Guinea pigs have long been a favorite starter pet for small animal lovers all over the world. It can be hard to guess how much it will cost to set up and own one of these little critters, so this guide will give you all the information you need when it comes down to buying everything for a new guinea pig.
- How much does a guinea pig cost?
- Associated costs of owning a guinea pig
- Other factors that will influence the price of a guinea pig
- How do guinea pig prices compare to other exotic pets?
- Should I buy several guinea pigs or is one enough?
- What should I check before buying a guinea pig?
How much does a guinea pig cost?
The average cost starts around $10-40 dollars per guinea pig, depending on the color and breed. Then there are specially bred pigs that are known as skinny pigs, which are hairless versions. These can start at $80-150 USD for a skinny pig but have been known to cost up to $200 for select breeds.
|Standard mixed colors||$10-40 USD||Bi-color and tri-color|
|Mutation colors||$40-100 USD||Magpie, Swiss, Harlequin|
|Special select colors||$40-100 USD||White-crested with honey brown or black base colors|
|Special breeds||$80-200 USD||skinny pigs|
There are plenty more breeds that are considered collectible, but it often comes down to how the guinea pig looks. There are a total of 12 different breeds and plenty of color pattern varieties in between. The American breed is often the most popular choice.
Show quality guinea pigs
Many of the guinea pigs that are intended for the competition are always purebred pigs that can be expensive to buy. There are about 12 official Cavy shows in the US that are all part of the American Cavy Breeders Association. These guinea pigs are not so easy to buy, since the owners are often breeding these cavies for themselves.
Associated costs of owning a guinea pig
Owning a guinea pig is not extremely costly but there are a few associated costs you might want to know about beforehand. They include both upfront costs like cages and accessories as well as regular, ongoing costs to maintain your creature happy, well-fed, and entertained.
In this section we have broken down these costs in these two charts (upfront and recurrent costs) so that you may have a nice overview of what owning a guinea pig will cost you on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
Guinea Pigs Accessories Cost Breakdown
|Cage||$50-150 USD||Depending on quality and size|
|Hiding house & nesting box||$20-30 USD||Made from wood rather than plastic|
|Hay feeder rack||$5-20 USD||Made from metal or wood|
|Bedding shavings||$10 USD||Made from edible cedar shavings|
|Bed or nesting nook||$20-30 USD||Must be made from fleece|
|Various toys||$10-20 USD|
|Hay||$20-30 USD||per 6-8Lb bag- enough for 1 month|
|Pellets||$20-25 USD||per 10Lb bag- enough for 2 or 3 months|
|Dried snack / Goodies||$20 USD||collected from various sources|
|Grooming supplies||$15-20 USD||per kit|
Guinea Pig Associated Cost – Initial, Week, Month, and Year Overview
|Initial Startup Costs||$250-300 USD||Housing and accessories|
|$70-100 USD||Food and snacks for 3 months|
|Weekly||$6-8 USD||Hay, pellets, and veggies|
|Monthly||$25-35 USD||Monthly on-going costs|
|Yearly||$300-400 USD||Depending on the food quality|
What are some guinea pig health expenses?
A guinea pig is not going to need vaccinations like other pets such as rabbits, dogs, and cats. They do need to visit the vet for emergencies and just for annual general check-ups. Here are the health costs that go with owning a guinea pig.
|Vet costs per year||$25-35 USD||per annual visit|
|Neutering / Spaying||$60-100 USD||depending on the vet|
|Various treatments||$80-130 USD||for emergency visits|
Other factors that will influence the price of a guinea pig
Pet store VS private breeders
Going to the closest pet store is an option, but even though they will have a good price on a guinea pig, sellers may push buying their supplies that are generally overpriced. You can keep your initial startup costs to a minimum by looking for sales prices online.
Private breeders who are selling their guinea pigs online all have a general price that can rival pet store prices, but they generally have a better selection of colors than you normally find because private breeders care more about producing healthy pigs rather than flooding the market.
Is the price of guinea pigs much different in other countries?
Costs will remain pretty stable for guinea pigs across the US, but you can see similar prices being advertised in the UK or Canada. For example, the cost of a single pig in the UK is 20 Pounds which is about $27. But then you have to consider the shipping costs.
Canadian pigs will cost 60-80 Canadian dollars which is $47-62 in US dollars. The same problem will apply if you need to travel to Canada to pick them up or have them shipped. Transporting animals is an expensive ordeal if you do this in person or have a courier transport them.
Prices of adult VS baby guinea pigs
The cost difference is not going to be much as most of the guinea pigs are being sold when they are 6-8 weeks old. The cost is the same for a young or adult cavy and does not change since guinea pigs are so common. If you adopt a grown-up guinea pig from an animal shelter, expect to pay the same price you would for a baby – unless the shelter gives them for free, which they sometimes do.
How do guinea pig prices compare to other exotic pets?
It’s always interesting to compare the price range of several exotic pets and the good thing is that guinea pigs fare pretty well compared to the most common small pets in the USA.
Guinea pig VS Rabbit
Rabbits cost almost the same with a price range between $20-40 per pet. Since these are rabbits that are bred to be smaller, they only grow to the size of a small dog. Farm rabbits are huge and might grow to the size of a medium-sized dog.
A hutch for dwarf rabbits will cost around $150-200 with $40 being spent on food per month. The vet cost for a rabbit will be at least $125-250 USD for vaccination shots and spaying. Regular visits can cost an additional $40-60 per annual visit. If you bring them in for tooth and nail trimming, you can expect the same cost.
Guinea Pig VS Chinchilla
The average cost of a chinchilla can start at $40-80 but can quickly reach hundreds of dollars. When you have higher quality breeds that are meant for collectors, their value is astronomical in the $10,000 range. The cost of a cage and accessories is also going to be around $250-270.
You will also need to find a vet specialist who knows how to treat chinchillas. It will cost you about $40-60 USD per annual check-up visit, but as high as $200 for emergency visits.
Guinea Pig VS Hamster
Hamsters are the cheaper version of pocket pets with only $5-10 per hamster. This is a lot cheaper than buying a guinea pig because they are half the size. If you calculate the cost of all the supplies and cage it will be under $200 altogether.
When it comes to food and bedding it’s only going to cost $10 each month, which makes this one of the most affordable pocket pets. Vet visits can be costly with the average emergency visit costing $50-100 for a single visit as they are small and often need special treatment.
Should I buy several guinea pigs or is one enough?
A lot of expert owners will advise you to buy two guinea pigs at a time. They are very social creatures that feel safe in a group. The cage that you have them living in may be large enough for two guinea pigs to interact with others and socialize. If you decide to raise a single guinea pig, prepare to spend more time with them so they won’t get lonely.
In terms of cost, buying another one or two guinea pigs means purchasing a bigger cage, which might prove to be slightly more expensive, although not doubled or tripled. Also, multiply the food cost per guinea pig for a rough estimate.
What should I check before buying a guinea pig?
There are a few things you want to check before committing to buying a guinea pig from a local breeder or pet shop. So inspect your critter carefully to make an informed decision.
- Bumblefoot: This is from cage conditions that cause their footpads to get infected and sore. You can treat this with oral vitamin C supplements and coconut oil for their feet, but it is a sure sign that the hygiene standards are not great in that place.
- Signs of shedding: If the guinea pigs you are inspecting have missing patches of hair, it could be due to an underlying health issue that indicates poor pet care – and a definite sign to move on to a better pet shop. Guinea pigs don’t normally shed from being nervous like chinchillas do.
- Overly nervous or shaking: Guinea pigs are naturally nervous, but if the pet shop is in a street with a lot of noise, they will become neurotic. Expect them to take longer to adapt to their new environment if you want to take one home, in a room where the sound level is reduced so they are more relaxed.