If you have guinea pigs, then you realize how important it is to entertain them. In an environment where they feel bored or lonely, guinea pigs are susceptible to symptoms like depression.
So, mental and physical stimulation is a must. Luckily, it’s not that hard to keep guinea pigs entertained.
On average, the most successful entertainment for guinea pigs are activities and toys that appeal to their natural instincts. Guinea pigs like to dig, socialize, burrow and chew on things. If you give your guinea pig the chance to do any of those activities, then your guinea pig will be ecstatic.
In this article, you’ll find a variety of tricks, toys, and activities to keep your guinea pig entertained, no matter where you are or what time it is.
Hope you’re ready. Let’s dig in!
How Do Other Pet Parents Entertain Their Guinea Pigs? (A Summary Of Important Stuff)
✅ If you’re in a hurry or just curious, check out this list of highly-rated, bestselling guinea pig toys on Amazon. You’re sure to find something wow-worthy for your furry, little friends.
I always flag down as many guinea pig owners as possible when I’m doing this kind of research. This time, I manually surveyed 611 people on what their fur babies enjoyed the most and kept their attention the longest.
I got so many different responses from other pet parents at first it seemed like there was no rhyme or reason to the entertainment preferences of guinea pigs.
But when I looked closer, there were actually some common themes that ran through most of the responses.
Here’s a summary of what I discovered through the survey:
- Guinea pigs have their own preferences when it comes to play time, but there were some clear favorites that popped up.
- Several DIY guinea pig toys were favorites for many piggies (and their pet parents). Meaning that you don’t necessarily have mortgage your house or sacrifice your child’s college tuition to keep your guinea pig entertained.
- For pet parents who aren’t into DIYing toys for their piggies, some store brands of toys provide entertaining options. Oxbow Guinea Pig Enrichment Toys and Small Pet Select toys were the clear frontrunners of purchased toys.
- You don’t need to buy things from stores that are only for guinea pigs. Some bird and cat toys were big hits with a lot of piggies (as well as safe).
- Most people have 2-3 favorite toys or activities that their animal doesn’t get tired of.
- Many owners will rotate the toys that they use to entertain their piggies, so their little friends don’t get tired of their favorites.
- A lot of the favorites were also “you do you” toys. These are items that didn’t require a lot of owner intervention. They’re quick to set up and piggies just figure out what do on their own. This proves that guinea pigs can entertain themselves for hours (with the right materials).
1.Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls
This was easily the most popular entertainment suggestion I got from guinea pig owners.
146 respondents (23.9%) said that this was their go-to toy for their pets.
It’s inexpensive and easy to do. But, make sure there’s no glue left on the outside of the roll.
If you don’t want to bother with waiting on toilet paper rolls to become *ahem* available in your household, you can always get some here – no fuss, no muss.
Alternatively, you can even see about collecting some from other people. Just announce your need for toilet paper rolls for your piggies to your family and friends (who’ll be delighted to help), and I’m sure you’ll have a huge pile of rolls in no time.
Here are a few toilet (or paper towel) roll options for piggie play
- Just fill a paper towel or toilet paper roll with hay, wheatgrass, or forage that your guinea pig likes. Add your pet’s favorite treat in the middle of the hay tube for an extra special surprise! Then toss it into your guinea pig’s cage and watch the fun begin.
- If you cut a single roll into 8 circles, you can layer them in different ways to form a ball. Stuff hay in the ball through one of the openings. If you want, you can add a special treat
I L-O-V-E cardboard boxes for guinea pig entertainment. And I’m not the only one. This was second most popular “toy” from the survey. 104 (17%) pet parents said that cardboard boxes kept their piggies entertained for hours.
Since piggies are prey animals and their instinct is to stay hidden to feel protected. So, by creating small hiding spots inside their cage, you entertain them and allow the little creatures to feel secure.
Cardboard boxes are excellent for entertaining guinea pigs because they are cheap, can be chewed on, and peed in.
And when it’s destroyed, you can simply toss the box and replace with a new one.
The best thing about it is that you can use any clean (tape and glue-free) box that you want:
- cereal boxes
- tissue boxes (with the plastic removed)
- store-bought boxes (if you want to make sure the box is clean and disinfectant free)
- shoe boxes
- empty oatmeal boxes
Just remove all tape, glue, and staples before piggie play.
Be careful when using old Amazon boxes or other boxes in the mail. Some companies have been recently known to spray them with disinfectant.
If so, you really don’t want to give those types of boxes to your piggies.
If you want to go the extra safe route, then just order a few boxes online. You can get them pretty cheap and you know that they’re perfectly fine to give to your furry friends.
Now you can make your piggie a new cozy hideaway!
Here’s how to make a great playhouse: cut two or three openings large enough for your piggie friend. Add hay, shredded paper, forage, or other tempting treats into the box.
When you’re done making this wonderful house, your little piggie will entertain themselves exploring, burrowing, and chewing up a storm.
Yes, piggies do enjoy chewing on cardboard. And yes, I wrote an article on cardboard safety for guinea pigs, which you might want to check out.
3.Tunnels and Mazes
Tunnels and mazes really appeal to guinea pig behavior. In the wild, guinea pigs live in a burrow or tunnel system, so it’s no wonder they love to explore and find their way out.
107 (18%) of pet parents said that tunnels (and mazes) are an awesome way to entertain piggies. There are many common materials that you may use to create small tunnels for your guinea pigs.
- Oatmeal cylinders
- Wooden, willow bridges (two or three pushed together should be just fine)
- ribbed PVC pipes (at least a 4 inch diameter)
- a crinkly cat tunnel was mentioned as an awesome tunnel
- Cut drainage pipes to size (but make sure they’re at least a 4 inch diameter, too)
- cardboard boxes – cut openings and shove the boxes together.
Adding a little treat or puffs of hay in the tunnels is highly recommended.
You can make an obstacle course or maze for your guinea pig by putting using the following materials:
- water bottles
- shoe boxes
- legos (stacked up)
- sofa cushions
- cardboard wrapping paper tubes
Change the layout of the maze to keep your furry friends on their toes. Scatter a bit of food into the maze for when you want to have food hunts. See and see which of piggies find them first. Do this and your piggies (and you, of course!) will be entertained for hours.
You’re only limited by our imagination and your budget. So, have fun and get creative. Here’s a video of cardboard maze that you can try to make.
4. All Kinds Of Balls
Normally, you’d think of balls as a toy that bigger pets like dogs enjoy. I mean, what sort of guinea pig likes playing with balls?
Apparently, many guinea pigs love playing with a ball. It’s the fourth most popular form of entertainment for guinea pigs.
And no, I don’t mean those plastic balls that you see hamsters stuffed in, rolling all around the floor. Those plastic balls are dangerous for guinea pigs. It can cause spine damage. Never use them with piggies.
I mean balls that you toss and roll around yourself.
What I found really interesting is that the people that I surveyed used a whole variety of balls with their guinea pigs. And I mean stuff that I never would’ve thought of like:
- ping pong balls
- whiffle balls (stuff ’em with hay for extra fun)
- willow balls
- tennis ball
- treat balls (filled with pea flakes)
- little cat balls with bells inside (safe as long as your little friend can’t get to the bell)
5. Tons and Tons of Hay
If you’re a guinea pig owner, you probably already know that guinea pigs need tons of hay daily.
It’s their daily source of food. And since piggie teeth never stop growing (bizarre guinea pig fact #5) gnawing on hay helps keep their teeth ground down. The hay helps keep your piggie’s teeth healthy.
But, what you may not have realized is that hay is an awesome way to entertain your piggies, too.
Plop a mega pile (make it epic!) of hay into your guinea pigs’ cage.
You’ll see that they love hay piles and enjoy sleeping, playing, and burrowing in it in it.
In fact, adding hay to any toy or plaything will increase the fun for guinea pigs. That includes stuffing it into toilet paper rolls, paper bags, boxes, you name it.
Once you get past that “Omigosh, what a mess!” stage, you’ll see that watching your piggies frolic in their hay is worth its weight in gold.
If you’re looking for ways to entertain your guinea pig on the cheap, getting a enormous stash of hay is one of the best investments you can make!
Just remember to refresh the hay daily.
Toss out soggy patches, because your piggie will pee in the hay. Add more hay and fluff it up for more fun.
And if you really want to make your furry friend’s day, toss a tasty treat or two into the pile for your piggies to find.
6. Use Paper Products
Yes, it’s a simple as it sounds. As long as you have a guinea pig that likes to chew (and what piggie doesn’t like to chew, right?), paper is a great entertainment option.
Consider trying out one of the following:
- Paper bag it: Brown paper bags are an excellent toy multi-purpose toy for your little friends. They’ll tear them up, hide in them and chew on them. Plus, piggies love it if you fill a brown paper bag with hay and few treats. You can use regular, brown lunch bags or paper bags from the grocery store. But, cut the handles off grocery store bags, so your piggies don’t get stuck.
- Tear it: All you have to do is tear up some old newspaper or brown packing paper into small pieces and put them in the cage for your pet to enjoy. They’ll use it to burrow, to hide, and to play with each other.
- Ball It Up: Paper balls are super easy to create. Simply crumple a piece of paper to turn it into a paper ball and put it into your guinea pig’s cage. Guinea pigs like to hear the noise from the paper and they also like to chew on it.
7. Chew Sticks
Chew sticks are great for enrichment, because it allows guinea pigs to do what they do best – chew! Around 7.9% of guinea pig pet parents say that using chew sticks is one of their piggie’s favorite activities.
The cool thing is that you can use different types of sticks and branches for this activity. Here are a few:
- apple sticks (here’s a good set)
- bamboo sticks
- pear tree
- maple tree
8. Blocks of Wood
Chewing on wood blocks is a great enrichment activity. About 6% of guinea pig owners use them to entertain their fur babies.
Give it a try if you have access to untreated wood.
Steer away from freshly cut pieces of pine and cedar. Pine and cedar give off really strong smells that can harm the respiratory system of guinea pigs.
If you don’t have access to untreated, fresh wood, you can always give your little friends a few toddler, alphabet blocks to gnaw on.
As long as the paint on the blocks is non-toxic and the wood is untreated, then it’s perfectly safe. Here’s a nice set you can try out.
9. Soft, Cushy Covers
Many pet parents use fleece as bedding for the guinea pig cages.
But, did you know that loose fleece blankets, pillows, or even soft, noodle mitts (like these) are the perfect plaything for some piggies? Around 6% of pet parents say that it’s a preferred to for their piggies.
Because all some piggies want is a little something soft and cozy to burrow in or to lay on to be perfectly entertained. And I say give it to them.
Some guinea pigs will even drag each other’s blankets around, curl up into a ball on top of it, or steal from one another – just what any animal would want.
An added bonus is that your fur babies have something extra warm to snuggle into when the weather gets chilly.
10. Hideaways and Huts
All guinea pigs like to hide. It’s part of their natural instinct to do so, because they’re prey animals.
And some guinea pigs combine their hideaways with fun.
They literally use their huts as toys, and they’ll flip them everywhere around their cage!
In fact, some pet parents say that they’ll give give their little friends regular “toys”, but that they get ignored in favor of their huts and hideaways.
Sometimes piggies will even remodel their home daily by flipping everything around until he finds what suits him best at the moment.
Maybe your piggies do this, too? Super cute! And so much fun to watch.
So, I recommend that every guinea pig have at least one hideaway. Here’s one that might suit you and your piggies. Or maybe your little friend wants something a bit cozier (like this one).
And you can always add more, depending on the size of your cage – especially if your piggies seem to like using them for hiding and entertainment.
11. Hanging Toys
Hanging toys are the best. Guinea pigs like to search for things, and they especially love to stand and sniff out their treats.
You can use clothes line clips to clip veggies to around for their cage, so they have to work a little to snag their treat.
Just make sure that the clips aren’t too high. You don’t want your little friends straining their necks and spines to get to their treats.
If you’d like to DIY a handing toy, here’s a video for how to make a handing chew toy out of cardboard.
12. Stuffed Animals
Toy preferences vary greatly between guinea pigs. And this entertainment choice surprised me. About 3.1% of pet parents use stuffed animals as toys for their piggies.
Soft humping toys and snuggle up friends are perfect for boars (who are going through their, ahem, humping stage). They’re also good for solo guinea pigs or ones that have recently lost cage mates.
Just make sure that the eyes on your stuffed animal are made of something that will not hurt your guinea pig. Beads and plastic eyes are a big no-no.
Since, babies and piggies both put everything in their mouths, go to the baby section of a store. There you’ll find toys that don’t have fabric and/or buttons that could break off or choke your furry friends.
Some smaller dog toys are good options, too.
In a pinch, you can always stuff a sock or make piggie pillows with hay, stuffing, or fleece.
13. A Friend
At the end of the day, nearly all guinea pigs need a friend. Even though it’s not at the top of the list, a friend is actually the greatest form of entertainment for your piggie.
2.3% of owners mentioned this.
Companionship is definitely entertainment for piggies – even if they’re fussing at each other half the time. Since guinea pigs are herd animals, most like to have other guinea pigs to hang out with.
If you can, it’s best for guinea pigs to be in a cage with another pig (that they’re compatible with).
But there are times when they have to be by themselves.
In that case, try to have them in separate cages next to each other. That way they can still see, hear, smell, and communicate. It’s a fantastic form of entertainment and play for your fur babies.
14. Playpens and Large Cages
Guinea pigs need space and a lot of it. Having a large cage (here’s a nice C&C one from etsy) or a play pen area when it’s floor time will entertain your guinea pigs for days and give them plenty of exercise.
Use the chart below to give you an idea of how big a guinea pig cage should be:
|# of Guinea Pigs||Size Of Cage||Notes|
|1 piggie||10.5 square feet||If possible, bond your fur baby with a friend|
|2 piggies||10.5 square feet||Two is often the “magic number”|
|3 piggies||13 square feet||Bonding a trio of boards isn’t recommended|
|4 piggies||16 square feet||3 sows or 1 neutered boar with 2 sows|
Having a large cage gives guinea pigs stimulation, because it gives them room to exercise and zoom around.
Giving piggies the space they need means they’ll be less likely to have medical conditions related to your piggie getting overweight.
Floor time is a great way to entertain your piggies as well. A large playpen is an awesome way to give your pet free time outside of their cage.
Just make sure you include a hideaway or two in the playpen. Piggies love their hideaways.
Last, but certainly not least is a mirror.
Guinea pigs don’t necessary understand that they’re looking at themselves when they see their reflection in the mirror. They often think it’s another guinea pig.
Now some guinea pigs tend to lose interest when they realize that the mirror isn’t another guinea pig.
Some guinea pig owners say that mirror are a good source of entertainment. They reported that their piggies rumblestrutted in front of it, tried to lick it, or just stared at it while they ate.
Depending on your piggie’s personality, a mirror might be just the right form of entertainment.
A guinea pig’s entertainment needs are quite simple, but even a small investment in some easy-to-find items will make the creatures much happier and more content with their living arrangements.
When you have a new piggie, it may take some time to form a bond with them and learn about their likes and interests.
Once you do, you’ll be surprised at the entertainment you can provide for your little friends.
Remember, guinea pigs like to do things that they would do in the wild. Give them toys and activities that are related to their natural instincts.
Use the options in this blog post to provide toys and activities to make your guinea pig happy.