Why guinea pigs make great family pets
Guinea pigs make wonderful companions. These chatty little creatures are sociable, gentle and fun, and they’re absolutely full of character! Piggies can be great pets for children, provided there’s an adult responsible for making sure they get the care they need. Here are five reasons why guinea pigs are such family friendly pets.
1. Guinea pigs are friendly and easy to tame
Just like any of our small furry friends, guinea pigs may be a bit nervous when they first move into a new home and meet their owners. But if you build up their confidence with gentle handling, these little creatures don’t take long to settle in and become happy members of the family.
What’s more, tame piggies don’t just tolerate attention – they love it! Guinea pigs are really social, and they like to be stroked, cuddled and hand-fed. Since they’re so friendly, guinea pigs can make great companions for children. As with any family pet though, it’s important that children are taught how to hold them and play with them safely, and that young children are supervised when spending time with their furry friends.
2. Piggies are chatty little characters
Guinea pigs are certainly little characters and every piggie will have their own personality. Some will be very affectionate, while others are more excitable or cheeky. Children will love getting to know each pet by their behaviour and the noises they make.
And what a selection of noises there are! Guinea pigs are chatty creatures and you’ll likely hear all manner of chortles, squeaks and grunts while they’re going about their normal business. There’s also the famous guinea pig ‘wheek’ – the loud squeak or whistle they make when they’re excited. Watch out for some wheeking while you’re preparing your piggie’s favourite treats!
Guinea pigs also coo as a sign of affection, and they even purr as well. A low purring sound is often a sign of a happy piggie, but a more high-pitched purr can indicate annoyance. All in all, these talkative little creatures have always got something to say and they never fail to keep us entertained!
3. There are lots of ways to set up a happy home for guinea pigs
When you’re choosing a family friendly pet, one of the first things to consider is whether you’re able to accommodate your furry friend and cater for their needs. Guinea pigs do need a fair amount of space (the RSPCA advises an area of at least 2.5m2 for a pair), but the good news is that there are many ways to make this space in your home. Guinea pigs can live happily both indoors and outdoors and there are lots of fab ideas you can use when setting up their enclosures.
If you’re keeping your pets indoors, you can provide them with a large guinea pig cage or even give them their very own room! If it isn’t easy to partition off the right space, you can get creative with indoor cages – there are modular options that give the flexibility to fit round different shaped spaces in your home.
Outdoor piggies typically live in a hutch and run, but you can also convert a shed or Wendy house into a piggie paradise. If you’re looking for tips on making a new home for guinea pigs, check out our blogs on indoor setups and outdoor hutches.
4. It’s easy to fit guinea pig care into your normal routine
Some family pets are a bigger commitment than others – for example, dogs need loads of your time what with walking and training! In comparison, guinea pigs are easier to look after, but they still need care and attention to keep them healthy and happy.
So, what care do you need to provide? In terms of routine tasks, the first thing to think about is that your piggies will need fresh food and water every day. As a guide, a guinea pig’s diet should be about 80% hay, topped up with some fresh veggies and a portion of good-quality guinea pig food supplemented with Vitamin C, such as Science Selective Guinea Pig.
It’s also important to do a quick spot clean of the enclosure every day and a more thorough clean once a week, as well as looking after your pet’s coat with regular grooming. That’s the basics as regards food and hygiene, but there’s also your piggie’s social needs to consider. Guinea pigs will need at least one companion of the same species to live with, and they love interaction with their human friends too!
5. Guinea pigs are long-lived for small pets
Compared to our other small rodent pals, guinea pigs are relatively long-lived. The typical guinea pig lifespan is about five to seven years, whereas mice and hamsters may live up to three years. This long lifespan means the whole household can form a long-term bond with their pet.
There is another side to the coin though: when you take on a young guinea pig you’ll need to think about whether you’ll be able to care for them all their life. As children get older they may end up with less time for their pets, and it’s not unusual for parents to end up looking after the family piggies once children have grown up and moved out.
All in all, if you’re able to commit to caring for them, guinea pigs are adorable little characters who make great family friendly pets. If you’d like to find out about the ways we can pamper our piggies, check out our blog on celebrating guinea pigs.