When considering to get any new addition to the family there a many things you need to think about. Getting a pet is a big responsibility and takes serious commitment. Although a guinea pig might seem like an easy pet to take care of, they actually take a lot of work to keep happy and most importantly healthy. The biggest misconception about guineas is that they are great for kids because they are easy to take care of and do not take much work. This is not true!
What do I need to know before getting a guinea pig?
Here are a basic run down of things you should know before getting a guinea pig.
1) Guinea pigs are social creatures. This means you should always get more than 1. A guinea kept by itself can and will get extremely depressed. Human interaction is not enough for a cavy. How would you like it if you never saw another human being for the rest of your life? It’s just like that.
2) Guinea Pigs need A LOT of space. I can tell you right now that a store bought “starter” cage will NOT be large enough for your pig. A single cavy requires a minimum of 7.5 square ft of space. However since you should have two then 10 square ft or more is recommended.
3) You should clean the cage daily! Cages can get dirty extremely quick. It is very unhealthy for guinea pigs to live in a dirty cage. Most owners will “spot clean” their cages every single day as well as doing a full clean every week.
4) You will have to buy lots of fruits and veggies. Piggies are the happiest when they have a variety of fruits and vegetables to eat. They can and will go through a lot of produce and it can be pricey. Be prepared to spend a decent amount of money on food for them from your produce department!
5) You will also need timothy hay available at all times. Hay is vital to owning a happy cavy. It is so important that it should be available to your guinea pig 24/7 by providing a hay feeder.
6) You should take your guinea out of its cage. This one shouldn’t even need to be said. What is the point of having a pet if you are not going to play with it? They need exercise and fun. Taking them out and letting them explore is a great way for them to get exercise as well as get to know you better.
7) Guineas often live over 5 years. If you are not prepared to take care of a guinea pig for over 5 years then please reconsider getting one. You should be prepared to take care of your pet for its full lifespan. If you are the type that gets bored of something after a while then perhaps owning a cavy is not for you.
If after all that you are still ready to get a pet guinea pig then I applaud you! Owning a pet piggy can be a rewarding experience. They are very smart and can learn many tricks. They also recognize people and will squeak in delight when their favorite person walks in. Seeing one “popcorn” for the first time is such a delightful and hilarious.
All in all, if you have the time and resources to take care of a guinea then they can make amazing pets as well as best friends!