Guinea pigs, just like any other pets, have some necessities that you need to satisfy. Since we are taking them away from their home, we need to try our best to mimic that natural habitat in order to keep our pets happy.
This post contains the complete list of things that are essential for you to provide a “feel-like-home” environment for your furry playmates.
The hours I spent extensively researching the products and their specifications, along with the experiences from experimenting with so many of the available products, has helped me present this post to you. I have got all the hard work covered and done for you! Go ahead and make your guinea pigs happy, and you can thank me later!
So, here comes the master-checklist to carry while shopping for your guinea pig:
Guinea Pig Essentials Checklist
In the Shelter:
- Heavy and thick bottom dishes for foods
- Water containers
- Tunnels, hideouts, and bridges
Food and Water:
- Fresh drinking water
- Supplement pellets
- Obviously, food!
Also Essential, But Not 100% Must-Buys
- Chew toys
- Carrier for transport
- Grooming tools
- Cleaning tools
- Handsfree single shoulder sling carrier
- Cuddle cup for sleeping
- Harnesses and leashes
Must-Buy Accessories for Your Guinea Pigs – the Essentials
Okay, first things first! The items on this section are 100% must-buys. You never should settle for anything other than the perfect option when it comes to these products.
Before I go any further, I am obliged to give a little disclaimer to you. When it comes to guinea pigs, most of the accessories suit well for all the breeds. Yet, we recommend to triple-check the specifications before buying so that you are sure if the product fits the specific needs of your pal!
The three basic necessities for any organism:
So let us begin your virtual shopping spree with these necessities.
The diet of guinea pigs is 70% hay, supplements as pellets or drops to supply vitamin C, water, fruits, and veggies.
The hay, fruits, veggies, and water are all available in both your local markets as well as online.
The vitamin C supplements are must-buys for guinea pigs. Vitamin C can also be fed through a balanced diet of veggies and fruits. But all fruits and veggies that guinea pigs love are quite low on vitamin C, so we cannot be sure if that could provide the necessary amounts of vitamin C.
The supplements are available either as drops or as pellets. Some guinea pigs may sense chemicals in pellets and show aversion. So drops can be more effective as they can be mixed every day with their water.
If you want to read more about feeding your guinea pig, the best vitamin C supplement and a lot more – read this post.
I don’t mean to sound like a jerk. Even though I know that you are aware of how essential water is for any living organism, I would like to include water in the list; because I did say this is a complete list of essentials for guinea pigs. And the list of essentials is totally incomplete without water.
Obviously, your guinea pigs need a home of their own within your home. The shelter size depends on the size of the individuals. But the BlueCross’s recommends that the hutch for two guinea pigs should be a minimum of 120 in length and 60 cm in width. Although, you do not have to be stingy about buying or building your guinea pigs the biggest home possible! The hutch is supposed to be next to an outdoor run for your pals to graze on.
Make sure that the hutch and the run are safe from predators if you are keeping them outdoors. Even in case of indoors that are accessible to cats, are dangerous for guinea pigs to roam freely in. The hutch and the run should not be kept in areas where they will be under direct sunlight. This is because guinea pigs love to be in the dark most of the time. Do not expose your guinea pigs to rooms with vehicles such as a garage either. The fumes coming out of the vehicles could kill your pals.
You can read our post about choosing the right cage and location to learn even more.
The Habitat – Cage, Hutch, and Run
Building the habitat on your own, is in my opinion the best DIY project you can undertake in your life. So, I would recommend you to try it out if you can. But, if you cannot, I have your back covered. The habitat I recommend is this one from the brand Kaytee:
Press the link or iamge above to find more information, images as well as the price of the cage. (Amazon Affiliate link)
Bedding for the Shelter
- Straw is a fine material to make the bedding out of. But having the bedding made out of hay will be of dual benefits. They are soft on the guinea pig’s feet, but yum-yum for their tummy!
- Wood shavings are to be avoided as much as possible because of sharp edges in some pieces. But if at all you have to go with wood shavings, do NOT choose cedar shavings. Also, remember that guinea pigs do not understand the difference between their bed and their food. To them, anything they see is for nibbling nom-nom! So if you buy bedding made of fluffy material, not only is it very costly, but it is also dangerous for your pals. You can understand why it is dangerous given the fact that it cannot be digested by your pals when they eat it. But I wish I also get a bed made out of my favorite food though!
- Most experts suggest a combination of paper and aspen material for your guinea pig’s bedding. In terms of cost, that could be pricier than simply aspen bedding material packs. So, to sum up, aspen is a great bedding material for your pals!
Pro Tip: You will have to refill your guinea pig’s bedding material once in a while. So one way or another, you would need a lot of aspen to keep refilling every time. So buying in bulk would not hurt you. More importantly, it won’t hurt your purse strings because the more amount of aspen you buy in bulk, the cheaper it gets!
You can check out the price on great aspen bedding from the brand Kaytee here.
If you want to see other exellent alternatives and read more about how to choose the perfect bedding, read this post.
Containers for Food and Water – The Carriers of Happiness
I don’t think it would be a surprise to any of you when I say that guinea pigs eat and drink. But some of you may be surprised to hear that they eat and drink, a loooot! Some people find it amusing, but I really don’t know why. They are so fluffy, chubby, and cute! How can’t they eat more! Okay, I got carried away with their cuteness. Let’s cut to the chase.
It is not practical to have regular bowls as feeders for guinea pigs. So you are to have some sort of automatic feeder and water bottle which can stock up food and water that last for at least one or two days. There are millions of choices when it comes to food feeders and water bottles.
With that said, the food feeder I recommend is this gravity bin from Kaytee and when it comes to the water bottle I recommend this one that you will have be able to refill from the outside of the cage, super simple!
Another important investment you can make is in a hay feeder. Hay makes up 70% of guinea pigs diet, so you have to make sure that your guinea pigs have access to unlimited hay. An automatic hay feeder like this one does just that!
Tunnel and Hideout
A plain cuboidal cage is the last thing that a guinea pig would want. They are not animals which sleep all the time. They are active. And they love to play with their cagemates. How can a cuboidal cage be a place of fun and games? Well, stuff it with accessories. Tunnels, hideouts, and bridges make great play-sites for guinea pigs.
Hide-and-seek, as observed by several owners, is the most favorite game for guinea pigs. You can choose from a wide range of available products when it comes to tunnels, hideouts, and bridges. But below are the products that I found to be perfect choices.
The tunnel/hideout that I’ve chosen is completely satisfying for your guinea pig because it best resembles the natural habitat. Made of grass and natural plant materials, the tunnel triggers your piggy’s intuition to play. Moreover, it has three holes through which your guinea pigs can enter or exit, making it perfectly safe for more than one guinea pig to play at the same time. That sure makes it more fun!
You can see what the tunnel looks like as well as read more about it on Amazon’s website here
Also Essential, But Not 100% Must-Buys
The items in this section are the ones that can not be classified as absolute necessities. But they are still essential for the health of your guinea pigs. These are items whose purposes can be satisfied by alternative at-home products.
Guinea pigs are rodents. I know what you are thinking. “Does this guy really think I do not know that guinea pigs are rodents? Even if he does, why is he saying that now? How is it relevant?” Well, since they are rodents, their teeth never stop growing. To keep this never-ending growth in check, they tend to chew or nibble on anything around them. That is why guinea pigs can be seen biting and nibbling their cages.
There are several sets of products on amazon.com that comes with not just chew toys, but other essential accessories as well, here’s one example of a great set of items (Amazon affiliate link).
Carrier for Transport
If you plan on traveling with your guinea pigs for short durations, you would need a portable cage. I must warn you though, carrying them for longer durations without other fun accessories, could dangerously affect their mental and emotional state.
For transport and short travels here’s the portable cage I recommend (check out the price on Amazon here). This cage is available in small, medium and large so that you can choose the best size accordingly to how many piggies you are going to travel with.
Let me cut to the chase. Regular grooming is essential for haired breeds of guinea pigs. Some people choose to use grooming tools that they buy for themselves, for their piggies too. That is not advised against. But nor is it advised to be good. And the hairless breeds, of course, don’t need combs! That is why grooming tools are included in this list of not 100% necessary items. Nail clippers, hair brushes are essential for the body grooming.
You can check out a good all-in-one grooming kit on Amazon here.
What are non-essentials? Well, these items come under “wants”. These are items that you could manage to live without. But still, these could make the lifestyle better. By the way, I do hope you know that I am talking about your guinea pig’s life!
Handsfree Single Shoulder Sling Carrier
I always urge owners to treat their pets no differently than they would treat their own babies. This product helps you to carry your guinea pigs “close to your heart”, literally! Not only will this help you stay in a happy state of mind all the time, but it is a great conversation starter! Ice-breaking can never be easier, trust me, I speak out of the experience!
Cute right! You can check out the price of this handsfree sling carrier here.
Cuddle Cup for Sleeping
Guinea pigs do not expect a lot of comfort and luxury. All that they expect is love and care. But the best way to express love is not just by hugging them all the time. Giving them more than what they need, going the extra mile in making sure they are happy, could be a phenomenal sign of love too! That is why, a cuddly, cup-shaped bed makes a great gift for your guinea pig. Not only is it helpful in keeping them warm, but it also makes the cutest sight to look at when your guinea pig rests in this product.
Check out this cute cuddle cup, sure it’s made for cats, but there’s no doubt that your furry little pals will enjoy their stay in one of these as well.