Owning pets can be rather expensive and guinea pigs are no exception. From constantly buying eating hay, bedding hay and their dried pellets, it can all add up. This article is designed to help cut the cost by showing you how to make toys for guinea pigs.
Why do guinea pigs need toys?
Guinea pigs are very curious creatures by nature and also surprisingly active! They spend 20 hours a day awake and only 4 hours sleeping (the actually preferring napping too)
Since they are so active they require lots of stimulation to keep them from getting bored. Being bored is annoying for us humans but it can be fatal for guinea pigs. A bored guinea pig can be become depressed, stop eating and in severe cases, die. During your guinea pig’s health check is the best time to spot signs of boredom.
It isn’t hard to keep guinea pigs entertained since they love to chew and explore! Guinea pigs are natural problem solvers and enjoy all kinds of toys to play with.
What are guinea pig toys
A good place to start when choosing toys for your guinea pigs is with hiding places! Since guinea pigs are prey animals in the wild, their natural instinct makes them love to hide. Fluffy plush beds are perfect since they are also a soft place to nap in. There are even really playful theme ones such as a giraffe!
Make your own toys for guinea pigs
Things to remember
Before you get started learning how to make your own toys for guinea pigs, its important to chose the right materials. Stay away from any materials that have been treated with toxic glue or varnish.
Chose pet safe paints and glue to ensure your guinea pigs don’t get poorly from chewing on their new toys. Its pretty much guaranteed they will be chewing them, so ensure you do your research.
Don’t use sharp or jagged items as they can hurt your guinea pig or worse pock their eyes out. Beware of small hard items that a guinea pig could choke on.
Hay based toys
Guinea pigs adore hay!, They eat it, sleep in it, burrow in it and generally love to be around it! Indulge your guinea pigs in some homemade hay toys for them to play with. Each of these hay toys can also be filled with grass too.
The Hay Bag Feeder
The simplest of all our hay-based toys is the hay bag feeder. Its quite simply a paper bag that has hay inside! Cut a few little holes so they know its in there and watch them go! Your guinea pigs will probably knock the bag over and chew the bag itself but that’s ok! The aim is for them to have fun so don’t worry about the mess they make trying to get the hay out! You can also buy one, if you would prefer.
What you need
- A paper bag that is free from chemicals and toxins
- Using the scissors cut some slight holes in the bag
- Fill the bag with hay
- Give it to your guinea pigs and watch the fun!
Another really easy hay based guinea pig toy is a hay hanger. For this one, you can use an old toilet or kitchen roll. Ensure there is no paper or glue on them before giving to your guinea pig. The shop-bought equivalent of this toy is a moveable hay rack,
What you need
- Old kitchen or toilet rolls
- Some rope, or fabric.
- Cut holes into the rolls using the scissors.
- Tie the rope or fabric through one of the holes.
- Fill the tube with hay
- Attach the hay to the cage.
- Sit back and enjoy the fun!
The Hay Sock
The last DIY guinea pig toy in our hay-based section is also incredibly simple! All you will need is a sock, scissors and hay. Simple cut some small holes in the sock and then stuff with hay,. Tie the sock to the cage bars so it’s off the ground. This makes it more of a challenge whilst also keeping it from getting dirty. That’s it! A metal ball filled with hay, can also be used.
Hiding and relaxing toys
Guinea pigs love to hide! Whether sleeping, eating or playing all guinea pigs love to have a bit of cover. Plus it’s a great way to get away from their cage mates and have some alone time when needed. This is the key to stopping in cage fighting between your guinea pigs.
The fleece forest is a great addition to your guinea pigs cage. Your guinea pigs can hide in it or sleep. Its even nibble proof! The best part is it can be customised any way you want it. You can adjust this basic guinea pig toy to fit any size space and any cage theme.
What you need
- Fleece or felt
- Start by measuring the space in which you want to hang your fleece forest. Measurements don’t need to be exact. We like ours to be slightly off the floor so it doesn’t get trampled on.
- Begin cutting slits into the fleece/felt with scissors. You can make the slits as high or low as you like. The choice is yours.
- Attach your forest. Ribbon and velcro are great options.
Similar to the fleece forest, this hiding corner is easy to make and lots of fun for your guinea pigs. It’s a great space saver if your short for space in your guinea pigs cage.
What you need
- Fleece or Felt
- Ribbon/clips/velcro to hang
- This one is exactly the same as the one above. Simply measure your space and decide if you’d like a “roof” or not.
- Cut some slits into the material. This gives your guinea pigs somewhere to hide and run through.
- Attach it to bars of your cage or run. I prefer to use ribbon since our guinea pigs chew everything!
Toys to chew
Guinea pigs teeth grow constantly! It certainly explains their need to chew everything. It’s easy to indulge their gnawing nature with these easy to make guinea pig toys.
This shred box is made completely of paper and cardboard. I know lots of guinea pig owners become concerned about whether their guinea pigs can eat cardboard and paper. Both are completely safe as long as free from glue and other toxins. It’s useful to know that guinea pigs often seem like they are eating lots of cardboard. They are actually just ripping it up to wear their teeth down without ingesting it. A guinea pigs digestive system is able to digest cardboard and paper so there is nothing to worry about. You can also purchase one here
What you need
- Cardboard tray
- Paper and Carboard and lots of it!
- Take your cardboard and paper and ensure there is no glue or harmful substances on it.
- Crumple the paper and rip up the cardboard.
- Put the paper and cardboard inside the carboard tray.
- All done!
Wood and branches are great for wearing down teeth. Ensure the wood is untreated and free from any sharp fragments. Most branches are safe for guinea pigs but avoid Apricot, Almonds, Cedar, Figs & Citrus wood as these are harmful. This is a bit harder to make than the rest and an alternative can be purchased here
What you need
- Branches or wood
- Hacksaw or garden shears
- Drill with a wood suitable drill bit
- Rope or ribbon
- Decide how long you would like the toy to be.
- Begin cutting up the wood or branches into similar size pieces.
- Carefully drill a hole through the middle of each individual branch or wood piece.
- Carefully thread the rope or ribbon through each piece/branch. Tie a knot at the end to secure them. Hang your new toy in your guinea pigs cage.
A super simple way of entertaining your guinea pig and giving them their favourite treat! This one is so easy to make and provides hours of enjoyment! A plastic golf ball is ideal for this if you have them lying around the house. A treat ball can also be bought, if you can’t find the right type of plastic ball to use.
What you need
- plastic golf ball
- Your guinea pigs favourite treat
This one is so easy! Simply put your guinea pigs favourite treat inside the ball and watch them have fun trying to get them out! Not all guinea pigs understand a treat ball straight away so have patience with them. Roll the ball gently towards them and even taking a treat out and feeding it to your guinea pig all help them understand their new toy.
The key to a happy and healthy guinea pig
It’s important to remember that your guinea pigs won’t love every single toy whether its shop-bought or homemade. Each guinea pig is unique and so are their favourite toys! Be patient and please don’t take it personally. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve made anything from this list and what your guinea pigs favourite toys are!