As much as we like dogs and cats, we can’t underestimate the appeal of having other animals as pets. These tiny pets 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.
Guinea pigs are really good pets and it is pretty straightforward to take care of them. They are a lot more affectionate than a cat and easier to have around babies and young children. Guinea pigs are perfectly trainable pets. They are very clean, healthy animals, and they live relatively long for a rodent.
How Are Guinea Pigs as Pets?
1.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.
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. 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.
2. Great for Children
Guinea pigs aren’t aggressive. 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.
3. 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.
4. Guinea Pigs Live Relatively Long for a Rodent
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.
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!
5. Guinea Pigs Can Be Amusing and Funny
When a guinea pig is excited and happy, it performs “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! If you keep your guinea pig happy, it’s going to do this almost every day.
6. Guinea Pigs Have a Personality
Guinea pigs have a personality. 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. They will even fight with each other, while some other guinea pigs are shy and not that friendly.
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.
7. Guinea Pigs Purr!
Cats thought that only they could purr, but guinea pigs also purr when you pet them. They purr exactly like cats when they are happy or petted gently.
There are different types of purr in guinea pigs and some of them are negative purrs, which means they are expressing 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. 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. 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:
1. Guinea Pigs Need a Large Living Space
A guinea pig loves to live in a big cage. 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. Crafting a home-made cage or bedding is very simple, so you can save yourself some money.
2. 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, 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.
3. Guinea Pigs Need Lots of Fresh Food
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, they need to get it from food.
Having a well-balanced diet is crucial. 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.
4. 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.
5. Training Is Easy
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.
If 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.
Related: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Guinea Pig
List of Sources
The Power of Pets: How Animals Affect Family Relationships
Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig
People and Their Pets: A Relational Perspective on Interpersonal Complementarity and Attachment in Companion Animal Owners
An Investigation Into the Relationship Between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia Porcellus)
Pet Ownership and Human Health: A Brief Review of Evidence and Issues