An Honest Mom’s CommentThis comment was from a different forum many years ago.
Honestly, this is mostly true for many people and guinea pigs. If you are looking for a more interesting, dynamic pet -- pet rats are a great alternative. Do you have a problem with their tails? Eh, learn to love them! Seriously. Pet rats are sturdier with kids, more fun to watch, eat a greater variety of food (less fussy), don’t take up as much space, aren’t as expensive overall and don’t live as long (less of a long-term of a commitment). There are a number of really cute breeds as well. (“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change!” Wayne Dyer)They are boring. I say that with all the guinea pig love in my heart, but they are. Most (but not all) children will become bored with guinea pigs...what you saw when you spent the first 10 minutes with one is what you get. They are not intelligent, and they will not bond closely with you. The good: they are adorable. They are very, very sweet in their own little 'clueless' kind of way. They do respond voraciously for food, so you can get some interaction that way.
This is in part why we say guinea pigs are overrated as kids’ pets. Most of the time, the expectations of what life with guinea pigs is going to be like is different from the day-to-day reality. But, the reason most people think they are boring is because they typically have just one guinea pig living in a too small cage with nothing in the cage to make life remotely interesting for the animal.
The Fix is In!When guinea pigs have a friend in a good, properly-sized cage environment their behavior can come alive and you’ll enjoy them so much more. It’s very important to avoid the standard ""pet store starter experience"" of bringing home a single guinea pig in a store-bought cage and putting it in your child’s bedroom.
Biggest Myth Busted — Great Kids’ Pets?
Guinea Pigs ... Overrated as Kids' Pets ... Underrated as Adults' Pets!If you’re a young adult trying to convince your parents that you are beyond ready for guinea pigs, take heart in this. Odds are good that your parents will fall in love <3 if this is a family project because guinea pigs make great pets for adults too! Parents may not realize it yet, but they are in for a treat.
When you do it right, guinea pigs can't be beat. You'll fall in love (if you haven't already). But make no mistake, these are not easy, low-maintenance 'starter' pets either. We're here to help you find your best path forward. It just takes a committed effort.
Is there an ideal age for children and guinea pigs?Levels of maturity, dexterity and ability to understand things differ from person to person, but generally speaking, the ideal age range for starting with guinea pigs is around 9 to 11 years old. 6 and younger is really too young without constant supervision. 7 - 8 is borderline. If starting at an older age, just be aware that you may still have guinea pigs when your teen has moved on and gets busy with a new life.
Not sure about guinea pigs?
- Try temporary guardianship first!
- Clean some cages
Very few cute guinea pig pictures on the net show messy cages and the work involved in keeping them clean. It's not a fun prospect to dwell on, but it's the big issue in keeping caged animals -- the work involved: cage cleaning, feeding, watering, shopping, vet visits, etc. It's easy to assume it away, especially when you see some cute guinea pig that you must have! If you are lucky enough to have a good rescue in your area -- even if it’s a bit of a drive -- you might want to consider volunteering for cage cleaning day.
Ask the rescue or shelter to allow your kids to clean the cages. Many won’t but some will. This can be a great eye-opener, especially if the parents are expecting their kids to help clean the cage.
The Parent Trap! Frequently asked questions from young adults on how to get their parents on board with guinea pigs!
How can I talk my parents into allowing me to GET guinea pigs?
his question comes up all the time on our forum. Here are some forum topics (threads) with great discussions and suggestions.
- So my kid wants a guinea pig
GPC Forum, 2015, 90+ replies. The question in reverse -- smart kids will pay attention.
- Need help convincing parent to get a guinea pig
GPC Forum, 2013, 10+ replies
- How did you convince your parents to let you get a guinea pig?
From 2013, 10+ replies
- Convincing Parents
GPC Forum, 2007, 20+ replies
How can I talk my parents into letting me adopt ANOTHER guinea pig?
Another popular question on our forum. Here are some forum topics with great ideas.
- Convincing Parents for a 2nd Piggie
GPC Forum, 2015, 20+ replies
- Want to adopt more but parents say NO
GPC Forum, 2014, 10+ replies
- Not allowed to own two pigs because of parents Help!
GPC Forum, 2014, 40+ replies
Most parents think of one guinea pig in a small cage on a dresser in a bedroom when they visualize pet guinea pigs. Times have changed (even if pet store products haven't). You need to get them updated on what kind of habitat guinea pigs really need. Here are some suggestions from our forum.
- Need help convincing parents to get a C&C Cage!
GPC Forum, 2014, 30+ replies
- Convincing Parents to get a Bigger Cage
GPC Forum, 2013, 50+ replies
- HELP! Parents won't let me have a C&C cage!
GPC Forum, 2012, 40+ replies
- C&C Cage - convincing my parents & more
GPC Forum, 2011, 30+ replies
- Parents won't get cage
GPC Forum, 2015, 10+ replies
- Parents won't let me make a C&C Cage
GPC Forum, 2009, 30+ replies
This is where the true test of family commitment comes into play. It can be inconvenient and sometimes costly to get your guinea pig proper healthcare when needed. Your guinea pigs need to be considered a part of the family. Also, when guinea pigs are sick, time is usually of the essence. Parents need to understand the basics of guinea pig health.
- WORRIED! Can't take to vet!
GPC Forum, 2013, 40+ replies
This is usually more of an issue in the UK, where keeping guinea pigs outdoors is more socially ingrained. But, even in the US, many people still think that pets belong outside. We cover this topic more thoroughly under Cage Location.
- Parents won't let me keep guineas inside
GPC Forum, 2013, 20+ replies
Most people see all the massively cute guinea pig cage photos with cute fleece bedding and accessories. But, when it comes down to it, many Moms are reluctant to allow guinea pig bedding and cozies to be washed in the family washing machine. Unless going to a laundry mat is already an easy and frequent habit, you'll need to get over this hang up.
More interesting reading about kids and guinea pigs
- Kids and Guinea Pigs -- Fact, Fiction & Fun
""Kids and Guinea Pigs have been synonymous for years and years…”
- A Note About Kids & Cavies
“Please, do not adopt any pet to teach your child ""responsibility"". It's almost always at the cost of the animal’s health and well being.…”
- Right Age to Care for Animals
GPC Forum, 2014, 20+ replies
- Thinking about kids and pets
GPC Forum, 2015, 20+ replies
- Parent trouble in general: search results on “Parent”
Lots of great threads about parents!