Fresh vegetables are one of the most important parts of your guinea pig’s diet. They provide variety, nutrients, and essential Vitamin C. If you’re getting sick of running to the grocery store for your piggies’ veggies or worried about pesticides and freshness, you can grow the veggies yourself. Freshly picked vegetables and lettuces have more vitamins, which quickly degrade after harvesting. This is a great way to save money and start a relaxing outdoor hobby.
If you don’t have a yard for a traditional garden, many of these plants can be grown in containers on a porch or balcony. If you have a sunny window or grow lights, some plants can be grown inside year-round. While you could technically grow almost any fruit or veggie that your guinea pig loves, this article focuses on plants that are easy to grow for gardening newbies.
If you want to allow your piggies to graze and forage directly in your yard, you can plant a patch of grass, greens, and herbs and take them outside to eat directly from.
Vegetables to Grow for Your Guinea Pig
Your guinea pig’s diet should consist of 1 cup of fresh vegetables per day, with most of it being lettuces and leafy greens. They can also have fruit occasionally as a treat. Learn more about a healthy guinea pig diet.
If you’re just starting out with gardening or have limited space to work with, herbs are the perfect place to start. Most herbs are incredibly easy to grow and often are best grown in containers. They can also be grown indoors year-round with proper lighting. We recommend compact hydroponic garden systems to easily grow herbs in your kitchen.
Basil – One of my favorite herbs, it’s often beloved by guinea pigs too! You can grow basil in a traditional garden bed, in containers, or even indoors. They do best in bright sunlight and grow really well in the summer. Extend the plant’s life by pinching off the buds at the top before the basil flowers. Your guinea pig can eat the flowers in addition to the leaves and stems.
Cilantro – Good for piggies and good for your guacamole, Cilantro is easy to grow as well. Plant it wherever you please (garden bed, pot, or indoors). Unlike other herbs on this list, you will need to sow new seeds every few weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.
Dill – If you’ve ever grown dill, then you know why they call it “dillweed.” We recommend growing it in containers because dill self-seeds and can easily take over a garden bed (or even your yard!). Many piggies will wheek just at the scent of fresh dill! (Learn All About Growing Dill)
Lemon Balm – Lemon balm is an easy to grow herb that doesn’t need a lot of sunlight, making it a good choice for many gardeners. This lemony plant has a hint of mint scent that some piggies love. It benefits from being cut back periodically, so you’ll have plenty of harvest for your pet. Since it doesn’t have runners, you can plant it safely in your garden bed or use a pot.
Mint – This fragrant herb is a tasty option many cavies enjoy. It’s great for beginner gardeners because it’s extremely easy to grow. But, that trait also means it spreads like a weed, so don’t plant weed directly in your garden bed or yard. Plant mint in a pot and you can take it indoors during winter to keep up
Parsley – A great staple for your guinea pig’s diet, parsley is another easy to grow herb. Plant a patch in your garden or grow it in pots. You can easily grow it year-round with a sunny windowsill or supplemental lighting. As the plant grows, you can cut stems from the outside of the plant, allowing it to continue producing all season long.
Growing fresh greens for your piggies is a great way to provide them with a healthy mix of lettuces for their daily salads. I generally recommend greens that don’t grow in heads for new gardeners because they’re a bit easier to grow and can be harvested throughout the season. Many of these greens can be grown in containers or indoors with grow lights.
Arugula – This tasty leafy green is easy to grow in your garden or in a container. As a cool-weather crop, arugula grows best in spring and fall. Since they like full sun and partial shade, it works well to plant arugula between rows taller plants like tomatoes that can shade it during hot summer months.
Cucumber – A little bit trickier to grow, cucumbers are loved by so many guinea pigs that it’s worth trying. Pick a compact cucumber variety to grow in a container or your garden like the spacemaster or bush varieties. Cucumbers are thirsty plants, so make sure they’re well watered during hot summer months. If grown in a container, a self-watering one may be best.
Dandelions – Harvest this weed from your pesticide-free yard or grow some specifically for your piggies. Since dandelion is a weed, it’s super easy to grow. Guinea pigs can eat dandelion greens and flowers.
Kale – Another cool weather crop, Kale is grown similarly to arugula. Because of its hardiness, it’s great to grow in areas with a shorter season. Kale generally grows best in garden beds.
Red/Green Leaf Lettuce – While it’s mostly sold in heads at the grocery store, red and green leaf lettuce can also be grown to harvest as young greens. Instead of planting in traditional rows, sow the seeds thickly and you’ll get a ton of tender, young leaves. To harvest, trim the leaves a few inched above the soil. The lettuce will regrow for two or three more harvests. Since lettuce is a cool-weather crop, plant in a shady garden bed or pot.
Wheatgrass – Frequently grown for humans and cats, cavies love wheatgrass, too! Easy to grow indoors, this is a great way to offer a fresh grass supplement in addition to dry hay. If you want to grow inside, you’ll just need a shallow container (a small window box works great) and some potting soil. Harvest with scissors and the grass will regrow, providing a continuous supply.
Zucchini – If you’ve got the space in a garden bed for zucchini, one plant can give you a bumper crop. Plant in full sun and they will produce a large amount of squash in July and August.
These tasty veggies can add variety to your guinea pig’s diet so they don’t get bored. They’re also easy to grow at home!
Green Bell Peppers – Bell peppers are easy to grow in hot summer weather. In my experience, they’ve grown best in garden beds, but you can grow one pepper plant in a 5-gallon container. Make sure the plant gets full sun and you’ll have plenty of peppers for you and your piggies.
Cherry Tomatoes – One of the easiest types of tomatoes to grow, cherry tomatoes are also perfectly sized to give to a guinea pig. Cherry tomatoes can be grown in a container in a sunny spot (we recommend a five gallon pot) or in your garden. There’s nothing better than fresh tomatoes from the garden.
Grow Fruit for Guinea Pigs
While fruit is best as an occasional treat for guinea pigs, you can enjoy growing fresh fruit in your garden. Most fruit grows on trees or bushes, but these options don’t require a huge investment of space.
Blackberries – Growing on a vine that will produce year after year, your piggies can enjoy the fruit occasionally and the leaves. If you plant a thornless variety, that can eat the stems as well
Raspberries – Similar to blackberries, if you can commit to growing a vine you will have raspberries year after year. Go with a thornless variety so your piggies can enjoy the leaves and stems.
Strawberries – Can be grown by any gardener, regardless of space. They do great in containers and because of the runners they send out, it’s very easy to establish a strawberry patch that will come back year after year. Your guinea pig can eat the berries occasionally and the leaves as well.
If you need some gardening inspiration, check out My Guinea Pig Herd’s six sows munching in their dedicated guinea pig garden. If you have the space to grow a dedicated guinea pig garden, this is a great way to let your guinea pig forage for super fresh lettuce and veggies.
The part of guinea pig care that will affect the health of your guinea pig most is the food that they eat. Like many other small pets, guinea pigs are herbivores. They also have a sensitive digestive system that has specific nutritional and eating requirements to function properly. Following our recommended guinea pig diet will help your cavy maintain a healthy weight and prevent other health issues. It’ll also make for a happy and active piggy!
This article covers everything you need to know about feeding your guinea pig a healthy and nutritionally complete diet. We cover what foods they should eat and how much they should have, as well as recommending the best brands of guinea pig foods. The whole article is filled with important information for guinea pig owners, but if you’re looking for specifics on a particular part of cavy diets, use the contents link to jump to that section.
Guinea Pig Diet & Nutrition
To help ensure a long and healthy life for your pet guinea pig, you want to make sure to provide for them a daily diet that includes these key components:
Guinea Pig Pellets
Unlimited water and grass hay should be available to your guinea pig at all times. Usually, it’s easiest to provide cold, fresh water via a water bottle. Do not add vitamin C or other supplements to your guinea pig’s water (learn more about this in the section on Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs).
A guinea pig should also be fed a high-quality pellet daily to ensure they’re receiving the minimum necessary vitamin, minerals, and nutrients. The type of pellet given depends on a guinea pig’s age (see the next section on “Guinea Pig Age and Diet”). Fresh vegetables also help to round out a cavy’s diet, providing essential vitamin C and other nutrients.
While guinea pigs will get most of the nutrients they need from a good pellet and fresh vegetables, cavies cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, making them prone to scurvy. You may want to provide them with a vitamin C supplement to ensure consistency in their diet.
Guinea Pig Age and Diet
Baby and young guinea pigs have different dietary needs than adult cavies. Young guinea pigs that are still growing should eat an alfalfa-based pellet and can have alfalfa hay in addition to regular grass hay. Pregnant and nursing mothers should also eat a similar diet.
A guinea pig is considered “fully grown” once they reach six months of age. At that point, they should transition to an adult diet. Adult guinea pigs should have grass hay and a timothy hay-based pellet at the center of their diet. Alfalfa should only be given as a supplement if your guinea pig needs it or an occasional treat. The high calcium content can cause bladder stones in older guinea pigs.
Best Hay for Guinea Pigs
Hay is one of the most important parts of your guinea pig’s diet. This is because (like water) it should always be available for munching. A guinea pig’s digestive system is always moving, so they should have unlimited access to good quality hay to feed it. Eating hay also requires them to grind their teeth lightly, so it helps keep them from overgrowing as well. Hay is also essential for providing the necessary fiber needed by a piggy.
Most grass hays are similar in nutritional value. You may find your guinea pigs have a preferred variety. Feeding a mix is a great way to provide your guinea pig with variety and keep them from getting bored.
Recommend Guinea Pig Hay Types:
Alfalfa Hay (under 6 months old only)
Alfalfa hay is only recommended for young guinea pigs or pregnant or nursing mothers. It can sometimes be given to malnourished adult piggies as a supplement, but should not be given as a replacement for grass hay. Alfalfa has high calcium content which can cause bladder stones in older guinea pigs.
You can purchase hay from pet stores or order them online. If you have the space to store it, buying in larger quantities is a great way to save money. Buying hay directly from a farm or feed store will cost less than hay from pet stores and the hay will also be fresher. When purchasing hay, make sure it is fresh. It should be green and smell fragrant, but not moldy.
You can provide hay in a wire or wooden hay rack to keep it clean and off the cage or pen floor.
Recommended Grass Hay Brands
Our recommendations include national brands you can find in pet stores or order on Amazon. We also have some farms that you can order from directly in larger quantities.
If you’re shopping for timothy hay for guinea pigs, you may have a choice of “cut” either first, second, or third cutting. These numbered cuttings refer to the crop of hay it came from during the growing season. Generally, the second cut is the best as it has a good balance of nutrients and fiber and is more uniform. Many owners prefer third cutting timothy hay, but it is rarer and during a bad season may not happen at all.
Oxbow Guinea Pig Hay
We are a huge fan of Oxbow, especially because they’re easy to buy for owners in the US. They are one of the best brands available in many pet stores and their hay is extremely easy to order online. They offer many varieties of hay that are great for small animals like guinea pigs. Their hay is grown in the USA and hand-selected to ensure a good quality product.
Small Pet Select is a great online distributer for hay for small pets. They only offer timothy hay and orchard grass, but both are a great option for guinea pigs.
One thing that Small Pet Select does differently, is they pack and ship their hay in a cardboard box, which is a better long-term storage option for keeping hay than a plastic bag. They offer timothy hay in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cuttings.
Farmer Dave is located in New York State and specializes in organic, high-quality pet supplies for small pet owners. His hay selection is unfortunately limited to timothy hay, but he offers it in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cuttings. He also ships LARGE boxes of hay, great for guinea pig owners with a whole house of hungry piggies. Currently, he offers 10 lb., 25 lb., and 35 lb. boxes.
If you’re interested in buying guinea pig hay directly from a farmer but don’t need such large quantities, check out Fay’s Hay. Also located in New York State, Alicia Fay owns a small family farm that sells hay to large animal farms in the northeast. Now they offer their delicious guinea pig grass to small pet owners as well. All of their hay is pesticide and chemical-free, as well as naturally sun and wind dried on their farm.
They only sell timothy hay and orchard grass blend that has a small amount of clover, but it is available in 1st and 2nd cuttings, or a mixture of the two. Available sizes include 1 lb., 5 lbs., 10 lbs., and 20 lbs.
When you walk into a pet store, you’re immediately bombarded with tons of guinea pig food options. Nuts, seeds, and brightly colored pellets call out to you. It can be overwhelming. Guinea pigs can’t eat any of that, so your shopping is about to get a lot easier.
Guinea pigs should only eat a plain, dye-free high-quality timothy hay-based pellet formulated with Vitamin C (no nuts, seeds, or colored pieces). When selecting a guinea pig food, look for a pellet with stabilized vitamin C. Make sure to check the “Best by” date to make sure it is fresh and store it in a dark cool place to preserve the vitamin C. Avoid pellets with a primary ingredient or corn and any made from animal byproducts.
Each adult guinea pig should eat approximately 1/8 a cup of pellets per day. As long as you are providing plenty of fresh hay and adequate vegetables (more on this in the next section), your piggies should not overeat.
Many guinea pig pellets are alfalfa based. These types should only be given to guinea pigs under 6 months of age or pregnant piggies.
Recommended Healthy Pellet Brands for Guinea Pigs
Choosing a proper guinea pig pellet will ensure your cavy is getting the minimum daily requirements for vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in their diet.
Oxbow Essentials Adult Guinea Pig Pellets
It’s no surprise that Oxbow shows up in the article again! Available in many US pet stores and easy to order online, Oxbow also makes one of the best guinea pig foods available. Formulated especially for adult guinea pigs, this pellet is timothy hay based and fortified with stabilized vitamin C. They’ve formulated it to be lower in protein, calories, and calcium so it is healthier and won’t cause any problems for full grown piggies.
If you’ve got younger piggies to care for or pregnant or nursing mother, Oxbow makes a young guinea pig pellet. Similar to their adult food, these pellets are fortified with stabilized vitamin c, but the base is alfalfa.
These can be fed in unlimited quantities to piggies under 6 months old and pregnant or nursing mothers.
If your piggies turn up their wiggly noses at Oxbow, KMS Hayloft pellets are an excellent alternative. Though you have to order them online. KMS Hayloft provides high quality pellets made from natural ingredients.
Designed for adult guinea pigs over six months of age, the timothy based pellets are infused with stabilized vitamin C. KMS Hayloft makes the pellets in small batches, so you know you’re getting a fresh batch when you order.
Fresh vegetables are another essential part of a guinea pig’s diet. They’re a great source of vitamin C as well as providing a variety of other nutrients.
An adult guinea pig should eat about 1 cup total of vegetables per day. It’s best to provide veggies two or more times a day, making sure to remove uneaten vegetables from their enclosure.
Green leafy vegetables should make up the majority of each day’s “salad.” Fruits should be a small part of their diet, given sparingly as a treat. Check out our recommended fruit and veggie lists below.
Each cavy has their own preferences and you will soon learn what veggies make them wheek with joy and which ones will be ignored. Guinea pigs enjoy variety, so make sure to mix up their “salads” occasionally to keep them interested. This will also ensure they’re getting a variety of nutrients in their diet.
Make sure to rinse vegetables thoroughly before you feed them to your guinea pig. Avoid feeding them wilted or spoiled veggies. Choose organic fruits and vegetables if you can afford them (or grow your own!).
A Note on Introducing New Foods to Your Guinea Pig: Cavy stomachs are delicate and they need to be introduced to new foods very slowly and only one new food at a time. When you introduce a new food, monitor their stool. If they have softer stools that persist over a couple days, do not continue the new food. Even though these lists include vegetables that are safe for guinea pigs, your piggy may not tolerate it or even like the veggies! Keep a list of their favorites to make shopping easy. If you have questions or concerns about your piggy’s diet, consult with a guinea pig-savvy veterinarian.
These should be the main part of your guinea pig’s veggie diet. Avoid watery lettuces, like iceberg lettuce, which are low in nutrients and can cause loose stools.
Greens with an asterisk* should only be fed occasionally.
Chinese Cabbage (pak-choi)*
Grass (fresh and pesticide free)
Green Leaf Lettuce
Red Leaf Lettuce
Vegetables with an asterisk* should only be fed ocassionally
Baby Carrot (every other day)
Celery (cut in small pieces)
Corn Silks & Husks*
Dandelions (fresh high in calcium)*
Green Bell Pepper (1/8 to 1/4 a pepper)
Parsley (high in calcium)*
Peeled Broccoli Stem*
Tomato (wedge or 1 cherry tomato)
Young Clover (fresh high in calcium)*
Fruits should be given sparingly because of their high sugar content.
Strawberries (can eat leaves too)
Veggies to Avoid
These items should be avoided in your guinea pig’s diet or fed in very small quantities. Any indicated with an asterisk* should not be fed to your cavy.
Broccoli (causes gas)
Brussels Sprouts (causes gas)
Cabbage (causes gas)
Cauliflower (causes gas)
Potatoes (especially not skins and eyes)*
Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs
Because guinea pigs do not manufacture their own vitamin C they are at risk of developing scurvy. Unlike old-timey pirates, you can easily prevent the condition in your pet by providing 10 to 30 mg/kg of vitamin C daily. Savy pet parents can easily provide this in the form of a healthy pellet diet and fresh vegetables, but you may want to use supplements to make sure your cavies get enough. We highly recommend providing a supplement for sick, young, nursing, and pregnant piggies since they need extra vitamin C.
Do not add vitamin C to your guinea pig’s water. This is often recommended by pet store employees, but overall is a bad choice for your pet. First, it makes it hard to monitor how much vitamin C your guinea pig gets, because each of your piggies may drink different amounts of water. Once the drops are added to the water, the ascorbic acid (water-soluble vitamin C) breaks down quickly, so your guinea pig won’t get the benefits. The drops also change the flavor of the water, which may make your pets drink less water.
Instead, we recommend either giving them a piece of a vitamin C tablet (25 mg worth of a chewable vitamin C tablet) or feeding them vitamin C drops directly. We recommend buying a 100 mg chewable vitamin C tablet. Cut it into quarters and give one to your guinea pig. Check your local health food stores for vitamin C in liquid form.
Guinea Pig Treats
This is another way that pet stores fail guinea pig owners. Walk down the aisle and you see tons of prep-packaged treats advertised for guinea pigs. And all of them are terrible for your beloved pets!
The only treats you should be feeding your guinea pigs are fresh veggies and an occasional small piece of fruit.
Do not feed yogurt drops, nut and seed treats, popped grains, “fiesta” toppers, or salt and mineral wheels.
Transitioning Guinea Pigs to New Foods and Diets
Sudden changes to your pet’s diet can cause illness and stomach issues. It’s good to gradually introduce them to new pellets, veggies, and fruits so you can monitor their reactions. It’s not uncommon for a diet change to cause soft poops (especially with fresh fruits and vegetables), but if it persists for more than a day, stop giving them the new food.
You should only introduce one new type of food at a time. This will make it easier to identify what food may be causing problems and help avoid upsetting your piggy’s tummy.
Introducing New Fruits & Vegetables to Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are healthiest and happiest with variety in their diet. A varied “salad” each day will help keep them interested and ensure they’re getting a variety of nutrients.
To introduce new veggies to their diet, only add one at a time. Give them the new vegetable or fruit for three days in a row and monitor their stool. If you notice softer or runny stools, stop the new food. If after three days there’s no change in their poop, you can add the item to their regular salad rotation.
During this experimentation, you’ll probably discover there are some veggies your guinea pig doesn’t like. This is just a matter of personal taste, but experimenting like this will help you figure out what foods they like. Keep track of their favorites and it will help you plan a diverse fresh guinea pig diet.
Transitioning to New Guinea Pig Pellets
Consistency is best in a guinea pig’s diet. Once you have your piggies eating a pellet that is healthy and easy for you to buy, you hopefully won’t need to change it. When your guinea pig first comes home you may need to change their pellets to a healthy choice.
Changing a guinea pig’s pellets should be a slow transition while you’re not making any other changes to their diet. Make sure you have enough of the old guinea pig food on hand to get through the transition period. While you’re changing your piggy’s food, keep an eye on their poops to make sure it’s not getting soft or mushy.
The best way to transition guinea pig pellets is over a three week period. Follow this schedule:
Week 1: Feed 75% of the old pellets and 25% of the new pellets each day.
Week 2: Feed 50% of the old and 50% of the new pellets each day.
Week 3: Feed 25% of the old and 75% of the new pellets each day.
Week 4: If yourguinea pig has no problems, feed the new pellets exclusively.
Occasionally your guinea pig may refuse to transition to a new pellet (especially if they were previously eating an unhealthy “junk mix”). They may pick out the old pellets and leave the new ones uneaten. In this case, you may want to continue feeding the old food (as long as it is healthy) or try a different brand.
Bringing home a new pet guinea pig is filled with fun experiences. You get to know your new pet and shower them with toys and treats. You also get to pick the perfect guinea pig name. For some people this is easy, but you may feel stumped. No worries, because by the time you finish this article, you’ll know exactly what to name your adorable new pet guinea pig. Whether you’re looking for cute guinea pig names or just funny and clever names for guinea pigs, we’ve got you covered. Check out our lists and if you’re still feeling stumped, we have some tips for brainstorming your own pet names.
Names for Guinea Pigs
We’ve divided the names up by female names, male names, and then names for pairs. We also have a list of unisex guinea pig names that work great for any guinea pig.
Female Guinea Pig Names
Coming up with original guinea pig names for girls can be tricky, so here are some examples you can choose from for your new pet.
Male Guinea Pig Names
Picking guinea pig names for boys is also a challenge. We’ve gathered some cute and fun boy names for your consideration.
Unisex Guinea Pig Names
These names for guinea pigs work well for boys or girls.
Ham or Hammy
Names for Guinea Pig Pairs
When you have a pair of guinea pigs you can either choose two names independently or pick a pair of names that go together. This list focuses on guinea pig names that are perfectly paired for your new pets.
Abbott & Costello
Adam & Eve
Batman & Robin
Bert & Ernie
Bonnie & Clyde
Chip & Dale
Chips & Salsa
Cinnamon & Sugar
Coke & Pepsi
Cup & Cake
David & Goliath
Eggs & Bacon
Han & Chewy
Kermit & Miss Piggy
Macaroni & Cheese
Milk & Cookies
Miss Piggy & Kermit
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Porky & Petunia
Salt & Pepper
Scooby & Shaggy
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Sweet & Sour
Thelma & Louise
Tic & Tac
Tom & Jerry
Toot & Puddle
Zig & Zag
How to Come up With Names for Guinea Pigs
Coming up with the perfect guinea pig name out of nowhere can be a bit of a challenge. With a bit of brainstorming and a little creativity, you can find the perfect name for your new pet. Follow our steps and you’ll be surprised what kind of options you come up with.
Get a piece of paper to write down any names for guinea pigs that you think of. You can write down everything that comes to mind and narrow it down later. Writing down the ideas helps open up the creative side of your brain and allows you to take risks without feeling the pressure of coming up with the perfect name right away.
Now go through each one of these brainstorming exercises to generate name ideas for guinea pigs:
Observe your pet’s appearance and behavior – Watch and interact with your guinea pig for a bit. Get a sense of their personality. Are they nervous and shy? Outgoing and playful? These behaviors may inspire names like Bouncy or Flash. Also look at their appearance. Does your guinea pig’s coloring or fur remind you of any foods? Caramel, Oreo, Nutmeg, or Peanut may be good names inspired by appearance.
Think of things you love – Make a list of things you love that could double as pet names. Your favorite flower may make a great name for a guinea pig (like Daisy, Violet, Magnolia). Do you have a snack food that you love (Peanut Butter, Twix, Snickers, Chip)?
Think of people & characters you love – People names work great for pets too. Think about your favorite movies or books, is there a character from them who embodies your favorite pet? Maybe a historical figure that you admire. Or you could even name your guinea pig after a person you’ve known. Add any names that strike your fancy to the list.
How to Select the Perfect Name
Now that you have your list, you want to narrow down to five or fewer choices. Cross out any names you don’t like or don’t think suit your pet. If this is a family pet, have everyone get together and pick the perfect name. If you’re responsible for the guinea pig and naming it, then you may have a trickier time selecting the name on your own.
If one name doesn’t stand out to you on the list, try one of these tricks:
Pick a name at random. Draw names from a hat, do “Eeny, Meenie, Miney, Mo,” or flip a coin.
Hold a vote. Have the interested parties cast a ballot or raise their hands to vote on the perfect name.
Eliminate names one at a time. Eliminate your least favorite name from the list. Do this until one name is left. If you get stuck, try flipping a coin to select the winner.
Remember: you don’t have to rush to pick your guinea pig’s name. You can take a couple days to mull over your options. Eventually, you will find the perfect name for your adorable new pet.
If you’re feeling stumped over finding new interesting and fun toys for your exotic pet or annoyed at the price tag for toys sold in the pet store that are destroyed in a matter of days (or hours), we’ve got a solution for you. I bet you’ve got a bunch of these cardboard rolls in your house, right? They easily pile up from all of the toilet paper and paper towels an average family goes through. And we just think of them as trash (or recycling) and we toss them away without another thought. Well, soon you’re going to think of them as inexpensive toy parts that are going to greats chews and shredders your pet will absolutely love. These DIY toilet paper roll toys are ingenious.
These toys can be made from paper towel or toilet paper rolls. They are cheap and easy to make since the cardboard tubes are basically free and you can usually assemble them with materials around the house and a few pet-safe treats and foods.
The toilet paper roll toys on this page are generally safe for rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. Note: Before you make these toys and give them to your pet, make sure it is safe to give your exotic pet cardboard and that any other materials you use are safe for your pet. You can use our section on safe wood and materials for exotic pets as a guide. What may be safe for one type of pet could be toxic and deadly for another.
DIY Toilet Paper Roll Toys
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tube, clean of adhesive
Twine or String (safe for your pet)
Optional: Pen or Pencil
This is one of the most basic hanging toys you can make small pets as it only requires a card board tube, string, and scissors. Children can even make this easy toy. This toy is appropriate for any small pet that can safely consume small amounts of cardboard.
Step 1 (optional): Using a pen or pencil draw a spiral design on the outside of the tube. There should be about 1-2 inches of space between the line.
Step 2: Cut along the line until you’ve cut through the entire tube.
Step 3: Punch a hole in one end of the tube and tie the string through it. Hang in your pet’s cage.
Cardboard Hay Tube
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tube, clean of adhesive
Optional: Scissors or another sharp tool
Optional: Twine or String (safe for your pet)
This works well as a hanging tube inside the cage or a tossing toy in your pet’s playpen. It’s a favorite cardboard toy for guinea pigs and rabbits. This is also the easiest to make of all the toilet paper roll toys on this page. If you are planning on using it as a tossing toy you can skip the first three steps.
Step 1: Using your scissors or sharp tool, cut a hole in the middle of your tube big enough to pull your string through.
Step 2: Tie a thick knot at one end of your twine/string. We triple knotted it to get the desired thickness.
Step 3: Pull the string through from the inside until the knot is flush against the inside of the tube.
Step 4: Fill the tube with hay and hang in their cage or place in their play area. Bonus: You can put a few pellets or treats inside to make it extra enticing, or even add twigs and chews made of safe wood.
Fancy Hay Feeder Tube
Paper Towel Tube, clean of adhesive
Scissors or another sharp tool
Twine or String (safe for your pet)
This is a great option for a free and creative way to feed your pet hay in their cage or play area. Creating several holes for them to eat hay out of helps stimulate them and make food time more interesting to bust boredom.
Step 1: Using the scissors, cut diamond shapes by making a triangle shaped snip. Each cut should be about half an inch. You will have to flatten the tube slightly to do this. Continue in an alternating pattern along the length of the tube.
Step 2: On one end of the tube, poke 2 holes, each on opposite sides. The string will go through them to create a hanging loop.
Step 3: Fill the tube with hay
Step 4: Use string or twine to create a hanging loop through your holes. Hang in your pet’s cage or playpen.
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tube, clean of adhesive
Optional: String/Twine (safe for you pet)
This works great as a floor toy, especially for rabbits who like to grab the edges and throw them around. You can also make it as a hanging toy by following steps 1-3 on the previous project before you put the hay in.
Step 1: With your scissors cut notches of varying thickness on each end of the tube. If you’re using a toilet paper roll, your notches should be about 1/2 – 1″ long. If you’re using a paper towel roll you can make them longer.
Step 2: Bend the flaps to different degrees to create varied edges.
Step 3: Fill the roll with hay. Place in their play area or cage. Bonus: You can add a few pellets or treats inside to make it extra enticing or even stick in a few twigs made of safe wood.
Cardboard Pellet and Treat Ball
Toilet Paper Tube, clean of adhesive
Pellets or Treats
This is a great floor toy that helps stimulate your pet by giving them a goal and something to destroy to get to the treats or food inside. It’s also super easy to make as you need one toilet paper tube to make one ball.
Step 1: Cut the roll into ~1/2 strips. You should end up with six or seven “hoops”
Step 2: Take a hoop and slide it inside one of the other hoops. Do this with 3 or 4 hoops until you have the basic shape of a ball.
Step 3: Add a tasty treat or pellets to the inside of the ball. Complete the shape of the ball by adding the rest of the hoops and give it to your pet.
Easy Shredder Tube
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tube, clean of adhesive
This is a quick and easy floor toy to make for your rabbit, chinchilla, or guinea pig that doesn’t even require scissors. This is a great option if you’re looking for a craft to do with young children.
Step 1: Stand the toilet paper tube up and push the edge until it folds inward.
Step 2: Rotate the tube and press in the other side until it creates a closed edge.
Step 3: Fill the open end with hay, pellets, or treats of your choosing. Make sure it all fits inside with enough room to close the other end.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 & 2 to close the other end. Give it to your pet and watch the fun ensue.
Ultimate Shredder Tube
4 Toilet Paper Tubes, clean of adhesive
Pellets or Treats
This shredder doesn’t require any scissors or cutting and makes a great floor toy for small pets.
Step 1: Take 3 of the tubes and flatten them lengthwise. Then fold or roll them into thirds.
Step 2: Insert the rolled tubes into the other tubes.
Step 3: Push treats and/or pellets into the folds. Give it to your pet and watch them destroy it!
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tube, clean of adhesive
Sticks or Twigs (find a safe wood for your pet)
Scissors or other sharp item for making holes
This is a great floor toy, especially for rabbits and guinea pigs. The twigs give them lots of surfaces to pick up and toss the whole toy, and to chew on.
Step 1: Take your scissors and poke holes at varying points on all sides of the tube. Keep in mind that they need to be large enough to slide the sticks into and also align enough that you can stick one twig through 2 holes.
Step 2: Insert the sticks into the holes. You can also add sticks that protrude out of the top and the bottom of the toilet paper roll.
You can then place the toy in your pet’s cage or play area. Make it extra enticing by adding hay or pellets inside.
Mazes are a fun way to give your exotic and small pets a way to exercise and stimulate their curiosity and their problem-solving skills. This is a fun project for kids and adults to do together and it’s extremely affordable as you should have most of the supplies in your home already. Once you’ve built the maze, you’ll enjoy watching your pet run through this DIY cardboard maze as they exercise and play. The types of exotic pets that enjoy cardboard mazes include rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, and ferrets.
This tutorial covers all the steps you need to build a simple and cheap cardboard maze out of found materials. Once you have the right sized box, it just takes a little bit of time to assemble the maze.
How to Build a Cardboard Maze for Small Pets
Short square or rectangular box at least 2-3 inches taller than your pet
Scissors or a box cutter
Pencil, pen, or marker
1. Find a box that is short (shallow) in a rectangular or square shape. An ideal box will be at least 2-3 inches taller than your pet and have flaps that are equal to or larger than the height of the box. The flaps will be the walls inside your maze. The box should be brown cardboard with no slick printing on it. Try to avoid boxes with lots of logos or ink that could be toxic to your pet.
Bonus: If you have multiple boxes that are the same size and a pet that likes to jump or climb (like chinchillas, rabbits, or rats), you can build a multi-level maze. Depending on the weight of your pet, you may need to reinforce the levels. You can also create multiple floor level mazes that are connected to each other by tunnels or long boxes. Feel free to get creative.
2. Remove any shipping labels, excess tape, and other non-cardboard materials. You should leave the tape that secures the bottom of the box.
3. Cut the flaps off the top of the box with a box cutter or scissors (a box cutter is usually easier for this step).
4. Measure the flaps against the size of the box and cut off any excess height. The flaps should be flush against the edge of the box when placed inside. You may have to cut a little off the length of the flap so it can fit inside the box easily.
5. Measure the length of your long flap and your short flap. Make marks on each dividing it into thirds. (Example: if your flap is 30 inches long, you will make a mark at 10 inches and 30 inches, creating three 10″ sections). On each mark, use your ruler to measure half the height of the flap and draw a line.
6. Cut a notch along that line to create two notches in each flap to the halfway point. You should make sure your notches align on the same size flaps. Assemble the pieces to form a shape like a pound sign or hash tag. Make additional cuts as needed so the flaps fit evenly.
7. Design your maze. On a piece of paper sketch out the grid shape of the maze and mark where you would like to cut doorways. Don’t forget to put doors on the outside edges. You can also put doors on the top of the maze as well.
8. Looking at your assembled maze, mark where you want to cut holes with a sharpie or pen.
9. Take the maze apart and cut doorways for each of the holes you marked. Make sure the doorways are large enough for your pet to pass through.
10. Reassemble your maze and flip it back over. Let your pet run through it. Hide treats inside for extra fun.
Because none of the walls are affixed, you can easily “change up” your maze by moving around the walls inside. There are so many options for your exotic pet to enjoy this easy DIY cardboard maze.
If you have a loved one with pet guinea pigs, you know they’re passionate about their little piggies. These adorable pets have a way of squeezing their way into every corner of your life. That’s why guinea pig gifts make a great present for those pet owners. Sometimes it’s tricky to find unique or thoughtful gifts for guinea pig lovers. Luckily there are plenty of fun and cute presents you can buy for your loved one to help celebrate their favorite pet.
Gifts for Guinea Pig Lovers
1. Guinea Pig Plush Pillows
This is a cute and fun gift for guinea pig owners. These guinea pig plush pillows are handmade, the design is professionally printed on faux suede and hand sewn stuffed with polyfill. There are two different size options and three different designs. Made to order, this is a unique and fun gift to accent the home of any guinea pig lover.
Many guinea pig owners wish they could take their pets with them everywhere. This gift will give them the ability to carry a guinea pig in their pocket. Catching Moonbeams Art makes these cute keychains based on the owner’s guinea pigs. Send in a picture of the piggie for reference and enjoy a completely custom gift.
One of the best parts of being a guinea pig owner is watching your piggies enjoy playtime. When you see them popcorning around the room, you know they’re having a good time. This t-shirt is the perfect gift for guinea pig owners who can’t get enough popcorn!
Available in men and women’s sizes in black, slate, baby blue, green, and pink. Also available as a hoodie.
This is a funny and cool option if you’re shopping for gifts for guinea pig lovers. The sign says “WARNING: This property is protected by a highly training Guinea Pig. Not responsible for injury or possible death.” The sign is hand printed on aluminum with a choice of a distressed wood look, aged metal, or a clean brand new design (ready to match any existing decor). This makes a fun sign to hang anywhere in or outside the home.
These fun and sassy socks from Socksmith feature cute cartoons of guinea pigs. These socks are comfy, stylish, and machine washable. This is not only a perfect guinea pig gift, it makes a great stocking stuffer! Available in pink and turquoise.
This is a gift perfect for young and old guinea pig pet owners. These guinea pig plush toys, known as “cavy clones” are made to be a match to your loved one’s beloved pet piggie. Made from soft fleece and faux fur, they’re as cuddy and cute as a real piggie.
7. I’d Rather Be Hanging Out With My Guinea Pigs T-shirt
We all know that feeling: Saturday night and we’re supposed to go out, but we’d rather stay home with our pets. This is the perfect guinea pig gift for introverts. The t-shirt says “I’d rather be hanging out with my guinea pigs. This funny t will show the world their priorities.
Available in men, women, and youth sizes in the colors black, navy, blue, brown, and purple. Also available as a hoodie.
If you’re looking for a unique and handmade piece of jewelry for your cavy loving friend or family member, these earrings would make a great present. These stud earrings are laser cut and engraved from engineered wood and handpainted. Makes a fun stocking stuffer.
This unique art piece is sure to impress any guinea pig owner. Old World Pet Portraits specializes is turning pets into classical portrait paintings. You can select one of the premade pieces or commission your own custom portrait.
What’s the one thing that can make William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet even better? Guinea pigs, of course! This fun picture book features photos of guinea pigs acting out the classic story of star-crossed lovers, including costumes and sets. It’s a great way to introduce children to classic literature and it makes a fun gift for guinea pig loving adults as well.
Add some fun to your shopping list or notes to your beloved. This adorable notepad features a line of illustrated guinea pigs along the bottom and comes with a set of matching stickers. Perfect for correspondence or notes for school/work.
This is a funny gift for guinea pig owners. Flat Bonnie makes these cute plushies that are guinea pig poop! A funny reminder of how much time guinea pig parents spend cleaning up their little poops. 1 3/4″ tall x 4″ long.
Popsockets are the must-have accessory for all smartphone users. It’s a convenient grip that makes holding your phone easier and also creates a stand to prop up your phone for easy viewing when watching videos. This Popsockets grip features a bold and bright illustration of a cute guinea pig. It’s a fun way to add a little pigginess to your fun with a useful accessory.
The best guinea pig gifts are funny and practical! This is one of those gifts. It’s a tote bag that says “I’m bilingual, I speak English and Guinea Pig.” This is perfect for those pet parents who easily communicate with their piggies.
Hand printed on black, fuschia, cornflower, mint, or navy fabric. Buy some other small guinea pig gifts to stick inside and great a gift bag for your beloved.
16. Porcelain Guinea Pig Salt and Pepper Shaker Set
Add some cute guinea pigs to your loved one’s kitchen. This adorable guinea pig salt and pepper set is the perfect accessory for any home. Made from porcelain they feature beautifully painted features, with a brown and white piggie salt shaker and a black and white pepper shaker. The price is affordable, and according to the Amazon reviews, the quality is impressive.
This is a totally unique gift perfect for any guinea pig owner’s refrigerator or locker. This magnet looks like an old painting, but the beautiful woman in the blue dress is actually a guinea pig! A fun gift that makes a perfect stocking stuffer.
An adorable accessory for your jean jacket or backpack. This enamel pin designed by Noristudio features a cartoon guinea pig holding a blueberry. 1.2 inches high with 18K gold plated brass and a black rubber pin back.
Jazz up breakfast with this cute mug! Featuring illustrations of adorable guinea pigs, this is a gift any piggy parent will enjoy! Include some of their favorite coffee or tea to make a gift set they’ll really appreciate. 11 oz. mug.
If the guinea pig owner in your life also loves baking, then this is the perfect gift for them! Made by Drukowanko, these cookie cutters come in two guinea pig designs: short hair and long hair. Perfect for making cookies and other baked treats.
This adorable little gift is the perfect stocking stuffer for the cavy obsessed! Felted Art and Dolls makes these adorable miniature guinea pig figures. These needle felted guinea pigs are only 1 cm high and 2 cm long and can be customized to look like your loved one’s guinea pigs–just send a picture. This is a unique gift for any animal lover.