How Expensive is it to Keep a Guinea Pig as a Pet?

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Guinea pigs can make great pets, but just like any other pet, they cost money. The initial investment includes the guinea pigs, enclosure, some houses, toys, food and water containers, hay, pellets, and a few other things. In addition to this single investment, you will have regular investments for hay, pellets, fresh food, bedding, and toys. The total cost is variable and depends on the number of guinea pigs you have, and several other factors such as the type of food you choose, the age of the pets you own, and if you choose to take your guinea pigs to the vet on a regular basis, or not.

Buying two guinea pigs and all the equipment will cost between 385 and 690$. The yearly cost for two to three guinea pigs can be between 504 and 594$. Possible costs for the vet will be another 100$ a year on average.

In the following, you will find all the costs that you have to consider for a pet guinea pig, and also some ideas on how to save some money.

Is Keeping a Guinea Pig Expensive?

Any pet costs money. Taking care of a guinea pig is not necessarily more expensive than any other pet. It depends a lot on your shopping behavior and of course on the number of guinea pigs you own.

Guinea pigs are neither cheap nor low-maintenance pets. They can live up to 10 years and in some cases even longer if treated well. Before getting a bunch of guinea pigs, make sure that you are ready for the responsibility that comes with owning cavies.

Are you looking for information on how to care for guinea pigs? Check out this detailed article for beginners.

The total cost for two guinea pigs per year includes:

  • Hay: 168$
  • Pelleted Food: 96$
  • Fresh Food: 180$
  • Bedding / Fleece: 30 – 100$
  • Toys and other equipment: 30-50$
  • Vet: 0-350$

What are the Initial Costs of Getting a Pet Guinea Pig?

The initial investment for two guinea pigs: Approximately 385 – 690 $

These are the cost factors for an average initial investment for two guinea pigs:

  • Enclosure: 100 – 300$
  • Transportation box: 25$
  • Glass water bottle: 10$
  • Food dish: 10$
  • Bedding / Fleece: 25$ / 50 – 80$
  • Chew toys: 10$
  • Nail clipper: 10$
  • Houses and other toys: 50 – 100$
  • Hayrack: 10$
  • Hay and pelleted food for the first few weeks: 30$
  • Fresh vegetables and fruits: 5$
  • Two Guinea pigs: 100$

The variable costs that come with owning a guinea pig include the daily food supply for your pets, the bedding, and some optional toys, houses, and structures for the enclosure.

In addition to these costs, you might also need to see a vet which can quickly become a very costly factor if treatments or surgeries are necessary.

The cost of food can be reduced by buying the hay and the pellets in bigger batches. But that obviously depends on whether you have some extra space in your home to store these amounts of hay and pellets. 

Another way to save some money is to use reusable fleece blankets on the floor instead of bedding. 

If you are open to buying guinea pig equipment second-hand, you can also save some money. Enclosures, toys, and houses can be very expensive in pet shops.

How Expensive is a Guinea Pig?

Just like most pets, guinea pigs can be acquired in pet shops, animal shelters, breeders, and private households.

Depending on where you want to get your guinea pig, and what type of guinea pig you are looking for, prices can vary between 30$ and 70$. 

You cannot keep a single guinea pig and need at least 2 individuals to live together, so the initial average cost for two guinea pigs would sum up to 100$.

If you are wondering, if you can keep a single guinea pig, please check out this article on why guinea pigs need to be kept in groups. You can also find answers to the questions if females, males, or both sexes make the best combinations and if it is possible to introduce young guinea pigs to an existing group in that article.

How Expensive is a Guinea Pig Enclosure?

Enclosure: 100 – 300$

Guinea pigs are rodents that don’t climb or jump and therefore don’t need a second level in an enclosure. But they still have some space to run around and explore. In addition to a regular enclosure, you might also want to consider a playpen for your pets.

The cost for a guinea pig enclosure highly depends on the size, quality, and whether you bought it new or second-hand.

A good, and big enough enclosure can be anything between 100 and 300$.

How Expensive is Guinea Pig Food?

Hay, Pelleted food, and fresh vegetables and fruits for a month: 37$ / Month

Guinea pigs in captivity need to be fed with fresh, dry, and high-quality hay, pelleted food, and fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. 

Timothy hay is a good option for guinea pigs and is also not too expensive. 60oz cost around 13$-15$ and lasts for about 1 month for two guinea pigs. Here is a link to Amazon, where you can get Timothy hay for your furry friends:

In addition to hay, you also need pelleted food for your guinea pigs. These pellets are a good option for guinea pigs:

10 pounds for approximately 16$ last about 2 months for 2 guinea pigs, which makes about 8$ per month for your pets.

Also, you will need a daily supply of fresh vegetables and fruits such as carrots, apples, cucumber, broccoli, or bananas. It is hard to say exactly how much the fresh food costs you because I personally always gave them a bit of everything I had at home anyways.

Let’s assume it’s about 15$ per month for two guinea pigs.

Hay + pellets + fresh food sums up to approximately 37$ per month for two guinea pigs.

You can find a detailed article on what guinea pigs eat (and what they don’t eat) in this article.

How Much Does Guinea Pig Bedding Cost?

Bedding cost per year: 30-100$ or Fleece liners (one-time-investment): 50-80$ 

You can either buy natural, high-quality bedding for your guinea pigs, or reusable fleece cage liners.

Fleece liners might appear more expensive at first glance, but in the long run, you can save some money because you can throw them in the washer and reuse them for years.

High-quality fleece liners for 2 guinea pigs might cost you around 50$ – 80$, while bedding can be anything between 30$ and 100$, depending on the amount you use, the size of the enclosure, and the frequency you exchange the bedding in the enclosure. 

How Much do you spend on guinea pig toys and other equipment?

Toys and equipment: 30-50$ / year

Let’s assume that you have already acquired the basics such as water bottles, food dishes, hay rack, transport boxes, nail clippers, and some toys, and you only need some additional houses or toys throughout the year.

For some extra houses, tunnels, and toys you might spend around 30-50$ per year.

How Much Does the Vet Cost for a Guinea Pig?

Vet: 0 – 350$ a year

The vet costs are highly dependent on the health of your pet. A healthy guinea pig might not need any vet appointment at all.

You might choose to take your guinea pigs to the vet for an annual check-up. Or you might end up with a high vet bill due to a single, or regular treatment, or surgery. The costs also vary depending on where you live. 

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