Guinea Pigs as Pets: Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets?

Guinea Pigs As Pets_ Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets_

As much as we like dogs and cats, we can’t underestimate having other animals as pets. Guinea pigs are indeed amazing pets and to be honest, there are only a few animals as unique as guinea pigs.

These tiny furballs are sometimes neglected as most people immediately decide to have dogs and cats for pets. We want to change this perception of guinea pigs because these tiny pets have so much more to offer in terms of affection and love.

Are guinea pigs good pets? Guinea pigs are really good pets and it is pretty straightforward to take care of them. When comparing them to a cat or a dog, they are a lot more affectionate than a cat and it is easier to have them around babies and young children. Guinea pigs are perfectly trainable pets and they can progressively learn stuff almost as much as a typical dog, which is amazing! They are very clean, healthy animals, and they live relatively long for a rodent. Guinea pigs are very affectionate pets, they can recognize their owners and make a strong relationship with them. When it comes to food, guinea pigs are herbivores and they love to eat. It is relatively easy to learn what food is safe for them and how to properly care for them.

If you take proper care of them, your guinea pigs will become the perfect pets. Just give them a lot of affection and in no time you will create an everlasting relationship with them.

But, in order to make all of this possible, you need to learn more about guinea pigs as a pet. In the following sections read more information about guinea pigs as pets and what you need to know before getting a pet guinea pig. Let’s begin!


How Are Guinea Pigs as Pets?


Guinea Pigs Aren’t Demanding

Guinea Pigs Aren’t Demanding

Generally speaking, guinea pigs are very easy to take care of. If you provide them with a big and comfortable cage to live in, you did most of the job. Daily they require some fresh water and foods with high amounts of vitamin C.

The best of all is that their cage doesn’t need to be cleaned every single day. You can do spot cleaning to remove feces and big food remains, and once a week you can clean the entire cage. Also, they don’t need to have a bath very often, maybe every three months for long haired guinea pigs and once a year for short haired ones.

As for feeding, giving it a couple of small meals a day is very easy. Since they eat a lot of different vegetables, you can always have it ready for them. And yes, vegetables are very cheap! All in all, having a guinea pig will not cost you that much and will also keep your life hassle-free.

Just don’t leave it in the cage the whole day alone, because guinea pigs don’t like to be alone.


Great for Children

Guinea Pigs are Great for Children

Are guinea pigs good pets for kids? This is the question that most people want to know. Guinea pigs aren’t aggressive, and they aren’t prone to biting anyone for no reason, which makes them great pets for children. Some say that rabbits are also great, but we have to disagree with that statement. If we compare rabbits to guinea pigs, rabbits are just too fragile, and they are extremely easy to scare.

On the other hand, a guinea pig can easily handle children and their childish behavior.

However, you should always observe your children when they are around guinea pigs, as kids can easily hurt them. This should also apply to any other animal out there and children, especially young ones, they can seriously harm a guinea pig.


Guinea Pigs are Healthy

Guinea Pigs are Healthy

If you feed your guinea pig properly and give it everything it needs in order to have a quality life, you should expect a great output. Most of the guinea pigs live their whole life with no significant problems, but they are still prone to some diseases.

These diseases mainly include bladder stones as well as some dental problems. On the brighter side, all of them can be mitigated through proper nutrition.

Another critical factor is that they don’t require warm rooms. Guinea pigs love living in slightly colder conditions, so it’s better to keep them properly hydrated and away from heat sources.


Guinea Pigs Live Relatively Long for a Rodent

How long do pet guinea pigs live? It’s normal that owners want to know how much time they will have with their pets. If we compare them to some bigger mammals, guinea pigs live relatively short. However, for a rodent of their size, eight years isn’t considered a short lifespan.

For example, the average lifespan of most rats and hamsters is between two and four years. Compared to a guinea pig, they die relatively fast. For those who want a companion that’s going to live for a while, guinea pigs are fantastic pets!


Guinea Pigs Can Be Amusing and Funny

Guinea Pigs Can Be Amusing and Funny

Forget everything you know about rodents because guinea pigs are first-class entertainers. When a guinea pig is excited and happy, it performs what many people call “popcorning”. Popcorning is when they run forward and backward or jump in the air over and over again (just like popcorn).

Not only that, but some even squeal and jump in the air at the same time, which is so funny to watch! And if you keep your guinea pig happy, it’s going to do this almost every day.


Guinea Pigs Have a Personality

Guinea pigs have a personality. What we mean by this is that these animals are unique, and they can show many different behaviors. Just like with dogs and cats, some guinea pigs can be dominant and exhibit some masculine characteristics and they will even fight with each other, while some other guinea pigs are shy and not that friendly.

Of course, a friendly and social guinea pig is always wanted, but you’ll not always get that type of pet. In that case, you can always first interact with the animal before you buy or adopt it in order to see its personality.


Guinea Pigs Purr!

Guinea Pigs Purr!

Cats thought that only they could purr, but guinea pigs also purr when you pet them. So, yes guinea pigs can purr exactly like cats when they are happy or petted gently.

It is important to note that there are different types of purr in guinea pigs and some of them are negative purrs, which means that they are expressing that something is not right. It takes a few weeks to completely learn their language and behavior so this is really not a problem.

It’s interesting to see this since you know that they are satisfied with the things you do for them and they have numerous ways to show you that you’re a good owner. Aside from purring, they also squeak and rumble.


What to Know Before Getting a Guinea Pig?

Owning any type of animal as a pet is a huge responsibility and having a guinea pig as a pet also requires some of your time and dedication. Not only that you’ll have it in your vicinity, but you’ll also need to feed it, give it water, provide it with the adequate space to live, and most importantly, visit a veterinarian when it gets sick.

Much like any other animals, guinea pigs are a long-term commitment. Sure, they don’t need too much to be happy, but they still need to spend their life in a good and friendly environment. Here’s what you need to know about guinea pigs as pets before getting them:


Guinea Pigs Need a Large Living Space

Guinea Pigs Need a Large Space

A guinea pig loves to live in a big cage. Imagine living in a space so small that you can’t even lay down and sleep, how would it feel? The main mistake that most guinea pig owners make is trying to make a cage that is really too small for guinea pigs.

Remember that you need to fit a whole guinea pig in there, but also a big litter box for it because your guinea pig can be trained to use a litter box.

Aside from the litter box itself, there should be a water bottle and a space for some food. Also, guinea pigs need bedding in their cage for resting and sleeping and they love to hide, so some hideouts also need to be there. Thankfully, crafting a home-made cage or bedding is very simple, so you can save yourself some money.

Related: What Guinea Pig Cage Size Is the Best? (Proper Accommodation)


Guinea Pigs Like Company

Guinea Pigs Like Company

If you want a guinea pig to be happy, you must provide it with lots of company. While a typical guinea pig is happiest when it lives with the other guinea pigs, a human company should also do the job. If you opt for two guinea pigs, though, it’s important to have a same-sex pair in order to avoid unwanted and unplanned litters.

As for the human company, it’s mandatory that the whole family participates. During the day, you can always have your kids spend some time with the animal. This will create a special bond between each family member, making the life of a guinea pig much more enjoyable.


Guinea Pigs Need Lots of Fresh Food

Guinea Pigs Need Lots of Great Food

This one is pretty simple and should apply to EVERY pet. Choosing a high-quality diet with lots of vitamin C is crucial for a guinea pig. Since they can’t manufacture their own vitamin C (much like humans), they need to get it from food.

Having a well-balanced diet is crucial and if you can’t always provide them with vitamin C from the food, you can also buy them some supplements. Also, many foods are toxic to guinea pigs, so it’s very important to be careful of what your pet guinea pigs eat.


Guinea Pigs Are Sometimes Not That Social

Guinea Pigs Are Sometimes Not That Social

Guinea pigs aren’t always down to party. They can sometimes sit there in the corner doing nothing, which isn’t always a sign that you need to panic.

If you’ve read some of our past articles, you’ve learned that guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open. That being said, if you see your guinea pig just laying down and doing nothing, try not to panic because maybe it is just taking a nap with their eyes open.


Training is Easy

Training is Easy

Finally, training a guinea pig is as easy as a walk in the park. It’s true that guinea pigs came from living in the wilderness, but years and years of domestication lead them to be truly majestic animals for your home.

Try to spend some time training them and you’ll be surprised by their agility, wisdom, and how active and smart they can be.


Related: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Guinea Pig


Summary

So, do guinea pigs make good pets? Yes, they are more than good pets. Next time you think about getting a new pet for you or your children, you should definitely think about getting a guinea pig.

They aren’t big, the costs of having them are minimal, and they don’t eat a lot of food. Before you buy a guinea pig, it’s always great to make or buy a high-quality cage in order to prepare your home for a new pet.

After all, guinea pigs are getting more popular with each passing day, so it’s not that unusual to see them in households anymore. If you want a reliable, friendly, and a beautiful pet for your house, you should definitely buy a guinea pig. There are many different guinea pig breeds and you need to choose one that is right for you and your lifestyle.

We hope, that you have learned a lot about guinea pigs as pets! For more content on guinea pigs please keep following our site.

Guinea Pigs as Pets Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets_1

Related: 50 Amazing Guinea Pig Facts You Need to Know


List of Sources

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McNicholas, J., Gilbey, A., Rennie, A., Ahmedzai, S., Dono, J. A., Ormerod, E., Pet ownership and human health: a brief review of evidence and issues, BMJ, 2005.

NC State Veterinary Hospital, Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig, Exotic Animal Medicine Department.

RSPCA, Guinea pigs: Good practice for housing and care, Research Animals Department, RSPCA, 3rd edition, 2011.

Quesenberry, E. K., Donnelly, M. T., Providing a Home for a Guinea Pig, MERCK MANUAL, Veterinary Manual.

Zilva, S. S., Vitamin C requirements of the guinea-pig, The Biochemical Journal, 1936.

O’Dell, B. L., Morris, E. R., Pickett, E. E., Hogan, A. G., Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs, The Journal of Nutrition, 1957.

Cannon, M. D., Emerson, G. A., Dietary Requirements of the Guinea Pig with Reference to the Need for a Special Factor, The Journal of Nutrition, 1939.

Townsend, G.H., The guinea-pig: general husbandry and nutrition, The Veterinary record, 1975.

Johnson, P., Guidelines for the Housing of Guinea Pigs in Scientific Institutions, Animal Welfare Branch, New South Wales Department of Prima, 2006.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.