The Cost Of Owning A Guinea Pig

Guinea Pigs April 26, 2020
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The Cost Of Owning A Guinea Pig

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If you’re thinking about a new pet, it’s important to consider the cost to keep that pet. Dogs and cats can be quite expensive to maintain but small pets are often more affordable. Not only are guinea pigs a great option for new pet owners, but their costs for upkeep are reasonable.

The thing you need to know about guinea pigs is that they are not solitary creatures. To keep your guinea pig happy, you’ll need to have at least two of them. It’s important to prevent unwanted breeding, however, so plan to have your guinea pigs altered or only keep guinea pigs of the same sex.

Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to keep a pet guinea pig.

Bringing Home A New Guinea Pig – One-Time Costs

Guinea pigs are gentle, entertaining little pets. Though they are fairly small, they are highly active and require a decent amount of space. This means you’ll need to factor in the cost of a large enclosure, not to mention the cost of doubling everything if you plan to keep more than one (which you should).

Before you set your heart on a pair of guinea pigs, take the time to consider how much it is going to cost and whether you can afford it. Not only will you need to purchase a cage for your guinea pigs, but you’ll need to think about other upfront costs like cage supplies, spay/neuter surgery, an initial vet visit, and the food and bedding to get started.

Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet guinea pigs:

Buying A Guinea Pig

You may not realize it, but there are many different breeds of guinea pig.

If you’ve only seen guinea pigs in pet stores, you’ve probably seen the American breed or perhaps the Abyssinian. American guinea pigs have short hair that comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Abyssinian guinea pigs have long, messy hair in just as many colors.

Here are some of the most popular pet guinea pig breeds:

  • American
  • White-Crested
  • Abyssinian
  • Rex
  • Himalayan
  • Silkie

The cost to purchase a pet guinea pig depends on the breed and where you get it.

If you plan to buy your guinea pig from a pet store, you can expect to pay somewhere between $10 and $40. Many pet stores don’t differentiate between breeds when it comes to pricing, though some do.

Another option is to adopt a guinea pig from a shelter. Adoption fees for guinea pigs vary, but you should expect to spend about $25 or more. Keep in mind that most shelters spay/neuter their animals before adopting them out so, while you may pay a higher fee, you’ll save the cost of surgery.

The final option for purchasing a guinea pig is to buy from a breeder. This is the best option if you are looking for a specific breed or color/pattern, but it may cost you more than buying from a pet store.

Guinea Pig Cost by Breed

Breed Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
American $10 $40
White Crested $10 $40
Abyssinian $10 $40
Rex $10 $40
Himalayan $10 $40
Silkie $10 $40

Supplies And Setup

Guinea pigs are fairly active, so they need a cage that provides a decent amount of floor space. Keep in mind as well that these pets do best in pairs or small groups, so factor in the size requirements for multiple guinea pigs when shopping for a cage.

You should expect to spend between $50 and $150 on a decent guinea pig cage. If you want to save on setup costs and provide your guinea pig with a large enclosure, look into the C&C method for building your own cage. You’ll still need guinea pig bedding and other supplies.

On top of your guinea pig cage, you’ll need certain accessories.

Provide your guinea pig with a food bowl, water bottle, and at least one place to hide. It’s a good idea to provide one hiding place per guinea pig, even though they tend to share. You may also want to include a hay rack because hay is the staple in your guinea pig’s diet.

Another optional cost to consider is a guinea pig playpen.

If you don’t want to purchase a giant cage for your guinea pigs, another option is to buy the largest cage you can afford then give your pets daily time to exercise in a playpen.

The final setup costs to consider include veterinary costs.

Guinea pigs require an annual vet checkup, just like any other pet. Costs vary, but you should expect to spend between $40 and $50 per visit – you may need to do some research to find a vet that cares for small pets.

Guinea pigs don’t need vaccines, but you should consider spay/neuter surgery, especially if you plan to keep male and female guinea pigs together. The most cost-effective way to do this is to neuter the males – this costs between $50 and $100, depending where you go.

Guinea Pig Supplies and Setup

Cost Type Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Cage $50 $150
Cage Supplies $20 $50
Initial Food and Bedding $15 $30
Spay/Neuter Cost $50 $100
Initial Vet Visit/Vaccinations $40 $50
Total = $170 to $380

Cost Of Guinea Pig Ownership – Annual Expense Breakdown

Once you’ve purchased your guinea pigs, the cage, and the necessary supplies, you’re good to go. Make sure you purchase everything ahead of time so you can get it setup before you bring your new pet home – he’ll need some time to adjust to his new surroundings.

After getting your guinea pig settled in, your job as a pet owner really starts. You’ll need to feed your guinea pig daily and keep his cage clean. Plan for monthly expenses for food and bedding as well as occasional or annual expenses for vet visits, medical treatments, and more.

Here’s what you need to know about annual costs for pet guinea pigs:

Annual Medical Expenses

For some pets, medical expenses are a major cost. Fortunately, guinea pigs don’t require annual vaccinations, so you may only need to cover the cost of an annual visit. If your guinea pig gets sick or injured, however, emergency vet fees can be quite costly.

Here are some of the common health problems known to affect guinea pigs:

  • Respiratory infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Abscesses
  • Urinary problems
  • Skin problems

The average cost for a guinea pig vet visit is about $45. If your guinea pig develops skin problems or parasites, you can expect to pay about $15 or more per treatment.

Many pet owners wonder if pet insurance is worth the cost. Though it may be a good idea for larger pets like dogs and cats that require routine veterinary care, the cost to insure a guinea pig is likely more than the cost of treatment. Instead, put what you’d pay in monthly premiums into savings for emergencies.

Estimated Medical Costs for Guinea Pigs

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Veterinary Checkup Annual $45
Dental Cleaning N/A N/A
Vaccinations N/A N/A
Flea, Tick, and Worm Treatments Occasional $15
Emergency Expenses Occasional $100 or more

Food And Supplies

The best way to keep your guinea pig healthy is to feed him a high-quality diet that provides for all of his nutritional needs. Keep in mind that guinea pigs are herbivores.

Fresh hay is the staple of a healthy diet for guinea pigs. Timothy hay and other grass hays are recommended and should be available in unlimited quantities at all times. Young guinea pigs may benefit from small amounts of alfalfa hay due to the higher protein content.

To supplement your guinea pig’s hay diet, provide small amounts of commercial guinea pig food once a day and a handful or two of fresh vegetables.

Guinea pig food costs about $10 to $15 for a 5-pound bag which should last you at least a month, even with multiple guinea pigs. Fresh hay may be a bit more costly, depending where you buy, as do fresh vegetables. Budget about $50 to $75 per month for food.

In addition to feeding your guinea pig, you’ll need to keep his cage clean. Replacing the bedding once a week will cost around $15 to $30 per month.

Other monthly costs to consider include toys and additional supplies. A guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously, so you’ll need pieces of fruit wood or chew toys to help keep them filed down. You should budget about $10/month for toys and another $10/month for additional supplies as needed.

Also Read: What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Food and Supply Costs for Guinea Pigs

Cost Type Frequency Estimated Cost (High)
Food and Treats Monthly $75
Bedding Monthly $30
Toys Monthly $10
Additional Supplies Monthly $10
Total = $125/month

Total Annual Cost Of Owning A Guinea Pig

When thinking about bringing home a new pet, it’s important to consider the upfront and annual costs. Guinea pigs may not be as expensive to keep as larger pets like dogs or cats, but the cost to feed them properly is significant for a pet of this size.

Here’s a quick summary of the estimated annual cost for keeping a guinea pig:

  • Purchasing/Adopting = $10 to $40
  • Cage and Setup = $170 to $380
  • Annual Veterinary Costs = $45 (exam only)
  • Monthly Food and Supplies = $125

These costs may vary depending what kind of cage you choose and how many guinea pigs you keep. Building a C&C cage or using fleece bedding can save you upfront and monthly costs, though it may change your maintenance requirements.

FAQ

How much does a guinea pig cost?

Cost may vary by breed but the average cost for a guinea pig is $10 to $40. You may pay a little more from a breeder or shelter, but adoption fees generally include the spay/neuter surgery.

How much does it cost to neuter/spay a guinea pig?

It costs between $50 and $100 to neuter a male guinea pig. If you plan to keep males and females together, it’s most cost-effective to just neuter the males.

How much does a guinea pig vet checkup cost?

You can expect to pay between $40 and $50 for a vet visit. You may need to do some research to find a veterinarian experienced with small pets like guinea pigs.

How much does it cost to microchip a guinea pig?

The average cost to have a pet microchipped is about $45 and it is a one-time fee.

How much does guinea pig food cost?

Guinea pig food costs about $10 to $15 for a 5-pound bag which will last about a month. You also need to consider the cost of hay, however, which is the staple of your guinea pig’s diet. Food, hay, and fresh vegetables will cost you between $50 and $75 a month.

How much does a guinea pig cage cost?

Your guinea pig requires a significant amount of space and the cage needs to be larger the more guinea pigs you keep. Plan to spend $50 to $150 on a guinea pig cage.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
2 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Laure Dockery

    I recently bought 2 young male pigs, they were siblings we were told. They get along ok- but have spats a time or 2 a day. So my question is about how long before they become friendly and excited to be around us? The smaller 1 is vocal occasionally and the other not much. I was told they were 8 weeks old.

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      Kate Barrington

      It's hard to say. How big is their cage? Being in an environment with limited space can exacerbate issues. As long as they aren't drawing blood it's nothing to worry about anyway, male guinea pigs always tend to scuffle a little bit.

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