What Do Guinea Pigs Play With?

What do guinea pigs play with

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?

And more!

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

Find out what guinea pigs like to play with best!

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.

Can guinea pigs run on a wheel and other guinea pig toy questions answered

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.

Toys and games suitable for guinea pigs

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

What can guinea pigs play with is a guide to safe toys for your pet piggies

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 Toys Do Guinea Pigs Play With?

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.

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Pippa Mattinson is a writer and animal educator, who breeds New Zealand Red and Satin rabbits. She is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, The Labrador Handbook, Total Recall and Choosing The Perfect Puppy. She also co-authored The Happy Cat Handbook. Pippa has bred, raised and trained dogs since she was young, and loves sharing her knowledge and helping people to get the most out of their pets.


  1. We have just lost my guinea pigs mate (3 years together)we have moved him inside for company but still seems sad any ideas what we can do (he doesn’t like to be handled) any advice would be great thanks in advance

    • Hi Sasha, Sorry for your loss! If you look up a local guinea pig rescue they will often help with introductions, so that you can find him a new friend that he gets on well with.


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