Guinea pigs are adorable; what can we say? They are also full of personality and require proper care to keep them healthy and happy. Is a guinea pig the right fit for your family?
The average lifespan for guinea pig is six to eight years, but many have been known to live well past that range. They need a spacious, flat-bottomed enclosure, with appropriate bedding to keep them active, clean and happy. Guinea pigs are not as flexible or acrobatic as a hamster and cannot roll in a ball or exercise on a wheel, so they need plenty of playtime outside of their enclosure to keep them fit. Guinea pigs are often wiggly, so they make great pets for older children who have mastered proper handling techniques.
Guinea pigs love their fruits and vegetables, and if you enjoy making salads, guinea pigs will be glad to share with you! (Just make sure to do your research on piggy-appropriate foods.) As with dogs and cats, guinea pigs need to see a vet yearly for a check-up. Catching any health issues early is important! Do your research first, however, as not all veterinarians see “pocket pets.”
Friends make life better, and in the guinea pig world this is no exception. Guinea pigs are gregarious creatures and do best having a friend or two living with them. A guinea pig buddy keeps them active, busy and healthy. Plus, what is cuter than one guinea pig? Two guinea pigs!
Owning a guinea pig requires a longtime commitment, but they will pay you back with their love, antics, “wheeks” and snuggles. Make sure to do your research before bringing home any new pet.
Last year the Seattle Animal Shelter adopted 83 guinea pigs to new, loving, forever homes. We applaud these families for adopting a rescued guinea pig! Thank you!
Some guinea pig tidbits!
- Guinea pigs are also known as “cavies.”
- They are vocal animals. They will “wheek,” chatter and whistle, especially at meal time!
- Hay and water always need to be available to guinea pigs. Munching on hay keeps their digestive system moving and helps keep their teeth trimmed.
- A very happy guinea pig might spring into the air. This is called “popcorning.”