View Full Version : New Member / New Cavy Owner

02-28-06, 02:09 am
Hello. I am a new Guinea Pig owner, this being my first ever. I have been doing a lot of internet research and have read many things but I wanted some practical feedback from people who have owned Cavies. My main question is about the fact that I bought my Cavy before reading that it is ideal to have at least 2. The problem is, my husband would not be comfortable with me getting a 2nd one and now I'm unsure of what to do. Has anyone here successfully raised 1 Guinea Pig? If so, what tips could you give me to make life enjoyable for my pet? I have quickly fallen in love with him and and am not eager to give him up. By the way, my Cavy is a short-haired male, if that makes any difference.

Another concern I have is that I have noticed him sneezing from time to time. His nose and eyes are clear so I wondered if I should be alarmed by this. Any advice on these two topics would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I am looking forward to building a wonderful cage and play area for my new pet. I am certain this site will be a wonderful resource to me.


02-28-06, 07:33 am
I am new to this too but I would think you will be ok with just the one if you give it plenty of attention, etc. Alot of people have just one and rarely you will find a bossy piggy that just won't tolerate others. However since you only recently got your one maybe with time your husband would warm up to the idea of more.

My husband is not really an animal guy and did not grow up around them, he tolerated my adopting our first 2, we got 2 as they were a bonded pair already. Well then he started watching me and the kids interacting with them and the next thing I knew I would find him at their cage petting them and feeding them. He is the one who suggested adopting 1 more and we will be able to go pick up our third, a nuetered male today! We have 9 in a shelter near our home to choose from. They spay and neuter all of theirs pre-adoption. I have set up a quarantine and recovery room for him and we are all very excited to go and get him this afternoon.

02-28-06, 08:05 am
Ok, it is not acceptable to raise one guinea pig. It does not matter how much human attention we give, it still will not be the same. We need human companion, they need guinea pig interaction! Now, a lot of people on this forum do not have one pig, usually 2 or more. Anyway, it is not like you can spend 24 hours a day with the pig. So, another pig is a must!

So, please persuade your husband to get another one. If I were in your position, I would get one anyway :D. Obviously you would need to get another boar (not sow), but I get the feeling you bought your current one? If so, please adopt next time. Try www.petfinder.com (http://www.petfinder.com)

How often is the sneezing? Mine will sneeze perhaps 1-2 times a day. It *could* be the early signs of a URI - do a seearch on www.guinealynx.com (http://www.guinealynx.com) for more information. Keep an eye on his nose/eyes and if the sneezing continues you must get the little guy to a vet. Their condition can deterioate quickly

Oh, and welcome to the forums! :)

02-28-06, 08:14 am
Jakki, sneezing is not normal if he is doing it frequently. It is like us, we may sometimes sneeze, but if we sneeze a lot we are getting sick, the same with them. You may want to have a vet check him, it is a good idea anyways seeing he is a new pet and you always want to have a vet and know they are good before you REALLY NEED one.

I have always owned just one guinea pig at a time, until I learned more about them. I still have a five year old boar homed seperately and he has been his entire life. Right now he does have a male and female "next door" that he can talk to though. I think he is just as happy as they are, more vocal than they are, and loves to be held all the time. He has been my only pig for years until I recently adopted my other two. I do not think he was affected by being alone, and even now with "having new neighbors" he does not even bother with them. I do believe it really depends on your pig, their personality, they are so different. My other two pigs absolutely love one another and scream when they can not see the other one. They chirp to each other, sleep together, and I even have to hold both of them at the sametime or it upsets them to be apart. They are very much in love and very bonded, yet also love to be held and cuddled by me. I do think if at all possible you should have more than one pig, but if you honestly can't you need to spend LOTS of quality lap time with him and talk to him all the time. They will become very depressed and lazy if they get no interaction and will basically only sleep and eat. I understand you "have fallen in love with him and are not eager to give him up", but if you work all day, have small children, have other responsibilities that do not allow you to spend a lot of time with him you really need to do what is in his best interest and get him a friend.

02-28-06, 08:18 am
Ok, I think that most guinea pigs prefer to lie in their cages than be on our laps. So, like I said before for me, it doesn't matter how much attention we give because it not the same. I don't give my pigs that much lap time but they are so happy being with each other without me and my big ol' hands

02-28-06, 12:16 pm
I think having two guinea pigs is not much MORE work or mess than just one. Tell your husband they will be housed together and you will still only have just one cage. And I wish you luck :). It is true that a single pig will get lonely by itself, especially if it is young. However, if you got an older pig he may not want a friend. I know I got a 4 year old for my first pig and everyone said get her a friend. Well I tried two different "friends" and lets just say the atmosphere was not very friendly. Not all pigs want a friend, but if you have a younger pig, it would probably be nice if you could convince your husband.
As far as the sneezing goes, my Swiper has always sneezed more than the average bear. I think she may just be more sensitive to certain smells and just sneezes from time to time. Your pig could be like this, but these are the other signs of a respiratory infection: eye or nose goop, lethargy and definately if you notice a loss in appetite it is a BIG red flag. You didn't say how long you've had him or where you got him. But a word of caution, if you got him from a petstore... petstore guinea pigs are quite notorious for having respiratory infections, so keep a close eye on him.

02-28-06, 12:35 pm
Hi, Welcome to the forum!

In your origanal post you said you bought your pig. Any petstore pig tends to have health issues. If he is sneezeing please call the vet immediatley. Chances are he has a URI and if it goes untreated, he will die. I would also treat him for mites as well. He does need a same sex friend. I had my first pig Hansel for 4 months before I was able to adopt a second pig...and I thought he was happy...well when I adopted Charlie I now see how important it is for them to have a companion (they both LOVE each other). Two pigs really isnt anymore work than one. Please adopt and get your piggy to the vet.

02-28-06, 01:56 pm
First of all, Welcome to the forum!

Secondly, Weaver, your story about your two love birds (Boris and Natasha isn't it), is the most adorable story I have ever heard. They are like a couple madly in love with one another. It is so sweet.

And finally, Jakki, congratulations on your new family member. As he is new, it is always a good idea to take him to the vets, just for a check up and to get him registered at a vet, so I think that should be your first port of call and while you're at it, point out the sneezing to the vet. Also, a friend is very important. You are not going to be able to spend time with him 24/7 so he needs a companion of his own species. Tell your husband that you didn't realise that guinea pigs had to be housed with a frined and get him to imagine how he would feel living in one room on his own his whole life. That is how your GP will feel. Guilt him into saying yes and if that doesn't work, just get one anyway, you never know, he might not even notice and if he does notice, just say "but dear, we have always had two!" lol

Also, you should know that having 2 is no more work than having 1. I don't understand how that works, but it does.

Also, another thing about the sneezing. If the vet says that he does not have a URI and that the sneezing is nothing to worry about, it might just be that he has a more sensitive nose than average. My Misty used to sneeze a lot and the vet said she did not have a URI. Shortly after, I changed the bedding I used to fleece, rather than wood shavings and hey presto, she doesn't sneeze any more. So in my case, it was just a sensitive nose.

02-28-06, 02:03 pm
Thank you for all the helpful tips. To answer a few of the questions that have been posed: I got my pig about 2 weeks ago, the 15th. of February. I did get him at a pet store before I realized that could be an issue. I wouldn't have guessed that would be a problem but if I am able to bring in another I will avoid that in the future. In the meantime, I will definitely sett up a vet appointment for him. Also, I work from home and am able to spend a lot of time with my pig as I keep him in the same room with me most of the day. I was hoping this would make a difference in the event I am not able to get another.


02-28-06, 02:22 pm
I don't know if shelters in the US help you try and match up your pig's personality with other ones at the shelter. If not and it's just pot luck, I would recommend you ask for advice here on the forum as to what age to go for. There's lots of tips for introducing pigs to one another on the cavy spirit website I think. I think being in the same room as you would be the best thing for your cavy, as she/he will get your company and interaction more. Mine are in the room I spend most time in and I think they enjoy it. Pigs crave social interaction with their own species, being a herd animal, but if your hubby won't let you get one more a human slave such as yourself is a god replacement to fulfill a piggy's demands for attention! Is your husband maybe worried that two might smell? If so, I just switched to fleece with 2 pigs, and have found that the that was there before now isn't. For more info search the forum for fleece. Try to get your hubby to fall in love with the piggy, it doesn't take long!

02-28-06, 02:36 pm
I should have mentioned, if you get a friend, make sure they are the same sex or neutered!

02-28-06, 02:49 pm
It's definetly good that you are in the same room as him most of the time, but it still doesn't change the fact that he needs a piggy friend. Exhaust all avenues to getting a piggy friend before you decide it can't be done.

Let us know how the vets visit goes, and how about some pictures? Also, what is the little guy called?

02-28-06, 02:58 pm
Thank you for your help Muffin. The reason my husband is not comfortable with getting another Cavy is because he is concerned about the extra expense and responsibility. We already have 2 cats so I was fortunate enough to get a Guinea Pig and buy all his anemities only to find out we may have a vet bill to deal with if he's sick. He's worried that if we find out he is indeed sick and we take the steps to make sure he gets better, we could bring in another sick guinea pig and he would pass it back to the one we already have etc. Please understand that this is our first experience owning a guinea pig and so neither of us have experienced ownership and therefore he hasn't had a chance to get attached to him (it's only been 2 weeks, like I said in my last post). With time this will change but he seems to think we should worry about taking care of one before getting a 2nd. I am pretty sure some of his concern stems from the fact that years ago a breeder talked him into getting 2 bunnies instead of 1 and it was a disaster.


P.S. The avatar is of my pig, Bernard. He's still a baby, as you can see! Such a sweetie too.

Percy's Mom
02-28-06, 03:02 pm
Bernard is definitely a cutie. Make sure that all is well with him, and then you can start getting your husband to warm up to adopting a second. Other than the vet bills, caring for two is really no harder or more expensive than one, perhaps only marginally so, and watching them play and run around with each other makes it more than worth it. It takes time to get used to everything though, and I'm sure you'll find Bernard a piggy buddy eventually.

02-28-06, 03:02 pm
Oh, he is a cutie isn't he!

If you do get a new piggy, you will have to quarantine him before you introduce him to Bernard. This is to make sure that the newby isn't ill and so won't pass anything onto Bernard.

02-28-06, 04:26 pm
If you adopt a second pig from a resuce, they generally treat them when they come in for anything wrong with them. All you would need to do is quarentine for 2 weeks before you put them together. With that said its pretty easy!

02-28-06, 05:04 pm
hanna--he is such a cutie :) For right now let your main concern be getting Bernard on his feet and make sure he is well, that is the most important. Until than you have come to the right place to educate yourself all about the care of your new family addition. Guinea pigs are wonderful animals and it won't take long for hubby to see that too (especially when Bernard warm up to you both and begins talking everytime he hears or see you). They have a way of winning all of us over :) Take your time, read all you can, look through past posts, take your time, and last but not least, enjoy Bernard. It won't be long you and hubby will WANT to adopt another piggy, not just for Bernard but so you both can have a piggy in your lap at the sametime :)

Thanks Giplet---Boris and Natasha are really in love. I am really enjoying them. It is a good thing they like to be held because holding two pigs at one time when they both weigh well over 2 1/2lbs can be challenging :)

02-28-06, 05:52 pm
Welcome to the forum!

I was reading through the talk and was wondering what you have your piggie bedded down on? Mine sneezed more when they were on a pine bedding. I now use fleece all the time. I think the dust from the pine is what bothered them. I got my first from a pet store before I learned about the big overpopulation and mistreatment of breeder piggies. She came from the petstore with a bad URI and ringworm that didn't show up right away, and many other problems. Please have an exotics vet look at your fellow and check him over.

02-28-06, 06:21 pm
Some interesting develoments! I was talking to my sister up North because my husband and i are planning to visit for a couple days next week. Then we got to talking about Guinea Pigs because she bought her daughter one last Fall. Well, apparently no one has been paying much attention to it and it just sits in its cage alone day after day. My sister seemed less than thrilled about having it now that no one seems to take care of it so I asked her "are you planning to keep it" and right away she said "Oh would you like to take him?" and then asked her daughter if it would be ok before I even had a chance to answer. Her daughter seemed to care less so I told her I would talk to my husband and get back to her. Well, he was less than thrilled but I just may have convinced him based on how poorly they are treating the other one and now they would both have a friend! The idea is to get a look at him when we go up next week but I'll report back. This would obviously be ideal for both pigs! Funny thing I didn't realize is that not only did my sister get a male, but she saw a picture of mine and said hers looks pretty much the same. He's about 6 or 7 months old so we'd actually have a full grown one come in. Say a prayer for Bernard!

Porkchopsmom, to answer your question, I did give my guinea pig pipne bedding and where I didn't notice any sneezing at the store it seemed to start up when he got into the pine bedding. My husband even wondered if that could be it. Other than a bit of occasional sneezing I haven't noticed any crusty eyes or nose. Perhaps changing his bedding will make a difference. Thanks for the tip!!


02-28-06, 09:02 pm
Oh, Bernard is such a cutie, WHAT a great name too!

Well it sounds like you have no choice but to adopt this pig. You know, I had piggies by themselves for a long time, and when I came on here I argued with people that it's okay for them to be alone. But then they really convinced me to get a second one, and I did, and things were rocky for a little while, but now that it's been a couple months, wow, i would NEVER go back to having just one. It is just so much more fun, and it really isn't that much more work, though I will admit that your food bill WILL go up.

Before you pick up the new boy, read the socialization and introduction pages on www.CavySpirit.com (http://www.CavySpirit.com) and search the threads here as well. First and foremost, make SURE that both oinkers are males! Since both have come from pet stores, mix-ups are very possible.

Also, check out the bedding section of the forum for some neat ideas about bedding. Fleece has worked very well for me.

Good luck and keep us posted!

02-28-06, 11:52 pm
Hanna--I also experienced the same thing with sneezing when I put my girls on Kiln-dried pine. It was too dusty and they were sneezing like crazy. After 3 seperate trips to the vet, it finally dawned on me that maybe it was the litter. So I changed to aspen and that was the end of the constant sneezing. Now they sneeze occasionally but not more than 2-3 times a day.

03-01-06, 12:11 am
I'd do a triple check of the sexes of both animals too, before you put them together. Petshops are notorious for mis-sexing guinea pigs - and many vets have made mistakes also. At 6 months the testicles should be descended, so it shouldn't be too hard.

With two males of that age be sure to house them in a big enough C&C. Males going through adolescence together need lots of space!

03-01-06, 04:35 am
Oh yay! You are getting a new piggy and making a piggy happy and helping out your sister and all good things are coming of you adopting this new piggy so it has to work out because there is such good karma. Yay!

03-01-06, 04:53 am
Woo! What great news - like the above posts have said check the sexes of both guinea pigs. Quarantine the new guy for 2-3 weeks in another room and do introductions on neutral terrortory

03-01-06, 01:51 pm
One of the most important things when housing two males is to make SURE you have a large enough cage to properly house two pigs, and two fo everything else. If you dont you will more than likely find that they will fight A LOT! Thats great that you are getting him a buddy, he will thank you for that.