If you are currently considering becoming a guinea pig owner or perhaps are thinking of adding another piggy to your herd, we know very well how exciting this time can be. As you prepare for your new arrival, we know you will be making many important decisions along the way, such as choosing the right cage size, selecting your guinea pig’s bedding, and more! But, amongst all these choices, one of the biggest decisions you will make is where to get your guinea pigs from in the first place.
Whilst there are many places to choose from, such as pet shops or breeders, did you know that there are many rescues and sanctuaries dedicated to rehoming guinea pigs?
Read on to find out more on why we think you should consider getting guinea pigs from a rescue first before looking elsewhere!
10 great reasons why you should adopt a guinea pig from a rescue
Reason #1: You will be supporting a reputable source
When getting guinea pigs, many people will often consider pet shops as one of the best places to get their new furried friends. They cater to a wide variety of pets after all! However, whether large or small, for some pet shops, this may not always be the case!
Most pet shops prioritize products and information for mainstream pets such as cats or dogs and many shop owners will not have enough knowledge on the specific needs of niche pets such as guinea pigs. For instance, many pet shops often stock products that are considered unsafe for guinea pigs. This includes items such as exercise balls or wheels, which further illustrates that guinea pig knowledge can be limited in some areas.
At a rescue, you will be supporting a reputable source where staff and volunteers are often guinea pig owners themselves. You can be assured that the animals in their care are being properly looked after as animal welfare is at the forefront of what they do. Rescues will have frequent cleaning schedules in place to ensure their environment is hygienic as well as scheduled top ups for food and water.
Reason #2: Guinea pig rescues provide a second chance at a forever home
Guinea pigs can arrive to rescues for a variety of reasons, and almost always through no fault of their own. It is often due to the original pet owner’s change of circumstances where they are sadly no longer able to look after their pets. In these cases, rescues are there to provide these animals with shelter, love and care while they search for a match. By choosing to adopt, you will be giving these guinea pigs a second chance at finding their forever home!
Reason #3: Established guinea pig bonds
Guinea pigs are social animals. They can become incredibly lonely if they do not have at least one other friend to bond with. That’s why rescues or any other reputable establishment will never adopt out one guinea pig, unless it is to bond them with an existing piggy.
When it comes to bonds, just like us, guinea pigs will have their own preferences when choosing their friends. Sometimes pairings can become tricky to get right or can break down over time. For more information, be sure to check out our guide on how to successfully bond guinea pigs.
If you are new to guinea pigs or find the bonding process particularly stressful, rescues may be a great option for you as many of the guinea pigs available are already in existing pairings with established bonds!
Reason #4: Guinea pig speed dating for solo pets
Do you currently have a solo guinea pig? There are many situations where this can occur! Perhaps you have a piggy that is finding it difficult to bond with another or has sadly become lonely due to the passing of their friend. In any situation, it is important to try to find another guinea pig for them to pair up with, in order to prevent loneliness.
Guinea pig rescues often offer matchmaking services where they will help find the perfect match for your furried singleton. Trained rescue staff will arrange one on one introductions with your solo piggy so that they can assess whether the pairing is likely to work out and will allow you to keep trying until a perfect match is found.
Reason #5: Adoptions free up more space for other animals waiting to be rescued
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there are over 6 million animals that are received at shelters each year. This is a staggering statistic as so many pets are rescued or surrendered every day in the United States, let alone the rest of the world. Rescue facilities often reach up to full capacity due to the immense need for their services.
When choosing a place to find your guinea pigs, consider taking a look at rescues first. You will not only help guinea pigs find their forever home but your adoption will also open up more space at the facility to allow other pets to have a chance at finding their forever home too.
Reason #6: Correct identification of sex
In some cases, new pet owners have discovered that either one or both of their guinea pigs have become pregnant, shortly after bringing them home. Despite being told that they were bringing home guinea pigs of the same sex, wrong identification by inexperienced pet shop staff, can result in unplanned pregnancies.
As cute as the prospect of baby guinea pigs sound, pregnant and nursing sows require a lot of care and support to ensure both mum and babies are healthy. Not something many new pet owners are equipped to handle!
Guinea pig rescues have trained volunteers and staff that are experienced with sexing guinea pigs. This will help ensure you do not have any unexpected surprises when bringing your little ones home.
Reason #7: Better insight into your guinea pigs’ health history
At non-rescue facilities, animal care can vary which may not always be at its best to ensure guinea pigs are healthy or well cared for.
When surrendered to rescues, guinea pigs will have health checks performed by experienced cavy savvy vets to ensure piggies receive a clean bill of health before becoming available for adoptions. In the case where a condition is found, rescues will ensure that prospective pet owners are well aware to ensure that they are the right fit to meet the guinea pig’s care needs.
In the case of guinea pigs arriving in poor health, such malnourishment in situations such as neglect, rescue staff will work alongside vets to help guinea pigs recover back to their normal healthy selves.
Reason #8: Adoption fees directly support other guinea pigs at the rescue
Many guinea pig rescues are registered charities which are solely run by volunteers with no monetary gain. This means that these facilities are not made for profit but with the sole purpose to help animals in need. When adopting your guinea pig from a rescue, your guinea pig’s adoption fees are put to good use! Many facilities will use these fees to go directly back into the rescue to pay for running costs to support the other animals waiting to be adopted out. This includes food, cleaning products, gas for vehicles used to transport animals, and more!
Reason #9: Cut down on overpopulation
Breeders who raise guinea pigs out of passion and love for these small pets will often do so in a responsible way. These individuals will take the appropriate precautions to ensure all pets are in good health and well cared for.
Sadly, some individuals or larger operations breed guinea pigs or other small pets solely for profit and compromise on the animal’s welfare. These types of facilities are commonly referred to as guinea pig farms, where piggies are often kept in crowded cages, fed poor diets, or can be isolated in small cages resulting in poorly adjusted guinea pigs.
By adopting from a rescue, you are not supporting guinea pig farms and making a conscious decision to favor facilities with strong values for proper animal care.
Reason #10: Guinea pig rescues provide ongoing advice
Welcoming new guinea pigs into your home is exciting but can also become overwhelming if you haven’t owned them in the past. There are a lot of aspects of their care to consider. To help guide you on your pet owner journey, rescues are often very supportive in providing tips and advice post-adoption. This can be in the form of vet recommendations, instructions on how to trim nails, education on skin care or diet, and more!
If you are looking to own guinea pigs for the first time or perhaps, are looking to welcome another guinea pig into your herd, consider supporting a rescue or sanctuary first. In addition to giving guinea pigs a second chance at finding their forever home, there are plenty more reasons why you should #adoptnotshop!