Recommended Supplies for Guinea Pigs
The following is a list of my favorite guinea pig items, as well as some training/agility equipment that I like to use for teaching my piggies tricks. I’ll also list some of my guinea pigs’ favorite treats and toys.
Some toys and treats on the market are frequently ignored, or even unsafe for guinea pigs. I’ll include a list of things to avoid at the bottom of this page, so you’re not wasting money on useless or even potentially harmful items.
My Favorite Training Items
My favorite types of tunnels for training are extendable and collapsible play tunnels made for guinea pigs and small rabbits.
These tunnels are perfect for training because the length is adjustable. When your guinea pig is just learning to go through a tunnel, you can keep the length super short until they gain more confidence. Then you can make the tunnel longer as they learn, and even bend and twist the tunnel in different directions for more variety.
This is fun for creating obstacle or agility courses for your guinea pig too. You can use straight tunnels in your course or curve them in a semi-circle or U-shape just like in dog agility courses.
Slotted balls are another common item I use for teaching various tricks, such as basketball and fetch. These slotted balls are made by Ethical Pets on Amazon.
I find that these balls are the perfect size for training guinea pigs, and they’re also super easy for the guinea pigs to pick up and carry.
Since these balls are cat toys, they come with little bells inside. However, I find that the bells are pretty easy to remove because the slotted balls have a bit of flexibility to them.
These can also make great enrichment toys if you’re not interested in training. Stuff them with lettuce or something similar, and they become a great puzzle ball for the guinea pigs to throw around and try to figure out how to get the food out.
Admittedly, I don’t tend to use target sticks too much for teaching other types of behaviors like jumps and tunnels, but I still like to teach my guinea pigs to touch and follow a target stick.
Following a target stick is an easy and fun confidence building trick that most guinea pigs learn quickly and enjoy doing. Most target sticks you can buy are larger and geared towards dogs, so I would recommend you make your own guinea pig sized target stick.
Target sticks are pretty simple and cheap to make, and only require a couple of materials. You can find a tutorial for this on the DIY Target Stick page.
Agility Hoop Jump
This is not an item you can buy, however I have a tutorial on how to make one on the DIY Guinea Pig Agility Hoop Jump page. This is one of my favorite DIY items for guinea pigs.
These hoops are super cute to use in an agility course, or just as a stand alone trick. You can also attach a piece of paper to the top of the hoop and teach your guinea pig to jump through a “blind hoop.”
Plus, since it’s a DIY project, you can make the hoop any color, and decorate it however you like. I like to put feathers on the top of the hoop for extra flair. 😛
I don’t use clickers very often with my piggies, but for those that want to use them, I highly suggest you use the quietest type of clicker you can find.
You can find quieter than average clickers online. If your piggy is still spooked by the noise, muffle the clicker in your sleeve or pocket at first.
In the past, I’ve also used a heavy style of pen with a louder than average clicking noise when you press it, and that seemed to have the right level of volume for guinea pigs.
My Favorite General Guinea Pig Items
Exercise pens (also known as ex-pens or play pens) have countless purposes for guinea pigs.
There are lots of different types to choose from, but I prefer wire pens that fold up for storage.
I use exercise pens frequently for floor time. You can set one up and let your guinea pigs run around safely inside the pen in any room of the house. You can also use them to block off certain areas of a room or furniture that guinea pigs could chew or hide under.
Exercise pens are also great for keeping your guinea pigs safely contained if you ever want to take them outside for fresh air and grazing time.
Another thing I use exercise pens for is a temporary cage for new guinea pigs. I like to set up the pen right beside the regular guinea pig cage. That way the existing pigs can get to know the newcomer before being formally introduced.
Ex-pens are also big enough for you to sit inside and bond with the new piggy without even needing to take them out of their cage.
I like to use ex-pens for training as well. It’s usually much harder to train multiple guinea pigs at the same time, so exercise pens are quite useful for separating pigs for short training sessions. Ex-pens allow the piggies to still see and sniff their buddy on the other side, so they’re less likely to be concerned about not having their cage mate with them.
Wire grids are often used to build C&C cages for guinea pigs. I used them to build my new guinea pig cages, and they worked great!
Wire grids are perfect to use because you can zip tie them together in nearly any shape or configuration you can think of to fit your space.
When choosing your wire grids, make sure you choose grids that have 9 squares across, like the Amazon Basics grids or Whitmor brand Storage Cubes. Some grids have bigger holes that guinea pigs could get their head stuck in, so you want to avoid those.
Another thing you can use them for is making your own guinea pig exercise pen. Simply zip tie a bunch of grids together and you have an ex-pen! This is often a bit cheaper than buying a dog ex-pen, and you can add as many grids as you want to make the ex-pen bigger. It also folds up in a fan just like a regular ex-pen for storage.
Midwest Guinea Pig Cage
The Midwest guinea pig cage is a great alternative to C&C cages if you don’t want to build your own cage with grids. The Midwest cage is a good size for 2 guinea pigs, and you can also add on to make it bigger if you have more than 2 piggies.
Waterproof Floor Time Mats
Waterproof mats (the grey mats shown in the photos above) are great for floor time and anywhere else you want to protect your floor from piggy messes. They’re easy to shake off and clean, and machine washable as well.
My favorite mats for the guinea pigs are splat mats made for kids. I own several of them, and also use them in the guinea pig cages. The ones I have in the guinea pig cages do get stained when they’re used heavily, but they don’t ever let any urine seep through, which is awesome.
XL Litter Boxes
I have used all kinds of litter trays for guinea pigs, but these extra large litter trays are definitely the best I have found. They’re called Puppy Go Here litter pans, and they’re meant for litter box training puppies and small dogs.
These trays are pretty big (I use the 24″ x 20″ size) so I wouldn’t buy them if you have a smallish cage. For those that have a Midwest or C&C cage though, they are absolutely worth it. I use them as a litter box/hay box combo, and it helps keep the hay contained in one place. The walls of the litter box are also low enough that I can hang their water bottle in the litter box, so it catches all the drips from the bottle. Using these litter boxes has cut down my cage cleaning time significantly.
I’ve fed all my piggies Oxbow Cavy Cuisine for the last 9 years or so. The guinea pigs love it, and they’ve always been healthy and long lived. Oxbow is considered a high quality food and is recommended by many vets and long time guinea pig owners.
However, pellets should be a small part of your guinea pig’s overall diet (the normal amount is 1/8 cup per pig, per day.) It’s important to balance your guinea pig’s diet with unlimited hay and healthy vegetables.
Oxbow Timothy and Orchard Hay
Unlimited access to hay is the most important part of your guinea pig’s diet. In fact, hay should equal out to about 80% of your guinea pig’s diet! Hay is essential to keep the digestive tract moving. Continuously chewing on the long strands of hay also keeps your guinea pig’s ever growing teeth worn down and healthy. Timothy and orchard hay are both healthy options for guinea pigs. I used to feed Oxbow’s brand of timothy hay. Now that I have 5 guinea pigs and 2 rabbits, I buy timothy hay by the bale from a local business.
Living World Plastic Water Bottles
Living World plastic water bottles are my favorite type of water bottle for my guinea pigs. They don’t typically leak, but they allow plenty of water to come out without too much effort on the guinea pig’s part.
Some water bottles have a very small ball tip on the end, and when you touch them with your finger, very little water comes out! I worry that my guinea pigs won’t get the amount of water they need from those, so I always look for a bottle with a larger ball tip, similar to the Living World ones.
Sturdy No Tip Bowls
Most lightweight plastic food bowls will be easily tipped over by guinea pigs, resulting in a lot of wasted food! A couple bowls I really like are the heavyweight Kaytee bowls and Staybowl tip proof bowls.
Mini Broom and Dustpan
A mini handheld broom and dustpan is invaluable with guinea pigs. As anyone with a guinea pig would know, guinea pigs poop constantly. Having a little “poop broom” nearby makes it so much easier to tidy up their cage a bit throughout the day or catch stray pieces outside of the cage.
Favorite Treats and Toys
The next section on this page is a list compiled by my guinea pigs. The following treats and toys are all the things that my guinea pigs go crazy for! They’re a little bit spoiled haha.
Oxbow Simple Rewards Baked Cookies
Oxbow has a brand of treats that come in a few different flavors. They particularly love the baked cookies made in the shape of a heart. Most of my guinea pigs seem to love the Barley Biscuits flavor the most, followed by the Veggie Treats, Bell Pepper biscuits, and Apple & Banana. I’m crossing my fingers that Oxbow decides to bring out a carrot flavor someday. Carrots are my guinea pigs’ top favorite veggie and I have a feeling they would absolutely love it in cookie form!
Oxbow Supplement Tabs
These are kind of a health item, but my guinea pigs seem to think of them more as treats. Most of my pigs get the vitamin C tabs in the orange package, but I’ve also given my older guys the joint support supplements.
It’s hard to say whether they make a big difference health wise, but I did notice a slight improvement with the joint tabs, and extra vitamin C is never a bad thing for guinea pigs! The guinea pigs certainly love them, and it’s great to have a healthy treat to give them with some potential added health benefits.
Pea flakes are another type of dried treat that guinea pigs love! Pea flakes are not usually sold commercially by big brands, so you will probably have to do a google search or look on Etsy.com for a smaller business near you that bakes them and sells them to small pet owners.
Toys and Chew Items
Timothy Hay Tunnel
I’ve never met a guinea pig that hasn’t been drawn to timothy hay tunnels. These tunnels basically combine a guinea pig’s two favorite things; eating/chewing and hiding.
Guinea pigs also love to explore and seem to really love running through tunnels. Hay tunnels are a bit more expensive than other types of hay woven toys, but they’re more interactive for the guinea pig and hold up to chewing much longer than the smaller toys.
Timothy Hay Mat
Timothy hay mats are another great chew item for guinea pigs. These can be placed on the floor or hung up on the side of the cage with twist ties or zip ties. If you place these on the ground, I highly suggest not putting it in a high traffic corner where it’s likely to be peed or pooped on. Once the mat gets soiled, most guinea pigs lose interest in chewing on it.
Tying it on the cage is a good alternative to keep it clean and make it last longer. It also encourages the guinea pigs to stretch and get a bit of exercise by reaching up to chew the mat.
Guinea Pig Items to Avoid
Exercise Balls and Wheels
Any kind of wheels or exercise balls are not suitable for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs don’t have flexible spines like hamsters, rats, and other rodents, so their back is unable to bend in a way to run on wheels. A better way to exercise your guinea pig is to purchase an exercise pen and give your guinea pig plenty of free roam time to run around outside of their cage.
Yogurt Drop Treats
Yogurt drops are treats that are frequently sold for guinea pigs. However, these treats are very high in sugar and not healthy for guinea pigs. In addition, guinea pigs should not consume anything that has even the smallest amounts of meat or dairy in it. The best treats to give your guinea pigs are the ones listed above, or a variety of fresh vegetables, especially vegetables that are high in vitamin C.
Treats with Seeds
Another treat that is frequently marketed towards small animals are treat sticks that are held together with honey or other sticky substances. These treats are very unhealthy for guinea pigs and can also pose a choking risk. Typically anything with seeds in it is best avoided.
Wire Hay Balls and Some Hay Racks
Any kind of wire hay ball that is hung on the cage and filled with hay can be potentially quite dangerous for guinea pigs. There have been countless cases of people who came home to find their guinea pig seriously injured or worse, with their head stuck inside one of these balls.
Hay racks in general are often frowned upon by experienced guinea pig owners. The reason is this; guinea pigs are supposed to eat large amounts of hay (their diet should consist of 80% hay.) Hay racks can make guinea pigs work harder than necessary for their hay, and therefore, they may not eat as much as they should.
If you choose to use a hay rack, make sure it is one that has large openings, and is easy to reach for the guinea pig so they have no difficulty getting the amount of hay that they need daily. Hay bags with several openings are a good choice if you hang it close to the floor.
My personal preference is using large litter boxes and adding a new pile of hay to the box daily. This allows the piggies to eat freely, and also does a good job of keeping hay contained in one easy to clean area.
Vitamin C Drops Added to Water
It is very important to make sure your guinea pigs get plenty of vitamin C in their diet. However, vitamin C drops that are added to water aren’t very effective, because vitamin C degrades quickly once exposed to light. In addition, the taste can even turn some guinea pigs off drinking from their water bottle.
The best way to ensure your guinea pigs are getting enough vitamin C is to feed them a high quality pellet food, and provide veggies that are high in vitamin C, such as bell peppers. Oxbow vitamin C tabs are an excellent edible supplement if you’re concerned about your piggies not getting enough vitamin C in their diet.