Guinea pigs are small pets, so their popularity is ever-growing. However, it’s essential to recognize that toys for guinea pigs are different from other pets since their needs are unique among common pets.
How Guinea Pig Enrichment is Different
Guinea pig enrichment is different for two reasons. Guinea pigs are inherently social animals, so the best enrichment is a companion. Two, your guinea pigs will turn anything they want into a toy, even the things you don’t intend to be toys.
These two reasons mean that your guinea pigs don’t need conventional toys. Instead, they enjoy things that help wear down their teeth and stimulate their senses. Often, guinea pigs find food, scents, and pheromones the most stimulating.
Why Should You Buy Guinea Pig Toys?
The guinea pig toys you see in the pet store are designed primarily for humans, though your guinea pigs may find some of them fascinating all the same. If you’re going to grab something from the pet store, remember that your guinea pig will, at some point, chew on it.
You may, instead, choose to buy from guinea pig-specific stores. These stores often have better options for your guinea pig toys.
What Types of Toys Do Guinea Pigs Like?
Guinea pigs must chew since their teeth grow throughout their lives. Fortunately, guinea pigs love to chew! Good options are made of safe woods for guinea pigs and hang from either the roof or the side of their enclosure. You want to ensure it won’t whack your guinea pig while they play.
Balls as Toys for Guinea Pigs
Balls can be a little tricky to find, and you want to ensure they’re made with a safe material for guinea pigs to chew. While guinea pigs do not chase and fetch like a dog, they will move it around and fiddle with it.
Guinea pigs love having a variety of hiding spots in their enclosures, ideally with different textures. Not only is it good for them as prey animals, but it also offers them options to play around with. Just be aware they’ll probably eat the hiding spots!
Noisemakers as Toys for Guinea Pigs
These toys for guinea pigs may not be perfect for every guinea pig, but they are an option. Bells are a common choice, but there are other options if you find bells annoying. You may find that your guinea pigs take some time to warm up to these toys.
While you can’t count half levels towards your guinea pig’s living space, you can use them for added enrichment. Guinea pigs can climb up and down, have additional hiding locations, or even create hay dumps.
Various Food Treats
Using food as guinea pig toys is a great option that kills two birds with one stone. Fortunately, there are so many options you can use as toys for your guinea pigs. There’s everything from the typical hay tunnel to weaving green beans.
Your guinea pigs may prefer certain vegetables, and that’s pretty normal. You may also find that they leave certain parts without eating them. You should remove anything left over after a few hours.
One note: as you’re looking at options, try to avoid corn cobs and other items that can get caught in the teeth. That can result in a vet visit. Additionally, ensure that if you’re using a container, your guinea pigs can gnaw on it safely and won’t get their heads caught in it.
Unwaxed cardboard is also a great option; chances are you have some hanging around the house. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls are typically good candidates for toys for guinea pigs, though you may want to remove them from the enclosure after a day.
Things to Be Aware Of with Toys for Guinea Pigs
There are a lot of materials that are sold that are not safe for guinea pigs. You need to bear in mind that guinea pigs chew on everything, and ingesting plastics, in particular, can be problematic.
You want to buy toys for guinea pigs from reputable manufacturers. There are a lot of off-brand manufacturers out there, and figuring out what comes from a reputable source and what it says it is may take some time.
Buying Toys Designed for Other Small Critters
Many pet store toys are sold as generic small animal toys. However, they may not be suitable for guinea pigs. Often, small animal toys are too small or too flimsy to stand up to use by guinea pigs, either because they are larger or because they chew.
Unfortunately, a lot of items have coatings on them. Even some fruits and vegetables in the store have waxy coatings, never mind what gets done to cardboard. If you put it in your guinea pig enclosure, you must know it’s uncoated.
Wheels Sold as Toys for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs will not use an exercise wheel like other small animals. Putting one in their enclosure may result in some funny moments as they use it to scratch various itches, but it’s not worth the floor space.