Guinea Pig Supplies List: 25 Essential & Optional Supplies for Your New Pets
Adopting a new pet can be both stressful and exciting! There’s so much to do to prepare for your furry friends.
I’m hoping to remove the stressful part altogether by providing a complete list of everything you may need—or want!—before bringing your guinea pigs home.
The basic supplies for guinea pigs include a large enough cage, bedding, water bottles, hides, and someplace to put their hay. Your guinea pigs will also need timothy hay, fresh veggies, and plain, hay-based guinea pig pellets. A first-aid kit, carrier, and grooming supplies are just a few other essentials.
Keep reading to learn more about which supplies guinea pigs need, and how to spoil your new furry friends!
Guinea Pig Supplies Checklist
Before bringing your new pets home, ensure that you have everything you need to provide them with a comfortable and safe environment. Here is a list of everything you need:
- A friend for your guinea pig
- A large cage / enclosure
- A playpen (optional)
- Disposable or reusable bedding
- Hides and tunnels (at least one per pig)
- Toys (optional)
- One water bottle or bowl per pig
- Food bowls (optional)
- Multiple hay feeders (optional)
- A litterbox or “kitchen” (optional)
- Timothy or other grass hay
- Hay-based guinea pig pellets
- Fresh vegetables
- Treats (optional)
- A carrier or small cage for travel
- Nail trimmers
- Guinea pig shampoo
- Coconut oil
- Scissors or pet clippers (for long-haired piggies)
- Comb (for long-haired piggies)
- Kitchen scale
- First-aid kit
- Vet clinic numbers
- Emergency savings or pet insurance
- Cleaning supplies for guinea pigs’ cage
Read on for more details about each of these points.
(Want to see our guinea pig shopping list on Amazon? See it here!)
One of the first things you’ll need for your guinea pig is a friend. Guinea pigs can be adopted in bonded pairs or groups, or adopted one by one and bonded together.
If you’re a first-time owner, learning what bonding looks like is vital. Many normal behaviors can be intimidating to humans, but they’re needed for guinea pigs to get to know one another and establish a hierarchy. Separating your guinea pigs without need can damage their bond.
Remember that guinea pigs having at least one friend is not optional—it’s vital to their wellbeing as social creatures!
A Large Cage / Enclosure
A cage of 7.5 square feet is the minimum size for two guinea pigs to live together—and a guinea pig should almost never live on their own!
Of course, this is the bare minimum, and we suggest purchasing the largest cage you can that will fit with your space and budget. We prefer to see pair of piggies given 10.5 square feet or more, as they thrive in larger set-ups.
In addition, males need more space than females, and are more likely to fight if not given enough room.
|No. of Guinea Pigs||Minimum Size||Preferred Size|
|2||7.5 sq. ft.||10.5 sq. ft.|
|3||10.5 sq. ft.||13 sq. ft.|
|4||13 sq. ft.||16 sq. ft.|
|5||16 sq. ft.||19 sq. ft.|
Unfortunately, the majority of pet store cages don’t fit this minimum requirement.
A Midwest cage is a great starting point, especially because two can be joined together to give your piggies double the minimum space.
However, we prefer C&C cages—which can either be bought or handmade. C&C stands for storage cubes and Coroplast, which is a type of corrugated plastic that is used to line the bottom of the cage.
Homemade, these cages can be quite cheap. Even better, they can be shaped however you like and expanded indefinitely. This is awesome for beginners who later find that they want to give their guinea pigs more space.
A Playpen (Optional)
Many people use pop-up playpens lined with fleece to give their guinea pigs floor time outside of the cage. This is optional, and not all guinea pigs will enjoy it—especially as they’re first settling into their new home.
You can give your piggies floor time without a playpen as long as you piggy-proof the space and supervise them constantly. However, playpens make it easier to keep your guinea pigs contained and safe.
Disposable or Reusable Bedding
You’ll need either disposable or reusable bedding to line your guinea pig’s cage. Guinea pigs poop and pee constantly due to their fast metabolisms, and having something to absorb the wetness is a must.
Bedding options to choose from include:
- Fleece liners
- Fleece fabric or blankets with an absorbent layer beneath (the homemade version of a fleece liner)
- Noodle bath mats
- Paper bedding
- Aspen shavings
- Kiln-dried pine shavings
- Hemp bedding
It’s important to avoid harmful materials like cedar and non kiln-dried pine. Disposable puppy pads as your absorbent layer are also risky, as your guinea pig can eat them if they crawl beneath the fleece.
If you choose reusable fleece bedding, it’s important to wick the fleece properly so that liquid soaks through the fleece and into the absorbent layer. This could be towels or reusable puppy pee pads.
Reusable bedding is more eco-friendly and costs less in the long haul. However, it’s more of an investment when first buying and requires doing extra laundry.
Disposable bedding must be at least 2-3 inches deep so that liquid can absorb into the bottom layer, leaving the top dry. It’s important that the top of your bedding is dry so that your guinea pigs aren’t sitting in their own urine.
Disposable bedding can better hide guinea pig poops as they mix in with the bedding, rather than always sitting right on top. It’s also cheaper to start with, but the cost quickly adds up over time. Some people prefer disposable bedding because they don’t have to do as much guinea pig laundry.
Hides and Tunnels (at Least One Per Pig)
Each guinea pig needs at least one hide. This could be a hidey house, tunnel, fleece forest, or even a cardboard box with a door cut out! I also recommend providing one extra hide to be safe. Having enough resources can help to prevent squabbling, especially if you have two boars.
Another method, especially when introducing new pigs, is to use only hides with multiple entrances. This way, they can’t block each other inside and it’s easier to escape if they begin to fight for the space.
Tunnels and other multiple-entrance hides are also great for the middle of the cage, where they can be put without taking up valuable running space. It’s best to keep single-entrance hides to the sides or corners of the cage so that they’re out of the way.
For guinea pigs, toys are optional. Some will chew on toys, while others won’t even look at them!
Guinea pig toys should always be made of natural materials that can be safely ingested. Toys made of wood or compressed hay are my favorites!
One Water Bottle or Bowl Per Pig
Some pairs do okay with one water bottle, but it’s always best to have at least one per guinea pig. This way, they can’t stop one another from drinking or get territorial over the water.
You can also use water bowls for your cage, but I personally dislike them as they need to be constantly refilled. Your guinea pigs will likely kick their poop, pellets, hay, and bedding into the water dish frequently.
Food Bowls (Optional)
Food bowls are optional for guinea pigs. Some people choose to scatter feed pellets and veggies, which is great for enrichment!
If you opt for food bowls, make sure each piggy has their own. Like with water bottles and hides, this helps to prevent territorial behavior and guarding of resources.
Multiple Hay Feeders (Optional)
There are many ways to feed your guinea pigs hay. Hay feeders, hay bags, litter boxes, and simply piling hay in the cage are all great options.
If you use a hay feeder or bag, make sure the holes are large enough for your guinea pig’s whole body to fit inside easily. This will prevent them from getting their heads stuck, which can injure or even kill them!
Like scatter feeding, giving your guinea pig piles of hay to burrow through is a great enrichment activity for them. Just remember that you’ll go through more hay this way; guinea pigs won’t eat hay that’s been trampled or peed on.
A Litterbox or “Kitchen” (Optional)
Some people choose to set up a litterbox or “kitchen” space for their guinea pigs’ hay. Many people who use fleece will use disposable bedding in the litterbox area, though not always.
Because guinea pigs have fast metabolisms, they do most of their pooping and peeing where they eat. Hay is 80% of their diet, so they should be eating it constantly throughout the day.
Having a kitchen or litterbox space contains a good portion of the mess, making spot cleanings easier. A good addition to this is to add smaller fleece pads beneath your guinea pigs’ hides, so that you don’t have to change the entire liner when those areas become saturated.
Timothy or Other Grass Hay
A high-quality timothy hay or other safe grass hay is a must for guinea pigs. Hay is over 80% of a guinea pig’s diet, and they must have a large amount in their cage at all times.
Most people opt for timothy hay unless they have allergies. In this case, orchard grass is also great for piggies—though typically more costly. You can also mix safe hays to provide some fun variety in your guinea pigs’ diet.
Avoid alfalfa hay for grown guinea pigs, as it contains too much calcium and protein.
In addition to eating, guinea pigs love burrowing through their hay and will likely pee on it as well, if it’s on the floor of the cage.
Hay-Based Guinea Pig Pellets
A high-quality guinea pig pellet will supplement your guinea pig with extra nutrients, kind of like human vitamins. However, they are never a replacement for daily vegetables.
Pellets should consist of only plain, brown pellets—no seeds, dyes, or other additives. While these blends look boring to the human eye, they contain everything your piggy needs to thrive.
Each guinea pig should be fed no more than 1/8 of a cup of pellets a day unless you’re instructed otherwise by your veterinarian.
Guinea pigs need one cup of daily fresh vegetables each day. This is where they get much of their nutrients, including vitamin C, which guinea pigs don’t produce on their own.
Your guinea pig’s veggies should primarily consist of dark, leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, parsley, kale, and cilantro. Your pets also need veggies rich in vitamin C such as bell peppers on a daily basis.
Avoid feeding too much sugar or calcium. Although piggies can have occasional fruits, carrots, and veggies that are more calcium-rich, they shouldn’t be fed daily.
Treats for guinea pigs are optional, but fun to feed! Treats can be fresh or dried fruit (without added sugar or extra ingredients), forage mixes made for guinea pigs, or other pig-safe foods.
Guinea pigs don’t need extra salt, so avoid salt licks. Dairy is also unhealthy for them, so any yogurt-based treats are a no-go. Many products are marketed toward guinea pigs, but aren’t actually safe for them—so it’s important to research ingredients yourself before purchasing anything new.
A Carrier or Small Cage for Travel
Guinea pigs aren’t the kind of pets you bring on vacation, but they do need to travel once in a while. This includes when you bring your piggies home, move house, or visit the veterinarian.
A small pet carrier, a cat carrier, or even a small pet store cage all work for traveling with your guinea pig. Be sure to fill the carrier with hay before taking your guinea pig anywhere, as they need access to it constantly.
To keep your piggies safe in the car, strap their carrier in with a seat belt. I’ve personally wrapped the seatbelt around a large cat carrier with my guineas inside, and also hooked the seatbelt through the strap of smaller carriers.
Avoid putting your guinea pig in the passenger seat, as they could be injured or killed if the airbags go off in the car.
Though it’s not something everyone thinks about, we always want our pets to be secured in case of an accident, too!
I personally have always used cat nail trimmers on my guinea pigs. However, some people swear by human nail clippers.
It comes down to preference, so I recommend trying each to see what’s easiest for you. Also, be sure to learn how to clip your guinea pigs’ nails safely so that you don’t cut into the quick of the nail, which will bleed and cause your piggy pain.
Guinea Pig Shampoo
Assuming you have a guinea pig with hair, it’s a good idea to have guinea pig shampoo on hand.
I personally prefer using an anti-fungal shampoo such as the Davis Miconazole Pet Shampoo, which can be used as a preventative to stop your guinea pigs from developing fungal infections. It also helps to clear an infection if they have one already—though if you suspect a health problem, it’s always best to visit a vet.
Remember to only bathe your guinea pigs as-needed, and never more than a few times a year.
If you have a skinny pig, or a hairless guinea pig, it’s not recommended that you bathe them normally. Instead, most people use coconut oil regularly to moisturize and clean their skin.
Coconut oil is also great to have around for hairy guinea pigs. It can be used to gently remove debris and as a moisturizer.
Scissors or Pet Clippers (for Long-Haired Piggies)
Long-haired piggies often require trimming, either for sanitary reasons, to make grooming easier, or to remove matted fur.
You can also use pet clippers with a guard to shorten your piggy’s hair when needed.
Comb (for Long-Haired Piggies)
If your guinea pig has long hair, a metal comb is a must-have. Comb through their fur at least once every few days to ensure they don’t develop tangles or painful mats.
A kitchen scale that measures in grams is one of the most important parts of a guinea pig first-aid kit. It’s recommended that you perform health checks at least once a month on each guinea pig, and one step is to record their weight.
If your piggy loses more than 50 grams in a single week, see a veterinarian as weight loss is often the first sign of a health problem.
Guinea pigs are generally safe because they’re kept in our homes. However, they do face some risks, including injuries by their cage mate, hay pokes, and parasites carried indoors by hay or other pets.
Here are some things to keep in your first-aid kit:
- Critical care – Guinea pigs can go into GI stasis, a life-threatening condition, if they don’t eat for 12 or more hours. Critical care can be force-fed via syringe to keep their metabolism going.
- Liquid vitamin C – Never put this in your guinea pig’s water, but it can be syringe-fed if they have a deficiency
- Styptic powder or flour – Stops bleeds, particularly if you cut into the quick when trimming nails
- Syringes – For medications or critical care feeding
- Saline – To clean wounds
- Q-tips – For cleaning eyes, ears, or wounds
Vet Clinic Numbers
Before you adopt guinea pigs, please research exotic pet veterinarians in your area and call to ensure they’re taking new patients. New pets should always have a check-up upon adoption.
Keep one to two trusted veterinarians in your phone contacts alongside any emergency clinics in the area that take guinea pigs. You’ll need to call first to check, as many emergency vets sadly won’t take exotic pets.
Having these numbers on-hand can save much-needed time in an emergency.
Emergency Savings or Pet Insurance
Veterinary costs are a vital part of having guinea pigs. They should receive a check-up at least once yearly, and may need extra care if they get ill.
For instance, one of my guinea pigs ended up seeing the vet every few months toward the end of his life due to illness.
Having either an emergency savings account for your piggies or pet insurance will ensure you can bring them to the vet when necessary.
Cleaning Supplies for Guinea Pigs’ Cage
Your guinea pigs’ cage will need to be spot-cleaned once daily and cleaned out fully one to two times a week. Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Diluted vinegar (can be used to wipe the cage clean regularly or left for 30 mins to remove stubborn stains)
- Paper towels
- A small sweeper and dustpan or vacuum
- Unscented laundry detergent
- Mesh laundry bags for washing fleece
- A brush to remove fur and hay from fleece materials
- A bottle brush and q-tips to clean water bottles
That concludes our list of the most essential supplies for guinea pigs. There are so many ways to care for piggies, so though some of these items are optional, we hope they’ve given you an idea of what you’ll need to keep your piggies happy and healthy!
Remember to invest in the basics first – piggies will love any fancy hide you give them, but they’d also be happy with a cardboard box if it meant investing in more cage space, a buddy, or high-quality hay instead.
Thank you for all the great advice. I just got a baby boy piggy and I really want to get another one but I am scared they might fight. I have everything I need for a second one. Thanks again.