With so many toys and boredom breakers on sale for guinea pigs at pet shops and online it is hard to know which ones are best. So we've given a range of them to our guinea pigs to see what they thought.
Why do they need toys?
Guinea pigs are intelligent, sociable animals and, just like us, they need mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. It is important to provide enrichment as being sat in a cage with nothing to do to interest your guinea pig will likely lead to depression and illness.
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 with guinea pigs?
We've found the most popular toys are tunnels, foraging toys and boredom breakers that challenge them a little. We will also include beds and houses on this page as these can also create fun for your pets. Some of the products we like most are in the "Haypigs" and “Rosewood” ranges.
Best boredom breaker balls
There are quite a few different types of ball available for guinea pigs. Some are good and some are not so you need to be careful about which ones you buy.
Because they love to chew on things, a ball made from a safe chewable material is a great addition to a guinea pig’s toy collection. Remember that this type of ball won’t last so it’s a good idea to buy more than one.
The Haypigs Circus Treat Ball
The Haypigs Circus Treat Ball has been a huge hit with our piggies! Made with pet-safe plastic it splits into two halves so you can fill it with treats.
The ball has holes that are large enough for small treats to drop out as the ball rolls but not large enough that they all drop out at once. This is a really good quality guinea pig toy which is safe for your guinea pigs and great fun for them to play with. Fill the Haypigs ball with small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuggets from their daily portion or other safe and suitable guinea pig treats. You could also push sticks of veggies into the small star holes so they can tug at them to get them out.
Large Willow Ball
One of the balls our guinea pigs love the most is the large willow ball. Guinea pigs seem to love gnawing on willow so it’s advisable to buy 2 or 3 each time as they will destroy them over time but will have great fun in doing so!
Best tunnels and tubes
Guinea pigs absolutely love to run through and hide in tunnels. Here are the ones our piggies love the best:
Trixie Wicker Bridge and the Willow Tunnel
The Haypigs Cavy Cannonball
The Cannonball Tunnel is a cleverly designed tunnel that tilts for extra fun and makes a colourful addition to your guinea pig's cage. Our guinea pigs also enjoy being half in and half out so they feel they are hidden but can see out the other side. You can buy replacement tubes when necessary that fit on the plastic base.
Tunnels to avoid
Avoid buying tunnels made of fabric with metal boning. Although the boning is there to keep the shape, the problem with these is that they are tricky to wash because of the internal metal frame. The best ones are pure fabric, cardboard or those made of natural chewable materials.
Best foraging toys
Because guinea pigs love hay and food in general, they adore foraging for it which also gives them a bit of a challenge. The ones that are favourites with our piggies are:
Naturals Dandelion Roll’n’Nest
Made from 100% natural woven grass and filled with meadow hay, dandelion and marigold, the Dandelion Roll'n'Nest is a toy we often buy for our guinea pigs as they love it so much. The ball lasts a lot longer than the forage cube (below) so you can refill it with more hay and foraging treats.
The Rosewood Naturals Forage Cube
The Rosewood Forage Cube is a cardboard cube covered with meadow hay and filled with meadow hay and marigold flowers. It doesn’t last too long due to the cardboard getting chewed away pretty fast but our guinea pigs loved this and had a lot of fun pulling out the lovely smelling hay.
5. Best beds and hidey houses
Guinea pigs love beds, hidey holes and houses/nests to snuggle into or hide but they also have fun chasing each other in and out of them when they're feeling playful. We’ve tried many of these but the ones we like the best are:
Haypigs Circus Hut.
The Haypigs Circus Hut is bright and colourful, made from cosy fleece and comes with 2 pee pads. You can also buy additional pee pads so you don’t have to wash the whole hut each time. However, it’s really easy to wash and dries fast which is a bonus. This is one of the best hideys as it is snug and enclosed so they feel safe and hidden away when they are inside.
Similar to a sleeping bag, the snuggle sacks are always popular with guinea pigs as they give a lovely enclosed and dark area to hide and sleep. Snugglesacks come in many different colours and designs so you can choose the design that fits in with your cage. We find the large size fit our guinea pigs perfectly.
Resch Corner House
The Resch Corner House is a brilliant invention. Its corner design makes it a great space saver, allowing more exercise space in the cage while giving plenty of space for them to relax inside the house. Made from spruce, a natural wood, the house is a good durable solid wood so you won’t need to keep replacing it. Our guinea pigs haven't chewed this one at all. We buy the one for rabbits as it offers excellent space but if you want to save a bit of cage space you could go for the smaller house for guinea pigs.
Haypigs Crash Mat
The Haypigs Crash Mat is the most popular flat bed we’ve bought for our guinea pigs. Like the circus hut, it’s made from a lovely soft fleece and is the perfect size for a guinea pig to curl up and sleep on. It’s round design which is raised at the sides makes it especially cosy for your pets to snuggle on. The Haypigs Crash Mats are ideal for Skinny Pigs and Baldwins who need a soft bed for their delicate skin.
Trixie Wooden House
The Trixie Wooden House is a lovely enclosed space and fits one guinea pig at a time. Our guinea pigs love looking out of the little window to see what's going on in the rest of the cage! This house isn’t as solid as the Resch Corner House but it is well built and will last a long time.
Pigloos are always popular with guinea pigs and are available in various bright colours. Not only do ours love hiding in theirs but they seem to enjoy moving it around the cage too as it is very lightweight. It offers a lovely big space for more than one guinea pig to hide but we do prefer the Resch Corner House because a pigloo takes up more of the cage space.
How many toys do they need?
The number of boredom busters that you put in the cage does depend a little on the size of their housing. They need plenty of space to run around and play so you could give them one or two at a time and rotate them so they have some variety. Remember that if they have the same toy all the time they can become bored with it.
Dangerous toys to avoid
Please be careful when buying toys for your piggies. There are toys that are sold for guinea pigs with a cute picture of a guinea pig on the label but are not safe for these pets. Some are dangerous posing a strangulation risk or not suitable for their delicate bone structure whereas others are those made with materials that may be toxic or cause problems when ingested.
In the past we have bought the Rosewood Trio of Balls. They seem very popular but with lots of good reviews but our guinea pigs didn’t really like them and we have since heard at least one case of a guinea pig getting tangled up one of them as it unravelled. Maybe they are ok for other small pets but this isn’t something we will be buying again as it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.
The hanging metal food balls can also be dangerous as guinea pigs have been known to get their heads stuck in these.
Some toys look appealing but have little value for your guinea pigs. Don’t opt for what simply looks enticing but seek out toys that offer good play value too.
Check out what they're made of
If you’re buying toys that are made to be chewed or likely to be munched on, always check the materials used in the product. Often grains and seeds have been added into the toys but these aren’t really recommended for guinea pigs. Sometimes glues might be used to stick the toys together which are definitely not good for your pets. There may also be hazardous metal parts in some of these toys.