Knowing something about your intended pet helps in the decision making. Guinea pigs are relatively easy to look after, and they make great family pets. So far so good - but here are six more reasons why you might want to bring them into your home.
Not just something to cuddle – there are many reasons why GPs make great pets
They're Great Pets For Kids
Easy To Look After
Guinea pigs are family friends. They are fun, cuddly, quiet but very vocal, and form strong bonds with their fellow GPs and with their owners too. You'll soon come to understand their individual personalities, and over time the bond between owner and pet will grow. The relationship is two-way, and the guinea pigs will soon become interested in you, too, following you around to get a better look at what you are doing as you walk around the house, sit with a cup of coffee, or work in the garden.
Guinea pigs are the gentlest of pets, and will play happily with children of most ages, after the toddler stage - as long as the kids have been taught how to hold and play with them gently. GPs very seldom bite - they are the most docile of the pet rodents, and love being held, stroked, or hand-fed. It's generally advised that children should be aged at least 11 if they are to have main responsibility for caring for the GPs. This is just a question of responsibility, and nothing to do with the temperament of the animal. Adults will have to take on most of the care if the guinea pigs are intended for younger children.
If you’ve never had pet guinea pigs before, you're in for a treat. They are enjoyable pets in so many ways. For example, the everyday task of feeding them their fresh vegetables is tremendous fun, as the GPs race each other to the hutch opening to see who can get to the food first! You'll also soon develop a deep sense of pleasure in sourcing wild food for them. Nothing complicated, just some lush grass or dandelion leaves.
Another great thing about guinea pigs is that each one has its own distinct personality. Some are bossy (hilarious to watch in something the size of a mango), some are affectionate, others are very excitable and dash round like clockwork toys emitting their sweet, comical squeaks. Give them enough stimulation and you’ll have hours of entertainment from them.
Compared to most other pets, guinea pigs are easy to clean out, and the hutches that come with an attached run ensure that you don't have to move your pets every morning and evening. They don’t require much extra entertainment, either. As long as a guinea pig has other guinea pig or two as company, a few basic toys, and enough space to run around in, they will manage to entertain themselves very nicely. Add to this the fact that GPs generally enjoy good health, and in short you have a pet that's simple to care for and brings pleasure to its owner.
From humble beginnings of just a few specimens, over the last 150 years guinea pig shows have become a great tradition, with hundreds of people going to see prime examples of breeds, groomed and primped in all their glory.
If you have good-looking guinea pigs, why not consider entering them into a show? Judges weigh up a number of the animals' features and award prizes based on their expert knowledge of the various breeds. Coats, teeth, ears, eyes, bottoms - the whole animal is examined and evaluated against a breed standard, and the best pet in the show gets a rosette as a reward. But it's not all about winning - you get to meet fellow guinea enthusiasts at the shows, see lots of other wonderful little GPs, and it can be a great day out for the family.
Check out The American Cavy Breeders Association web pages as an introduction to guinea pig show and exhibitions in your area.
Best in show?
In a similar vein to shows, guinea pig groups have sprung up all over the USA, as meeting places for GP enthusiasts, whether novices or old hands. People get together to discuss guinea pig care tips, guinea pig stories, and even to arrange guinea pig playdates! If you’re a guinea pig lover, you can also join or establish a guinea pig volunteer group, which are intended to help look after those guinea pigs in need of homes at your local animal shelter. Look out for these groups in your local county.