Guinea pigs are getting more and more domesticized than ever recently. More and more people looking for pets are choosing guinea pigs. I guess it is safe to say that guinea pigs have now become almost as popular as dogs and cats. With such booming love for guinea pigs as pets, I thought it would give the boom a nudge if I could put together a post explaining why guinea pigs make great pets.
That is exactly what you shall find here, the 16 reasons, in no particular ranking or order, for why guinea pigs make great pets!
- They love humans
- Guinea pigs are colorful
- Best choice for first-time pets
- Easy to care for
- They are great with children
- Guinea pigs live long
- They have personalities
- They like to pop
- They are smart
- You can adopt from shelters
- They are social within themselves
- They are very active
- They are easy to take care when you’re away
- They are cute
- They are cuddly
- Their foods are available everywhere
Threading in my personal experiences, anecdotes from other guinea pig owners, and suggestions from experts, I present to you this post. So, wish you a happy petting!
1. They Like Humans, Oh Wait, No, They LOVE Humans!
You are having access to the internet, and you are reading this post which is written in English, so you are either a robot or a human. If you were a robot, you would have been searching for how to take over the planet from humans. So I assume you are a human being looking for a loving pet, but you probably are not sure which animal to get as your pet. So what do you want in a pet? If you were anything like me, or like any other human for that matter, you would want your pet to like you. Right?
Guinea pigs are very social with humans. They are great to play with once they feel familiar and safe with you. They even communicate with you with a wide range of sounds. They show clear signs of affection towards their owners. The last thing you would want in a pet will be that they hate you.
One of the major reasons for someone to look for a pet would be to get emotional support or to get a friend in a different species. If you agree to that, then you can very well agree that guinea pigs make great pets for us.
2. Guinea Pigs are Colorful
As observed by the American Cavy Breeders Association, there are 10 colors in which guinea pigs are available. When it comes to choosing a pet, I would like to have options within the species. With such diverse colors available to choose from, guinea pigs are more versatile in their variations when compared to other similar size pets.
Not only is the number of available colors more, but they are also cute and adorable! No color variant of guinea pigs is undesirable in my eyes, I would get a hundred in each of those colors if my bank account would cooperate!
3. Best Choice for First-Time Pets
When you know that you want a pet, but you are not sure that you can handle the responsibility of a dog or a cat, guinea pigs come to your rescue. Guinea pigs are not high-maintenance like other pet animals. And yet, they love you more than all those other pet animals. Which means that you get loved even without you loving them as much.
Nobody really finds time for anything nowadays. And getting a pet that needs a lot of time and attention, while you are not ready to give it, could actually count as a grave sin in my opinion. So if you would not have much of your time to spend with your pets, but still want a pet, then go with guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs make you familiar with handling the responsibility of a pet, and then you may move on to pet other animals after you have had a guinea pig once as a pet. Although, I do not think that you would want to go with any other animal after having petted a guinea pig!
4. Easy to Care for
The body mechanisms of guinea pigs are simple. So they do not have many requirements actually. They require grass hay, drinking water, veggies, and some supplements from pellets. They need quite a big cage with appropriate bedding. These do not cost as much as the requirements of other pet animals do. So they are light on your pocket.
And keeping their bedding clean to prevent diseases and infestation, is not a tough task either! You just need to spot-clean their habitat for namesake every day. And a thorough cleaning of the cage, bedding and properties would not be necessary for more than once a week.
You do not have to take them for a walk, you do not have to dedicate hours in grooming them. They are small, and some breeds come with either no hair or very less hair. Even the long-haired breeds are not hard to groom because of their cute little size!
5. They are Great With Children
People do choose rabbits or hamsters as pets for their children. But let me tell you why guinea pigs are better. They are neither as fragile as rabbits, nor as nervous as hamsters. They are not dangerous for pre- teens or primary school kids. But still, I would suggest that you closely supervise whenever you let your kids play with any pet for that matter.
I would actually recommend getting a guinea pig as a pet for your kid because I believe it helps in encouraging a sense of responsibility for them. They will learn to care for all life- forms, and also will help in keeping your kids in a healthy emotional state.
6. Guinea Pigs Live Long
Guinea pigs lead a full well-rounded life. They live for as long as 5-7 years, in some cases even more. When I get a pet, I would want it to be a long-term commitment filled with love all throughout. If you have to enjoy the company of a pet to the maximum, it might be essential that you connect well with your pet. And that sort of a connection cannot practically be achieved in a few weeks or even a year. With passing years, a pet becomes a part of your family. Not just a part, but a center of radius around which your family can revolve connected.
So a guinea pig, which loves you to death, which will continue to do that for so many years of its lifetime, sure makes a great choice for a pet.
7. They Have Personalities
Guinea pigs are very close to humans when it comes to the expression of behavior. In the case of most other pets, you don’t need a deep classification of traits and personalities within a breed. But guinea pigs show a wide range of personalities, and in fact, each guinea pig seems to be unique with its character.
Since the behavior of guinea pigs is relatable to that of humans, connecting with them emotionally can be easier than any other pet animal. And since they have a personality of their own, when you find a guinea pig with a personality that you like, you will feel a sense of mental attachment which is magical beyond imagination!
8. They Like to Pop
“Popcorning” is an expression of joy and happiness in guinea pigs. This is a clear expression of affection towards humans. And I tell you, when you experience it, it is just such an awesome feeling!
They jump into the air, they run around in circles, they kick out front and back alternatively, these are all signs of popcorning. More on this and other signs of guinea pig affection is located in this article we wrote.
This behavior is unique only to guinea pigs, and it is one of the cutest and most adorable expressions of love. I have had a lot of other pets aside from guinea pigs, and this popcorning is a level of cuteness that still remains unmatched by any of those other animals.
9. They Have a Sharp Memory, and They are Smart!
Guinea pigs are known for their memory and wit. They are preys, and often their inter-connected tunnels of burrows are quite complex. They need a great memory to remember the escape route in case of a predator approaching. Not just that. You can actually observe clear expressions of sharp memory in guinea pigs. Like, they go to the usual place looking for food when you change the location suddenly.
Although that is a small sign, there have been experiments substantiating their strong memory. Owners have observed that their guinea pigs remember and identify humans in the family from the others. That is a great thing to have in a pet, right? (It is great for humans. Robots that are if at all reading this, can skip to the next section!)
10. You Can Rescue Them
Just like how you can rescue dogs, you can rescue guinea pigs from the shelters.
Many people looking for pets, want their pet to be perfect, and hence prefer to get their pets from a breeder. But, the thousands of pets abandoned by owners are in need of help! You know, being a pet lover myself, I always say “Adopt, don’t shop”. Guinea pigs are animals that seek love. They deserve a home that is much more than just a house. They deserve to be loved. So go ahead and adopt a guinea pig, give that soul the greatest gift one can give- a home!
Some pet animals are not rescued from shelters. They can be bought only from breeders. There are millions of people out there, just like me, who do not want such pet animals just because we want to experience the joy of giving love! If you are one such person, go ahead and adopt a guinea pig today!
11. They are Social Within Themselves too
You should not get a single guinea pig. They could die merely out of depression. You should have a group of 2-10 guinea pigs. Guinea pigs like to play with each other, they bond well, and you can even find them sleeping on each other.
Although, there are precautions to take before grouping guinea pigs. Do not house an unneutered male with a female unless you want a litter more of little baby guinea pigs. Otherwise, have the male neutered. With such a group of happy furry animals running around making cute noises, you can never regret getting them as pets.
Females get along great with each other. But males may get territorial when put together. So be careful about the sexes of the guinea pigs that you choose to group together.
If you want to learn more about which sexes to get, read this post next.
12. They are Very Active
Guinea pigs are not lazy sleepers. They are awake for the most part of the day. Guinea pigs like to play around in the outdoors, or even within their cages. That is why you have to provide them with toys and play setups for them to enjoy their time awake.
Having them with me when I go for a walk in the backyard is the best part that I enjoy the most about petting guinea pigs! They are just little munchkins that hop around in the cutest way. I could watch them playing with each other all day long!
A fun activity for you and your guinea pig is to teach them different tricks! Read this post to learn all about it!
13. They are Easy to Take Care When You’re Away
Yeah, you read that right! There is not much that they would need except food and water. You can have someone refill them every day. Cleaning their bedding every day is recommended, although skipping a day or two would not result in any big problems. But you should make sure that they get access to food, water, and their partners-in-crime so that they do not get lonely.
If you are away for a long time, carry them with you if possible because they yearn for your love and attention. If you cannot take them with you, make sure you leave them with people that take care of your pals as good as you will.
If you travel very often, if you can neither carry your pets along with you nor have them taken care by someone else, then it is obvious that you should not get a pet at all!
14. They are Cute!
I mean, no offense to all the other pet animals. But these little guinea pigs! God, I am just obsessed with their level of cuteness. Finding a match to that level is still a task I have not completed. But maybe that is because even God couldn’t manage to create a cuter pet.
There is a saying in Asia that goes “Even donkeys look cute when they are baby donkeys”. I mean, every animal looks cute in their baby ages. But only very few animals look cute throughout their life. You know what I mean right?
Like, for instance, pandas, no matter how old they get, they are cute! But in most countries, it is illegal to pet a panda. Let’s say you do get a panda, but you have to be a billionaire to fund its requirements! Guinea pigs? They are cheap to maintain. They remain cute throughout their life. They are legally accepted as pets. Although, a partial exception to this rule is in the case of Switzerland. In Switzerland, owning only one guinea pig is against the law.
Anyway, so the bottom line is they are cute and awesome!
15. They are Cuddly
One of the main factors that people consider before getting an animal as their pet, is how affectionate the animal is with them. I assure you, once your guinea pig gets familiar with you, and gets comfortable, they are going to be affectionate as hell! Their love is so cute and genuine for humans. They make the most adorable noises that show their intention to cuddle. And you can pet them, and they will just love being around you and cuddling with you.
Except for their teeth, there are no harmful parts in their body, and they do not bring out their teeth for anything other than eating. So you can’t get hurt too, unlike cats that scratch you all over or dogs that have huge nails!
16. Their Foods are Available Everywhere!
For most other pets, getting them the food from pet stores costs almost as much as the amount we spend on food for ourselves. You can understand how pricey the pet supplies are with so many companies making billions! But in the case of guinea pigs, you do not have to buy any processed foods for them from any pet stores.
You have to feed them only the natural foods that they would be eating in their natural habitat. Grass hay, fruits, vegetables, and fresh water are all that they require. On top of these, you may have to buy some supplements of vitamins because guinea pigs can’t manufacture these vitamins in their biochemical system in their bodies. But those pellets do not cost much actually. Even so, you can alternatively provide specific fruits even for the supplements.
And all the foods they enjoy are available throughout the year everywhere!
Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets?
Yes! You have obviously come to the right place if you wish to find some reassurance on your decision to get a guinea pig for your household. This is a wonderful addition to your home and family.
A guinea pig makes a great pet because they bond with you and connect to you on a level higher than reptiles or smaller rodents in our opinion. We wish you a long healthy experience with your guinea pig that can live for 4-8 years on average.
Keep in mind that one size doesn’t fit all with guinea pigs who have unique personalities and characteristics. Getting to know them and what they like to do, eat or behaviors is part of the fun.
Be prepared for the clean ups, maintenance of the enclosure and make time to play time together each and every day.
Reasons to Not Get a Guinea Pig
Do not get a guinea pig if you are unsure with the amount of time you have to spend with this fairly needy animal. They cannot be given a hamster wheel for example, and told to go about their own exercise and fun.
They need you to have fun and play together outside of the enclosure each and every day. Guinea pigs groom themselves, but they leave massive numbers of droppings that need to be cleaned up. Are you ready for that?
What if you get a guinea pig at first that doesn’t want anything to do with you? They may retreat and refuse contact. Will you give up at this point or face the challenge to bond with this shy cavy?
With persistence and patience, a guinea pig will bond to you and become a loyal companion. Nothing happens right away. Do not get a guinea pig if you expect them to keep to themselves and cannot spend 2-3 hours a day with them at the very least.
Do Guinea Pigs Have Personalities?
Oh yes. We have never found two guinea pigs with the exact same demeaner or character qualities. We look closely and share bonding time with each of our cavies and are able to identify which ones tend to be more:
- fun long
- resistant to meeting new people
- like to be held
Their personalities are going to present themselves in comfortable settings when the conditions are right.
Otherwise, any personality you are noticing at first could possibly be associated with negative factors such as discomfort or the need to adjust to a new home.
Never put two guinea pigs together right away. Allow them time to sniff out and sense each other through sight and sound before they are moved closer together and eventually share the same enclosure.
Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets for Young Children?
Yes. Guinea pigs are by no means a starter pet. They require careful handling and understanding of their delicate needs.
These are animals that are attached to humans and would enjoy being cared for by young children who have to learn a few important details from a responsible adult. Knowing how to hold a guinea pig, spending quality time without ignoring the playtime or clean up duties are a must.
Getting excited to play with a guinea pig for the first few weeks is tough because this new member of your family needs time to adjust. This requires children to be patient.
Once the bonding process is more open and ready to build upon, we should instruct children to be gentle, calm, using soothing vocal tones and pet them only if they wish to be petted.
Never force the action with guinea pigs who have unique personalities. A true bond will develop for those who don’t give up too soon, have the necessary amount of time to spend each day interacting with their guinea pig and remain consistent in their caregiving approach.
So I hope I have convinced you enough that guinea pigs make great pets. I hope you get guinea pigs as your pets, and that you enjoy their company for a long time in your life!