View Full Version : Absolutely no clue what I'm doing.

12-06-14, 08:10 pm
Hi everyone! After careful consideration, my husband and I have decided to buy a guinea pig for our 9 year old son. We haven't bought anything yet as I am an avid 'research before I purchase anything' type person. I figured I could gain a great amount of information from people who already own these special little animals. So, my plan is to purchase a cage (I'll be heading to the cage forum next) and all of the important necessary items BEFORE we take our son to get his new friend. So, I hope to be able to get plenty of information and help from here. Off to do more research!

12-06-14, 08:14 pm
First of all, thank you so much for researching this first! Guinea pigs aren't actually good pets for children. They are more suitable for adults or family pets with any children handling them being supervised by adults. That said, don't let that discourage you. If you are interested in guinea pigs in general they make great pets if looked after properly. These are some of the pages I would suggest you read:


and all of the sections in this care guide which covers just about all of the basics you need to know:


If you are able to pop unto the chatroom at the bottom of the website I'd be happy to help you with any questions on the spot if you have any further questions as you read the website and forums :)

12-06-14, 08:32 pm
Thanks for the links. I'll be sure to read over them!

12-06-14, 08:35 pm

I recommend that you adopt a pair of guinea pigs from a local rescue or shelter, as opposed to buying one. Guinea pigs need a companion of their own species! And if you get an already established pair from a rescue, you don't have to go through an introduction process. You can look for one on www.petfinder.com , or www.guineapigzone.com .

12-06-14, 08:40 pm
I don't want to scare you or anything, but be careful what you are getting yourself into... I wanted to get a guinea pig and did some research myself and realised that the "old ways" of owning a guinea pig were all wrong. Next thing I know I have FOUR! It's only a year later! I even have framed pictures of them on my living room wall. But they take A LOT of work if cared for properly, way more than I think a dog would have been. (Unless you make a daily salad for your dog, pick up his poops 3x a day, take him on a hour long walk daily, wash his bedding once/twice a week, clean out his anal sac etc). lol Guinea pigs are very good at hiding illness, and can have health issues from overbreeding, so you have to take extra care with diet, handling, and you MUST take them to a vet for any issues that come up (which can get expensive). With proper housing and care they can live well over 5 years (some up to 9 or 10) so also keep that in mind as your son grows older. They really can become an obsession, but I am not sure a 9 year old would find them as entertaining, and you may find yourself taking all the responsibility.

12-06-14, 08:49 pm
Thanks for all of the replies. This is why I am doing my research to make sure we are fully prepared for taking care of them. I'm sure at some point in time my son may lose interest in them. However, if that happens it will not be an issue as I will take care of them regardless of his interest. NO pet should be just discarded because a child loses interest! Since we live a pretty healthy lifestyle here at home, I think making an extra salad on the side won't be an issue. ;)

12-06-14, 08:52 pm
Welcome, and thank you so much for researching before jumping into anything :D

I'm very happy that you'll be buying a C&C from the cage store. Most commercial cages are not adequate for guinea pigs, they don't offer nearly enough room.
I agree with foggycreekcavy entirely. I highly recommend adopting a pair of pigs. Along with the places she suggested, you can also check out your local animal shelters, craigslist, and guinea pig groups of FaceBook. I suggest getting at least a 2x4 for a pair of females and a 2x5 for a pair of males. Obviously get a same gendered pair unless one is fixed, to prevent pregnancy.

Here is just a basic run down of some stuff, but it's very basic so please do continue your research.

Guinea Pig Feeding Needs
Each day, every pig needs:
-Unlimited grass hay (timothy, orchard, etc.. there are many options!)
-1 cup of pig safe vegetables, high in vitamin C and low/high in calcium, depending on the pigs age (pigs under 6 months need a lot of calcium, pigs over 6 months need minimum calcium)
-1/8 cup of high quality pellets
-Unlimited water

Keep in mind this is PER pig, so at least double that because pigs are social animals and should have a friend of the same species :)

If you get young pigs (under 6 months old), they will need an extra source of calcium. This can be done in 1 of 3 ways.
1) Supplement alfalfa hay with your long strand grass hay (1/3 alfalfa to 2/3 grass hay)
2) Feed alfalfa based pellet instead of timothy based pellet
3) Feed vegetables high in calcium (a few strands of parsley daily will do the trick)

Bedding Options
There are a ton of bedding options. I highly suggest doing pine pellets under fleece, and using pine pellets in the kitchen area. Pine should be kiln dried. Other options include towels or UHaul pads under fleece. You can also use disposable bedding. Cedar is off limits, it can make pigs very ill.

The smaller the cage, the quicker it gets dirty... another reason why "bigger is always better" ^.^

A "kitchen area" is an area separated from the remainder of the cage using some sort of tray. It has to be large enough to fit both your pigs, their hay, the water bottles, and food dishes. You use disposable bedding in this area. Many people have a kitchen area because it helps cut down on mess. It's hard to litter train guinea pigs (it literally just depends on the pig and whether or not they want to take to it), so this is sort of a sneaky way to get around that, because a lot of guinea pigs poop where they eat.

Vet Care
Guinea pigs are not a pet with a short life span. If taken care of well, they can live up to 10 years.
If they fall ill or get injured, you will not be able to take them to a normal cat and dog vet. They do not have the knowledge or training to properly care for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are an exotic animal, so you will need to find an cavy-savvy exotics vet specialist. Obviously, like with all animals, medical care is not cheap. Please keep in mind that guinea pigs live for a long time if cared for properly, but you will most likely be visiting a vet AT LEAST once in that time. Guinea pigs are prey animals and hide their illnesses extremely well, as a survival technique. That means that once you start noticing symptoms there is *no* time to wait and you must get your pig to the exotics vet ASAP. There isn't time to lose once you notice symptoms.

12-06-14, 09:02 pm
I'm glad you decided to research first.

GPs aren't the "pocket pets" many think they are. Most say they aren't for kids, but it truly depends on your child. You know your child best. If you really believe that he will not get "bored" with the piggy and forget about it, than you may be able to get him a cavy. However, you have to be able to take on the financial responsibility of a pet and get it high-quality food, a large (NOT PET-STORE-large, really large) cage, emergency vet fund, etc. I think it would benefit everyone to have the pig be a family pet and not belong solely to your child. It helps in the long run to have the animal be a part of your family, not a "possession."

If you decide guinea pigs are right for your family, ADOPT, don't shop! Overpopulation is already an issue that pet stores only make worse. And your cavy may be sick or even pregnant! Take it from me, my brother bought me a pig from Petsmart... A few weeks later, she had pups! You don't want to go through the stress of knowing your guinea pig could die from the pregnancy, believe me.

If you have any questions AT ALL, feel free to ask me or another member of the forum, we're happy to assist :)

12-06-14, 09:24 pm
Hi and welcome to the forum! It's excellent that you are researching first so you can have everything ready. Good luck, and if you do get piggies we love to see pigtures!

12-06-14, 11:41 pm
Welcome to the forum! I have two kids, now ages 16 and 17, i have guinea pigs for ME!! They can help if they want, but they are all mine...lol

12-15-14, 02:08 am
I reccomend really looking into there diets, you never ever want to feed your pig wrong thing, another thin you can do to make sure you know whem he or she is sick, way them once a week, if she loses over 3 ounces, you should take him or her to the vet, that way you cetch it early before there so sick its obiviouse and tere is no chance in them living, when they get a respratory problem they can die with in 2 days so if your pig is not eating, drinking, running aroun, always in hidey spot, take them to the et because thats how m pig clover died...another thing to look for is diaria(probly didnt spell that right XD), if your pig developes diaria, you can get this drink at walmart or safe way, where ever they sell baby products, you will find pidia light(didnt spell that right eather), its like a gatoraid or sports drink for babys....the flavorless has no sugar and rehydraits them well, that is what i used for my pig feather when she got diaria amd she is all better...hope this helps :D