Our guinea pig is named HARVEY!!! We love him so much and we want to make him as happy and as healthy as possible. Below I have listed some great sites to help you learn all about guinea pig needs.







Vegetables and Fruit
Every day, I feed my guinea pigs fresh vegetables and occasionally a little fruit. Fresh foods play an important role in your guinea pigs diet, along with unlimited quality hay, pellets and water. Fresh foods also help to make your guinea pigs diet tasty and interesting. They also contain a natural source of vitamins that your guinea pig needs, especially the all important vitamin c.

Reasons why vitamin c is important
Vitamin c is especially important in a guinea pigs diet. Unlike many animals, guinea pigs can't produce their own vitamin c. A deficiency of vitamin c, could lead to scurvy and also loss of resistance to other diseases. To find out more, please visit **Guinea Lynx: Scurvy** Although good quality pellets contain vitamin c, its not an adequate amount for a guinea pig, their diet needs to be supplemented with vitamin c vegetables. I only use a vitamin c tablet as a supplement, if one of my guinea pigs is poorly. I always have Oxbow's 50 mg vitamin c tablets in their first aid kit. They can be halved into 25 mg daily. I don't dissolve it into their drinking water, but add it to a little water, using a 1-ml syringe to administer the vitamin c. For more information, please read my **Hand Feeding** page, to find out how you use a syringe correctly, when giving liquid or food to a guinea pig.

List of vegetables and fruits
Here is list of fresh foods that are suitable for guinea pigs and are very popular with my little group. Remember every guinea pig is different, some guinea pigs may like certain foods like carrots or kale, but may turn their noses up at other foods like baby tomatoes or celery. Like us humans, they all have likes and dislikes.

My guinea pigs have a good variety of fresh foods, usually around 4 types of fresh food daily. I usually give 2 types of vegetables in the morning and 2 in the evening, so they have something tasty to look forward to twice daily. They also occasionally get the odd treat in the middle of the day, like a small piece of apple or a piece of refreshing cucumber. Along with the list, I've also included a rough guide about the amount that I give my guinea pigs and how often. Some fresh foods are also seasonal or may just not be available to buy every week. Pease note: Remember to remove any uneaten fresh food after roughly an hour. Fresh grass especially wilts very quickly so anything your guinea pig doesn't eat straight away, take out of the cage and throwaway. Remember all fresh foods must be washed and any grass/garden plants must be pesticide free.

Further down the page I will explain why certain vegetables and other plant material need to be limited or avoided completly.

All vegetable and fruit portions listed are for one guinea pig.

Red or Green Bell Peppers: One slice of a whole pepper, given daily, remove seeds. My favourite fresh food for guinea pigs and is loved by most guinea pigs. Very high in vit c, especially the red, but all colours have high vit c content. Pease note: Bell peppers are not to be confused with red hot chilli peppers which are a totally different food and should never be given to guinea pigs.
Broccoli: Half a floret, including the stalk, twice weekly.
Kale: Two to three small leaves, twice weekly. Not always available in our supermarket.
Carrot: One baby carrot or a small slice of a large carrot, every other day.
Romaine Lettuce: One large leaf, every other day. Never give guinea pigs iceberg lettuce, its not nutritious and it can give them an upset tummmy and diarrhoea.
Celery: One 1/4 of a stick, weekly. Very stringy so needs to be chopped up into small pieces to avoid piggy choking.
Dandelion Leaves: Two or three, average size, twice weekly. A seasonal food during spring and summer.
Fresh Grass: Small handful, three to four times weekly. A seasonal food, spring, summer and autumn. Sometimes my piggies go outside to eat fresh grass for themselves on warm sunny days. Never put guinea pigs out on wet grass, always make sure the grass is dry and never use grass that's been cut by a lawn mower. When spring has arrived and your grass has started to grow, just give your piggies a small amount of grass to begin with so their tummies adjust. More about saftey tips below.
Baby Tomato's: One baby tomato or small plum tomato, twice weekly. Remember to remove the poisonous tomato top ( green part ) If using a slice from a larger tomato, remove seeds.
Cucumber: Very little nutritional value, but has high water content and is loved by most guinea pigs. One slice, include the outer layer which is their favourite part. Given every other day. Cucumber is really appreciated by guinea pigs in hot weather, it acts as a liquid and is nice and cool. A little like us enjoying an ice lolly.
Parsley: A few sprigs , given weekly. Very high in calcium so should be limited if your guinea pig is prone to developing bladder stones.
Apple: One small slice, include peel, give weekly, remove core and pips. Royal gala variety is a favourite. Many fruits are full of natural sugar and have fruit acid. To avoid your guinea pig getting a sore mouth, cut all fruit into small pieces and just give as an occasional treat because of the high sugar content.
Pear: One small slice, include peel, give weekly, remove core and pips.
Seedless Grapes: One or two, must be seedless, give weekly.
Satsumer Pieces: One or two segments, remove rind and pips, give weekly. You can give a little of any orange citrus fruit.
Corn on the Cob: A recent new food. I'm unable to find corn on the cob with outer leaves, but the leaves can be eaten by guinea pigs. Roughly a dozen tiny segments, twice weekly.


As an extra treat, I occasionally make a veggie pignic for my guinea pigs. Here are Jasmine, Jake and Sweetpea enjoying a veggie pignic that their mum 'The Chef' prepared for them.

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Ingredients, small amounts of cucumber, red bell pepper, corn, broccoli, carrot, baby tomato, parsley and celery.

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Sweetpea Jake and Jasmine tucking in, but stop for just a moment to have their photo taken!

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Restaurant now closing, its getting quite late and Sweetpea is just reassuring herself that the plate is indeed empty.

More information about fruit and vegetables.
A few vegetables need to be given in moderation or just given as an occasional treat. Cabbage is quite a gassy vegetable and has been known to cause **bloat** in guinea pigs when fed in large quantities. Make sure any cabbage given is dark green. Broccoli, kale and cauliflower are also related to the cabbage family, so they need to be given in small doses too. Some fresh foods need to be avoided completly, which include, rhubarb and potatoes which are poisonous if sprouted or green. Some vegetables are high in calcium, so if your guinea pig is prone to bladder stones, limit the amount. As long as you remember a golden rule when feeding fresh foods to guinea pigs, every thing should be given in moderation.

Further Reading
For more information about vegetables and fruit, please visit the following links.

**Guinea Lynx: Vegetable Chart** An excellent page that gives you information on calcium, phosphorus, water and vitamin c content in vegetables. On the left-hand menu, you'll also see a chart for fruits.

**Pigjes Homepage: Guinea Pig Shopping List** An excellent page about suitable vegetables and fruits for guinea pigs, includes pictures.

Fresh food preparation and safety
I store the vegetables in our pantry as its quite cool in there. Salad of course, is kept in our fridge. I just leave any salad I'm using for my guinea pigs, out of the fridge for a little while, before serving. Guinea pigs can have an upset tummy and diarrhoea, if they eat fresh food that is too cold. Never give vegetables from the freezer. Disregard any food that is going slightly brown/yellow or is wilting. Feeding food that isn't fresh could also upset their tummy and give them diarrhoea. Remember to remove seeds or pips from bell peppers, large tomatos, apples etc. I limit my guinea pigs fruits and just give fruit as an occasional treat, as they are high in sugar. Also, remember to cut celery up into small pieces as its stringy and could make piggy choke.

Always wash any fresh food first, you don't have to shake the excess water out, its an ideal way to give your guinea pig extra water. Use a clean work surface and a clean knife for cutting up the vegetables and fruit. Any uneaten fresh food, needs to be disregarded after a couple of hours, less time in warm weather.

As a family, I find we are eating more healthier since sharing our life with guinea pigs and hardly any foods gets wasted. I'll update this page whenever my guinea pigs have tried a new food that they enjoy.

Introducing a new food
Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system and its easily upset, so always introduce any new food slowly. Just give them a very small piece and if they like it, just keep increasing the amount a little for the next serving. If they turn their noses up at the new food, don't give up at the first hurdle, just keep trying. Sometimes, guinea pigs will follow their cage mates lead and try a new food, only when they see their cage mate tucking in. Sweetpea and Peachy will especially try anything and often their cage mates will follow suit. Sometimes though, guinea pigs will just refuse to eat the new food, even after a whole week of trying.

Grass and garden plants
You can of course, give your guinea pigs fresh grass from your garden. Never take grass from a park or the near the roadside, you never know if a dog has fouled the grass. Make sure no chemicals have been used in your garden and never use grass that's been cut by a lawn mower. Remember fresh grass wilts very quickly, so only leave it in the cage for around 20 minutes. Most guinea pigs will eat it straight away. Remember you can feed your guinea pig certain garden plants like clover leaves and dandelion leaves. But for your guinea pigs safety, please visit **Guinea Lynx: Poisonous Plants** to read about garden plants. In the left-hand menu, there is also an excellent page on garden plants that are suitable for guinea pigs. Remember to keep all your house plants out of reach.

Another excellent site to visit is **Galen's Garden** which has information on herbs and wild plants used for medicinal purposes. Again, always know exactly what you are giving to your guinea pig, as the saying goes, if in doubt, leave it out.

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Here is Squeekie, Clover and Peachy munching on some lovely fresh parsley. I think Clover has fitted too much in at once, look at those lovely chubby cheeks!



How to make a bigger, better home for Harvey- I am thinking as big as the top of a table!



Guinea Pig Chew Toys, No Substitute for Grass Hay

Posted by Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Translation
papua in the hay
papua in the hay
Guinea Pig Today
Grass hay, like Timoth hay or Orchard Grass, is the best option for proper dental care of your guinea pig.

A guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously and it’s important that your pet’s teeth be ground naturally during the course of their lifetime. What is the best way to promote good dental health? It might be surprising to discover chew toys or chew treats are not the best way to maintain the proper grinding your pet needs. While chew toys can assist with this activity, they are no substitute for grass hay which is the only way to create the proper grinding able to reach all of your guinea pig’s teeth. Guinea pigs have 20 teeth. This includes a pair of upper and lower incisors, a pair of upper and lower premolars, and three pairs of upper and lower molars. You might only ever see their incisors, those long teeth in the front, because guinea pigs have no canines as humans do. Instead, there is a gap behind their front teeth, called the diastema, before the premolars and molars. These are also referred to as the cheek teeth.
You can try to look but it might be difficult for you to see your guinea pig’s cheek teeth on your own. Fatty pads in the cheeks make viewing the molars difficult and this makes it difficult for your veterinarian as well. Often they will use tools to help them see your guinea pig’s teeth.
xray
xray
Guinea Pig Today
In the x-ray, you can see the cheek teeth further back in the mouth.

Grass hay is naturally tough and difficult to chew. Have you ever tried to chew grass? I can remember chewing grass as a kid. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. It requires you to grind and grind away in the back of your mouth before the grass is broken down into small enough pieces to swallow. More than likely, you’ll spit it out before you decide to swallow it. However, this is exactly what it does for your pet. This is a necessary process and one that your guinea pig, as a natural forager, is designed for. How does this compare to chew toys? Chew toys often require your pet to bite off a chunk. This grinds the front incisors that you can see. That’s a great challenge. Unfortunately, the materials chew toys are made of can often break apart easily or break off in such small pieces, they miss grinding the hard to reach molars. Unless a chew toy properly exercises all teeth, they’re only doing half the job.
Timothy hay and Orchard Grass are both grass hays that are available in most pet stores. Both of these are excellent sources of food for your guinea pig to promote correct dental health. 70% of your cavy’s diet should be a grass hay.
Do not expect your guinea pig to finish their hay. This isn’t one of those areas where you should expect them to clean their plate. Your guinea pig might have hay in their cage and not show an interest but what they need is fresh hay. On a daily basis you must throw out the old hay and replace it with fresh hay. If your guinea pig has not had hay previously, expect them to not eat it for the first week or more as they grow accustomed to it.
Dental
Dental
Image courtesy of Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital
Closeup of a guinea pig's cheek teeth before and after veterinary care. Left: Green arrow points to an unevenly ground tooth that is blocking the tongue. The blue arrow points to the back of the tongue. Center: Close up of the dental problem. Right: View inside the mouth after the lower teeth have been filed. There is a much larger gap for the tongue to move normally during chewing.

As your guinea pig ages, the cheek teeth can grow to block their tongue, damage their cheeks or other teeth, or any number of dental problems. As a result of this, your guinea pig might stop eating or show a lack of interest in their food because it hurts them to chew. If a guinea pig develops a dental issue, it’s important to see a veterinarian immediately. Only an experienced veterinarian can properly diagnose and trim your guinea pig’s teeth so they can eat again. Any procedure that requires anesthesia can be risky or even deadly for your pet so it’s best to do all you can to avoid this situation as much as possible.
Keep a full supply of grass hay on hand for daily feeding and a chew toy on hand for added stimulation and play. Don’t expect a chew toy to take the place of your guinea pig’s need for hay. With this in mind, your cavy can avoid complicated, costly, and life threatening dental issues. Instead, your guinea pig will chew their way to a long, happy life.
- See more at: http://www.guineapigtoday.com/2012/01/25/guinea-pig-chew-toys-no-substitute-for-grass-hay/#sthash.W2cELpgT.dpuf
Why is hay important?

guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously and it’s important that your pet’s teeth be ground naturally during the course of their lifetime. What is the best way to promote good dental health? It might be surprising to discover chew toys or chew treats are not the best way to maintain the proper grinding your pet needs. While chew toys can assist with this activity, they are no substitute for grass hay which is the only way to create the proper grinding able to reach all of your guinea pig’s teeth.
Guinea pigs have 20 teeth. This includes a pair of upper and lower incisors, a pair of upper and lower premolars, and three pairs of upper and lower molars. You might only ever see their incisors, those long teeth in the front, because guinea pigs have no canines as humans do. Instead, there is a gap behind their front teeth, called the diastema, before the premolars and molars. These are also referred to as the cheek teeth.
You can try to look but it might be difficult for you to see your guinea pig’s cheek teeth on your own. Fatty pads in the cheeks make viewing the molars difficult and this makes it difficult for your veterinarian as well. Often they will use tools to help them see your guinea pig’s teeth.
xray
xray
Guinea Pig Today

In the x-ray, you can see the cheek teeth further back in the mouth.
Grass hay is naturally tough and difficult to chew. Have you ever tried to chew grass? I can remember chewing grass as a kid. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. It requires you to grind and grind away in the back of your mouth before the grass is broken down into small enough pieces to swallow. More than likely, you’ll spit it out before you decide to swallow it. However, this is exactly what it does for your pet. This is a necessary process and one that your guinea pig, as a natural forager, is designed for.
How does this compare to chew toys? Chew toys often require your pet to bite off a chunk. This grinds the front incisors that you can see. That’s a great challenge. Unfortunately, the materials chew toys are made of can often break apart easily or break off in such small pieces, they miss grinding the hard to reach molars. Unless a chew toy properly exercises all teeth, they’re only doing half the job.
Timothy hay and Orchard Grass are both grass hays that are available in most pet stores. Both of these are excellent sources of food for your guinea pig to promote correct dental health. 70% of your cavy’s diet should be a grass hay.
Do not expect your guinea pig to finish their hay. This isn’t one of those areas where you should expect them to clean their plate. Your guinea pig might have hay in their cage and not show an interest but what they need is fresh hay. On a daily basis you must throw out the old hay and replace it with fresh hay. If your guinea pig has not had hay previously, expect them to not eat it for the first week or more as they grow accustomed to it.
Dental
Dental
Image courtesy of Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital

Closeup of a guinea pig's cheek teeth before and after veterinary care. Left: Green arrow points to an unevenly ground tooth that is blocking the tongue. The blue arrow points to the back of the tongue. Center: Close up of the dental problem. Right: View inside the mouth after the lower teeth have been filed. There is a much larger gap for the tongue to move normally during chewing.
As your guinea pig ages, the cheek teeth can grow to block their tongue, damage their cheeks or other teeth, or any number of dental problems. As a result of this, your guinea pig might stop eating or show a lack of interest in their food because it hurts them to chew.
If a guinea pig develops a dental issue, it’s important to see a veterinarian immediately. Only an experienced veterinarian can properly diagnose and trim your guinea pig’s teeth so they can eat again. Any procedure that requires anesthesia can be risky or even deadly for your pet so it’s best to do all you can to avoid this situation as much as possible.
Keep a full supply of grass hay on hand for daily feeding and a chew toy on hand for added stimulation and play. Don’t expect a chew toy to take the place of your guinea pig’s need for hay. With this in mind, your cavy can avoid complicated, costly, and life threatening dental issues. Instead, your guinea pig will chew their way to a long, happy life.
- See more at: http://www.guineapigtoday.com/2012/01/25/guinea-pig-chew-toys-no-substitute-for-grass-hay/#sthash.W2cELpgT.dpuf
















Guinea Pig Chew Toys, No Substitute for Grass Hay

Posted by Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Translation
papua in the hay
papua in the hay
Guinea Pig Today
Grass hay, like Timoth hay or Orchard Grass, is the best option for proper dental care of your guinea pig.

A guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously and it’s important that your pet’s teeth be ground naturally during the course of their lifetime. What is the best way to promote good dental health? It might be surprising to discover chew toys or chew treats are not the best way to maintain the proper grinding your pet needs. While chew toys can assist with this activity, they are no substitute for grass hay which is the only way to create the proper grinding able to reach all of your guinea pig’s teeth. Guinea pigs have 20 teeth. This includes a pair of upper and lower incisors, a pair of upper and lower premolars, and three pairs of upper and lower molars. You might only ever see their incisors, those long teeth in the front, because guinea pigs have no canines as humans do. Instead, there is a gap behind their front teeth, called the diastema, before the premolars and molars. These are also referred to as the cheek teeth.
You can try to look but it might be difficult for you to see your guinea pig’s cheek teeth on your own. Fatty pads in the cheeks make viewing the molars difficult and this makes it difficult for your veterinarian as well. Often they will use tools to help them see your guinea pig’s teeth.
xray
xray
Guinea Pig Today
In the x-ray, you can see the cheek teeth further back in the mouth.

Grass hay is naturally tough and difficult to chew. Have you ever tried to chew grass? I can remember chewing grass as a kid. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. It requires you to grind and grind away in the back of your mouth before the grass is broken down into small enough pieces to swallow. More than likely, you’ll spit it out before you decide to swallow it. However, this is exactly what it does for your pet. This is a necessary process and one that your guinea pig, as a natural forager, is designed for. How does this compare to chew toys? Chew toys often require your pet to bite off a chunk. This grinds the front incisors that you can see. That’s a great challenge. Unfortunately, the materials chew toys are made of can often break apart easily or break off in such small pieces, they miss grinding the hard to reach molars. Unless a chew toy properly exercises all teeth, they’re only doing half the job.
Timothy hay and Orchard Grass are both grass hays that are available in most pet stores. Both of these are excellent sources of food for your guinea pig to promote correct dental health. 70% of your cavy’s diet should be a grass hay.
Do not expect your guinea pig to finish their hay. This isn’t one of those areas where you should expect them to clean their plate. Your guinea pig might have hay in their cage and not show an interest but what they need is fresh hay. On a daily basis you must throw out the old hay and replace it with fresh hay. If your guinea pig has not had hay previously, expect them to not eat it for the first week or more as they grow accustomed to it.
Dental
Dental
Image courtesy of Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital
Closeup of a guinea pig's cheek teeth before and after veterinary care. Left: Green arrow points to an unevenly ground tooth that is blocking the tongue. The blue arrow points to the back of the tongue. Center: Close up of the dental problem. Right: View inside the mouth after the lower teeth have been filed. There is a much larger gap for the tongue to move normally during chewing.

As your guinea pig ages, the cheek teeth can grow to block their tongue, damage their cheeks or other teeth, or any number of dental problems. As a result of this, your guinea pig might stop eating or show a lack of interest in their food because it hurts them to chew. If a guinea pig develops a dental issue, it’s important to see a veterinarian immediately. Only an experienced veterinarian can properly diagnose and trim your guinea pig’s teeth so they can eat again. Any procedure that requires anesthesia can be risky or even deadly for your pet so it’s best to do all you can to avoid this situation as much as possible.
Keep a full supply of grass hay on hand for daily feeding and a chew toy on hand for added stimulation and play. Don’t expect a chew toy to take the place of your guinea pig’s need for hay. With this in mind, your cavy can avoid complicated, costly, and life threatening dental issues. Instead, your guinea pig will chew their way to a long, happy life.
- See more at: http://www.guineapigtoday.com/2012/01/25/guinea-pig-chew-toys-no-substitute-for-grass-hay/#sthash.W2cELpgT.dpuf

Guinea Pig Play

How to keep life interesting for your guinea pig . . .

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A number of toys require a cage size big enough for the toys and the guinea pig -- another reason to make sure you have a big enough cage for your cavy! The following items are more important than toys. Once you have these items covered to the best of your ability or situation, then be creative with simple and safe toys.

TOP Priorities


external image pi_thumbsup.gif #1. ANOTHER GUINEA PIG (of the same sex) Guinea pigs are social, herd animals and are generally happier and healthier with another guinea pig. You see new behavior and a higher level of activity with two or more guinea pigs. If you get a friend for your guinea pig, MAKE SURE it is of the same sex or one in the pair is neutered or spayed. DO NOT rely on a pet store to determine the sex of a guinea pig. For sexing information, see this **Sexing page**.
external image barneymuffin_small.jpg
external image pi_thumbsup.gif #2. A BIGGER CAGEGuinea pigs love to run around, chase each other and play little games between themselves. If your cage is not big enough, then a larger cage should be your top priority! Read through all the **testimonials** if you don't think your guinea pig will be happier and have more fun in a bigger, roomier cage. Most of us start out making the same mistake of getting our first guinea pig at a pet store and usually buying the biggest pet store cage we can find thinking we are doing the best for our new pet. Now that you have found this site, hopefully you realize that even the biggest commercially available cages are just too small. Upgrading a too small cage should be a top priority.
external image kidscage1_small1.jpg
external image pi_thumbsup.gif #3. FLOOR TIME(see Floor Time)Even if you have a big cage, and especially if you don't, it is very important to the health and happiness of your guinea pig to get daily exercise. Floor time is more than lap time. It is providing a safe environment large enough for your guinea pig in which to run around and explore. Safe means protecting areas that your guinea may get into that he can't get out of, like behind refrigerators, inside chairs or sofas, behind immovable shelving, in walls, etc. It also means making sure wires are inaccessible, not just unplugged. Guinea pigs have been known to eat telephone cords and cause themselves major internal damage. Electrocution and fires from biting plugged in wires have also been known to happen.
external image floortime_small.jpg


external image pi_thumbsup.gif #4. HIDEY HOUSESSee the Accessories page for ideas and sources of hidey houses and tunnels for your guinea pig. They need to feel safe. The cavy cozies are a huge hit with piggies. Every guinea pig should have at least one wooden structure in their cage, either a wooden hidey house or a wooden tunnel. These are used for chewing (good for the incisors -- the molars need lots of hay) much more often than most "chew" toys. With more than one pig and a large enough cage, you should have one extra hidey house for the number of pigs in a cage. For example, 3 pigs should have 4 hidey houses. That allows for a neutral 'place' and more peace in the group. Once you have at least one wooden house, you can get more creative with additional places to hide, like towel tents.


external image CreamRootBeer1x_small.jpg
external image pi_thumbsup.gif #5. FRESH HAY and LOTS of it! If you just keep your hay in a hay manger or hay rack, try putting a big clump of hay in the cage, especially if it is fresh, green, great smelling hay! Nothing perks up a piggie more than a lot of fresh hay to run and play through and munch. It never fails to get them excited. Make sure it is high quality soft hay as straw-like hay can cause eye injuries. Make sure to remove any soiled hay daily and replace with fresh as it can stay damp and cause health problems. Don't forget hay is THE MOST IMPORTANT element in their diet. For more info on hay and great sources, be sure to visit the **HAY** page.
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Guinea Pig Toys


external image cozy2_small.jpgHave you most definitely provided your guinea pigs with the items listed above? If so, then consider adding a little toy variety to their life. Just be aware that most guinea pigs will pretty much ignore most 'toys.' That's why the above list is so important. Those are the items they REALLY care about! Now, on to toys . . .
external image mochabum_small.jpgSafety first! Many commercial toys (cat balls with bells inside and guinea pig boredom busters, for example) can come apart leaving dangerous small pieces in the cage. Some have caused serious damage with vet care required. Be creative, but think safety first. Some pigs love one type of toy, others will ignore them. Some guinea pigs get bored or frustrated after a while. It's good to experiment and give them variety. Keep in mind that most guinea pigs will ignore most 'toys' -- usually the simpler the better. Regardless, change out the toys, houses, and locations of toys and houses frequently. Keep toys, and especially houses and food dishes if possible, AWAY from the walls and corners of the cage. Always make sure the perimeter of the cage is free and clear for maximum run and exercise space. Cage accessories and houses should be arranged in the middle of the cage with adequate room to run around the items.

FREE (or almost)

  • external image pi_thumbsup.gif = guaranteed hit with the piggers!
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external image 7DSC02200-med_small.JPGTowel Tents
Cut up or fold larger bath size towels. Be sure to cut off any hanging threads. Towel tents in the corner make a great hidey hole that can be washed and don't take up too much room. You can just loop the towel through cage wires on the corner and secure with a safety pin or two. We use binder clips to secure the towels. 3 work great securing the tent in a triangular fashion to the grids.
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Paper Bags
external image paperbag_small.jpgEasy, inexpensive, fold and toss when dirty. Try folding them down, or cutting them down to fit better in the cage. Lay them on their side--cave style. Be sure to cut off any handles. Or try stuffing a paper bag with hay. A toy and a hay rack in one! Cut some entrance/exit holes on the side for more fun.
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Cardboard Boxes
external image tissuebox_small.jpgShoe boxes, tissue boxes, empty soda carton boxes . . . Turn boxes upside down or sideways for a cave. If sideways with a bottom, throw in some bedding or hay for a soft hide-away. If upside down, cut out one or two entrance and escape holes. Escape holes are good if you have more than one piggie. If you have a box with a top on it, you can put them on their side and have the top like a door that swings open from the top. That is a huge hit with the pigs!
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Cozies or Cuddle Cups
external image cozy1_small.jpgThese are HUGE hits with the guinea pigs. Please see the Accessories page for details. They LOVE snuggling in their cozies. With a little ingenuity and craft skills, you can make your own versions of these items as well. We consider a tunnel and cozy a must have for every cage!
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Tunnels
These are HUGE hits with the guinea pigs. Please see the Accessories page for details. They LOVE running through and sleeping under their tunnels. With a little ingenuity and craft skills, you can make your own versions of these items as well. You can even make a cube tunnel for play time or as an accessory in a large cage. Use two extra grids and attach them together to form a corner (90 degree angle) or make a U-shape from one or two grids. Put it down as tent and put an old towel or blanket over it. You may want to secure the corner connections with cable ties. We consider a tunnel and cozy a must have for every cage!

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Crumpled-Up Pieces of Paper
Very simple, but the piggies love them. Plain paper is better. They will probably chew on it and eat it. Occasional paper eating is okay.
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Sheet of Newspaper
Also very simple, but a big hit. Good to chew on, crawl under, play tug-of-war with. Make sure there are no staples. Most newspaper is made with soy-based dyes which are safe for the pigs. Check with your newspaper company if you are not sure.
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Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Cardboard Spools
Stuff some Timothy Hay in them and they make great treats. Be sure to cut a slit down the length of any tube so that a playful, curious piggie won't get stuck, like the piggie in the photo to the right.
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external image nina-roll-2001_small1--used-by-Teresa.jpgOatmeal Containers
Toss when dirty or chewed down. Slice lengthwise to make sure they can't get stuck as shown. (photo: Copyright © 2001 Lynx, used with permission)
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Bricks, Cinder Blocks, or Rough Stones
May help in wearing down nails. Make a pad of bricks available in the summer time. They can lay on the cooler bricks. Also, you can put the bricks under the water bottle to help absorb drips and ensure they get their little claws on them. Or, make a little low pyramid with bricks (assuming you have a large cage) and put the food on the top platform. With bricks, cinder blocks, and stones, make sure there is NO danger of any item falling or dislodging in such a way that could hurt a piggie or piggie paw. Try putting the stones or bricks under or next to the hay racks, especially if you hang the hay racks from an upper deck in a cube cage. A cinder block with holes in it can make an interesting gym for them.
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Old Socks
You can leave them alone or stuff them with bedding. These can become a favorite pillow that gets dragged around the cage. Tie off or sew the top closed. You can also stuff the toe with a tennis ball.
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Tennis Balls
May be better than cat toys as they will roll around easier on bedding.
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Ping Pong Balls
To push around.
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Small, Lightweight Bowls
Items that they can toss or get inside, like an empty cottage cheese container.
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Pine Cones
Pine cones don't have the pine bedding risk, but they should be sterilized first. Bake first to sterilize at approximately 200° for 20-30 minutes on foil to catch any sap drippings. These might be a favorite.
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Mirrors
On the outside of the cage. If they are on the inside, make sure they are pet-safe.
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Fruit Tree Branch
Good chew treat, free if they come from your UNSPRAYED backyard. Untreated wood, twigs and logs that have been aged for at least 3 months. Apple tree branches can be eaten fresh off the tree. Stay away from: cherry, peach, apricot, plum (fruit trees with pits) and redwood branches, which are all poisonous.
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Children's Wooden Blocks
For chewing and pushing around. Please make sure any children's blocks are not coated with any sealants (shiny or smooth looking) and are basically just plain wood.
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external image calypsotoys_small.jpgPlumbing Pipe
If you already have some 4" wide plumbing pipe, the different joint combinations (T's and elbows and +'s) can make interesting tunnels for the piggies to run through and hide in. Please be aware that while PVC pipe is not toxic to your guinea pigs, it is one of the most environmentally damaging plastics on the planet.
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Small Stuffed Animals
external image casperandpooch_small.jpgThese can be used in the same way as stuffed socks. Some piggies use them as pillows or something else to cuddle up with. IF your guinea pig chews on the stuffed toy, the stuffing inside may be harmful. In that case, you should switch to a sock stuffed with bedding, or if your guinea pig really likes a particular stuffed toy, but chews enough to get to the stuffing inside, you could replace the stuffing with bedding and sew it back up.

Traditional Toys



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Some Bird Toys
The kind you can hang with bells on the end. Try hanging from a small bungee cord or string stretched across a corner or hang from the top of a covered cage. Try attaching with pipe cleaners, cable ties, or a large paper clip. Make sure they are safe and well constructed with large parts that can't be swallowed.

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Some Cat Toys
Some pigs like the balls with the bells inside. Use with caution. They may separate. Make sure they are safe and well constructed with large parts that can't be swallowed. The wire balls with a bell inside may be a safer option than the plastic variety.

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Some Guinea Pig Toys
Bounce back toys - you can put a treat inside. The related Boredom Busters are not recommended as the ring can break and cause a serious health hazard.
  • external image sp_tug_tumble_small.jpgTug-N-Tumble toys
  • (Just ignore that tail on the guinea pig! In fact, cut it off.)
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Kritter Kabobs
Fun with Food! Make your own Pigkabob! Molly and Milo are shown to the right enjoying fresh carrots and cukes. The Super Pet Kritter Kabob is available at The Ferret Store. It is basically a metal pole on which you can add their favorite treats. We do not recommend the specific Super Pet Guinea Pig Kabob, as it has the same small parts hazards as the Guinea Pig Boredom Busters.

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Some Rabbit Toys
See Bunny Bytes for some examples.

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Some Ferret Toys, Tunnels, and Hammocks
See The Ferret Store for some examples.

DO NOT USE


Large Exercise Balls
These are very bad for guinea pigs and can cause crippling injuries to their back, feet, and toes.
Exercise Wheels
These are also very bad for guinea pigs and can cause crippling injuries to their back, feet, and toes.