How Much Does a Guinea Pig Cost?

Small (pocket) animals like guinea pigs rank sixth in the list of eight common pets owned by American households as of 2017. While guinea pigs only represent a portion of all 14 million pet owners, they are often an ideal choice for those who value low-maintenance and inexpensive animals. Unlike chinchillas, guinea pigs do not require maintaining an artificial indoor climate and they are accustomed to the presence of many people in their midst. In fact, one can safely describe guinea pigs as both ‘resilient’ and ‘sociable.’

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) registers up to five diseases that can infect humans when owning rodents like guinea pigs. Proper management only requires a set of healthy habits and steadfast oversight of the pet. Ultimately, caring for guinea pigs is so easy that experts would consider the successful management of these pocket animals as the lowest baseline in terms of the level of difficulty.

Average Cost per Breed

Considering the titular question of the article, how much does a guinea pig cost? It is important for consumers to take note that, like dogs and cats, guinea pigs are comprised of several breeds. Hence, the sub species category determines the disparity in terms of the average cost if one buys guinea pigs at pet shops. These are the different breeds and their estimated guinea pig price according to Guinea Pigs Planet:

  • Abyssinian: $45 to $200
  • Alpaca: from $120
  • American: $35 to $100
  • Coronet: from $100
  • Peruvian: from $200
  • Sheltie: $120 to $150
  • Silkie: from $150
  • Teddy: $120 to $350
  • White Crested: from $30

guinea pig in a cage near childAnimal Shelter & Adoption Fee

Getting guinea pigs from pet shops is one thing. But how much does a guinea pig cost if a consumer opts for adopting pets from the animal shelters? Guinea pig adoption fees only cost anywhere between $10 and $15, but it is possible for prospective pet owners to pay up to $125 for full custody in some specialized rescue groups.

One must understand that choosing animal shelters over pet shops is more than a matter of guinea pig price alone. Profit-driven pet shops do not have the best reputation, especially when it comes to the overall welfare of their ‘products.’ Hence, they earn the notorious nickname ‘breeding mills.’

Unlike pet shops, 100% of every penny forfeited in animal shelter goes to the basic needs of the facility. These are the following rescue group directories and the number of guinea pigs available in their nationwide list as of August 14, 2017:

Cages: Retail v. DIY

Spending does not stop from the exact cost to buy or adopt a guinea pig. In fact, aside from the guinea pig price, one of the most costly portions of the overall budget has to do with the little one’s living space. Like many pet rodents (e.g. chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, et al), the home interiors are too vast and dangerous for them – especially given their tendency to gnaw at almost anything in sight. It is every pet owner’s duty to provide guinea pigs a suitable home.

Buying cages from retail stores like Walmart would cost anywhere between $12.75 and $259.99. However, one can also customize both the cost and the layout of the guinea pig cage by building it single-handedly. Granted, these are the two types of guinea pig cages and the necessary tools one needs to buy to complete the project:

Wooden Hutch

Cube & Coroplast

  • 4-set storage cubes: $25.99
  • Corrugated plastic sheet (10 pieces): $14.00
  • Box cutter: $10

Pet Necessities

Considering that guinea pigs live for an average lifespan of 5 years, the total pricea guinea pig on grass for keeping them alive throughout their maximum duration is somewhere around $2,375. However, this crude figure is derived from an equation that values every key item at around $20 to $40. Reducing the price of every item to half (or even less) is a more viable bargain. It is possible for one to buy each of the following pet supplies between $5 and $10:

One of the known advantages of having guinea pigs for pets is that it is relatively easier to feed them compared to other ferrets (e.g. chinchillas). Instead of buying treats from the pet shop, there are a number of easier alternatives to remember. It comes down to knowing which ones are highly recommended (+) and which ones are ought to be avoided (x):

Suggested Treats (+)

  • apples
  • baby carrots
  • broccoli leaves
  • blueberries
  • celeries
  • grapes
  • kales
  • kiwis
  • parsley
  • peaches
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • watermelons

Forbidden Treats (x)

  • chocolates
  • corn
  • dairy products
  • iceberg lettuce
  • meat
  • multivitamins
  • potatoes
  • raw beans
  • rhubarb
  • sugary foods
  • tomato leaves

About Health & Insurance

When it comes to the question, how much does a guinea pig cost? Most consumers would often overlook the necessary expenses for treating common guinea pig diseases (some of which are recurring periodically). Take note of the following serious complaints that are prevalent among the guinea pig population:

  • Lethal gas build-up (ileus)
  • Lice, scabies, and demodex
  • Respiratory infections
  • Uterine and ovarian diseases
  • Bladder stones

As mentioned in the earlier part of the article, one of the key disadvantages of acquiring animals from pet shops concerns the poor living conditions not conducive to raising healthy and content animals. Granted, the average cost of diagnostic vet visit is roughly $50 while the price range for major surgeries is anywhere between $400 and $2,400 – depending on the severity of the case.

Acquiring pet insurance is a viable financial safety net for pet owners who have to shoulder the cost of guinea pig treatment. Popular providers in the United States do not often indemnify exotic animals (anything other than cats or dogs). However, Nationwide proves to be the most renowned brand that partially shoulders medical expenses.

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