How Much Does a Guinea Pig Cost?
Despite its name, a guinea pig is not a pig nor is it from Guinea. This animal is rather one of the rodent species belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia.
Also called a cavy, the guinea pig is said to have originated from the Andes. According to studies, the guinea pig is an important food and medicine source among many South American cultures. It also plays a vital role in their community religious ceremonies. These gentle and sociable creatures also make great pets for kids. Although they tend to be shy at first when meeting with humans, guinea pigs are quick to develop intense affection with their pet parents. They are usually able to be held and can even get out of its cage to play once in a while.
How much does it cost?
- On average, a guinea pig is going to cost anywhere from $25 to as much as $60. The costs will depend on the age and where it’s purchased.
- PetSmart.com, for example, sells a guinea pig for $29.99.
- For the first year, RedDeerSPCA.com recommends that you budget at least $685. This number does not factor in vaccinations, initial neuter surgeries, and emergency medical care.
What is going to be included?
- Common colors of Guinea pigs include black and cream or white, and most have distinctive markings.
- They can weigh around 1.5-2.5 pounds and can grow up to eight inches in length.
- Guinea pigs are known to be poor climbers but can jump smaller obstacles. They are easy to startle, but on the other hand, they will perform tiny hops in the air when excited and happy, also known as “popcorning.”
- Some of the most common sounds they can make include wheeking, which sounds like a whistle, purring, rumbling, whining, chattering, and squealing.
- When you purchase a Guinea pig, you may be given a small starter cage in which you can carry the Guinea pig home. You may also be given samples of food and a sheet or booklet of care instructions.
What are the extra costs?
- You will have to provide guinea pigs with specific food of either an extruded nugget or muesli mix as well as sufficient hay for roughage. A vitamin C supplement is also recommenced as part of their diet. Failing to give a guinea pig up to 10mg of vitamin C in a day can lead to something known as scurvy.
- Every month, it is recommended that the bedding is changed. This alone can cost upwards of $30 to $50 to do.
- Because guinea pigs often work best with a companion, more than one may have to be purchased.
- Also be sure to factor in unnecessary medical bills. Emergencies may arise and cause extra vet expenses.
- You have to provide the animal with a cage in the beginning, along with a food bowl, toys, and water bottle. Cages are usually less than $100.
- Other additional accessories can include a leash and harness. Guinea pigs can get about as large as a bunny and may enjoy walks outside. A brush is also necessary to keep the Guinea pig well groomed.
Tips to know:
- A guinea pig is a social but initially a shy animal. It is an ideal pet for children 8 years old and above.
- Generally, this animal enjoys having a cage mate. It will also enjoy play time with the owner as well as time to be out of the cage and just roam around.
- Guinea pigs need vitamin C supplements.
- A guinea pig has a life span of five to eight years.
- You must be gentle when holding the animal, placing one hand under its shoulders with your thumb around its neck, while your other hand supports its rear end. Holding it incorrectly can cause injuries to occur.
How can I save money?
- Generally, guinea pigs are relatively inexpensive. But its upkeep cost needs to be included in your budget.
- Buy your feed in bulk to save money. There are stores that sell pine bedding and hay cheaper than what pet stores do. It is even much cheaper to buy hay direct from the local farmers if it is convenient for you to do so.
- You may also opt for 100% polyester fleece for the animal’s bedding. It may sound expensive up front, but with fleece you would not need to buy more bedding since it can be reused.
- Save your leftover vegetables, such as beef tops, celery leaves, radish tops, broccoli stems, and leaves for your guinea pig. This not only saves money on food and Vitamin C supplements, but it is also a nice treat for your pet.
- You may feed your guinea pig with vegetables during summer. You can even save more if you grow your own vegetable garden.
- Check with local shelters or an online classified ad. You can often find guinea pigs for next to nothing. You can also find used cages and accessories on websites such as Ebay.