Having Guinea Pigs as Pets
Guinea pigs can be lovely pets, but there are a few things you should know before
making that big commitment. From expected lifespan to the social nature of guinea pigs,
here are some things to consider before choosing a guinea pig as a pet.
Guinea Pigs Are a Long-Term Commitment
While a guinea pig doesn’t live nearly as long as a cat or dog, they’re still a large time
commitment. Guinea pigs live on average around five to seven years, sometimes longer,
so be prepared to provide care over the long term.
Guinea Pigs Are Social
Guinea pigs are very social animals and are at their happiest living with other guinea
pigs. Keep a same-sex pair to ensure you don’t have any unwanted litters. Females can
be kept together, as can males without any issues. Be aware that sometimes personality
differences in the animals will mean certain guinea pigs won’t get along. Introducing
them as babies is the best way to get a pair to bond, though even adults can usually be
introduced with care.
Guinea Pigs Need a Large Cage
Guinea pigs need a lot of floor space, and most cages marketed as guinea pig cages are
much too small, especially for a pair. Making a homemade cage is very easy, though,
and since guinea pigs are a good size and not escape artists, a homemade cage is a
Guinea Pigs Are Quiet, Sometimes
Guinea pigs make a distinctive wheeking or whistling type sound, often in anticipation of
getting a favorite treat or when in need of some attention. Though generally not loud
enough to annoy the neighbors, a wheeking guinea pig can be surprisingly loud. If you’re
looking for an animal whose vocals will never interrupt a dinner party or afternoon nap, a
guinea pig might not be for you.
Guinea Pigs Are Generally Easy to Tame
While guinea pigs may be nervous or skittish at first, with consistent gentle handling,
they usually become tame very easily. Careful handling is a must, and children should
be supervised with them, but they are unlikely to bite even when stressed.
Guinea Pig Require Vitamin C
Guinea pigs are one of the few animals (humans are another) that cannot manufacture
their own vitamin C, so they need to get it from their diet. Choosing a good quality diet
and providing a variety of fresh foods is important, but most owners choose to also give
their animals a vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C tablets are considered a better