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Is it really bad to buy cavies from a pet store?

Kpup28

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I have been looking over the Cavy Cages website and have found it extreamly helpful. I have never owned any cavies so I have been looking up information on them. Also, I would LOVE to adopt two from a shelter or rescue.
Unforcunatly, there are no cavy rescues in Connecticut and none of the shelters have any piggies. Is it really bad to buy them from a pet store?


Thanks in advance for your help!

-Kpup28, confused cavy lover
 

CaliGirl

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The pigs that you get from pet stores are generaly not in the best health, but it all depends on the pet store. I get my guinea pig at a pet store by my house. He had a small case of fleas when I got him, but he is better now. If you plan to get one at a petstore watch the guinea pigs for a while befor buying one. Look to see if they scratch a lot, if they are active, do their coats look good, and anything else that may be a health concern.

Caligirl
 

sannie

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I do understand that getting pigs from a shelter/rescue is better than buying pigs that are breeded for a pet store.

But that only makes sense, if it stops pet store from selling them.

I would still feel that I have to "rescue" the piggies from the pet store, especially if the conditions they are held in are not good.
 

Kpup28

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Thank you so much. The pet store I was thinking of adopting from is family owned and because it is very popular for being clean and they take exelent care of ALL the animals there: fish, mice, rats, guinea pigs, hampsters, rabbits, they even house a few puppies that have room to play. The only other pet store around me is Petco and although they are clean and orderly the animals look sickly or worn out, especialy the fish. Thanks again!!!

-Kpup28
 

CaliGirl

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sannie said:
I do understand that getting pigs from a shelter/rescue is better than buying pigs that are breeded for a pet store.

But that only makes sense, if it stops pet store from selling them.

I would still feel that I have to "rescue" the piggies from the pet store, especially if the conditions they are held in are not good.
I think either way you are rescueing a pig, wether its from a pet store or from a shelter. The only diffrence is that the shelters give more love and attention to their pigs, which makes them a lot more healthy and happy. Shelters interview you and make sure you are right for this pet. While most pet stores just give them to you, no questions asked.
 

sannie

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CaliGirl said:
I think either way you are rescueing a pig, wether its from a pet store or from a shelter. The only diffrence is that the shelters give more love and attention to their pigs, which makes them a lot more healthy and happy. Shelters interview you and make sure you are right for this pet. While most pet stores just give them to you, no questions asked.
Yeah, you are right about that and I think the way shelters/rescues pick the right pig for you is great.
I was just thinking that pigs at a pet shop are probably looking for someone to adopt them as desperately as the piggies in a shelter/rescue.
 

blink1177

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I got my pigs from a pet store before I really looked into everything I should know about them. I thought they would be good pets for my daughter. And they are. But I'm the one who takes care of them. They are very healthy and happy! I guess I got lucky.
 

mom to cujo

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I also got Cujo from the petstore and have been very fortunate. I got him just an hour or so after he had arrived at the store and aside from being a bit nervous for a couple of days he is happy and healthy and more affectionate than can be believed! I also believe that a rescue is a rescue from no matter where. As long as a piggie is loved and well cared for it doesn't matter where you rescue him from!
 

NoVeil

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I think everyone should check for a rescue near them first before trying a petstore. I know that it is not possible for everyone to get a piggy from a rescue for various reasons.

I looked and the nearest rescues to me are over 2 hours away. Now, that is not a huge distance but considering I would have to take 6 kids with me, it is just too far. I just don't live in an area that has an organized rescue for guinea pigs.

So yes, two of my girls came from petshops. One of them is now expecting babies any day but we knew that she was pregnant when we got her and were willing to deal with all of that, to include keeping the babies (even though the petstore told us they would take the babies...no thanks!)

Rescue is best but it is not always feasible to go that route and every pig deserves a home, no matter where they come from.
 

Denise

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My girls both came from the pet store. They never even made it to the viewing cages before we "adopted" them. We haven't been very fortunate as both of them have been sick with URIs and on antibiotics for a while. Good luck!
 

bunnyluv17

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It is always better to adopt from a shelter or rescue. Animals at shelters always run the risk of being euthanized. When you adopt from a rescue you are saving two lives. You save the life of the animal you adopt, and you are making room for another animal to be put up for adoption. When you buy from a petstore you are supporting them and allow them to continue what they are doing. You are also supporting the backyard breeders and mills, who do not care where their pigs end up. If you ever see sick or injured animals in a pet store, talk to the manager and/or get animal control involved. You should never buy an animal because you feel sorry for it, the pet store will just do it again and the problem won't be resolved.
 

ChadWPB

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Kpup28 - Check this out! A very reputable rescue in CT. They have a gorgeous boar on their main petfinder page.

https://www.petfinder.org/shelters/CT208.html

Denise - Your problem is all too common with pet store piggies. The other one is getting a bargain, five for the price of one.
 

CavySpirit

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Supply and demand.

I cannot let stand on this forum the notion that buying a guinea pig from a pet store is rescuing it. You can think what you want to make yourself feel better about it. Everyone does. However, regardless of what you think, it is a FACT that you are a CUSTOMER to the pet store, buying their stock. Period. End of story. You are not 'adopting' or 'rescuing' that animal. You are 'buying' it. Even if you 'buy' it at a 100% discount, you are still a customer to that pet store.

And where there are pet stores selling guinea pigs, there ARE homeless guinea pigs in need. You may have to put in more of an effort in some places rather than others to find them, but they are there.

The 'seeming' quality of care provided by the pet store is NOT the main issue at all. It is an ancillary issue. It's what you, as a customer, will never, ever see and probably can't imagine. There are two very, very serious components of the pet trade that you are fully and unconditionally supporting by being a customer of the pet store.

First, the supply side. Not even the stores ever go visit the source of the animals that they are buying. The vast majority of pet stores buy their animals from the large distributors. These distributors, except for only one rare exception that I know of, get their 'stock' from a multitude of sources -- mill breeders, hobby breeder rejects, auctions, backyard breeders, ... Only some distributors manage to even meet the bare bones compliance of USDA regulations. I know for a FACT in working with one of the largest distributors, that even if the distributor meets the incredibly low standards of the USDA regs, NONE of their breeder suppliers do. None.

Second, the demand side. By being a CUSTOMER to the pet store, you are doing two things that worsen the lives of many other guinea pigs.
  • Your purchase of one or two guinea pigs simply becomes a quantity increase of 1 or 2 sales of that line item (guinea pigs) on their inventory computer records. That increase in sales means that they not only need to replenish those one or two guinea pigs, but perhaps, to that store, that sends a signal that since sales are up, maybe they should be stocking even more to cover the increase in demand. So, in looking forward to even more profits on the supplies that you and others will be buying to care for your guinea pigs (since that is where their real revenue and profits come from), they are only too happy to get more low cost, 'loss leader' guinea pigs that help drive the profitability on the supplies.

    So the ONE or TWO that you tell yourself you've rescued are just quickly replaced by more of the same. And in turn, the increase in demand from the pet store to the distributor ripples back up through the breeders that business as usual is great and please breed more.

  • Your purchase also tells the pet store that they are being successful and the model works. The guinea pigs that are coming to backfill the ones you bought will probably not be so lucky as to end up in as good of a home as you intend to provide. Pet stores DO NOT SCREEN customers. A huge problem is the impulse purchase of guinea pigs by kids and adults alike. Not to mention those people that buy them as feeders for other animals or other nefarious intentions.

    Most people don't know what they are getting into when they purchase an animal from a pet store. Your purchase of the guinea pigs simply increases the problem. Maybe YOU know (and maybe you don't) that you shouldn't breed more. Maybe YOU know how to sex and care for the animals. Odds are very, very high that the customer in line behind you is totally clueless. Odds are very, very high that due to ignorance or attitudes on their part, they will become part of the backyard breeder problem, adding exponentially over time to the homeless population.
"Every guinea pig deserves a home."

I hear that all the time. Sorry, but my response to that is, 'duh.' Really, every guinea pig deserves not to be bred so that, in real fact, every guinea pig can first have a home. Be intelligent about the decisions and choices you make.

The only reason you truly have to buy a pig in a pet store and contribute to the misery and death of many, many more is convenience for you. That's it. It takes time and effort to seek out those that have already been bred, trucked or flown around (perhaps multiple times), bought, and abandoned or in need. It's just a whole heck of a lot easier to go to the pet store. Where there's a will, there's a way. But you have to have the will.

It's a big, tough issue and problem. You can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. It's not easy. If it were, it would be fixed already and life would be wonderful.

On finding guinea pigs for adoption:
(broken link removed)
(broken link removed)
https://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewforum.php?f=12
just as a start
 

Furyness15

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Kpup28 said:
I have been looking over the Cavy Cages website and have found it extreamly helpful. I have never owned any cavies so I have been looking up information on them. Also, I would LOVE to adopt two from a shelter or rescue.
Unforcunatly, there are no cavy rescues in Connecticut and none of the shelters have any piggies. Is it really bad to buy them from a pet store?


Thanks in advance for your help!

-Kpup28, confused cavy lover
I got my guinea pigs from apet store and in a few weeks I had 7 guinea pigs.When I only bought two. So be careful and ask what they will do if your guniea pig has babies.
 

sannie

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I think we all agree that getting a guinea pig from a rescue or shelter is the thing to do.
Still, I am concerned about what's going to happen to the Guinea pigs at the pet stores.

You are right, Cavy Spirit, that they shouldn't have been bred in the first place. But how else can we stop pet shops from selling, breeding guinea pigs?

Just not buying there won't work, as there will still be thousands of "clueless" customers who will.

I researched the Internet BEFORE I will get a guinea pig, because I wanted to find out ALL about them before I get one. So I am going to be one of the responsible people who gets a pig from a rescue.
Nevertheless, odds are very very high that most people won't make this effort.
 

mncavylover

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That's a great explanation, CavySpirit. I only wish I had found this forum before getting my cavies like you are doing, Sannie. Great job!
 

CaliGirl

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Guinea pigs do not choose to be put through the misory of a pet store. So either way they still need a loving home. If you think that by not buying guinea pigs from pet stores will make them take guinea pigs off the shelves you are wrong. If anything it will do worse damage. They will rot in their cage and never get the home they deserve. Pet Stores will continues selling guinea pigs because thats what they do, "sell pets" and other supplies. The pets you get at a pet store are no diffrent then the ones you get in a shelter except the fact that they need a little more help with their health which should make them just as important as ones in a shelter.

Im not saying that you should go to a pet store and forget about shelter. Im saying you should bash people for getting their pets at pet stores. Buying a pet or not buying a pet from the pet store will only effect the pet itself.
 

CavySpirit

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Just not buying there won't work, as there will still be thousands of "clueless" customers who will.

Yes, it will.

That's the "my vote doesn't make a difference" attitude. It ABSOLUTELY DOES make a difference.

Still, I am concerned about what's going to happen to the Guinea pigs at the pet stores.

You need to be a whole lot more concerned about what's going to happen to the pigs in the shelters and to those who can't find a home for the ones they don't want anymore. That's the point. AGAIN, be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. Just like we can't save them all, you can't buy them all. It doesn't make any sense. Prioritize, buck up and realize what's out there. Understand the bigger picture and how you play into it. It's not pretty and it's not easy. And your decisions matter.
 

sannie

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CavySpirit said:
Just not buying there won't work, as there will still be thousands of "clueless" customers who will.

Yes, it will.

That's the "my vote doesn't make a difference" attitude. It ABSOLUTELY DOES make a difference.

Still, I am concerned about what's going to happen to the Guinea pigs at the pet stores.

You need to be a whole lot more concerned about what's going to happen to the pigs in the shelters and to those who can't find a home for the ones they don't want anymore. That's the point. AGAIN, be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. Just like we can't save them all, you can't buy them all. It doesn't make any sense. Prioritize, buck up and realize what's out there. Understand the bigger picture and how you play into it. It's not pretty and it's not easy. And your decisions matter.
Did you read the rest of my post at all??
 

CavySpirit

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I researched the Internet BEFORE I will get a guinea pig, because I wanted to find out ALL about them before I get one. So I am going to be one of the responsible people who gets a pig from a rescue.
Nevertheless, odds are very very high that most people won't make this effort.


This part? Of course I did. I understand you are doing the right thing. I think it's great. However, I am responding publicly to the earlier comments which reflect the opinion of many, many people and it deserves a response. Almost all of my replies on this forum are directed as general education to people at large and not necessarily the individual. Otherwise, I'd communicate via email. I think it's great that you've brought up these points so that they can be responded to.

Here's another point which camps on to your last statement: Nevertheless, odds are very very high that most people won't make this effort.

As an example, every person that makes a C&C cage becomes a role model and educator for every person that sees it and that they talk to. It's a grass roots, not going to happen overnight wave of change. Same thing about pet stores, breeders, shelters, etc. Go quietly into the night and don't shout about the issues, no one will hear or care. Every person that does the right thing, makes the effort, gets educated, talks about it and passes the messages on contributes to the wave of change by more than just the one action. It's slow, but it's possible and is happening.
 
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