How Much Do Guinea Pigs Cost?

If you’re considering getting guinea pigs, you may be wondering how much to budget for these furry little potatoes. How much does it really cost to get started with all the supplies, and how much do guinea pigs cost per month after that?

I’ll be breaking that down for you in this article and sharing exactly how much I spend on my six guinea pigs. I’ll also work out some minimum and maximum estimates for setting up and keeping a pair of two guinea pigs. Let’s get started!

Cost of Two Guinea Pigs vs One

I’m going to estimate all the prices below for two guinea pigs. This is because guinea pigs should be kept in pairs. They can get lonely and depressed if kept alone.

When you commit to getting a guinea pig, you’re committing to two pets. You may be thinking that the cost of keeping guinea pigs is doubled when you have two. However, this is not the case!

They share the same supplies, the same cage, and you’re using bedding to clean out the cage anyways. You may clean it slightly more often with two, but it generally takes the same amount of time.

Hay, food, and vet emergencies can cost more with two guinea pigs versus one, but that is the reality of keeping guinea pigs. Thankfully, guinea pigs do not get sick often, and supplies like hay and bedding can be bought in bulk to save money.

How Much Do Guinea Pig Supplies Cost to Start?

The following is a list of all the upfront supplies you’ll need, as well as the ongoing monthly costs of keeping guinea pigs. A complete list of all the exact supplies I recommend buying for guinea pigs can be found on the guinea pig supply checklist page.

Guinea Pig Necessities – Minimum Costs

Cage – $50 – $100

Food Bowl – $10

Water Bottle – $8

2 Hidey Houses – $20

Nail Clippers – $5

Total Necessities: $93 – $143

Optional Guinea Pig Supplies

Exercise Pen – $40

Waterproof Floor Mat – $20

Small Pet Carrier – $20

Toys and Chew Items – $30

Fleece Liners – $120 for two liners to switch out when washing

Absorbent Pads/Towels/Chenille Bath Mats – $50

Litter Pan – $20 – $40

Grooming Supplies (Brush and Shampoo) – $16

Hay Rack – $20

Pet Safe Disinfectant – $15

Mini Broom and Dustpan – $5

Total Optional Costs: $376

Ongoing Monthly Costs of Keeping Guinea Pigs

Pellets – $5

Hay – $30 (or $5 – $10 if you buy in bulk)

Vegetables – $24 in summer, $35 in winter

Bedding – $40 if using disposable bedding for the cage (reduce or eliminate this cost if you buy fleece liners)

Vitamin C Tablets (Optional) – $6 – $12

Total Monthly Costs: $44 – $122

Based on these calculations, your total startup cost (essentials + one month of upkeep) will be a minimum of $137. This can be higher if you purchase fleece liners or anything else from the optional supplies list. Keep in mind that prices of supplies may fluctuate and change from time to time, so you may pay more or less for these supplies.

Your first month with guinea pigs will be more expensive because you’ll need to buy pellets, hay, and bedding all upfront, in addition to all the one-time supplies. Once you get past the first month, the costs come down to a more reasonable amount.

Cost to Buy a Guinea Pig

The cost to buy a guinea pig upfront is pretty minimal compared to your setup of supplies and ongoing monthly expenses. However, the average price point of a guinea pig is about $25. This can range from anywhere between $10 to $40.

Guinea pigs from reputable breeders can be a little higher than this. Uncommon breeds such as skinny pigs can even be priced well over $100.

Out of the ten guinea pigs I’ve had in total, four were $25. Two were $40, one was $50, one was $60, and two were free to a good home.

A couple of these piggies were from pet stores, and the rest were adopted from animal shelters and individuals rehoming their guinea pigs. The $50 and $60 guinea pigs came with several supplies that would have added up to more than the amount, so you may consider that free as well.

Sometimes when you find ads for individuals rehoming their guinea pigs, you’ll find people reselling everything with them for $100 or more. This can be a very cheap way to get started if you don’t have supplies already.

Monthly Cost of Keeping Guinea Pigs – Real Life Price Breakdown

Below, I put together an actual breakdown of what I spend on my piggies every month. This will likely be higher than your average, as I have six guinea pigs. Also, keep in mind that my breakdown is in Canadian dollars, so it could be up to 20% cheaper in the USA.

I’ll also provide a detailed breakdown of what it should cost each month to keep just two guinea pigs. So let’s dive in!

Hay

Hay should consist of 80% of your guinea pig’s diet. Because of this, the cost of hay can add up!

However, you can reduce this expense by buying your hay in bulk. Timothy and orchard grass hay are two of the best types of hay you can feed your guinea pig.

I spend $65 for a bale of hay delivered to the house via a local small pet hay company. You can get this cheaper, but it can also be much more expensive to buy by the bag from a pet store. This lasts me six weeks for eight animals, costing about $43 a month.

This works out to $5.50 per guinea pig or $11 for two.

Pellet Food

Guinea pigs should eat a small number of pellets every day to meet their daily nutrient and mineral requirements. Pellet food also contains some Vitamin C, which guinea pigs need plenty of in their diet.

I go through about 5lbs of food in a month for six guinea pigs. That works out to about $15 a month, or $2.5 a month per pig.

Therefore, the cost for two guinea pigs should be around $5 a month. Keep in mind that I feed a little less than 1/8 cup of pellets per pig per day to keep their weight down. They receive most of their Vitamin C through daily bell peppers and a chewable Vitamin C supplement.

Bedding

Disposable bedding will be another ongoing cost. However, if you use fleece liners instead, this cost can be cut down drastically. I spend about $30 a month for aspen shavings between all my animals. However, I buy this in bulk and only use shavings in litter boxes rather than the whole cage.

My price per guinea pig is approximately $3 a month or $6 for two. If you buy from the pet store and use disposable bedding for more than the litter box, your price will be a lot higher than this.

Vegetables

Next, we’ll break down the vegetables. Veggies can be challenging to estimate because they vary depending on the season, location, and availability.

It’s best to keep a bit of flexibility in your budget to account for this. In most climates, you can double these estimates for the winter months.

Bell peppers are the best staple veggie to feed your guinea pigs. This is because they are so high in Vitamin C while being comparatively low in calcium and sugar. 1/4 of a bell pepper per pig per day is a good amount to feed.

Guinea pigs don’t need a massive plateful of vegetables every day, as long as you choose healthy veggies that are nutrient-rich and high in Vitamin C.

I typically buy seven bell peppers a week, along with a couple of other types of veggies. An example of one week of veggies is listed below.

7 Bell Peppers = $4.66

3 Heads of Green Leaf Lettuce = $6

1 Bunch of Cilantro = $0.80

I also share a small amount of kale and carrots with them that I buy for myself every week. We can add an extra $2 to account for that.

Total Weekly Veggie Cost: $13.46

This cost will be lower for just two guinea pigs.

For example:

3 Bell Peppers = $2

1 Head of Lettuce = $2

1 Bunch of Cilantro = $0.80

Total = $4.80 for two guinea pigs.

It’s best to switch up some of the veggies you feed every week.

Some good ones to rotate between are parsley, cilantro, kale, baby tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, radicchio, endive, and various lettuces, except iceberg lettuce.

Feeding a variety ensures that your guinea pig gets different nutrients and benefits from each one.

Try to choose only one high calcium veggie per week to prevent the formation of bladder stones. High calcium veggies include most leafy greens and herbs. Parsley, cilantro, kale, and any other dark greens are generally high in calcium.

I’ve had a piggy with stones in the past, so I tend to keep my guinea pigs on a reasonably low calcium diet now. High calcium veggies do have a lot of great health benefits and nutrients, so it’s important not to eliminate them from the veggie rotation.

However, it’s crucial to balance them out with low calcium veggies like lettuce, cucumbers, and bell peppers, so your piggy doesn’t absorb an excessive amount of calcium.

Vitamin C Supplements

Vitamin C supplements are optional if your guinea pig is consuming plenty of vegetables high in Vitamin C. However, if you’re unsure, then a chewable Vitamin C supplement may be a good idea. Guinea pigs cannot overdose on Vitamin C, and any excess will be peed out.

I give my guinea pigs Oxbow Vitamin C tabs daily. Usually, I’ll give them half a tablet per day because they get Vitamin C from other sources. They are textured like biscuit treats, and most guinea pigs like them. These tablets cost about $12 and contain 60 tabs in a bag.

Since I break them in half, I have a total amount of 120 pieces. This lasts 20 days for six guinea pigs, working out to $18 a month. This would be $3 per guinea pig or $6 for two piggies. If you give them the whole tablet every day, you can double this cost.

It’s important to note that liquid supplements are best avoided. Liquid Vitamin C drops degrade quickly when exposed to light, and adding them to your guinea pig’s drinking water can cause them to drink less. Therefore, it’s best to stick to chewable tablets.

Vet Bills for Guinea Pigs

Some people choose to take their guinea pigs to the vet for a yearly checkup. However, this is not a necessary expense. As long as you’re keeping an eye on your piggy’s health, they only need to go to the vet when there is a problem.

Some people choose to take their guinea pigs to the vet for a yearly checkup. However, this is not a necessary expense. As long as you’re keeping an eye on your piggy’s health, they only need to go to the vet when there is a problem.

Most of my guinea pigs have remained healthy into their senior years, only requiring a vet visit when they are around 5-6 years old. If you choose to do annual checkups, you can usually budget about $45- $50 a year per pig.

However, it’s a good idea to have money set aside for unexpected vet emergencies. An emergency can happen at any time, and rush appointments can be expensive. All after-hours emergency appointments I’ve been to have been around $400, so it’s a good idea to have at least this amount set aside. If surgery is required, costs can be even higher. It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future, so it’s best to be prepared.

Guinea pigs can eat something that causes a blockage. They could have dental problems, develop a bladder stone, or poke their eye and cause an injury. They could accidentally fall or be dropped. There are many possibilities, and it’s essential to be prepared if something happens throughout your piggy’s life.

In Summary

As you can see, the costs to buy and keep guinea pigs can vary quite a bit. Guinea pigs require large cages, which can really skyrocket bedding costs. In addition, guinea pigs cost quite a bit to feed compared to their size because they need three different types of food. However, vet bills are usually low, and you’ll spend less than you would on most larger pets.

To find a complete list of all the supplies I use and love for guinea pigs, check out the guinea pig supply checklist.

There are also several ways you can buy in bulk and save money on monthly expenses. Check out this article for 8 ways to save money as a guinea pig owner for some additional tips.