Guinea pigs are intelligent pets that are easy to look after. One of the reasons for this is their willingness to play with almost anything. If you use a little creativity to find non-threatening objects around your house, they can likely have a fun playtime with them.
If you need inspiration for what to use during playtime with your guinea pig, here are 11 ideas to try!
1. DIY Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course from wooden blocks or pieces of cardboard taped to a larger board. At first, you might have to teach them how to play this game by putting down small treats for them to find along the way.
The other option is to reward them as they make their way through, but they won’t be able might sniff their way out. Start simple and progressively get harder to challenge them more. You would be surprised how quickly your guinea pig can figure their way out of almost any maze.
Guinea pigs love the feeling of crawling into and out of things. They like to feel like an intrepid explorer. Tunnels come in all shapes and sizes and can be made out of many different things.
Guinea pigs tend to appreciate more natural material because it won’t present a danger if they try to chew on it. You can make them a tunnel yourself or buy a twig tunnel to give their playtime added interest.
3. Chase string
Guinea pigs are prone to obesity. They love to eat, and if they don’t get enough exercise in their enclosure, they quickly gain weight. Guinea pigs are unlike other rodents in that they are not made to run and will not happily jog on a wheel all day. You might need to motivate them to move instead.
Guinea pigs love treats, especially things like cucumber or other vegetables. To get them to run, attach a cucumber to a piece of string. Catch your guinea pig’s attention, and begin to pull the veggie away so they can’t catch it. If they want that treat, they will chase it for a long time.
Fleece is one of the most common additions to a guinea pig’s home to make it more comfortable. How can they have fun with it, though? You can use fleece in all kinds of creative ways to make their enclosure more interesting.
Hang the fleece up in corners to make a guinea pig tent. You can cut it into strips and divide part of their cage with “curtains” to give them privacy and a sense of hide-and-seek. You can also create interesting shapes with fleece or obstacles.
5. Tubes Stuffed with Hay
We all go through tons of paper towels and toilet paper each year. Each time you have finished a roll, don’t just toss the tube into the garbage can. It is made of non-toxic, simple cardboard, and by stuffing it with hay and other yummy treats, you can give it to your guinea pig. They will love to roll it around and stuff themselves into it until they can get at the goodness in the middle.
Cardboard is also probably stiffer than anything else that they typically munch on. If you see them chewing it up, don’t worry. They need materials like this to help trim down their ever-growing front teeth.
Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery. If you generally keep your guinea pigs in a cage or enclosure, then it might be worth getting a playpen for them. Lay a fleece blanket on the floor underneath if they might soil on it and to make the play space more comfortable.
Just giving them more space to run around and explore can be a positive experience for a guinea pig. You can supplement this by adding extra treats and toys for them to find as they move around and explore a new space. If you have the room, don’t always put the playpen in the same space, to give them more variety.
7. Crumbled paper
Another simple DIY solution to playtime problems is crumbled paper. All you have to do is make sure that it is non-toxic. It is best to use blank paper so there is no chance that they will swallow any ink that had been applied to the sheet.
Crumple the paper up into balls of varying sizes. As they play with them, they will be pleasantly surprised by the noise that it makes and will have yet another treat to trim their teeth after they get bored.
8. Chew balls
Paper isn’t the only thing that you can make into balls. Chew balls made from natural materials are such a common toy for guinea pigs that most pet toy companies produce them.
Sometimes, just having hay in a dish isn’t all that fun. Instead, you can buy balls made from this kind of material, so your pet has something to play with and eat!
9. Cardboard boxes
Working off the idea that guinea pigs enjoy having things to run through and hide in, cardboard boxes do just the trick. If you got a package and kept the box that it came in, empty the box and wipe out any dust left from the packaging factory.
Once the box is clean, cut out fun shapes at varying heights that your guinea pig can fit through. They will love the feeling of crawling in and out of the dark space.
Don’t throw your lonely matchless socks away. You can stuff these with hay and clean bedding. Tie off the end of the sock with wool or another safe string.
It will feel to your guinea pig like a stuffed pillow that they can drag around and play with — before they inevitably end up finding a way to eat the hay.
11. Chew sticks
Chew sticks are a great toy and an essential part of guinea pig care. They need rigid materials like this to wear out their front teeth. Without having something to gnaw on, their teeth will grow uncomfortably large.
You can keep it simple and just place the sticks throughout their enclosure. Another option is to get more creative. Instead of stuffing a toilet roll with hay, get sticks and poke them through the toilet roll so it stands up like an old tree. Your guinea pigs can chew on them in the roll or wiggle them out and carry them away.
Featured image credit: Pezibear, Pixabay