We’re thinking about getting our kids a guinea pig. What do guinea pigs need to lead a happy life? And how difficult are they to care for?
Making plans for a piggie in Timbergrove
Dear Making Plans,
Guinea pigs can make lovely pets. They’re really cute, they’re larger than hamsters and mice, so they’re easier to cuddle, and they’re very social–they love interacting with humans. However, (as with all pets) they’re a big responsibility and getting one should be weighed heavily before you jump into action.
Guinea pigs typically live for 5-7 years–so, consider where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing for the next 7 years before you proceed with bringing a guinea pig into your home.
Truth be told, guinea pigs are terribly social and actually fair much better when they’re paired with another guinea pig in a home. Keep a same sex pair; females can be kept together as can males, though sometimes individual differences 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.
While most pet stores sell cages for guinea pigs, by and large, these cages are considered too small to comfortably house a guinea pig (or two!). Consider making your own guinea pig enclosure–it could be a fun family project! The good news is that guinea pigs, by nature, are not “escape artists” so your homemade enclosure wouldn’t need to be quite “Fort Knox.”
Guinea pigs are quiet but…
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.
Adopt, don’t shop:
Many guinea pigs end up at shelters, and are in need of a second chance at a forever home — and guinea pigs are generally so social and easy going, it should still be easy to bond with even an older piggie!
Did you know?
CAP (Citizens for Animal Protection) currently has 13 adoptable guinea pigs available? These piggies are fat, happy and noshing on veggies at the shelter, awaiting their forever families…could that be you? Go to www.cap4pets.org to learn more.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pet of the Week
Meet Patrick. This handsome fella was so covered in mange when he was rescued that he was unable to open his lovely golden eyes. Thankfully someone realized his potential and scooped him up. He’s become the most cuddly and grateful boy this side of the Blarney Stone! Patrick has been in foster care for over 300 days and he’s ready to find his pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow–could that be you? If so, contact Animal Justice League at: https://animaljusticeleague.org.