Guinea Pigs Are Cheap… NOT!

Piig Money 2Monthly Guinea Pig Cost
Many people seem to think that guinea pigs are a low cost pet. This can’t be any farther from the truth. In one month I go through a good amount of money taking care of my six guinea pigs. This does not include any of my other pets.

Some of the things you MUST take into account is that guinea pigs need high quality pellets and hay. Lower quality can cause upset in their digestion and other health issues. I personally feed my guinea pigs Oxbow pellets and a 2nd cut timothy from local farmers. Buying my hay local does save me money because I do not have to pay the high mark up at pet supply stores.

After that cost you need to think about their bedding. Are you willing to buy bedding every month? Make your own or buy liners for a one time fee? Buying fleece cage liners has its advantages. You don’t have to fold or binder clip fleece to your cage. Buying bedding material like CareFresh can run you over $50 a month just in bedding. Aspen is a little better but not by much.

Next is, in my personal experience, the most expensive part aside from vet costs – the veggies. In the summer, veggies are in their prime. You can easily find lettuce for 70 cents. Come winter, that’s a different story. Here in Canada lettuce can fun as much as $1.50 per head of lettuce. That’s not counting their daily bell peppers, which in the winter time can run over $2.00/lbs!

If your lucky you may never end up seeing a vet, but sadly no matter how well we take care of our loving guinea pigs issues can still arise. These issues can cause huge vet costs. Having a savings on hand for vet care is a VERY good idea.

Here is an idea of what a guinea pig can run based on my own guinea pigs:
Pellets: $22.53
Hay: $4.16
Veggies: $16.66
Vet: $40.00 (savings)
Total per month: $83.35

I have been using fleece cage liners for years now but if you use CareFresh or Aspen or even Pine, I can guess that you are probably over my monthly total.

Some saving tips:
1. Buy in bulk. Pellets can be put in deep freezers for months at a time. I buy 50lbs of oxbow from a local supply store every 6 months. I keep a few weeks worth out and the rest go in the freezer.

2. If you have farmers around your city or town, call them and see if they have Meadow Grass or second cut Timothy Hay. First cut will work but it tends to have too many stems which can hurt your guinea pigs. I personally buy three 50-55lb bales, which is one years worth for me. I keep them in the shed behind my house.

3. If you see your daily veggies go on sale, buy a few extra. Don’t forget about them or they will go bad. Every month try and put at least $10 per guinea pig into a vet fund. This could be a savings account or even a cookie jar. You never know when this money will come in handy.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Erin Schimpf

Erin is the founder of Canadian Comforts and the proud parent of six guinea pigs, two ferrets and a mouse. She is a stay at home mom with three children, Ruby, Alexander and Joseph.

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5 Responses to “Guinea Pigs Are Cheap… NOT!”
  1. Karine Jans says:

    Those costs are Canadian.
    These are the costs in Belgium and keep in mind Belgians don’t earn as much and have high costs of living. I’m calculating for 4 pigs here for one month.
    Veggies 100$
    Pellets and hay 50$
    Vet & meds 135$
    Fleece 4$
    However … toys … that amount embarrasses me really … 100$

  2. Jennifer says:

    Good article, but please don’t suggest or give the impression that pine bedding is a suitable alternative to aspen or Carefresh. The oils in pine can cause respiratory problems in pigs – take it from someone who, unfortunately, knows! I sadly found out when I was an inexperienced pig parent and hope my pigs on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge can forgive my ignorance. I now try to do right by them by telling other newbie pig parents how to take care of their pigs and view this comment as part of that effort. Thank you.

    • Good point, Jennifer. I wouldn’t suggest pine bedding as a first choice, but kiln-dried pine is widely available in many parts of the world where options are limited. Pine, in general, is heavily debated and sometimes considered as bad as cedar following the idea of “if you can smell the oils, they are unhealthy to your pet.” Some feel the process of kiln-drying pine makes it safe enough for use around pets. I personally choose to avoid wood shavings when other options are available.

    • Erin says:

      That is a good point. I always suggest to people using pine to air it out before hand because this cuts down on the oils and as Angela stated “Some feel the process of kiln-drying pine makes it safe enough for use around pet”. Thanks for the reminder on that though, because it can be unsafe, especially in small cages or cages with little air flow.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I swapped my pigs to fleece a few years ago & haven’t looked back. I honestly think they enjoy the fleece more. I know that their ears stay warmer in the winter time & its so much more tidy on the floor in the living room! The cost up front can be daunting, but its a one-time cost. I went to get my fleece on sale, bought some that were seasonal, and paid $40. I haven’t had that cost since. I do take my pig laundry to the laundromat so that I don’t put errant hay & other nastiness that doesn’t shake out through a personal washer. Even still, the cost is less than shavings. I live in Maine, the Pine Tree State… so guess which shavings cost the least?

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