There are many toys and boredom breakers on sale for guinea pigs at pet shops and online but which toys are the best? We also let you know which ones were not so good so you don't waste your money on bad toys.
These recommended toys have been tested on guinea pigs!
With six guinea pigs of our own, we have bought many toys for them over the time they've been with us. Some are never touched and a complete waste of money whereas others become absolute favourites! We can assure you that the accessories we recommend have been tested on real guinea pigs, namely Baileys, Brandy, Lychee, Sunny, Sparkles and Mr Jaffas! Read on for their verdict!
Why do they need toys?
Guinea pigs are intelligent animals and, just like you and I, they need mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored. If they have nothing interesting to do, the resulting boredom can lead to illness and depression. 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.
What types of toy are most popular among cavies?
The most popular toys are tunnels and things they can chew including foraging toys and hanging toys. We will also include beds and houses as these can also create fun for your pets! Some of the ones we like most are in the “Rosewood” range.
1. Best ball for chewing
Guinea pigs love balls that are made from natural materials they can chew and destroy! It is important their teeth are worn down by chewing to keep them healthy and in good shape so this is a toy every guinea pig should have! We have tried various balls for our guinea pigs to nibble and chew but their favourite has been the Large Willow Ball.
As well as the fact that our piggies liked the ball, it is also good for their teeth as it takes a bit of chewing and grinding!
These toys are really cheap and it is worth buying two or three at a time as they will be nibbled away to nothing over a period of time.
Not so popular was the Rosewood Naturals Trio Of Fun Balls. Despite the fact that they are one of the best sellers on Amazon, our piggies only really liked the seagrass ball and weren’t bothered much about the other two.
2. Best hanging toys
The image above shows the floral hanging basket, apple sticks with grass cakes and the loofa hoola.
There are many hanging toys available for guinea pigs but in our experience they have all been a bit hit and miss - there are many that our guinea pigs are simply not interested in at all. However, we have tested some on our piggies and these are the ones they liked:
Apple sticks & grass cakes - the guinea pigs enjoyed these a lot! These are also a great toy to help grind down their teeth - something that is very important for guinea pigs!
Floral hanging basket - Lychee especially liked this toy, chewing on the leaves and Baileys thought the string was tasty! We like this toy because it is a colourful boredom breaker which the guinea pigs enjoyed and also brightens up the cage!
They did show a little interest in the Loofa Hoola but as yet it doesn't seem like they're overly bothered so it's not one that we would recommend at this stage. However, we've only just bought it so we'll try it again with our piggies and will update this page if they grow to like it a bit more.
3. Best tunnels, tubes and bridges
Guinea pigs absolutely adore tunnels. They love to run through them, around the cage and then back through the tunnel again! Here are the ones our piggies have got the most enjoyment from:
- The Trixie Wicker Bridge was a great hit with our cavies! It didn’t last long once our 6 piggies got their teeth into it but they really enjoyed it which is the most important thing.
- The Natural Living Bridge, also by Trixie is a decent toy. Our guinea pigs don’t chew so much on it but they do love going through it so if you’re looking for a bridge that lasts, this is a good option.
- Our piggies also have a great time with the more basic cardboard tubes. The Rosewood Naturals Hay ‘n’ Hide type are the most loved as they enjoy nibbling the bits of hay from the outside of the tube.
- Like the Trixie Wicker Bridge, the Willow Tunnel was very popular. It doubles up as a fun toy to hide in, run though as well as chew. Bear in mind that this type of toy will have a limited lifespan as it gets nibbled away but it will give your pets a lot of fun!
The tunnels you are best to avoid are those made of fabric with metal boning that is put in place to keep their shape. We bought one of these a while back and the problem is that when they get dirty, they are very difficult to wash because of the internal metal frame. The best ones are pure fabric, cardboard or those made of natural chewable materials.
4. Best foraging toys
Above is a picture of the Dandelion Roll'n'Nest toy.
Our guinea pigs probably have most fun with the foraging boredom breakers. The ones they have liked most so far are
- The Rosewood Naturals Forage Cube which is a cardboard cube covered with meadow hay and filled with meadow hay and marigold flowers. They went absolutely mad for this!
- Naturals Dandelion Roll’n’Nest made from 100% natural woven grass and filled with meadow hay, dandelion and marigold. Another great hit with the piggies!
Once they've chewed through the outer parts of these toys they like to go inside to hide. We especially love these because of the natural content so both are recommended purchases.
5. Best beds and hidey houses
Guinea pigs love beds, hidey holes and houses to snuggle into or hide but they also have fun hopping or rushing in and out when they’re in a playful mood.
Our piggies favourite bed is the Rosewood Snuggles two-way hooded bed. We have two of these and they last really well despite having been in the washing machine loads of times on a 60 degree wash! They have a lovely furry lining so they’re cosy and they are made to stand up well without collapsing. By the way, it recommends washing these at 30 degrees but we've always used a hot wash on the ones we've had and they've never shrunk plus they keep their shape and last for ages. We had our first one for a year and a half before having to replace it and that was with 6 guinea pigs using it!
We recently bought the Trixie Wooden House and this went down very well! Mr Jaffas especially loves it.
I wasn't sure at first if they would fit through the door but surprisingly they all did, even Brandy who is rather fat! It only fits one guinea pig at a time as can be seen from our "6 Guinea Pigs Have Fun with New Toys" video... Sparkles tries to get in the house with Mr Jaffas unsuccessfully! In the Amazon listing it says that the top opens which is a mystery as ours doesn't but it really doesn't need to.
The other hidey hole that guinea pigs love is the Pigloo. They come in various bright colours and not only do they love hiding in them but they seem to enjoy moving it around the cage too! We've always had a pigloo since we've had our guinea pigs - it offers a lovely big space for more than one guinea pig to hide.
How many toys do they need?
The number of toys or boredom busters that you put in the cage does depend a little on the size of their housing. They should have plenty of space to run around and play. In a cage that is the minimum recommended size for a guinea pig you could have a tunnel, a chew toy and a bed but do consider their space when choosing which ones to buy.
It is also advisable to change their toys on a regular basis so they get variety. If they always have the same toys, it can get monotonous for them.
What toys should I avoid?
We have bought great looking toys in the past which are colourful and brighten up the cage but they have merely acted as decoration as the piggies have not been interested in them at all. Don’t opt for what looks pretty but look for toys that can be chewed and ones that look natural and are made from natural products that are suitable for guinea pigs. These are definitely the best ones.
If you’re buying chewable toys, always check the ingredients. Often grains and seeds have been added into the toys but these aren’t really recommended for guinea pigs. Other times, glues might be used to stick the toys together which are not good for your pets.
Guinea pigs love a variety of toys so buy a selection of different types and rotate them each time you clean them out as this will prevent boredom. You’ll see how important this is to them when you witness their excitement when they spot a new toy in their cage! Don't expect the chewable toys to last - they're meant to be chewed and torn apart - it's all part of the fun!
Don't forget to check out our essential guinea pig care sheets that you can download and print - they will help you stay on track of your guinea pig schedule! Click here to check out the price on Etsy...