How to choose the best toys your guinea pigs will love!
Most of the time when you think of Guinea pig care, things like cage size, bedding, food, and grooming come to mind. But providing enrichment for your guinea pigs is also an important part of caring for them. This guide will walk you through how to provide enrichment for your pets by providing toys your guinea pigs will like!
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Do Guinea Pigs Need Toys?
We all want to give our pets the happiest lives possible and that includes providing them with enrichment in their cage!
No, guinea pigs don’t actually NEED toys. But there are several reasons why it’s a great idea to give them anyway.
First, they provide enrichment for your piggies from a variety of natural materials. Guinea pigs are curious small animals and they can get bored pretty easily. Giving them new toys every now and then can give them mental stimulation. Think of how bored you would be if you sat in your house all day with nothing to do!
And speaking of chewing, toys can help wear your guinea pig’s teeth down. Although hay is the main thing that will keep your pet’s teeth the right length, toys can be a great addition to also help out with physical stimulation. Toys can provide different textures your piggies will love to chew.
I personally like to match some of my guinea pigs’ toys to cage themes or seasons. I always have Christmas toys for the holiday season, for example, because it’s cute decoration for my cages, and provides the piggies with something to do.
Remember that while some guinea pigs play with toys all the time, not all guinea pigs are going to be interested in all types of toys – and some guinea pigs are not interested in toys at all! I suggest trying a few different types with your piggies to see what they like.
What Guinea Pig Toys Should I Avoid?
Although there are quite a few toys marketed to guinea pigs online and in pet stores, not all of them are really safe for guinea pigs. There are a few different things you should look out for and avoid:
- Any unsafe or unhealthy ingredients or materials.
- Anything with exposed nails or glue.
- Any toys that a guinea pig could get caught in or hurt on.
When you’re looking for new toys for your guinea pigs, make sure you consider all the pieces of the toys to make sure they are both safe and healthy for your piggies.
Make sure to always check your guinea pig’s toys once they’ve had them for a while as well. Once they have chewed on them over time new hazards can appear, like exposed metal pieces or sharp points.
Unsafe or Unhealthy Ingredients
Some of the treats and toys you’ll see at the pet store are just straight-up not suitable for the small pets they are marketed toward.
Some materials included are just totally unsafe or unhealthy. Materials to stay away from include:
- Anything with seeds or dairy products included.
- Loofah (some types expand when wet)
- Alfalfa or molasses-based items.
- Anything painted or colored with non-pet-safe colors.
- Items made from cedar wood.
If there is any question about some part of a toy being unsafe for your guinea pigs, I recommend jut not giving it to your piggies. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Guinea pigs do not need exercise wheels or exercise balls. They are not safe for guinea pig’s fragile spines and most of them won’t be interested in them anyway.
Toys that are Dangerous
The goal with toys is to make our guinea pigs happier and less bored, so of course we don’t want them to cause any injuries!
You want to avoid anything that your Guinea pig could get their head stuck through or get caught in. A good example would be the hanging hay balls with the bell on them – guinea pigs have been known to get severely injured by getting their legs or heads stuck in those so they are not a good option.
You also don’t want to use any toys that have exposed nails that could hurt your furry friend, or that have exposed glue that may be toxic. A great toy will be made from natural wood or other natural materials.
What Toys Do Guinea Pigs Like?
Here is a rundown of my favorite types of Guinea pig toys, with a list of toys I recommend for each!
This is probably what most people think of when someone says guinea pig toys. Guinea pig chew toys are generally made to encourage piggies to chew them up.
Chew toys can be made from a wide range of materials. I think the different textures can be what makes guinea pigs like to chew them so much. They give your guinea pig something different to do other than eat and sleep.
Here are a few of my piggies’ favorite chew toys:
- Oxbow Enriched Life Apple Rounds
- Oxbow Enriched Life Celebration Party Pack
- Oxbow Enriched Life Cupcake
- Oxbow Enriched Life Willow Cube
Ok, not exactly a toy, BUT forage is a fantastic way to provide enrichment for your guinea pigs!
Forage is basically a mix of dried herbs and plants mixed together. These are a great way to provide some variety in your guinea pigs’ diet in a healthy way.
I count this as a toy in some ways because there are many different ways you can feed it to your guinea pigs other than putting it straight in their food bowl!
Sprinkling it around the cage or over hay makes it harder to find which makes your guinea pigs have to work a little harder to get it.
I get most of my forage from Small Pet Select!
Here are some other great forage options:
Hanging toys are basically just a version of a chew toy that you are able to hang from the side of your guinea pig cage. These are another great option because they make your guinea pig explore the toy in a different way than they would a toy sitting on the bottom of their cage. There are a lot of great bird toys that can be a great choice for guinea pigs as well.
I’ve seen my guinea pigs laying down while chewing on toys! If you hang your toys at a level where your guinea pig has to be standing or even work a little harder to work on it this will get them moving more and keep them from getting bored.
Check out these hanging toy options:
- Oxbow Wood Disc Dangler
- Frisco Small Pet Dangly Wooden Toy
- Super Bird Creations Activity Wall
- Oxbow Enriched Life Dangly Party Pack
Some guinea pigs absolutely love anything made from cardboard – and some piggies will ignore it. It’s a great option to give your guinea pigs to chew because it is safe for them to chew and it is pretty inexpensive.
You can make your own DIY toys or houses from household items for your guinea pigs out of cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes, or paper bags you have around your house. Just make sure to remove any stickers and tape first! I also usually stay away from printed boxes because I don’t know if the ink is safe for my guinea pigs. And stay away from food boxes that have any human food residue!
Cardboard toy and hide options:
Interactive toys are great for keeping your guinea pigs from getting bored, especially for very curious piggies. These fun toys are designed to make your guinea pig work out some sort of puzzle to get food hidden inside.
Guinea pigs are a lot smarter than many people think, so they can have a lot of fun with these types of toys. There are a lot of interactive-style toys that are designed for bunnies that will work great for guinea pigs as well.
Here are some of my guinea pigs’ favorites:
- Oxbow Enriched Life Wooden Puzzler
- Wheeky Pets Small Animal Treat Ball
- Oxbow Enriched Life Garden Rocker
Foraging toys are a type of interactive toy that is meant to make your Guinea pigs search for food similar to how animals would have to if they were in the wild.
Instead of being a puzzle-type situation, foraging toys are usually more about just making your guinea pigs work a little bit for the food instead of having to figure out how to get to it.
Try out these foraging toys:
- Oxbow Garden Forage Puzzle
- Oxbow Enriched Life Forage Pot
- The Pig Room Forage Ball
- Oxbow Lettuce Forage Mat
Final Thoughts on The Best Guinea Pig Toys
Providing your guinea pigs with different types of toys is a great way to keep them from getting bored. I highly recommend giving some of these toys a try with your guinea pigs to see if they like them.
If you have any other recommendations for guinea pig toys let me know in the comments!
If you want to learn more about Guinea pig care, make sure to check out these other articles!
- Essentials You NEED in Your Guinea Pig Health Kit
- Guinea Pig Cage Size: What They REALLY Need
- Beginner’s Guide to Guinea Pig Care
- 7 Easy Tips to Get Rid of Guinea Pig Urine Smell