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The Real and Shocking Cost of Owning Guinea Pigs

If you assume that guinea pigs are easy, low maintenance pets, think twice! Guinea pigs can require just as much maintenance, if not more, than dogs or cats. They do not only require a personal commitment, but a financial one as well. Guinea pigs can live up to 10 years so it is important to determine whether you can commit to caring for them their entire lives! 

To help you decide whether guinea pigs are, financially, the right pet for you, we have put together a cost breakdown of owning two guinea pigs (as guinea pigs should not be kept alone). Need a guinea pig starter checklist? Check out our free guinea pig care sheets.

Please keep in mind that this is only a general guide to reflect the average budget. Obviously, some items listed below can vary in price based on regional differences.

guinea pig sitting next to money to pay for expenses

Initial upfront costs when getting guinea pigs: £260-430 

You will need to get a few things to get started! Your guinea pigs of course but also their home and a long list of accessories! All in all, we estimate upfront costs to be £260-430. Please see below for a detailed breakdown. 

Pie chart breakdown of initial costs of owning two guinea pigs

Note that depending on where you get your guinea pigs, either through a dedicated rescue or reputable breeder, you will often need to provide proof that you have the essentials before you can bring your guinea pigs home. 

The cost of guinea pigs : £10-40

Getting your guinea pigs will also result in upfront costs, so we have displayed the average cost of purchasing two guinea pigs. If you plan on getting your guinea pigs from a rescue or shelter, some may require an adoption fee. It is important to also note, if you are interested in a particularly rare breed of guinea pig, there may be higher fees involved!

two ginger guinea pigs fighting over a piece of hay

The cost of guinea pig cages : £70-190

First things first, you will need to buy a cage for your guinea pigs. We strongly recommend the use of C&C cages, as it is the gold standard nowadays when it comes to housing guinea pigs (read here what makes C&C cages for guinea pigs so great). C&C cages have the best price to surface ratio so you are sure to put your money to good use and please your piggies. If you opt for a pair of female guinea pigs, a 4x2 C&C cage would be the minimum size recommended, retailing at £69.00 here at Kavee. If you opt for a pair of male guinea pigs, a 5x2 C&C cage is preferable, retailing at £72 here at Kavee. You can also opt for a loft and a ramp, a stand and even a lid to create a true piggy palace.

If you choose to house your guinea pigs outdoors, you will need to consider additional costs. Hutches will also require separate purchases of tarps/fitted covers and heaters for harsher weather conditions. These prices will vary depending on your location and source. 

rainbow themed c and c cage for guinea pigs with stand in modern living room

The initial costs of guinea pigs bedding : ~£70

We strongly recommend the use of fleece liners, as it is the gold standard of guinea pig bedding nowadays due to its many benefits (read here why are guinea pig owners swapping from wood shavings to fleece? and what is the best bedding for a C&C cage for guinea pigs?). 

For example, for a 4x2 C&C cage, we recommend that you initially purchase two fleece liners which will cost £70 for a bundle offer at Kavee. Although it may seem more expensive at the start, you will find that in the long run, fleece liners are more cost effective than other bedding types. For a comprehensive comparison of bedding costs, check our article, “what is the best bedding for a C&C cage?”.

long haired guinea pig sleeping on cozy reusable rainbow fleece liner in white C&C cage

The costs of guinea pig accessories : £110-130 

If you are new to owning guinea pigs , you will need some basic essentials too! Here is an outline of common essentials that you will need for you and your new guinea pigs. For an extensive checklist of your needs as a new guinea pig parent, please check our free care sheet bundle. 

Item

Cost

Houses to hide (x2)

£12.00

Water bottle

£1.99

Bottle brush

£2.50

Food dishes (x2)

£8.00

Hay rack

£5.00

A run for exercise time

£44.00

Initial Enrichment toys (assorted)

£9.00

Scale (for health checks)

£8.00

Transport cage

£14.00

Nail clipper

£2.50

Shampoo

£3.25

Vitamin C

£8.99

Syringe

£2.99


Total Cost

~£122


guinea pig standing next to pink piggy bank with money

The Yearly Routine Expenses of Guinea Pigs : £330-440

Once you have considered the initial setup costs of guinea pigs, you will need to consider yearly recurring costs. Keeping your guinea pigs well and healthy and the ongoing food bill adds up to a total estimate of £440! Below, you will find our breakdown of the following categories: food, bedding, and health related fees.

Orange Pie chart of yearly routine expenses of owning two guinea pigs

The cost of a yearly Food Budget for guinea pigs - £250-350

Though small, guinea pigs have large appetites! Piggies require an unlimited supply of hay, 50g of mixed vegetables per guinea pig, a small portion of pellets, and fresh water daily. For safe and unsafe food lists, check out our free guinea pig care sheets. We recommend that guinea pig food contain little to no grain or cereal, as it puts your guinea pigs at risk of diabetes and obesity. For grain free guinea pig pellets, check out our collection of pellets and snacks that have no soy, corn or wheat, and no GMO in it.

Remember, prices may vary depending on where you shop. Here is our breakdown of the average food costs for two guinea pigs!

Item

Cost per month

Cost per year

Hay

£4.00

£48.00

Pellets

£5.00

£60.00

Mixed Vegetables

£16.00

£192.00

Total Cost

£25.00

£300.00


young guinea pig surrounded by orange carrots on a white background

The cost of a yearly bedding care for guinea pigs - £20-30

In addition to your food budget, bedding will also be a monthly commitment. Below we have listed the costs of using fleece liners. Based on our calculations, wood shavings tend to cost £135.56 more than fleece liners. For more information on the breakdown of beddings costs, check our article, what is the best bedding for a C&C cage?

Breakdown of Fleece Washing Cost

Cost Breakdown

Washing Machine Cost (No dryer as air drying is recommended)

£0.31 per week

Detergent

£0.10 per week

Fabric Softener (white vinegar)

£0.05 per week

Yearly

~£24

The cost of yearly healthcare for two guinea pigs - ~£60

Sadly, guinea pigs may sometimes require medical attention from a trained veterinarian. This section heavily varies depending on where you live and your vet’s fee structure. Guinea pig parents have reported that emergency or ongoing medical treatment can cost anywhere between £250 to £3,000.

On average, we recommend you budget £30 per guinea pig per year. This is an average along their lifespan: some years you may not have any health fees, some years you might!

Some guinea pig owners may wish to consider registering with a pet insurance to help subsidize treatment costs in case of an emergency (fees dependent on care provider).

Even if your guinea pigs are healthy, you should take your guinea pigs for a routine check up at least once a year. This is important as you not only establish a good relationship with your vet and maintain an active registration, but also because guinea pigs are good at hiding illnesses. Routine vet visits may help catch something if it's overlooked during your own home health checks.

In addition to pet insurance, or if you do not wish to opt for one, the best approach would be to routinely put aside a set amount of savings each month, for vet bills, in case you and your piggies are in need. This is the best approach as you remain proactive and prepared!

cavy savvy veterinarian holding young guinea pig for vet checkup

Conclusion : guinea pigs can cost you up to £870 the first year!

total breakdown of how much two guinea pigs can cost per year

Despite their small size, guinea pigs can require up to £900 in the first year and £440 for subsequent years!

But do not let that put you off! If you can commit to your guinea pigs personal and financial care needs, guinea pigs can be an incredibly rewarding experience that positively impacts and enriches our lives.

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