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How Much Do Guinea Pigs Cost?

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Guinea pigs are adorable little pets that do not cost much to buy. But when maintenance costs come into play, many guinea pigs sadly end up in animal shelters. Before owning one, it is important to consider what guinea pigs cost–including the hidden costs!

One guinea pig usually costs between $10 and $40. One normally buys two guinea pigs, as they need social interaction with their kind. Monthly upkeep costs can be in the $70 range.

baby guinea pigs in a cage

But what does all the money go toward? If you are considering adding a truly cute little pet to your life, this is the right place to begin!

1. The Cost of Buying a Guinea Pig

You may obtain your guinea pig from different sources.

The first possibility is to get one for free. They are often advertised for rehoming for reasons that vary from being from an accidental litter to being too aggressive with the kids, to unexpected allergies. Be sure to establish the reason for the advertisement and that you can work with any difficulties the previous owner may have had.

Remember that this may leave you with an incorrectly sexed pet. It is advisable to check the sex (and if necessary, to have it spayed or neutered). So, while the gift may appear to be free, you normally incur expenses before you even take the pet home!

Your second potential source is adoption from an animal shelter. These may come at a price between $20-$40, but the adoption fee covers their initial medical care, food, and mediation.

Another benefit from buying from an animal shelter is the fact that your new pet will be checked for health issues as well as suitability for kids.  

Your third potential source to purchase from is a breeder. The cost here is likely to be between $25-$50, but you have the benefit of selecting a breed or individual animals that suit your likes and needs.

Owing to ethical breeding programs, your new pet will have the best chance of carrying healthy genes.

cute guinea pigs side by side

2. The Cost of Different Guinea Pig Breeds

There are many guinea pig breeds to choose from. It is estimated that there are 13 main guinea pigs breeds and several newer varieties in the USA. (The British Cavy Council recognizes 50 breeds). Their cost varies according to their several characteristics.

The Alpaca guinea pig, for example, is considered the most expensive breed. Many people consider them the most attractive breed because of their long, thick, curly hair and sparse rosettes. You can expect to pay $45 for an Alpaca guinea pig.

The White Crested guinea pig is considered the rarest breed of guinea pigs, with a predominantly gold color and various coat types. Grooming is easy as they have very short hair.

Which Breed of Guinea Pig Is Friendliest? Most guinea pig breeds are outgoing and like to interact with their owners, but Abyssinian guinea pigs are the friendliest of the bunch. For the Abyssinian guinea pig, you can expect to pay $50.

The American and Peruvian breeds fetch $25 and $40 respectively.

guinea pigs on coconut leaves

3. The Cost of Owning Guinea Pigs

The total annual cost of owning a guinea pig is estimated between $200-$500 per year. For a very detailed breakdown of these cost items, visit https://petkeen.com/guinea-pig-cost/.

Your first expense is to provide a cage or enclosure for your guinea pig. Including a water bottle, food bowls, hay rack, straw, bedding, and similar items, the cost here is likely to be around $100-$500. You can save by building your own “ guinea pig infrastructure” as DIY projects.

After this group of expenses, you can budget for at least $200 per year for feed, bedding, and healthcare. As far as food goes you can save by buying bulk.

A quick estimate (middle of the road scenario) is provided in the table below:

Necessary Items$199
Optional Items$99
Monthly Upkeep Costs$72
Total Without Optional Items$271
Total With Optional Items$370

While guinea pigs may be fairly cheap to buy, the real cost comes with providing a properly equipped and resourced living space, as well as providing food and medical care throughout the year.

At this point, one starts to consider how the cost of owning a guinea pig as a pet compares to owning other kinds of pets. And are owning guinea pigs worth the costs of their annual upkeep?

This will be investigated in the next part of the article.

4. Ranking Annual Cost of Pets

The total annual cost of owning a guinea pig ranks about sixth when compared to other popular types of pets. This is a very broad comparison and should you want to make a more accurate assessment of your particular choices, I suggest you visit the following blog:

https://www.moneymanagement.org/blog/ranking-your-favorite-pets-in-order-of-cost

The broad comparison in the table below was compiled based on cost estimates provided in this particular blog.

RankPetLow-End Annual CostHigh-End Annual CostAverage Annual Cost
1Dogs$700$2000$1350
2Rabbits$600$1100$850
3Cats$500$1000$750
4Turtles$350$1200$775
5Small Reptiles$300$1100$700
6Guinea Pigs$500$800$650
7Ferrets$300$800$550

This gives a (once more!) very broad indication that guinea pigs are nowhere near the most expensive pets to maintain.

Conclusion

The cost of owning guinea pigs covers two main areas.

The first consideration is the cost of buying the animals. The cost here varies according to the source from which they are obtained. The cost may be as little as free of charge, to the higher prices paid when purchasing the most expensive breeds from a breeder.

Furthermore, buying from each source has its pros and cons, which need to be considered carefully. One also needs to consider the fact that guinea pigs are social animals and it is better to buy more than one.

The second main consideration is the cost of owning the guinea pig. This ranges from providing an “infrastructure” to annual costs such as food and medical expenses.

While some costs may seem very high, it is always possible to cut down on costs by buying bulk, buying medical insurance that covers multiple guinea pigs, using DIY house projects, and similar strategies.