Choosing Pet Guinea Pigs
Before getting any pet, you need to consider whether is it the right sort of animal for you, and whether you can give it the care and attention it needs for the rest of its life. Guinea Pigs live for about 5-7 years on average, but exceptionable ones can live for twice that long. Guinea pigs are suitable for children, but the parents must understand that young children need supervision. A Guinea Pig might live long enough that the child becomes a young adult and leaves home, possibly leaving their beloved pet behind. Any pet is a family responsibility.
Where to get your Guinea Pig
have a shelter nearby that looks after abandoned animals and unwanted pets, you
can contact your local animal shelters and you may find a Guinea Pig that needs
a new home.
A few places may even have a dedicated Guinea Pig rescue centre.
The second-best place to buy a Guinea Pig is usually a small-scale breeder. The breeder should be able to tell you about caring for your pet.
Logically, the place to buy a pet is a pet shop, but not all people who work in pet shops really know a lot about the animals they sell, even if they are good at talking and pretend to know. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to find a pet shop owner or worker who really knows about Guinea Pigs.
Whoever you buy your pet from should be able to tell you the age and sex of all the Guinea Pigs they have for sale. They should also tell you if a female Guinea Pig could be pregnant. A good breeder or pet shop keeper will know if the female has been with a male in the previous 10 weeks and will warn you that she could be pregnant.
Things to look for
Guinea Pigs are social animals by nature and may be happier in pairs rather than by themselves, so ideally you should get two. If they are males, kept together and obviously not fighting, two males are a good choice and you can be sure they aren't going to have babies. Two females, as long as you know they haven't been with a male for at least ten weeks, are also a good choice.
A healthy Guinea Pig will be alert, and is normally nervous with new people or situations. One of their defensive reactions is to "freeze". Another reaction is to run away, either to their home, or just randomly. Their wild ancestors had a lot of enemies, including birds of prey and Guinea Pigs are nervous about things above them.
Their coats should be clean and have no bald patches. Healthy Guinea Pigs look a bit fat, but definitely not obese. There should be no obvious lumps, swellings or scabs.
Guinea Pig eyes should be wide open and bright and there should be no discharge from the eyes, nose or ears.
Guinea Pigs are rodents and their teeth are vitally important. They should be well aligned, and not overgrown.
Guinea Pigs are small animals and normally their breathing is almost inaudible to human adults. If their breathing sounds loud or laboured there is something wrong.