20 Essential Supplies For Guinea Pigs You Need (FREE Checklist)

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a picture of a guinea pigs wondering if his pet parent has all the essential supplies that he needs

If you’re considering adopting one or more guinea pigs, then there are some essential supplies that you’ll need in order to provide them with a safe and comfortable home.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 20 of the most important supplies for guinea pigs.

  1. Cage
  2. Bedding or Cage Liners
  3. A Hut Or Hideout For Each Guinea Pig
  4. Portable Carrier
  5. Water Bowl or Bottle
  6. Food Bowl
  7. High Quality Hay
  8. Vitamin C – Enriched Food Pellets
  9. Fresh, Green Veggies
  10. Hay Bag Or Rack
  11. Toys
  12. Kitchen Scale (Preferably Electric)
  13. Comb or Brush
  14. Scissors
  15. Nail Trimmer
  16. Guinea Pig Friendly Shampoo
  17. Some Sort Of Natural Moisturizer
  18. Cleaning Supplies
  19. Playpen
  20. Guinea Pig First Aid Kit

Ultimate Indoor Guinea Pig Essential Supplies Checklist

Check out our guinea pig essential supplies checklist.

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Start your guinea pig parenthood  journey off on the right foot.  Make sure your little, fuzz spuds have EVERYTHING they need for comfortable, happy lives.

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Let’s dive into all the details of the guinea pig must-haves.

1. Cage

The shelter or housing structure of your guinea pig will help determine how happy your guinea pigs are.

For starters, it provides the safety and security your guinea pig needs. The guinea pig’s cage is their home, and should be large enough for them to move around in comfortably.

Keep the following tips in mind when you decide to pick out some cages.

  • A good size guinea pig cage is at least 30 inches wide by 50 inches long (but, honestly – the bigger the better when it comes to cages. More on that later.)
  • If you’re using a wire, C& C cage, make sure the spacing between the bars is no more than ½ inch so that your baby guinea pigs can’t escape (cuz that last thing you need to do is give yourself a heart attack trying to find your guinea pig). Adults guinea pigs can live in C&C cages with miniature squares that are as big as 1 3/8 inches.
  • Multiple cages can be combined if you plan on getting more guinea pigs in the future. Just make sure that all cages can be fastened together (via small metal brackets or by other means).
  • Make sure the cage you choose is easy to clean. Piggies are pretty messy, so you’ll need an easy-to-clean cage (#justsayin’). Keeping the cage on a table off the ground helps with this, because it makes it easier to get the guinea pig bedding and poop out – especially if you have a bad back.
  • Look for a cage that allows free air circulation without being too drafty.

Here’s a table that you can use to get an idea of what cage size you might need for your fur babies:

# of Guinea PigsSize Of Cage
1 piggie10.5 square feet 
2 piggies10.5 square feet 
3 piggies13 square feet
4 piggies16 square feet

Source

What I Recommend:

If you’re looking a good guinea pigs cage, check out:

  • MidWest Homes for Pets Store Guinea Habitat. It’s highly recommended by veterinarians and cavy experts alike for its innovative design and optimum safety options.
  • C&C Complete Cage Kit. If you’re not much of a DIYer and you want a C&C cage, you’ll find this kit to be a lifesaver. It includes all of the materials you need to make a C&C cage – including the coroplast base.

2. Beddings and Cage Liners

More often than not, we think of beddings as comfortable items used for resting. However, in the case of a guinea pig’s house, it refers to an entirely different thing.

Beddings and liners are important, because they’ll help *fingers crossed* absorb your piggies’ urine, leaving the area dry for your guinea pigs to walk on.

These essential supplies used the correct way) helps keep your guinea pig’s cage clean and healthy – no one wants to give their piggies bumblefoot. By placing beddings on the cage, you protect your cavy from the potential infection that comes with pee puddles all over the cage floor.

There’s lots of bedding materials you can choose from, but the most important trait you need to look for is that it be absorbent and easy to clean or to switch out.

The most common and safe choices for beddings are fleece, paper-based bedding, bathmats, and aspen bedding.

What I Recommend:

When choosing your guinea pig cage’s beddings, look for the unscented, non-toxic, super absorbent, paw-friendly, and easy to clean option. Here are three beddings that fit the standards.

3. A Hut Or Hideout for Each Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are prey animals, so their default setting is to be scared of EVERYTHING that moves.

So, a hut or hideout of some kind for them to dash into is essential for guinea pigs to feel safe and happy.

Plus, even your piggies need alone time every now and then. And what better way to give them their privacy than providing a hideout where they can take short naps and sleep to recharge.

When you are choosing your huts, make sure there is enough space for the cage. Make sure they’re comfortable, and that it can be easily put in the cage.

What I Recommend:

Hideouts come in different forms – wooden and fabric. Depending on the available space in the cage, you can go for the classic cave habitat, hammock bed, hut, or tunnel. 

Now, consider the following hideouts:

4. Portable Carrier

If you love to travel or to simply take your guinea pig around the neighborhood, it helps a lot if you have a portable carrier around.

Unlike larger pets such as dogs, guinea pigs can get a little stressed out when traveling especially on long car trips.

So, you’ll need to have the right items starting with a portable carrier where your cavy can sit still (and hopefully be less stressed) during the entire trip.

Put some snacks inside and reliable food and water containers. This stuff can help your guinea pig’s travel anxiety.

What We Recommend:

Before buying a portable carrier, make sure you consider factors such as space, quality, and ease of use.

If you have more than one guinea pig, you can place them in a single carrier as long as the size fits the criteria. (Cat carriers work great for guinea pigs, too – as long as they’re big enough)

For example, two piggies are suitable for a carrier with a width of about 12 inches, length of 19 inches, and height of 12 inches.

But, if you’re traveling by plane, see if there’s specific requirements on the carriers allowed by the airlines. Here are some of the portable carriers you can choose from:

5. Water Bottle Or Bowl

Guinea pigs need water to live. They need it all the time. So, you have to make sure there’s an easy way for them to get it.

On average, guinea pigs drink as much as 3.3 ounces of water every day. This amount can go higher or lower depending on the weather and humidity. Your fuzz spuds will drink enough that they need to help regulate their temperature.

Dehydration is up big no-no.

When choosing a water bottle feeder for your guinea pig, make sure that it is consistently safe from contamination, easy for your fuzz spuds to get to, and in good working condition.

The nozzle has to be strong and chew-proof, so a guinea pig can’t bite it. It also needs to be easy to install.

What We Recommend:

6. Food Bowl

Pet parents generally put their piggies’ food in a food bowl. Whenever possible you want to keep your fur babies’ food off the floor (where the pee and droppings are) and some place elevated and clean.

This is especially important if you have more than one guinea pig in the house as they can easily spread bacteria and germs from their food bowls to each other.

Choose a food bowl that is easy to clean, heavy, has a low-profile design so your guinea pigs can’t knock it over (cuz some piggies could probably win gold medals for doing this; #naughtypiggies), and is made from a non-toxic material.

What I Recommend:

In terms of durable materials, ceramic food bowls are hands down better than plastic ones, keeping your guinea pig safe from health problems.

With that, here are some ceramic food bowls you can check for your guinea pigs’ food supplies.

7. High Quality Hay

Food is a concern when you get a pet. Guinea pigs need a special diet to stay healthy.

Your piggies don’t need fancy meals to survive – although they would appreciate one or two from time to time. Hay should make up the majority of their diet, so it’s important to provide good-quality hay for them.

Actually, cavies should have access to fresh hay at all times. This will help keep their digestive systems healthy and avoid problems like overgrown teeth (which is painful and can lead to health problems if not treated).

What I Recommend:

There are a few things you should look for when buying hay for your guinea pig. Make sure the hay is fresh, has no dust or mold, and isn’t from a weed-infested field.

The best hay for guinea pigs is usually the Timothy hay (2nd or 3rd cut when possible). You can try:

8. High Quality Food Pellets 

It’s important to get your cavies guinea pig specific food pellets to ensure they’re getting the right nutrients in their diet.

Commercial guinea pig food pellets are a good source of important vitamins and minerals, as well as being high in fiber (which all guinea pigs need).

And since cavies can’t make their own Vitamin C, the food pellets that you buy should also have Vitamin C added. And the brand you buy needs to be grass-based pellets.

There are a lot of different guinea pig food pellets on the market, and it can be tough to decide which one is best for your fuzzies.

Oxbow Essentials Guinea Pig Food is a good choice for your little friends and Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Food is another good option.

9. Fresh Veggies and Fruits

fresh fruits and veggies are essential supplies for guinea pigs- this is a picture of apples and carrots and kiwi with a piggie quote
Whenever possible, organic produce is best.

In addition to hay and pellets, guinea pigs also need fresh vegetables and fruits in their diet.

You can give your fur babiesa variety of different types of veggies and fruits, but make sure that they’re washed well before you give them to your guinea pig (to avoid giving them any stomach problems).

Also, you have to watch the feeding frequency and amounts of all produce you give to your little friends.

Some veggies and fruits are high in sugar and can cause obesity if given too often. Others can cause bloat or bladder stones (and other health issues).

Some good choices for guinea pigs include:

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumber
  • Cherries
  • Kiwi
  • Mango  
  • Melon
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries

Veggies

  • Artichokes
  • Bell peppers (all colors)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Corn
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Chard
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomatoes (only the fruit)  

This list isn’t exhaustive, so feel free to experiment with other veggies and fruits, too.

Just make sure to avoid giving guinea pigs anything that’s high in sugar (like grapes) or is known to cause health problems (like onions).

10. Hay Feeder or Hay Bag

Hay needs to be in a place where your guinea pigs can get it. Hay is important for their health and wellness. They need UNLIMITED amounts of it.

Lots of pet parents put their piggie’s hay on a big pile on the floor for them to enjoy (and cavies DO enjoy a big pile of hay). Some people are reluctant (to say the least) putting hay racks in their guinea pig’s cage.

There have been cases where the hay rack has become a hazard for your piggie. For example, some guinea pigs have gotten stuck in hay racks – hurt themselves…or worse.

But placing the hay on the floor of the cage might not always be the wisest move.

For one, the hay can scatter all over the place (be wasted) and your furries may pee or poop on them (double waste).

So, to avoid this unpleasant setup, adding a hay bag or feeders can keep all the hay neat and organized in one place. So, you have less mess and your guinea pigs can nibble away on the hay at their leisure.

Most hay racks have to be modified to be used safely with cavies. But, hay bags and hay feeders are a different story.

There are lots of hay bags and hay feeders on the market that work well with guinea pigs – they’re safe, easy to use, and your fur babies will love them.

What I Recommend:

You need a hay feeder that :

  1. Doesn’t prevent your little friends from getting to the hay.
  2. Your piggies can’t get stuck or caught in.

If you can find a feeder like this, it’ll make your life and your guinea pigs’ lives much easier.

So, think about using a few of these hay feed options;

  • Piggie’s Choice Hay Feeder
  • Cloth Bags: Just cut a slit in the side of the bag, stuff the hay in and tie the top the cage where your piggies can’t reach
  • A cardboard box: Yep, just cut a few holes in the side of a cardboard box and fill with hay. When it gets disgusting, toss it out and replace it with a new one.

11. Toys

Guinea pigs get bored especially if they’re on their own. That’s why giving them toys to chew on or generally play with can keep them entertained. On top of that, toys give your little friend mental stimulation (cuz guinea pigs need that, too).

What We Recommend:

If you’re on a budget, you can DIY some toys for your little friends. But you also have to be selective and cautious on which toys to provide, making sure they won’t hurt your fuzz spuds.

You can convert the following items to toys:

  1.    A sock stuffed with beddings or hay
  2.    Carboard box stuffed with shredded paper (and forage)
  3.    Non-toxic crumpled paper

On the other hand, if you just can’t help but spoil your guinea pig, here’s a list of highly-rated guinea pig toys that you can swoop up for your little friends.

12. Kitchen Scale (Preferably Electric)

Weighing your piggies weekly is important to tracking their health. Typically, cavies hide the fact that they’re sick, so the only hint that something might be wrong is a sudden change in their weight.

You won’t be able to accurately track your guinea pig’s weight if you don’t have a scale.

So, make sure to invest in a kitchen scale (preferably electric) and use it weekly to monitor your furry friends’ health.

You don’t have to break the bank on an expensive scale – unless you want to. A simple kitchen scale (that measures in both grams or ounces) will do just fine. Just make sure that it’s electric so you don’t have to keep track of weight manually.

What I Recommend

Both scales are affordable and have a high customer rating, so you can’t go wrong with either of them.

13. Comb and Brush

If you’ve ever seen guinea pigs, you know that they have a lot of hair – and it needs to be taken care of. That’s why having a good comb or brush is important so you can keep their coat healthy and free from mats and tangles.

Your piggie’s coat should be groomed weekly AT LEAST – and maybe more often if you have a long-haired piggie. Shed hair trapped in your little friends’ fur tends to stink, which is serious issue if your guinea pig lives in your house. Not to mention, matted hair can cause skin problems.

You can use a comb or brush – whatever you’re more comfortable with. Just make sure that the tool you’re using is designed for small animals and that it’s comfortable for them.

What I Recommend:

A small dog brush or a the highly rated Small Pet Select Hair Buster comb should do the trick.

14. Scissors

Your cavies hair need to be trimmed on a regular basis – especially if you have long-haired piggies.

It’s better to keep the hair around their private areas short to avoid health issues like urine scald. Urine scald is a common problem in guinea pigs and is caused by the accumulation of urine on their skin – that usually happens when their hair is too long.

Not to mention, long hair makes your guinea pig look messy (and no one wants that).

You don’t need to go out and buy expensive scissors made for grooming animals (unless you really just want to)– just use what you have lying around the house.

Just make sure that the scissors are sharp and preferably have a rounded tip (to avoid cutting your little friend). Basic household scissors work just fine for trimming guinea pigs’ hair.

15. Nail Trimmer

Cavy nails can be a bit tricky. It’s easy to nick the quick (vein) in their nail if you’re not careful. Not to mention, too long nails can cause health problems for your furry friend.

You can either use human nail clippers or small pet nail clippers – whichever you’re more comfortable with. Just make sure that the tool you’re using has a guard to avoid cutting the vein and is designed for small animals.

What I Recommend:

Two of my favorite guinea pig nail trimmers are the:

16. Guinea Pig Friendly Shampoo

There’s usually some kind of drama revolving around giving guinea pigs baths. Literally, I think that some people think that it’s akin to dipping a piggie into molten, hot lava – and laughing while you do it.

But the reality is:

At some point, everyone (including you) are going to need to give your piggies some sort of wash up, bath, butt bath – whatever.

And when you do it’s best to use a gentle shampoo – preferably one that’s guinea pig friendly.

What I Recommend:

  • Aveeno Soothing Oatmeal Bath
  • Dr. Bronner’s castile soap heavily diluted in water: This stuff is VERY concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
  • Head and Shoulders: I know, I know. Some folks say that it’s too harsh for guinea pigs. But, lots of responsible rescues use it – with no bad effects to their cavies. And if your little friend has ringworm, this stuff works in a pinch. Do NOT get this stuff in your piggies’ eyes.

17. Some Sort Of Natural Moisturizer

Cavies have sensitive skin. And sometimes their skin can get dry – especially during the winter months or during the summer when the air conditioner is running.

To help with that, up their Vitamin C intake (cuz it helps keep your cavies’ skin healthy), and…

It’s a also good idea to LIGHTLY moisturize your guinea pig with some sort of natural oil or lotion.

Almond oil or coconut oil are two of my favorites because they’re both gentle and effective. But don’t overdo it.

And make sure that you don’t use anything with fragrance in it – guinea pigs are very sensitive to smells.

18. Cleaning Supplies

There will come a time when you’ll need to clean your guinea pigs’ cage.

I’m not going to lie, it’s not the most fun thing in the world but somebody’s got to do it – and that somebody is probably gonna be you (ya know, cuz they’re your guinea pigs).

But, there’s things you can do to make the job a bit easier – like making sure you have the essential supplies to get the job done.

What I Recommend:

At the very least, you’ll need:

  • White, distilled vinegar: to make a spray that can be used to clean the cage and remove any stubborn stains as well as for washing fleece
  • Fabric softener-free, unscented detergent: to wash your fleece without taking away its wicking ability
  • Trash bags: for collecting waste
  • Cleaning gloves: unless your less squeamish than me and don’t mind touching your guinea pigs’ messes with your bare hands
  • Pet laundry bag: If you use fleece, and you want to protect your washing machine, stuff the fleece into the bag. Run the washer and it’ll keep hair and gunk from clogging up you washing machine.

19. Playpen 

When your guinea pigs are out of their cage, it’s a good idea to have a designated playpen where they can hang out and get some exercise.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that will keep them from getting into trouble – like getting stuck under a piece of furniture in your house.

What I Recommend:

  • The Small Animals C&C Cage Tent. It’s lightweight, easy to assemble/disassemble and most importantly – it’s affordable.
  • Pawaboo Small Animals Play Pen. It has a top so you can close it off – which is ideal if you have other pets in the house that you don’t want your piggies haven’t contact with.

20. Guinea Pig First Aid Kit

Accidents happen and when they do, it’s best to be prepared.

That’s why I recommend having a guinea pig first aid kit on hand.

Sometimes you can’t get to the vet right away. So, it’s nice to have a few things on hand to help your guinea pig until you can.

What I Recommend:

At the very least, your guinea pig first aid kit should include:

  • styptic powder or pencil: to stop bleeding from nail cuts
  • Critical care: in case your piggie stops eating and you need to tube feed them
  • oral syringes: to administer medicine or supplements
  • gauze and bandages: for wrapping any wounds
  • Epsom salts: soaking your piggies’ feet in Epsom salt water helps treat bumblefoot
  • saline solution: for flushing debris and dirt out of wounds, bites, or cuts
  • Bene-bac Pet Gel: a probiotic that should be given to piggies when they’re on antibiotics to help restore the balance of bacteria in their gut
  • emergency contact information: list of emergency contacts (vets, pet stores, etc.) as well as your guinea pig’s health

Snag Your Guinea Pig Essentials Checklist!

Start your guinea pig parenthood  journey off on the right foot.  Make sure your little, fuzz spuds have EVERYTHING they need for comfortable, happy lives.

FREE

In a Nutshell

So, there you have it – the 20 essential supplies that every guinea pig owner should have.

Print out this checklist and make sure you’re prepared for anything!

What do you think?

Anything I missed?

Let me know in the comments below.

References

Collard Greens are cheaper than other cruciferous veggies in the U.S., and packed with nutrients. (2020, September 29). Prevention. https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/a34212046/collard-greens-nutrition/

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Gastrointestinal disease in Guinea pigs and rabbits. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7128126/

Guinea lynx :: Diarrhea. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://guinealynx.info/diarrhea.html

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

Oxbow Animal Health. (n.d.). Oxbow animal healthhttps://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/blog/all-about-gastrointestinal-stasis-in-small-herbivores

Quesenberry, K., Mans, C., & Orcutt, C. (2020). Ferrets, rabbits and rodents – E-book: Clinical medicine and surgery. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Traveling with a Guinea pig. (n.d.). Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. https://mgpr.org/newsite/GP_Info/Guinea%20Pig%20Travel.html

What can Guinea pigs NOT eat | What food & plants are poisonous? (2021, June 14). Guinea Piggles. https://www.guineapiggles.co.uk/unsafe-foods-guinea-pigs/

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