Guinea pigs are adorable - there’s no arguing about it. The furry friends have large, dark eyes, floofy noses, and handsome hairdo’s. For many years, guinea pigs were considered good first starter pets, especially for children. But in reality, the cute critters need a lot of space, care, and time. So, are guinea pigs good pets for kids?
Lettuce find out why guinea pigs are good pets, what they need to really blossom in your home, and also why piggies may not be the right choice for some people.
Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets?
Guinea pigs are fantastic pets - for the right hooman. We absolutely get it, the small floofs look adorable, they’re fun to be around, and they’d brighten up any home. Perfect pet, right? Only if you’re prepared to put a lot of work into cavy care.
Just because guinea pigs are small doesn’t make them any less work intensive than a dog or cat. The old stereotype of guinea pigs as easy starter pets… well, it’s a bit outdated. Just ask any piggy parent about the amount of poop they clean up every day - it’s unbelievable!
Guinea pigs need daily care, including lots of food, daily cleaning, and quality time with their piggy parents. If you’re thinking sweet piggies could be the pet for you, make sure to look into cavy care, so you know what you sign up for. We love our floofy friends, but we also know they’re hard work.
Guinea pigs are sensitive pets with very specific care needs that prospective piggy parents want to know about. Although their body shapes make them look like sturdy furry potatoes, the cute cavies are actually fragile. A piggy’s delicate spine can get injured easily, so it’s important the adorable pets are safe from falling. This is only one of the reasons why piggies aren’t particularly great as pets for children.
Some of the small floofs also enjoy quality time with their humans, so daily snuggle sessions should be on every piggy parent’s agenda. But beware! Not all guinea pigs are keen on cuddles. Just like us, you’ll find that every pig is different. Some love their human cavy carers, others prefer the company of their cage mates. Whether your pigs are social butterflies or not, they’ll want daily care to stay happy and healthy.
The bottom line is that guinea pigs make precious pets to those who are ready to commit to their cavies. If, however, prospective piggy parents are concerned about the time, financial, and caring responsibilities, why not start off with a stuffed piggy toy or two?
8 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Are Good Pets
We already know that piggies are pretty great pets if they’re cared for properly. But why are guinea pigs good pets? Have a look at our top 8 reasons that’ll make you want to commit to cavy care in no time (and prepare you for the life of a pet parent)!
1. Guinea pigs live long lives
When you adopt guinea pigs, they’ll brighten your heart and home for many years - much longer than other rodents. While their rodent relatives, like rats and hamsters, only live for 2 or 3 years, guinea pigs can live for around 5 to 8 years - and sometimes much longer than that. The oldest guinea pig was almost 15 years old, so you can enjoy your cute companions for a long time.
Although it’s tempting to choose baby piggies, adopting adult guinea pigs still gives you many years to make special memories with your furry friends. Your cavies can be with you for a long time, so get ready to share your life and love with these furballs of fun!
2. Guinea pigs are very affectionate animals
New piggy parents learn very quickly that their furry friends are extremely social. So social, in fact, that no guinea pig should ever live by themselves. No matter how much love and attention they’re getting from their hoomans, a piggy always likes to have a friend who speaks their language. Imagine if you lived with someone who can’t understand a word you’re saying - beyond the loud WHEEK of piggy hunger, of course.
A single guinea pig can become depressed easily, missing the companionship of another cavy. And when a pig is sad, they can get sick from it. That’s why it’s illegal in Switzerland to keep a lone guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are also bold when it comes to interactions with their favorite humans, though every pig’s different. Many pigs enjoy their piggy parents’ attention, so it’s a good idea to plan in a little snuggle session with your piggies every day. Some like to be held, others prefer a little scratch while sitting in a cozy corner of their cage. You’ll soon learn what works best for you and your floofballs.
And if your piggies seem a little shy or unsure, it may take them a while to warm up to you. Instead of snuggle sessions, you can spend bonding time with your beautiful beans to let them know you’re not a danger - healthy treats really help with this. Once you’ve earned your guinea pigs’ trust, they’ll repay your love a thousandfold.
With the right companionship, we absolutely think guinea pigs are good pets!
3. Guinea pigs are awake during daytime
Guinea pigs don’t have a strict sleep pattern, like their hoomans do. While most people go to bed in the evening and sleep for (hopefully!) around 8 hours, a guinea pig’s sleep pattern is a little less organized. Out of the 24 hours in a day, the cute critters only sleep 4 to 6 hours in total. You may be surprised by this if you find your cavies snoozing away in their favorite spots every day, but the floofs can be active at all hours of the day and night. And that’s why guinea pigs are such good pets - they’ll be awake and active when we are.
Guinea pigs often take naps of around 10 minutes during the day and at night, so no matter what their piggy parents’ sleep routine is like, they’ll be able to have quality time with them.
4. Guinea pigs have lots of character
We’ve said it many times, but we’ll say it again: every pig is different - and it’s one of our top reasons for loving the adorable floofs as much as we do! The cute cavies have so much character, you’ll be surprised there’s this much sass (and love) in the little animals.
Some guinea pigs are shy, some are bold. Some are sweet, others are cheeky. Once you’ve spent time with your floofy friends, you’ll know to appreciate their individuality. And if you’re looking for pigs with a specific character, you can spend some time getting to know them before you take them home. Most shelters will let you meet their guinea pigs before you offer them their new forever home. And hopefully, you and your guinea pigs are a match made in piggy heaven!
Guinea pigs are good pets because they have so much individual character.
5. Guinea pigs are oh so cute
We know we probably don’t need to tell you… but guinea pigs are stinkin’ cute! And while they’re as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside, there’s no denying that their adorable looks make them a popular choice as pets. And with such a variety in fur types and colors, there’s no lack of piggy beauty to choose from!
Did you know that there are over 40 different breeds of guinea pigs? Although the American Cavy Breeders Association only recognizes 13 of them, it’s a different matter across the pond, with the British Cavy Council counting more than three times as many breeds. And these breeds have long hair, short hair, floofy hair, and even no hair whatsoever. And then there’s different coat colors, and even different markings. So when you pick out your future companions, they can look as different as dog breeds do. And each piggy is sure to delight the human eye.
Whatever hairdo your future pigs are sporting, we already know they’ll be wheeking adorable!
6. Piggy Popcorn Parties
Guinea pigs have a very special way to show they’re happy - and no, it’s not clapping their paws. When piggies are excited, they popcorn. This means they jump into the air, often over and over again, in between zoomies. So if you see your sweet floofs hopping about their cage, it means they’re extremely happy and excited about something.
The behavior is known as popcorning because it looks like the pigs pop into the air, like corn does when it’s heated. How cute is that? Young piggies usually popcorn a lot more than their senior friends, so don’t worry if your older pigs don’t hop around in excitement. They’re still happy, they just express it differently.
Piggies popcorning around look like they have no control over what they’re doing, which makes this so much more pure! The sweet floofs are too excited to control their behavior. It’s as much fun to watch as it is to do, we’re pretty sure.
And if popcorning doesn’t show that guinea pigs are good pets, we don’t know what does!
7. Guinea pigs wheek
Another guinea pig term that new piggy parents get familiar with pretty quickly is wheeking. Our furry friends make all kinds of noises, from quiet chatting to rumbling to show annoyance, and loud wheeks to let their hoomans know they’re ready for dinner.
Wheeking is usually a sign of excitement, but what’s really interesting about it is that the pigs have learned to use this sound specifically with people. Just like cats have a special meow for humans only, guinea pigs use the wheek to subtly remind their cavy carers that the food bowl is empty. Aren’t they just really clever?!
Another sound piggies make is purring. Occasionally, guinea pigs purr like cats to show they’re happy and comfortable. This purr is a calm, relaxed sound that often goes hand in hand with their body language. But be careful - the annoyed rumbling piggies do sounds similar to a purr. Watch your pets carefully to find out exactly what they’re saying to you. Soon, you’ll be a guinea pig whisperer!
8. Their routine can match yours
Unlike dogs, guinea pigs don’t need to go on walks. So there’s no need to get up at 5am before work to take them out, and you won’t have them scratching at your bedroom door if you’re sleeping in. Instead, you can match their routine to your own.
That said, guinea pigs do get into a routine easily. So if you feed them breakfast at 8 every morning during the week, they’ll probably wheek at 8.10am on the wheekend, if their breakfast runs late. It’s still not as strict as a dog’s daily routine, but most piggies thrive on a level of consistency when it comes to feeding, cleaning, and cuddle times.
As part of their daily routine, guinea pigs like to have a serving of fresh veggies, a big pile of high-quality hay, and fresh water. Their cage should also get a daily spot clean and a regular full clean. Plus, a weekly health check with regular grooming keeps them in tip top condition.
And there you have your answer to the question, ‘Are guinea pigs good pets?’. Of course they are!
Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets for You?
Whether guinea pigs are the perfect pet for you really comes down to the time and care you invest in them. What goes around comes back around, and that’s very true for piggies. If you research their needs, give them the right care, and spend time with them, they’ll give you so much in return. But if you’re not sure you can commit to cavy care, it’s best to do some more research.
If you’re wondering what exactly your future floofs need, these 5 points are the most basic piggy needs:
- Cute Companions: guinea pigs need to live in pairs or herds of the same sex because the adorable floofers are very social creatures.
- Decent Diet: piggies need lots of hay, fresh veggies, pellets, and enough vitamin C in their diet.
- Large Living Space: the right guinea pig cage keeps your pigs entertained and also healthy since it gets them moving. A C&C cage is the ideal option.
- Quality Time: piggies are smart, and they like to be busy or they could get bored. Quality time with their human, as well as toys and boredom breakers are key to happy guinea pigs.
- Healthcare: guinea pigs are prone to getting sick, so weekly check-ups and annual trips to the vet help prevent serious piggy illness. Cavy-savvy vets can be pricey, so it’s a good idea to insure them or have a fund for emergencies.
If you can provide your future pigs with all of these needs, you’ll have happy and healthy guinea pigs that brighten your home for years to come!
Frequently Asked Questions about Guinea Pigs as Pets
Are Guinea Pigs Good First Pets?
Guinea pigs can be good first pets if their new piggy parents do plenty of research before they commit to their cavies. The furry friends aren’t as easy to care for as many people think, so it can help to speak to experienced cavy carers.
Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets for Kids?
Guinea pigs can be brilliant pets for kids with their loving, friendly personalities. However, it’s important to note that they’re best suited to older children because of their fragile spines that can get damaged easily.
Parents should always supervise their kids around the piggies.
Are Guinea Pigs Good Apartment/Indoor Pets?
Yes, guinea pigs do much better as indoor pets than outdoors. They can absolutely live in an apartment, though it’s important to remember the sweet floofs need a lot of space, so piggy parents should make sure they have the room their pets need.