Pets are a great way for kids to learn compassion and responsibility, but a larger animal with more needs may not be the best kind of pet for everyone. Guinea pigs are great pets, though, and have a lot of advantages over other kinds of pets. Especially if this is the first family pet, a guinea pig is a great idea to consider.
This may seem like a selfish reason but it is very practical. It doesn’t usually cost very much money to take care of guinea pigs. The initial cost of buying one is relatively inexpensive, unless you get an exotic breed. Then you need a cage, hay, pellets and Vitamin C, You can share the vegetables you eat yourself, unless there are additives.
Like any other pet, guinea pigs need to have regular vet visits to make sure they are healthy and nothing is going wrong. If there is a healthy problem, it is much easier to treat it and deal with it if it is caught early.
However, guinea pigs are generally healthy animals. If you feed them the rights kinds of food so their nutritional needs are met and keep them in the kind of cool environment they are used to, guinea pigs will often avoid regular illnesses and health problems. A few of the kinds of problems they are prone to include dental disease and bladder stones, but good care can help prevent those.
Taking care of a pet like a dog can be difficult even for an adult, as they often need supervision and walks. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are easy to take care of. They need to have clean hay and food, including fresh vegetables and pellets. Don’t forget to give them a Vitamin C supplement, just in case there isn’t enough in their diet. It is important to keep their cages cleaned out, making sure that small debris is cleaned up at least daily and that the cage gets a regular, thorough cleaning, at least once a week.
Because they are very calm animals, guinea pigs are even good pets for very small children who might otherwise terrify a cat or dog. They are sturdy, so accidental roughness is unlikely to hurt them. Unlike smaller rodents like hamsters and gerbils, guinea pigs are not nervous animals. Just don’t forget to supervise small children around them, as you would do with any other kind of pet.
Smaller rodents like mice, hamsters and rats also don’t tend to live very long even if you take very good care of them, usually only up to about two or three years. Guinea pigs can live much longer, with most of them living between about five and seven years. There have even been some rare guinea pigs which have lived into their teens. If you are getting a guinea pig for an older child, it may still be there when your child has gone off to college.
As crazy as it may seem, guinea pigs are full of personality. When they are accustomed to a loving family, they can be loving, cuddly, furry little pets. And guinea pigs are all different, with widely different personalities. You may want to make sure you like your guinea pig before you take it home.
The purr of a cat lets you know it is content, and the noise itself is comforting. Guinea pigs make purring noises too, quieter than a cat’s purr but still audible. You may be able to make a guinea pig purr by petting or snuggling it. They also make other cute sounds, like squeaks when they are excited or rumbling noises when they are trying to mate. They even have a special noise they make by chattering their teeth to express that they are feeling angry or aggressive.
When your guinea pig is really happy and healthy, it may do an adorable movement people call “popcorning.” The action was named after what it looks like when popcorn kernels are popping, and it is when guinea pigs jump straight into the air again and again. They may vary the movement by kicking their legs and moving around, but popcorning is unique and unmistakable. No other animal is known to engage in popcorning, and guinea pig enthusiasts love to watch them doing it.
Guinea pigs don’t just sit in the cage and ignore the people they live with. They really seem to like and love their families, and may squeal when they see their owner or climb up the cage to get closer. They are friendly and want to interact with people, and they’re smart. Your guinea pig will learn who you are, and you can even teach your guinea pigs.
Clearly, guinea pigs are great pet for anyone. They’re clean, cute and easy to take care of. It’s only surprising more people don’t get guinea pigs as pets.