4 Things To Consider Before Adding Guinea Pigs To Your Family

Posted on: 6 June 2016


If you'd like to add a small animal to your home, guinea pigs may have caught your eye during research. While guinea pigs are fantastic pets, there are a few things that busy families with small children should consider before bringing guinea pigs into the home.

Guinea Pigs are Fragile

While guinea pigs are among the larger of the rodent species regularly kept as pets, they're still just as fragile as hamsters, mice, and gerbils.

When considering guinea pigs as a family pet, it's a good idea to wait until your children understand the basics of gentle handling. It's also important to keep in mind that guinea pigs require regular veterinary care, just like a dog or a cat. There are a number of common issues that can occur in guinea pigs, including upper respiratory infections and bowel impactions.

Guinea Pigs are Sensitive

As prey animals, guinea pigs are always on high alert when it comes to spotting potential predators. This makes them particularly sensitive to loud noises and up-close handling.

If you're considering getting a guinea pig for your child or as a family pet, it's important to consider your home's activity levels and if they can be adapted to work with a guinea pig's needs. Another thing to consider is that guinea pigs are social animals, so it's important to own them in pairs at the very least, especially since a lone guinea pig can suffer from a number of issues, including depression and anxiety.

Guinea Pigs are Time-Consuming

Aside from the daily feeding and cleanup care that guinea pigs require, they're also high maintenance in terms of attention.

Guinea pigs are wonderful pets for families who hang out in their home a lot – guinea pigs love to interact with their humans on a regular basis. While guinea pigs can be left alone for the duration of the work and school day, it's important that they interact with their humans on a daily basis – this will keep them happy and ensure that they remain tame.

Guinea Pigs Need Lots of Space

Believe it or not, guinea pigs are built to run, so they need lots of space in order to stay happy and healthy.

Even the largest cages at pet stores aren't usually big enough to keep a guinea pig, and just because a guinea pig can fit in the cage doesn't mean that it's large enough to meet their needs. For example, if you own two guinea pigs, the smallest cage you should own is 7.5 square feet, though 10.5 square feet or more is preferred.

Guinea pigs are wonderful pets, but unfortunately, they aren't the right pets for every family. To learn more about the kind of care that guinea pigs require, consult with a small animal or exotic veterinarian before bringing guineas into your home. Contact a company like Parkview Animal Hospital for more information.