There are many toys and boredom breakers on sale for guinea pigs at pet shops and online but which toys are the best? We also let you know which ones were not so good so you don't waste your money on bad toys.
With six guinea pigs of our own, we have bought many toys for them over the time they've been with us. Some are never touched and are a complete waste of money whereas others become absolute favorites! This guide will help you choose the best toys that your guinea pigs will love.
Why do they need toys?
Guinea pigs are intelligent animals and, just like you and I, they need mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored. If they have nothing interesting to do, the resulting boredom can lead to illness and depression. Your guinea pig should have a large enclosure, the right food and suitable toys to play with as well as lots of positive attention. This type of environment will help promote wellbeing and happiness in your pet.
Watch the video below to see some great natural hanging toys from Small Pet Select - they come after the treats section on the video.
What types of toy are most popular among cavies?
The most popular toys are tunnels, beds and houses as well as things they can chew on.
1. Best tunnels, tubes and bridges
Guinea pigs absolutely adore tunnels. They love to run through them, around the cage and then back through the tunnel again! This is probably the best toy you can buy for your guinea pigs. Here are the some of the best ones:
- The Haypigs Cavy Cannonball which has been cleverly designed as a tilting tunnel is a colorful addition to your guinea pig's cage! Our guinea pigs also loved sitting in it to hide!
- The solid wood Castle Tunnel doubles up as a tunnel as well as a fun place to hide. It looks great too!
- The Trixie Wicker Bridge was a great hit with our cavies! It didn't last long once our 6 piggies got their teeth into it but they really enjoyed it which is the most important thing.
- The Natural Living Bridge, also by Trixie is a decent toy. Our guinea pigs don't chew so much on it but they do love going through it so if you're looking for a bridge that lasts, this is a good option.
- Our piggies also have a great time with the more basic cardboard tubes. The Rosewood Naturals Hay 'n' Hide tubes are a great treat as they enjoy nibbling the bits of hay from the outside of the tube.
- The Wicker Tunnel is a great boredom breaker. It doubles up as a fun toy to hide in, run though as well as chew. Bear in mind that this type of toy will have a limited lifespan as it gets nibbled away but it will give your pets a lot of fun! This one also comes stuffed with hay and carrot so doubles up as a foraging toy too.
The tunnels you are best to avoid are those made of fabric with metal boning that is put in place to keep their shape. We bought one of these a while back and the problem is that when they get dirty, they are very difficult to wash because of the internal metal frame. The best ones are pure fabric, cardboard or those made of natural chewable materials.
2. Best beds and hidey houses
Guinea pigs love beds, hidey holes and houses to snuggle into or hide but they also have fun hopping on to them or rushing in and out when they're in a playful mood.
One of our favorite guinea pig beds is the brightly colored Haypigs Circus Hut which is beautifully soft and cozy. This was a real winner among all our guinea pigs. It comes with 2 pee pads which will cut down on the amount of times it will need washing too.
They also love the Haypigs Crash Mat which is also made with a lovely soft fleecy fabric and is a really good size too. Our piggies love to lie down with their legs outstretched and the outer ring makes it almost like a luxury sofa for them! The Haypigs beds would be great for Skinny Pigs and Baldwins who, with their delicate skin, need something soft to lie on.
The Space House Corner Hidey is a wooden hidey brilliantly designed by Saskia for LA Guinea Pig Rescue, a guinea pig rescuer and expert. She has designed it to fit into the corner of the cage to maximize space in your guinea pig's cage. Measuring 12" x 12" x 7" it will fit 3 guinea pigs. We also love the teal colored roof.
We recently bought the Trixie Wooden House which has a cute little rounded cottage design. If you have very fat guinea pigs they may find it more difficult getting in and out the entrance but for average sized piggies it is perfect.
The other hidey hole that guinea pigs love is the Pigloo. They come in various bright colors and not only do they love hiding in them but they seem to enjoy moving it around the cage too! We've always had a pigloo since we've had our guinea pigs - it offers a lovely big space for more than one guinea pig to hide and comes in various sizes.
3. Best ball for chewing
Guinea pigs love balls that are made from natural materials they can chew and destroy. It is important their teeth are worn down by chewing to keep them healthy and in good shape so this is a toy every guinea pig should have! We have tried various balls for our guinea pigs to nibble and chew but their favorite has been the Willow Ball.
As well as the fact that our piggies liked the ball, it is also good for their teeth as it takes a bit of chewing and grinding!
These willow balls are pretty cheap and it is worth buying two or three at a time as they will be nibbled away to nothing over a period of time.
Not so popular was the Trio Of Fun Balls. Despite the fact that they are one of the best sellers on Amazon, our piggies only really liked the seagrass ball and weren't bothered much about the other two. We have also since heard bad things about one of the balls being a danger in that when it unravels it becomes a strangulation hazard so it's advisable to clear of these.
4. Best hanging toys
There are many hanging toys available for guinea pigs but in our experience they have all been a bit hit and miss - there are many that our guinea pigs are simply not interested in at all. However, we have tested some on our piggies and the one they liked the best was the Apple Orchard Sticks & Grass Cakes Biscuits Hanging Toy. These are also a great toy to help grind down their teeth.
Guinea pig circus-themed toys
We have a page especially for the fantastic circus-themed range of guinea pig products from our friends at Haypigs! For lots of pictures and links to where you can purchase these colorful accessories for your guinea pigs cage, see our article: "|t's a Guinea Pig Circus! Fun Guinea Pig Cage Accessories..."
How many toys do they need?
The number of toys or boredom busters that you put in the cage does depend a little on the size of their housing. They should have plenty of space to run around and play. In a cage that is the minimum recommended size for a guinea pig you could have a tunnel, a chew toy and a bed but do consider their space when choosing which ones to buy.
It is a good idea to swap over the toys on a regular basis to provide variety. If they always have the same toys, it can get monotonous for them.
What toys should I avoid?
We have bought great looking toys in the past which are colorful and brighten up the cage but they have merely acted as decoration as the piggies have not been interested in them at all. Don't opt for what looks pretty but look for toys that can be chewed and ones that look natural and are made from natural products that are suitable for guinea pigs. These are definitely the best ones.
If you're buying chewable toys, always check the ingredients. Often grains and seeds have been added into the toys but these aren't really recommended for guinea pigs. Other times, glues might be used to stick the toys together which are not good for your pets.
Guinea pigs love a variety of toys so buy a selection of different types and rotate them each time you clean them out as this will prevent boredom. You'll see how important this is to them when you witness their excitement when they spot a new toy in their cage! Don't expect the chewable toys to last - they're meant to be chewed and torn apart - it's all part of the fun!
Don't forget to check out our essential guinea pig care sheets that you can download and print - they will help you stay on track of your guinea pig schedule! Click here to check out the price on Etsy...