What do guinea pigs play with? Maybe you are wondering whether or not it’s okay to give your guinea pigs a child’s toy.
Perhaps you’d like to offer them a cardboard tube to play around with or a ball designed for dogs?
Today we are going to answer your most popular guinea pig toy questions including
- Do guinea pigs run on a wheel?
- Can I give my guinea pig a toilet paper roll to play with?
- Can you put a guinea pig in a hamster ball?
So, what do guinea pigs play with? We’ll find out but first, let’s clear up the ‘wheel’ question
Do guinea pigs need to run on an exercise wheel?
Many small pets have an exercise wheel in their cage. But guinea pigs, especially those kept in outdoor hutches, rarely do.
And there’s a good reason for that
Buying a wheel for your guinea pig is pretty much a waste of time. Mostly they simply don’t get it.
The wheel will sit there doing nothing, or at most, get chewed and nibbled.
But what is worse, if the guinea pig does get in the wheel, the way that the wheel bends the guinea pig’s spine in a U shape can be harmful. His back just isn’t designed to work that way.
What about a hamster ball?
Guinea pigs should never be placed in a hamster ball. They don’t enjoy it, and again, the guinea pig’s spine is not designed to be bent into a U shape – being cramped inside the ball could cause spinal damage.
That doesn’t mean guinea pigs don’t need exercise, they do. They just have a different way of getting exercise than hamsters and rats.
Your guinea pig will love to spend time in a secure outdoor run when the weather is fine, and will get some fresh air and exercise by trotting around looking for interesting things to eat.
Obviously you will need to keep your piggies safe from predators and from excess sun or bad weather, and don’t forget to bring them in before you go out for the day.
Can guinea pigs have paper and cardboard
Yes! Small cardboard boxes turned upside down make great toys for guinea pigs. Cut a hole in one side to that they can climb in and out.
You can also give your guinea pigs a stout paper bag to explore. They like the rustling noise it makes as they scramble about inside.
The cardboard tubes that some in wrapping paper or toilet rolls make fun toys too. Stuff them with hay for extra entertainment value.
Larger cardboard tubes that piggies can fit inside are favorites. Make sure the tube is big enough that the guinea pigs can’t get stuck!
You can also buy igloos and nests for guinea pigs to hide in, these are usually made of strong pvc or natural grass type material. The latter are great for chewing on too.
Make a maze for your guinea pig
A great way to have fun is to build a maze out of cardboard for your guinea pigs to explore.
You can lay a trail of their favorite leaves or treats in corners of the maze or inside tunnels or igloos
Can guinea pigs play with old clothes and fabric (see toy safety)
Guinea pigs enjoy burrowing under blankets and pulling bits of clothing around.
You can even stuff an old sleeve or sock with hay for them to pull about and snack on, and some piggies will enjoy pulling cuddly toys around too
Can guinea pigs have balls to play with?
It’s fine to give your piggies a ball to play with. Ping pong balls, and even tennis balls will be pushed around for a while.
Like most things guinea pigs play with, the novelty value is part of the game and most toys are likely to be ignored if left in with them for too long.
Try to ring the changes, switching toys around every few days keeps them interesting and fresh.
Guinea pig chew toys and edible toys
Guinea pigs need to chew in order to keep their teeth in good order.
You can give your guinea pig safe pieces of wood (apple is safe or willow) or buy proprietary chew toys designed especially for them
Tying hay into tight little bundles so that it is harder to eat, and scattering those around the hutch or pen will also provide entertainment and relieve boredom
You can hang bits of carrot and other vegetables from the roof of their cage so they have to put a bit of effort into reaching them.
And scattering food or hiding it under igloos and in tubes provides far more entertainment than just putting it in a bowl.
Guinea pig toy safety
Poorly made plastic toys that come apart when chewed are not suitable for guinea pigs.
Swallowing bits of plastic can cause internal injury and sharp bits of plastic can cut your guinea pigs’ mouths
Paper, cardboard and fabric need some supervision.
Most guinea pigs won’t eat these things, but keep an eye on your piggies to make sure they are not swallowing bits. And remove any toys if the stuffing starts to come out.
Some woods are poisonous – wood from trees that bear fruit with pits for example. So always check before giving your guinea pig branches or twigs to chew.
Best of all? Another guinea pig
Guinea pigs are highly social. What Guinea pigs love to play with most of all, is other guinea pigs.
They love to trot around after one another, snuggle up together, eat together and just be together.
Don’t be tempted to keep one guinea pig on her own, she’ll be sad.
What do guinea pigs play with – a summary
Guinea pigs are not the most playful of small pets, but they do enjoy exploring new items and simply tossing things around.
You can improve your guinea pigs’ quality of life no end by making their environment richer with some of these toy ideas
Tubes, cardboard of fabric to burrow under or paper to scrumple up, or a sturdy ball to push around all add a bit of variety to your guinea pig’s life and brighten up their day.