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Thread: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave My2Piggies00's Avatar
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    How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    Hey, everyone. The title is a bit off but it was the best way I could put it. I want to put a huge disclaimer out that I DID research Guinea pigs before I got them. I researched the diet, behaviors, breeds, pregnancies, births, sexing of the pigs, cage requirement, and possible diseases, signs of illness and etc. So I didn't go into this blind.

    I don't hate my guinea pigs or anything and my mom is more in love with them than I am and calls them her grandbabie however, I'm having a bit of hard time coping with having them. I don't desire to get rid of them and thinking of them going to another home breaks my heart to be quite honest but there's this sort of doubt on whether I can be a good Cavy parent to them. Am I feeding them the best hay? Is their fleece good enough? Do they hate me? It's like I was so sure I could be and do the best but now I'm not so sure of myself. They're happy though. I see them make laps, popcorn and everything.

    I am in a bit of depressed state so I don't know if that's affecting my judgement here. Like I said I enjoy my piggies and stuff but maybe I'm a terrible owner? I can't shake this feeling that they can do better than me I guess. I do WANT to keep them and it's only been 2 days. Please, don't tell me to give my piggies away because I won't. I made a choice and commitment to them.

    Any one else feel this way at some point? I feel terrible for even seeking help on this and I know I'll get judged. I just need a different perspective on this. How long did it take for you to bond with your piggies?

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    These are my GP. Black Mixture is Momo and the brown mixture is Yuki. Momo is smaller but the dominant one. Yuki usually runs to Momo if she's startled or scared but sometimes momo nips at her which makes Yuki run away. Yuki is really skittish and screams bloody murder when I take her out the cage to clean all the poop. I love their different personalities.

    Also I notice I get a bit itchy after petting or holding them. It would suck if I was allergic to them . Still wouldn't give them away though

  2. #2
    Cavy Slave Soecara's Avatar
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    I don't know if I can help with your doubts or not, but I will say those kinds of thoughts and feelings are extremely common among people who are depressed. If you keep feeling like this and it is impacting your life you may want to consider seeking help, sometimes even speaking to family members can help.

    On to your questions/doubts
    "Am I feeding them the best hay?" If they don't like they hay you are feeding them they will let you know, guinea pigs won't hesitate to go on a sit-down hunger strike if they aren't happy with the food. If the hay has a nice green colour and isn't full of weeds and isn't mouldy then it is good hay, the brand of hay doesn't matter.

    "Is their fleece good enough?" If it wicks away their urine and keeps them dry then the fleece is certainly good enough. Guinea pigs aren't fussy about the kind of fleece they have, it is us people who are the fussy ones, if you aren't super happy with either the pattern or texture of the fleece then that is something you can always change later.

    "Do they hate me?" No, I doubt guinea pigs are capable of hating anything much less the one providing them food. Given they are new they may take some time to settle in and begin to trust you, but given enough time they will learn the connection between you and food and you will become one of their favourite things in the world (second to food of course).

    "I get a bit itchy after petting or holding them. It would suck if I was allergic to them" Usually people aren't allergic to the guinea pigs, but rather the hay they eat (and the hay dust in their fur), there are other kinds of hay you could try that can cause less issues in some people with allergies, such as bluegrass or orchardgrass hay.

  3. "Thank you, Soecara, for this useful post," say these 2 members:


  4. #3
    Cavy Slave My2Piggies00's Avatar
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soecara View Post
    I don't know if I can help with your doubts or not, but I will say those kinds of thoughts and feelings are extremely common among people who are depressed. If you keep feeling like this and it is impacting your life you may want to consider seeking help, sometimes even speaking to family members can help.

    On to your questions/doubts
    "Am I feeding them the best hay?" If they don't like they hay you are feeding them they will let you know, guinea pigs won't hesitate to go on a sit-down hunger strike if they aren't happy with the food. If the hay has a nice green colour and isn't full of weeds and isn't mouldy then it is good hay, the brand of hay doesn't matter.

    "Is their fleece good enough?" If it wicks away their urine and keeps them dry then the fleece is certainly good enough. Guinea pigs aren't fussy about the kind of fleece they have, it is us people who are the fussy ones, if you aren't super happy with either the pattern or texture of the fleece then that is something you can always change later.

    "Do they hate me?" No, I doubt guinea pigs are capable of hating anything much less the one providing them food. Given they are new they may take some time to settle in and begin to trust you, but given enough time they will learn the connection between you and food and you will become one of their favourite things in the world (second to food of course).

    "I get a bit itchy after petting or holding them. It would suck if I was allergic to them" Usually people aren't allergic to the guinea pigs, but rather the hay they eat (and the hay dust in their fur), there are other kinds of hay you could try that can cause less issues in some people with allergies, such as bluegrass or orchardgrass hay.
    Thank you for replying. I would agree that I am depressed but that's mainly because of my own situation. After I made this thread I picked up both my Guinea pigs and held them to chest and I felt happy that I had them. It is a struggle adjusting to them and their demands but I don't mind too much when I see them popcorning. I'm definitely going to keep them and just leave time for both me and the piggies to grow to like and bond with each other

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ThePigAlchemist's Avatar
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    If it helps, after every animal I've adopted I've had my doubts about whether I did the right thing by getting them. I think about the fact that now I'm obligated to take care of them and that I am less "free" than before. It took a while of living with those feelings, but now I can't imagine life without any of my pets. It definitely took a lot of anxiety and self doubt along the way, but it got better.

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    Cavy Slave My2Piggies00's Avatar
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePigAlchemist View Post
    If it helps, after every animal I've adopted I've had my doubts about whether I did the right thing by getting them. I think about the fact that now I'm obligated to take care of them and that I am less "free" than before. It took a while of living with those feelings, but now I can't imagine life without any of my pets. It definitely took a lot of anxiety and self doubt along the way, but it got better.
    It's relief to see that it isn't just me Thank you posting this. I needed to know my own feelings of weren't some rare form and I was a horrible person. I think getting not one but two guinea pigs has overwhelmed me which I didn't expect but I can't imagine not having them here as well. I'm glad it worked out for you and I'm looking forward to it.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    Worrying if you are providing them with the best possible care is normal, especially when you love your pets. Nobody's perfect, however, so try to remind yourself that you are doing the very best you can and all the research and effort you put in to taking care of them is way more than a lot of people do. You are doing a great job.

    I frequently joke that my guinea pigs hate me, especially when I have to clip their nails or when they run away sometimes when I want to pet them. I'm sure they don't really hate me, they're just itty bitty animals that get scared of the giant world. I can easily see how much they trust me when a stranger comes over to visit and the pigs act very different around them. For example, if I put my hand in their cage they'll come and sniff my fingers. If a stranger puts their hand in the pigs just hide. So it's not exactly a hug, but it's what they've got to offer

    I'm always looking for ways to make my pigs happier and you probably are too, so let me share one of their favorite things that I discovered. Fleece blankets. Like, a square piece of fleece about 1.5 feet across (although shape and size isn't that important). I put them in each of their houses, and on their cuddle cup. The like to crawl under them, rest their heads on them like a pillow, and frequently fluff them up to partially block off the entrance to their houses for extra privacy and warmth. They LOVE their blankets.

    Every time I look at my pigs, whether they're sleeping or playing or eating or anything, they're just so darn cute that it always puts a smile on my face. I hope your pigs bring you a few extra smiles every day too.

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  9. #7
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    Guinea pigs do require a lot of care, and time. But you do seem to know that, and be ok with it. You have their best interest in mind, which means they have a good home! It is very easy to get attached to them. I find it very rewarding to care for my pigs. It seems to me that you are doing everything they require to be happy and healthy! I will admit that cleaning the pen isn't exactly fun. But I love the feeling I get after cleaning my pigs pen and watching them enjoy their fresh clean home! Try to look at it that way. It sounds like you love them. Just keep doing what you know you need to, and in time it will be easy. Don't over think it.

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  11. #8
    Cavy Slave onedesire's Avatar
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    Re: How to cope with new guinea pigs?

    Hi, My2Piggies00! I know exactly how you feel. I'm finally recovering from severe depression and I want to let you know that your thoughts aren't necessarily bad. It shows that you love your piggies and you really want the best for them. This is just your negative thoughts telling you to doubt yourself. Having pets while dealing with a mental illness can be hellish. You know you need to be responsible for them but you can't even take care of yourself.
    I had 2 guinea pigs during the worst of my illness and thankfully, my parents took over. They cleaned their cage every week and fed them, too. Then, as a surprise, we got a kitten. This was when I began having thoughts just like yours. Of course I was excited but at the same time I was worried that it wasn't the right decision. As time went on, I was able to set a routine of cleaning her litter box, feeding her, playing with her, etc. I started to take up the responsibilities of the piggies again. Now, I do everything for my family's pets and work at a rescue with all kinds of animals.
    Your feelings are probably very upsetting but with strong willpower, they can be transformed into positive & efficient energy. With every new pet I adopt, I get the exact same thoughts. Even with my newest leopard gecko I had a moment of "Oh no what have I done" . It will be very difficult, but with your supportive mom and genuine love for your pets, you will be a great pet parent! Talk to your mom about sharing the responsibilities for a while until you feel that you can handle it. Also, you can try making a checklist of what you have to do daily so that you have a visual on what you need to do. It feels so rewarding when you can check something off the list! I wish you and your piggies the best. Good luck xo

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