When you are ready to take on a new pet for your kids or family, the Guinea Pig can be a first and sometimes obvious choice (after they have graduated from goldfish!) They are really cute, are indoor pets, don’t take up that much space and you don’t have to get up early and take them for walks! However, don’t be fooled into thinking that Guinea pigs’ are entirely low-maintenance. As in any new pet, there are questions to consider before bringing one into your home and some time and energy required.
Below are some ideas to think about before adopting a guinea pig.
The time commitment
Guinea pigs need time out of their cage every day. Whether this time is spent stretching their legs and exploring new environments or simply sitting on your lap, daily interaction and attention are essential for a guinea pig’s well-being. It’s important to have them get some air, love and attention. And even a good little rub down and attention is important.
Grooming and Cleaning your guinea pig
Guinea pigs need to be groomed regularly. Shorthaired breeds can be maintained with a once-a-week brushing while longhaired breeds require daily grooming.
A guinea pigs’ cage should be thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis and spot-cleaned every few days. If you don’t appreciate the smell of a dirty cage, consider how your guinea pig-who spends nearly all of her waking hours just centimeters above her bedding-feels about stinky living quarters. It’s similar to cleaning a litter box for your cat and does require a weekly clean!
Does a guinea pig fit with your family?
If you’re getting a guinea pig for your child, think carefully about how this animal’s care will fit into your family’s schedule over the long haul. If you have other pets, are you sure your guinea pig will get enough attention? Guineas need love and attention too and don’t want to be second class citizens in your home!
Young children and guinea pigs need to be monitored
Young children can sometimes drop a guinea pig, squeeze him, or scare him into biting without knowing any better. Guinea pigs require a gentle touch and may be easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises. Just make sure to show your young kids how to hold a guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are not an inexpensive pet
The adoption fee or purchase price for a guinea pig is typically small, but there are significant startup costs and ongoing needs to anticipate. The initial purchase of equipment and supplies is likely to include: large cage or modular enclosure, Water bottle, food dish, high quality food – pellets, and Timothy hay. And, of course, there are annual vet visits, and the cost to maintain their cage and environment.
Your kids might be allergic to guinea pigs
Some people are allergic to guinea pigs. These allergies are a reaction to proteins in the animal’s saliva and urine. Hay and wood shavings can also cause allergies. If you’ve never lived with a guinea pig, test to see if you have symptoms by visiting a household that includes one or any adoption or rescue service that has guinea pigs.
Guinea pig’s life span
Guinea pigs live an average of five to seven years. This lifespan is longer than many other small pets such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, or rats, all of whom live only a few years. If your life is in transition, a guinea pig may be more portable than a dog or a cat, but remember that five years or more is a significant period of time.
The truth is that none of the above is that much work relative to a dog or cat.. However, guineas’ are more work than a fish or turtle, but less responsibility than other domesticated pets. They are fun, furry creatures which will add a lot of life and spunk to your home.
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