when it comes to keeping track of your guinea pig’s health.
Because guinea pigs are prey animals, they won’t show any sign of illness until it’s too late.
One way you can keep track of their health condition, is to check their weight and write it down at least once a week.
You can use any kitchen scale for this, and if you don’t have one, you can find a new kitchen scale from our top picks.
12. Comb and scissors
A comb is necessary for guinea pigs with long hair. You need to comb their hair once a day to prevent it from tangling, and you’ll also need a scissor to keep their hair short enough so they won’t pee or poop on it.
Both combs and scissors are available in most grocery stores. Just pick the cheapest option available, as it won’t make much of a difference on the outcome anyway.
13. Coconut oil or similar natural moisturizer
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer for dry and/or irritated skin, and some skinny pigs may suffer from this.
Coconut oil is a great natural treatment for their sensitive skin, and should be applied whenever you feel necessary.
If coconut oil isn’t available, you can use any type of natural moisturizer available.