Guinea Pigs 101

Things you should know before considering guinea pigs as pets

They live on average 6 – 8 years 

Can you commit to them for that long?

The cost of caring for two guinea pigs is approximately $25 - $30 per month

This covers the cost of pellets, hay and shavings, and assumes that veggies will be supplied from those already being bought for the family.  It does not include veterinary costs.

They should always be kept in pairs or groups

An only pig is a lonely pig.

A pair of guinea pigs requires

a minimum 8sq ft of cage floor space (preferably more for a pair of males), plus regular “floor time” exercise.  Very few commercial cages are big enough, although we can recommend one or two that are.  Otherwise, you will need to make your own cage, or have one made for you.  Again, we can recommend a supplier.  These cages are not expensive, in fact they often cost less than a small store-bought one.

•fresh veggies and/or fruit every day

•unlimited hay (anything but alfalfa hay) every day

•daily diet of good quality pellets (NOT seeds or anything containing coloured bits) formulated specifically for guinea pigs.  Pellets should be made from alfalfa for youngsters, timothy hay for adults.

•unlimited water, preferably filtered, provided in a sipper bottle

•veterinary treatment when required, from an exotics trained vet with experience of treating guinea pigs

•adult supervision of their care – although they make great pets for children, their daily care should never be left solely to a child

•a draught-free location, out of direct sunlight, in a central part of the house – family room, TV room, etc – as they love company.  A child’s bedroom or playroom is not a suitable location.

These things are non-negotiable.   If you are not willing or able to supply all of them, then guinea pigs are not the right pets for you.

At this point, you may be thinking, these people are wrong.  I can get a guinea pig from the pet store, they say it’s fine to have just one and to keep it in a small cage, which they are happy to sell to me. 

Remember - to the pet store, that cute little guinea pig is a product, among many thousands of products.  Their sole aim is to sell you stuff, and all they care about is getting your money.  We do just one thing - we rescue and rehome guinea pigs, and we want to make sure they get the best home possible.  We do not try to sell you anything, although we can recommend places where you can get what you need. 

Who do you think is more likely to be telling you the truth about the right way to care for guinea pigs?

  For more info, check out this great video