Welcome to our complete guide to DIY guinea pig toys. Introducing you to the wonderful world of guinea pig toys you can make at home.
Guinea pigs are adorable. If you look at a guinea pig and see pure sweetness with fur, you probably already own one or more. Or you are on your way to pick up your new pet guinea pig right now!
But while guinea pigs are known to be very accommodating and docile, they are also really smart. In fact, the pet guinea pig is even smarter than its wild cousin, the cavy!
They are also fast learners and will quickly tackle and master any new task, especially if there is a tasty reward in the bargain!
What all this adds up to for you, the doting guinea pig owner, is an ongoing need to provide your guinea pig with fun and creative diy guinea pig toys.
DIY Guinea Pig Toys
In this article, we will teach you how to make guinea pig toys that your small fluffy sidekick will love. Even if you don’t think you are crafty, we promise that these guinea pig toys diy are super simple to put together and you can totally do it!
You will also learn how to make guinea pig toys from household items that are as easy and affordable as they come. Some of these easy to make guinea pig toys will even be free!
Best of all, as you start learning how to make homemade toys for guinea pigs, you can watch your little fluff balls playing with them to see which toys they like best. Then you can make more fun variations of those guinea pig diy toys for your sweet fur babies to enjoy.
So without further ado, let’s dive in to learning about diy toys for guinea pigs!
What do pet guinea pigs need?
Guinea pigs may be small in size, but they are big in brain power. This means your little pig needs plenty of daily enrichment to thrive.
Over the years, animal researchers have learned so much about specific types of enrichment that suit guinea pigs to a “T.”
Here is a list of the top five most important enrichment needs of the pet guinea pig:
Guinea Pigs Need Social Contact
Guinea pigs thrive on it, live for it, and do quite poorly without it. Here, we are specifically talking about socializing with other guinea pigs.
In fact, guinea pigs are so social that they are perfectly capable of bonding with their cage mates AND with you as well. For this reason, it is not advisable to keep just one pet guinea pig. Getting your pig a same-gender cage mate will be the most enriching gift you can give.
Piggy Shelter Spots
Guinea pigs in the wild (cavies) are prey animals. As such, their natural drive to shelter in a covered, safe spot is always set on “high.”
Without a covered area to shelter in, your pig may quickly become anxious or distressed. Any shelter you provide should also have a soft floor to prevent the foot sores guinea pigs are prone to. Finally, a soothing shelter can also include the use of white noise, fan noise or a soft radio to mask sudden loud sounds, which can otherwise cause guinea pigs great distress.
Foraging Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are literal “ground to mouth” feeders. This means they don’t typically first handle their food with their paws, but will literally pick it up from the ground with their teeth. In the wild, guinea pigs do a LOT of foraging in this way. A pig that can forage for treats and food items in captivity in a way that requires some work to get the food will be a happy and fulfilled guinea pig.
Guinea Pigs Love Chewing
Oh boy do guinea pigs love to chew! Gnawing, nibbling, mouthing and chewing are a big part of your guinea pig’s daily life and should be incorporated as much as possible into your pet’s natural environment.
As well, since your guinea pig’s teeth are constantly growing, only constant chewing will keep them from reaching unhealthy lengths.
Piggies Need Space
Guinea pigs need plenty of floor space to use for hiding, running, socializing, foraging, playing and exercising. It is also important to be aware that the addition of a new guinea pig basically doubles the amount of space needed in that pen.
Guinea Pig Toys
Knowing that, most of all, your little pig needs socialization, shelter, foraging opportunities, chewing opportunities and plenty of space can really help in selecting the best guinea pigs toys and in learning how to make a guinea pig toy that will truly satisfy your pig’s enrichment needs.
For instance, after reading this list, you now know that your pig will respond enthusiastically to these types of toys. Guinea pig chew toys homemade, diy guinea pig toys stuffed with foraging materials, guinea pig toys diy that are chewable, food-based diy guinea pig toys, and any type of guinea pig toys you can make that incorporates some type of shelter (like a box or a cave).
So now let’s take a look at specific guinea pig toys to make at home that will fulfill each one of your pig’s major needs!
Guinea Pig Toy Safety
Since this article focuses on how to make homemade guinea pig toys, we would be remiss if we didn’t say a few words about homemade toy safety first. Specifically, not all household items are necessarily safe for your pig to play with.
Some materials may contain toxic dyes or chemicals, while others may be too sharp to chew safely or small enough to be accidentally ingested and cause an internal blockage.
With these safety issues in mind, here are some considerations to factor in when choosing homemade materials to make your own guinea pig toys.
Be cautious when producing guinea pig toys you can make from…
- Newsprint or magazine pages. Make sure the ink is soy-based and safe.
- Wood sticks or blocks. Never use cedar or pine, as the odor is too strong and can cause discomfort and lung damage. Don’t use treated wood.
- Bedding and foraging material. Corn cob bedding and straw both absorb moisture poorly and can host mold, which can harm your pig’s health and even cause fatal pneumonia.
- Toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Be sure to remove the adhesive as much as possible before using these rolls to make guinea pig toys diy.
- Fleece or soft/stuffed toys. Make sure the fleece material is safe for children (this will ensure it is also safe for your guinea pig). Also, be aware of your pig’s chewing habits and watch closely to make sure none of the toy material is ingested. Be sure your guinea pig isn’t in danger of crawling inside and getting stuck.
- Small items. Be sure that any small items you add to your handmade guinea pig toys are either designed to be chewed and swallowed or are big enough that they can’t be ingested.
- Plastic bags. Don’t ever use plastic bags for your guinea pig’s toys – the risk of asphyxiation is far too great.
- Food or treats. Hay is, of course, a staple food and foraging item you can use anytime. Alfalfa, herbs, sprouts, fresh vegetables, clover, low-calcium greens, and other vet-approved vitamin-C rich foods are all goods. But steer clear of “people” foods otherwise, and be sure any pellets are specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of guinea pigs.
When in doubt about an item’s safety or suitability, it is always best to ask your vet or simply choose a material you know is safe instead.
Homemade Guinea Pig Toy Materials
These materials can serve as the building blocks for any number of wonderful guinea pig toys to make at home. And as you can see, there is nothing to break the budget in this list!
Paper Bag Guinea Pig Toys You Can Make
This toy might seem too simple to be a “real” toy. But if you’ve ever watched a puppy, a cat, a bird or practically any pet animal interacting with a paper bag, you already know that sometimes simplest truly is best.
A paper bag filled with hay or a similar type of foraging material satisfies two of your guinea’s core needs: covered shelter and foraging.
Newspaper As Toys – Several Sheets Thick
Yes, newspaper can be a great, economical source of cage lining. But it is much more than that in your guinea pig’s eyes.
That same newspaper can be a covered shelter, a place to forage and a fun material to chew. That is three core needs met for the price of the morning paper!
Guinea Pig Toys You Can Make From Toilet Rolls!
Here is a fresh new way to recycle cardboard.
Stuff it full of hay, small twigs or newspaper and watch your pig go to town rustling around trying to figure out what to do with the new toy – chew it, drag it, forage in it, or all of the above!
You might even find they are able to hide in it!
Round Cardboard Oats or Grains Canisters
This larger version of the toilet paper roll makes a fab shelter and a foraging cave.
Whether you cut it into halves and let your guinea pig crawl inside or you leave it whole for some rolling fun, we bet your pig will love this toy!
DIY Guinea Pig Toys From Cardboard Boxes
Empty tissue boxes can be a great choice here, but practically any type of cardboard box will receive a warm welcome from your guinea pig. Boxes make for great shelters and are also quite chewable.
Guinea Pig Toys You Can Make From Fleece
Old house shoes, slippers, koozies, winter hats, scarves, mittens, cut-up blankets and other items made of fleece will act like a magnet for comfort-loving guinea pigs. Whether you choose to construct something elaborate from old fleece items or you simply put an old fleece slipper on the floor for your guinea to crawl into, fleece is a sure hit to use for diy guinea pig toys.
Old socks as DIY Guinea Pig Toys!
Believe it or not, guinea pigs are quite fond of old socks for toys. Not only are the socks nice and soft, but they are easy to grab and pull around. Add some hay and an old sock also makes a fun but challenging foraging toy.
Pipe or Tubing Guinea Pig Toys You Can Make
PVC pipe is safe, durable and easy to clean, and it can make for a great covered shelter or foraging tube tunnel for your guinea pig.
Simplest diy toys guinea pigs love
After reading our super-simple guinea pig toy materials list here, you are hopefully already starting to feel more confident in your ability to make homemade guinea pig toys.
The truth is, unlike our own constant quest for more-bigger-better, your pet guinea pig is perfectly satisfied with the small simple joys of life. If it is chewable, tasty, soft, crinkly and/or enclosed, your little pig is likely to enjoy it very much indeed!
So now let’s look at how to use these simple, basic, cheap materials to make guinea pig toys!
Paper bag foraging toy
Choose a small to medium-sized paper bag. Use a hole puncher or craft punch (or just a sharp pair of scissors) to make small openings in the body of the paper bag. Now fill the paper bag with hay, herbs or clover. Crinkle the opening shut. Voila – one homemade guinea pig toy that will provide hours of foraging fun!
Stuffed toilet paper roll or paper towel roll
This super-fun and easy guinea pig toy requires only three items: a toilet paper or paper towel roll, some plain paper, and some foraging treat material like hay or clover. Use scissors to cut some openings periodically along the length of the roll. Then stuff it with your treat material of choice. Finally, crinkle up some paper and stuff it in each end to increase the challenge level as your piggy works to get the treats out.
Newspaper foraging ball
Take one or two single sheets of newspaper and place a few tasty treats in the center. Then crinkle the newspaper up into a ball and watch with amazement as your guinea pig figures out how to get the hidden treats out of the middle!
Wiffle treat ball
Just like puppies have so much fun rolling treat balls around to extract kibble, your guinea pig will have a blast rolling around a Wiffle ball stuffed with veggies or hay. No homemade guinea pig toy could be easier or more successful!
Cardboard box obstacle course
While it is true that guinea pigs aren’t exactly the picture of grace and coordination, for the right motivation they can certainly rise to the occasion and tackle a simple obstacle course like this one.
Lay out some cardboard boxes in a simple “L” shape with an opening at one end. Make sure the path is wide enough so your guinea pig can fit inside easily! Place a tasty reward at the other closed end. After your guinea pig finds the first reward, place another treat reward back at the open entrance to encourage your pig to navigate back.
Once your guinea gets the basic concept, you can make the course itself more challenging. Here, you may want to use Legos or Duplo bricks, old VHS tapes, packing crate inserts, wood blocks or other materials to create a more complex maze course. You can also use lengths of PVC pipe to make an enclosed tunnel obstacle course.
Newspaper tepee tent cave
Learning how to make toys for guinea pigs just doesn’t get any easier than this toy – the newspaper cave. Lay down several sheets of newspaper as a floor. Now take a whole section of newspaper (choose a rather thick one for sturdiness) and fold it at the crease to make a tepee tent top. Place this folded top over the newspaper base so your guinea pig can crawl in and hide.
Stick tree roll
Guinea pigs love to chew on twigs and small sticks. You can even gather these from your yard as long as the wood is safe for your guinea pig to chew on. Take a paper towel roll and create small holes along the length. Now thread sticks through the holes so that they stick out from both sides of the central roll itself. This stick “tree” roll is sure to be a hit with your guinea pig.
Biting blocks garland
Here, make sure you use non-toxic string or rope. Take a length of string or rope and thread children’s blocks, empty wooden thread spools, wicker, toilet paper or cardboard rolls and other similar wooden objects onto it. Leave the ends open and tie one end to one side of your guinea pig’s cage. Stretch the garland out and tie the other end to the other side of your guinea pig’s cage. This will provide hours of chewing fun!
Cardboard box cave
Find a cardboard box (old shoeboxes work well here) that is high enough so your guinea pig can fit inside it completely.
Cut one or a few entry/exit points in the sides of the box. Place some soft bedding material under it for comfort. Your guinea pig can now go in and out at will and even “customize” the cardboard with some strategic chewing.
Find some non-toxic string or rope. Cut a carrot and a radish into thin circles. Punch a hole in the center of each veggie circle and thread it onto the rope alternating between radishes and carrots (or any suitable veggie will do). String the “clothesline” up just at the height where your guinea pig can reach it by standing on just the hind legs. This toy will offer a great workout with a fun treat reward!
Take an old fleece scarf or blanket and cut it into long, thin strips. String these strips onto some non-toxic string or rope so that they form a curtain. You can make just one or two or three of these curtains. Tie the fleece curtain(s) to the top of your guinea pig’s enclosure for a soft and cozy fleecy shelter.
As a variation, hang just one fleece curtain across one corner of your pig’s cage, then place another wider strip of flannel or fleece across the top for a super soft enclosed shelter.
Cut a wide, square strip of fleece for the hammock base. Sew a length of non-toxic string or rope to each corner of the fleece square so you can attach the hammock to your guinea pig’s cage from each corner. Add a clump of hay or bedding material to the hammock for extra comfort.
Stick log cabin
Gather a number of safe wood sticks about the same width and length. Use non-toxic string or rope to tie each stick to its neighbor using a figure-eight pattern.
When each “wall” is completed, take some more string or rope to bind the four walls together, leaving one wall unattached at one end as a “door.” Alternately, bind only three sides together and leave the floor open for more of a cave-type shelter.
The best guinea pig diy toys
We hope you have had fun tuning into your crafty side to make these easy diy guinea pig toys! And the good news is, you can use these same materials in so many additional creative ways to make guinea pig toys diy variations on your pig’s favorite toy themes!
Just remember, be sure to supervise your guinea pig for a period of time every time you offer a brand new toy. This way, you can troubleshoot any potential safety issues and make adjustments as needed so your guinea pig has the safest and most fun play time.
Particular safety issues to watch for include too-small shelters where your pig might get stuck inside and any tendency to chew/swallow materials or small pieces that could cause an internal blockage.
If your pig discovers a new favorite toy from the ideas listed here, please let us know! Also, if your guinea pig is head-over-heels for a homemade guinea pig toy that isn’t mentioned here, we sure would love to hear about it so we can offer that toy to our pigs as well! Just drop us a note in the comments section here so we can all enjoy and benefit from your discovery!
- Brust, V., et al, “Domestication effects on behavioural traits and learning performance: comparing wild cavies to guinea pigs,” The Journal of Animal Cognition, 2015.
- Banjanin, S., et al, “Environmental Enrichment for Guinea Pigs: A Discussion by the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum,” The Animal Welfare Institute, 2004.
- Clemons, D.J., et al, “The Laboratory Guinea Pig,” The Laboratory Animal Pocket Reference Series, 1998.
- Lock, C., “The Complete Guide to Guinea Pigs,” PetMD, 2017.
- Marrone, M., DVM, “Guinea Pig and Rabbit Chew Toys,” Martha Stewart, 2017.