Guinea Pigs are social animals and Owning a single guinea pig is illegal. So if you wish to pet a Guinea pig then you should have to own at least two.
But it is important to remember that you should not buy a Guinea Pig after having a quick look at it. You should check their health status, age, species, and where you may purchase them.
Before you Buy a Guinea Pig…
- Guinea Pig can be messy and need space to burrow.
- They like to chew.
- Guinea Pigs need to be kept in pairs or small groups.
- They should only live with Guinea Pigs of the same gender.
- They should be separated if they fight.
- You must clean their cage once a week.
- You’ve to provide them a large enough cage and set up an exercise wheel inside the cage.
Do a Research!
As with any animal, it is important to know what you are getting into before you buy a Guinea Pig. While Guinea Pigs are small and sleep a lot, they can still be quite high maintenance.
- The amount of exercise they require to remain physically fit and mentally stimulated
- What kind of cage will keep them safe and comfortable
- What injuries and diseases Guinea Pigs are prone to and how to spot them
- Understanding Guinea Pig behavior
- Guinea Pig-proof your residence to keep your Guinea Pig safe
Know about the breeders
Reputable Guinea Pig breeders are few and far between. The best ones will breed Guinea Pigs that are genetically sound, and they will be able to show you their breeding Guinea Pig’s family heredity. They will feed their Guinea Pigs an optimal diet, which gives the Guinea Pig a great start in life.
A credible Guinea Pig breeder will typically request or require that you continue feeding your Guinea Pig the diet it was raised on. They should also indicate that if your Guinea Pig is not suitable for you for any reason, the Guinea Pig should be returned to them.
Baby Guinea Pigs vs. Adult Guinea Pigs ?
Many people go with baby Guinea Pigs (under ten months old) because they are easy to form bonds with (you and even with other Guinea Pigs).
Ask the seller your prospective Guinea Pigs’ age and weight. Never buy a baby Guinea Pig under 3 weeks of age, they eat solid food and no longer need mother milk at three weeks. So it is better to wait until the six weeks of its age.
The adult Guinea Pigs may be difficult to have a bond with, but that does not mean that you should not buy an adult Guinea Pig. But, you should be aware of the Guinea Pigs that they have a short life span.
Some of the types of pet Guinea Pigs are,
|Types of Guinea Pigs||Origin||Size||Life span|
|AMERICAN GUINEA PIG/ AMERICAN CRESTED||South America, particularly in the Peruvian Andes.||8 to 9 inches||4 to 7 years|
|HIMALAYAN GUINEA PIG||South-East Asia||8 to 12 inches||5 to 7 years|
|RIDGEBACK GUINEA PIG||America||5 to 12 inches||4-7 years|
|TEDDY GUINEA PIG||Not specific because the breed was found via genetic mutation||8 to 12 inches||4 to 5 years|
|REX GUINEA PIG||South America||8 to 17 inches||5 to 6 years|
|ABYSSINIAN GUINEA PIG||South America||8 to 12 inches||5 to 8 years|
|SHEBA GUINEA PIG||Australia||7 to 12 inches||4-7 years|
|SILKIE GUINEA PIG||UK (the result of crossbreeding)||7 to 10 inches||5 to 7 years|
|TEXEL GUINEA PIG||England||7 to 12 inches||4 to 7 years|
|CORNET GUINEA PIG||England||7 to 12 inches||6 to 8 years|
|PERUVIAN GUINEA PIG||Paris||8 to 12 inches||4-7 years|
|ALPACA GUINEA PIG||Originated from English Peruvian Guinea Pigs||6 to 11 inches||5-8 years|
|MERINO GUINEA PIG||Originated from the English Peruvian Guinea pig||4 to 11 inches||5 years+|
|LUNKARYA GUINEA PIG||Sweden||4 to 12 inches||5-8 years|
|SKINNY GUINEA PIG||Canada||8 to 11 inches||4 years +|
|BALDWIN GUINEA PIG||California||8 to 11 inches||4-6 years|
If you are a new buyer of the Guinea Pigs, you need to buy a pair of the same gender to avoid them breeding. If you go through the breeding properly, you will have an idea of how to care for the baby Guinea Pig.
If you have had prior experience in raising Guinea Pigs, you can get a pair of opposite-gender Guinea Pigs. The differences bet male and female Guinea Pigs are as follows:
- Male Guinea Pigs are slightly bigger in size than females.
- The male Guinea Pigs are more smelly than female Guinea Pigs because the male has bigger scent glands than female
- Female Guinea Pigs can be more aggressive towards the owner and other Guinea Pigs than male Guinea Pigs.
- Male Guinea Pigs are friendly than the female Guinea Pigs
Choosing the right Guinea Pig
Do not rush to buy a Guinea Pig at first sight. Check to ensure the Guinea Pig you are interested in purchasing has the following or not:
- Should be energetic and curious.
- They should be interested in exploring their surroundings and should have a glossy, clean, and even coat with no signs of matting.
- Their eyes should be shiny.
- Check their breathing whether their breathing is clear or not.
- A Guinea Pig should never sit hunched up.
Choosing a Healthy Guinea Pig
The main variable you have to look out for when purchasing a Guinea Pig is its health. Sick Guinea Pigs die. These unhealthy Guinea Pigs may also infect your existing Guinea Pigs if it has a contagious illness. The difference between healthy and unhealthy Guinea Pigs are,
Examine the Guinea
- Age: A lot of bad breeders and pet shops will try to sell Guinea Pigs under the age of 8 weeks old to make more of a profit. (Babies are quite cute and can demand a higher price.) Ideally, if you are looking to buy a baby Guinea Pig, then you want to make sure they are over the age of 8-10 weeks old.
- Temperament: Pay attention to your potential Guinea Pig’s behavior, but know that a Guinea Pig that acts tired is not necessarily ill or lazy, since Guinea Pigs do sleep for most of the day.
- Health: Take a look at the Guinea Pig’s eyes; they should be wide open, inquisitive, and clear. Eyes that are squinting or crusty might indicate that the Guinea Pig is in pain or sick. Make sure the ears are clean. A coat should be soft and shiny; if it is dull and bristly, then it could indicate poor health. Take a look at the skin to make sure that there is no dryness or flakiness.
- You should always have a new Guinea Pig checked by a vet for fleas or ear mites, but both of these are easy to treat, so they should not keep you from getting a particular Guinea Pig. If all of a breeder’s or pet shop’s Guinea Pigs have fleas, however, it indicates that they are not keeping their Guinea Pigs in a healthy environment.
Ask about Desexing
Female Guinea Pigs when not desexed can suffer from a condition called aplastic anemia if they are not mated when they are in heat. Essentially, it is a build-up of sex hormones that leads to a slow and painful death. Therefore, we recommend desexing your female Guinea Pigs if they don’t already come desexed.
Male Guinea Pigs can become extremely smelly and aggressive when they go into a rut. So you should desex your male Guinea Pigs as well.
In some countries around the world, Guinea Pigs almost always come desexed when you purchase them. Check with the place you are purchasing from to see if your new addition has been desexed or will need to be desexed.
The lifespan of Guinea Pigs
If properly cared for, guinea pigs will live 5 – 8 years. They won’t survive if the temperature is too hot or too cold. Their preferred temperature is about 65°F to 75°F and the humidity level should be below 50%.
Where to buy?
A guinea pig’s price heavily depends on the breed and where you buy from. Remember, buying only one guinea pig is against the law. Guinea pigs in the wild love to be in groups, so you should at least buy two.
Guinea pigs may be acquired from a pet store, a breeder, or through adoption. Pet stores don’t have a wide variety of breeds; they usually have American and Abyssinian breeds with different colors. They may cost you between $10-40 per guinea pig.
Adoption may be done at the shelter, and they may cost you between $25-40.
Guinea Pigs in shelters would have been spayed or neutered, and they are usually healthy.
The final option is to buy guinea pigs from a breeder. The breeder has a wide variety of guinea pigs. If you want a specific breed of guinea pig, you can always approach the breeder – but the cost will be very high compared to the others, depending on the breed.
You may even acquire a guinea pig for free, but be more careful if anyone is giving away their pet guinea pigs. Some people sell their pets because they move away from their homes. Ask all of the questions you need as to why they are being given away and about the medical history of their guinea pigs, so you know what to expect when caring for them.
As a general rule, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to fully examine the guinea pig; spay or neuter them if necessary.
Can You Return a Guinea Pig?
There will be many reasons to return your Guinea Pigs. It may be because it is sick, or it might not get a better bond with the other Guinea Pigs. You cannot keep the Guinea Pigs together if they don’t bond.
They may fight and end up with injuries or kill one another. If they are left with their enemies, they may get stress, which leads to weight loss, health complications, or premature death. So in this condition, you will have no other choice except to return them.
Depending on where you purchased your Guinea Pig, you can return your pet. Usually, the pet store will give the money back when you return within two weeks. If you adopted the Guinea Pig pet from the animal shelter, they would take the pet back.
What if you cannot return the pet?
There are only two things to do if you cannot return the Guinea Pig:
- Keep all the Guinea Pigs in a separate enclosure or in a different room. Make sure they cannot see each other if it is a glass cage. If they see each other, they may undergo stress.
- Rehome any one Guinea Pig. You should find out the new owner directly, or you can give the Guinea Pig pet to an animal shelter.
In purchasing a Guinea Pig, check their health condition, gender, and species. You cannot just buy one Guinea Pig; they are social and need companions, so buying 2 or 4 is recommended. If you are tired of keeping the Guinea Pig, you can return it to the pet store within 14 days, or you can search for another owner, or you can give it to the animal shelter.