Is A Guinea Pig The Right Pet For You?
4 February, 2014

If you are looking to adopt a pet for your kids and/or family, a Guinea Pig can be a wonderful companion.  They are adorable, don’t take up too much room and you don’t have to take them for walks!  However, don’t be fooled into thinking that they are entirely low-maintenance.  Like any pet, there are questions to consider before bringing one into your home and some time and energy required.

Below are some ideas to think about when adopting a guinea pig.

The time commitment

Guinea pigs need time out of their cage every day. Whether this time is spent stretching their legs and exploring new environments or simply sitting on your lap, daily interaction and attention are essential for a guinea pig’s well-being.

Grooming and Cleaning

Guinea pigs need to be groomed regularly. Shorthaired breeds can be maintained with a once-a-week brushing while longhaired breeds require daily grooming.


A guinea pigs’ cage should be thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis and spot-cleaned every few days. If you don’t appreciate the smell of a dirty cage, consider how your guinea pig—who spends nearly all of her waking hours just centimeters above her bedding—feels about stinky living quarters.  It’s similar to cleaning a litter box for your cat!

Does a guinea pig fit with your family dynamic?

If you’re getting a guinea pig for your child, think carefully about how this animal’s care will fit into your family’s schedule over the long haul.  If you have other pets, are you sure your guinea pig will get enough attention?  Guineas need love and attention too!

Young children and guinea pigs

Young children can sometimes drop a guinea pig, squeeze him, or scare him into biting without knowing any better. Guinea pigs require a gentle touch and may be easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises.  Just make sure to show your young kids how to hold a guinea pig.

Financial consideration

The adoption fee or purchase price for a guinea pig is typically small, but there are significant startup costs and ongoing needs to anticipate. The initial purchase of equipment and supplies is likely to include: large cage or modular enclosure, Water bottle, food dish, high quality food – pellets, and Timothy hay.  And, of course, there are annual vet visits, and the cost to maintain their cage and environment.


Some people are allergic to guinea pigs. These allergies are a reaction to proteins in the animal’s saliva and urine.  Hay and wood shavings can also cause allergies. If you’ve never lived with a guinea pig, test to see if you have symptoms by visiting a household that includes one or any adoption or rescue service that has guinea pigs.

Guinea pig’s life span

Guinea pigs live an average of five to seven years. This lifespan is longer than many other small pets such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, or rats, all of whom live only a few years. If your life is in transition, a guinea pig may be more portable than a dog or a cat, but remember that five years or more is a significant period of time.

None of the above is very significant relative to a dog or cat.  However, guineas’ are more work than a fish or turtle, but less responsibility than other domesticated pets.  They are fun, furry creatures which will add a lot of life and spunk to your home.

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