As with the purchase and ownership of any pet, when bringing a guinea pig home, you not only have to consider the initial cost of the pet but how much it will cost as supplies and care over time are concerned. Considering this, what is the cost to own a guinea pig?
The total cost to own a guinea pig can range anywhere from $175 to $475 depending on the size and quality of the items you initially purchase and buy monthly for your guinea pig. These expenses include the cost of the guinea pig, initial supplies, veterinary care, and monthly care.
Owning a guinea pig is a choice that many individuals make because they are low maintenance, are generally very well mannered, are typically laid back, and do not require an extreme amount of care to keep them happy and healthy. No matter how easy these pets may be though, there is a certain amount of cost that comes with them as you consider what it costs to purchase and care for them over time. Continue reading to find a breakdown of the cost to own a guinea pig.
What Expenses Go Into the Cost of Owning a Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs are wonderful pets for those who want something that is low-maintenance, easy to care for, fun to watch, and happy to be handled without needing a ton of physical care. If you are looking to have a guinea pig of your own, there are certain expenses that you will need to account for in order to know how much initial costs will be as well as the cost of long-term care. Take a look below to find out what expenses go into the cost of owning a guinea pig.
The Cost of the Guinea Pig
Unless you have somehow inherited a pet from a friend or family member, it is very likely that you will be buying your guinea pig. These animals are small and are easily bread, making them one of the less expensive pets out there. Typically, regardless of the breed, the prices are typically the same if you are purchasing from a pet store, ranging anywhere from $10 to $40 dollars.
For those of you that want a specific breed of guinea pig, it is possible to purchase them through an actual breeder. However, just as it goes for those who purchase from dog and cat breeders, the price of your guinea pig may increase drastically due to having a more superior bloodline than those bread and sold within pet stores. The prices for bread guinea pigs vary by breed, therefore, be sure to compare various breeds when considering pricing.
The Cost of Initial Supplies
When you purchase a guinea pig, you must also purchase a variety of different supplies to get you started. Just as with any other animal, there are certain items that are not only going to keep your guinea pig happy, but will keep it safe as well. When it comes to the supplies that you need for your guinea pig, what do they include and how much do they cost?
The most important supply purchase that you can make for your guinea pig is its cage. They need a cage that should be about 30” x 32.” This allows them plenty of space to roam, but also to grow into, however, the larger the better. Depending on the quality and size of the cage, guinea pig cages can range anywhere from $40 to $150, potentially making this one of your biggest expenses.
Once you have the cage, you will have to buy supplies to place within their new habitat which includes bedding for the cage, food, a food bowl, a water bottle, and a place to hide beneath. These are all basic additions to any cage and more can always be added as you see fit, however, with all of these supplies bundled together, the average cost falls between $35 and $80 dollars.
The Cost of Veterinary Care
For any well cared for pet, there should be a yearly well-check with a veterinarian to ensure that all things health are going as they should. Even for an animal of its small stature, a guinea pig needs regular checkups to confirm that they are in good health, but also to be able to catch any abnormalities in their health that may need checking. For a yearly checkup, the cost can range anywhere from $40 to $50 dollars.
However, when considering veterinary care, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Guinea pigs are very small animals, therefore, there are some vets that are not able to work on them. Before heading to any veterinarian, be sure to first check that they care for guinea pigs. This will allow them to perform checkups, administer vaccinations (if seen as fit) and spay or neuter your guinea pigs if you so choose.
The Cost of Monthly Care
Once you bring your guinea pig home and have the cage properly set up, you will then be able to get your new pet settled in. Once this is done, the work has not ended, but has really just begun. This may sound intimidating, but just as with any other animal, you will need to supply proper food, water, and replacement bedding for your guinea pig often. Because of this, you will always have ongoing expenses for as long as your guinea pig is alive.
Included in monthly care is the cost of food for your guinea pig, the replacement bedding which goes at the bottom of the cage, and any replacement pieces or new additions to its cage. A month’s supply of commercial guinea pig food typically costs around $10-$15 dollars. You will also have to provide some type of hay for their diet, which makes up the bulk of their food consumption, costing around $30-$40 dollars for a 12-pound bag.
For the bedding that goes into your guinea pigs cage, you will need to replace it weekly. If you are using wood chip bedding, depending on the liters purchased at a time, can range anywhere from $10 to $100 dollars. This can be bought in bulk, which accounts for the discrepancy in pricing, but purchase enough to get through at least a few weeks to account for any type of excessive mess that may randomly occur.
What to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing a Guinea Pig
Now that you know the total expense of guinea pigs, you may be surprised at how low initial costs may be, but surprised by how much they cost to keep on a monthly basis. As with any pet, one of the most important things to consider is the obligation, as a pet owner, to care well for that particular animal. If you know you do not have the time or funds to care for a guinea pig, then wait for a time when ownership is less strenuous for you.
Next to having to consider your ability to care for a pet guinea pig comes the fact that these creatures are very social animals. Guinea pigs are able to live on their own, but it is important to understand that they thrive when they are surrounded by at least one other guinea pig. Therefore, if you choose to bring home two of these pets, your initial expenses and monthly costs will increase beyond what only one guinea pig would cost.
Outside of accounting for the potential of more than one guinea pig is the understanding that these animals can be long-term pets. Guinea pigs can live anywhere from 4 to 8 years, making them a pet that is going to require your care, attention, and money throughout the entirety of their lifetime. If you believe that a guinea pig will be a type of pet that comes and goes within a few short years, you may need to reconsider your inclination to own one.