Your children want a pet, but you don’t want the responsibility of taking care of a dog or cat. A friend suggested you add a guinea pig to your family because they make great pets, but you don’t know where to start.
Relax. Finding the guinea pig that’s a great fit for your home isn’t that hard. Here are some guidelines to help you in your search for your new family member.
1. Guinea pigs are social animals and need daily play time with your family or another guinea pig. Despite the lower cost than parenting a dog or cat, it’s important to make sure you’re committed to giving this animal a good home, with plenty of attention and that you have the resources to care for it.
2. Guinea pigs can be found in pet stores and animal shelters across the country. In addition to friends and family who already parent a guinea pig, talk to the pet store associates or rescue center staff before making your choice. All can provide helpful information on what is needed to provide complete care for your new guinea pig’s health.
3. Observe the guinea pigs before you make your decision: you want a guinea pig that’s active and inquisitive. Check for signs that a guinea pig is healthy. Their coat shouldn’t have any bald patches or scabs. A guinea pig should have bright eyes, a clean nose, no dribbling from its mouth and quiet breathing.
4. Although guinea pigs are gentle creatures, there are behavior differences between male and female guinea pigs. Two females tend to get along better than two males. One male and one female, if altered, are usually fine together.
5. Before and after you bring your guinea pig home, do some homework and learn how to care for them. Borrow books from the library, search online for reference materials and talk to other pet parents for tips. Find out all you can about their physical, mental, social and emotional needs and make sure you respond quickly to signs of illness.