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My pet store experience yesterday.


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Nov 6, 2011
So yesterday I went to three different pet smarts.
At petsmart 1, I saw the two CUTEST guinea pigs ever. I really want to buy them, but I'm afraid they will have health issues.. I've been waiting to adopt two guinea pigs from a shelter around me, and I emailed the lady like 2 months ago and still no reply! so I just gave up.
Petsmart1 had 4 guinea pigs and about a 2x3 tank for their GPs.. they all were very active though! and they had two water bottles, a lot of hay, a big food bowl, and a igloo. None of them had any bald spots, marks, or weirdly colored poops. I looked.

petsmart2 didn't have any guinea pigs that caught my eye. Although, their cage was huge! I was so proud. it was a tank. but there was a bunch of holes on every side for more air. I didnt really see if they looked healthy or not, since they were all hiding in an igloo.

Petsmart3 was terrible.
they had really cute guinea pigs! all either crested or Teddy.
although, the tank was barely a 1x2.. it was terrible.
there were three of them on there, and they were all freaking out trying to run around. They were all shaking constantly as if they were itchy. they had bald ears and spots. I asked the worker to see one, which seemed like the less sick, but still.. & he said yeah, and I asked why they had bald spots.
he said that it's genetic & I said "oh, well on multiple websites and that pamphlet on gps you have over there says to watch out and they might be sick.." & he seemed very shocked and asked if it can be serious, and i said it definitely could & could he from this small cage. he seemed veery interested & said that he was going to look into it.

I would say petsmart1 would be the best.
Why not try petfinder?
I'm so sorry you had to see that, please report any pet store with with ill animals.

Through purchasing from any petsmart, you support them all as the money goes to the company itself. You make sure they continue treating the animals as simple merchandise, and continue the cycle of neglect, overpopulation & abuse. Another litter of a back to back breeding sow will replace the ones you get. Please don't support them that way.

Have you looked into craigslist? Many shelters are bad with emails, try calling them.
Why would you even consider buying a guinea pig from a pet store when when there are so many shelters and rescues in IL that always have guinea pigs? I volunteer with Critter Corral and we have a very large number of guinea pigs right now. Rescues know their guinea pigs are able to make a great match and also make sure the guinea pigs are healthy before they adopt them out. Call the Illinois Department of Agriculture at (217) 782-2172 to report the conditions at that store. If you can get photos, that will help, too. Getting a guinea pig from a pet store is not a wise choice.
I check petfinder everyday, literally.
The shelters around me, including critter corral, do not have the kind of guinea pigs I'm looking for. Baby-Young females.
Everywhere has either adults or males.

& I would actually like to save a guinea pig from mistreatment in a pet store. And treat them well, to get them out of that misery.
And the litter that will replace the ones you get? Will you rescue them as well? And the breeding sow, will you get her? No, you cannot rescue everyone. What you can do is boycott these stores, and through that reduce the pigs in that situation.

As well as waiting for yet another pregnant sow to be dumped at a shelter for you to adopt the babies. Please don't support this cycle of animal abuse.
katiebby, think about what happens when you buy something from a store. Anything from a store. If enough people do it, the manager/corporation/powers-that-be think, "Oh, great! People like this item. Let's stock some more of it." So they go out and order more and put things on the shelves, and they sell more of the item.

But if not many people buy the item, they thing, "Hmm, this was a bummer. Let's get rid of this item and get something in here we can actually make money on."

So if you buy a guinea pig, they order a new one. It comes from a breeding mill, where the pigs get no medical or veterinary care, the sows are kept continually pregnant, and where they're thrown aside to die if they're too old or sick to breed. In some cases, they're called "hammer heads," because they hit them in the head with a hammer to kill them.

If you buy a guinea pig at a pet store, your money is just going toward keeping that whole cycle going. Yes, I know it's very hard to pass up those poor pigs in a pet store. And yes, they deserve a good home and someone to love them and care for them. The problem is, loving and caring for the one or two pigs you see in a pet store condemns another one or two pigs to be born in horrible conditions.

Pigs in rescues and shelters are already born, and need loving homes too. Adopting one of them won't cause other pigs to be born and suffer needlessly. And if you'll be patient, a rescue or shelter near you will eventually have baby females.

If you really want to see how bad the situation is, and what your money will be supporting,read the quote below and take a look at the following links:

A PETA investigation into international animal dealer U.S. Global Exotics revealed that animals were crammed into pillowcases, shipping crates, troughs, and even plastic bottles, sometimes for weeks at a time. Many who were sick or dying were frozen to death in a freezer. Our investigation resulted in the largest animal seizure in history, the (broken link removed), and the issuing of an arrest warrant by the federal government for owner Jasen Shaw. But exotic animals are still suffering at the hands of other dealers like Rainbow World Exotics and Sun Pet Ltd., which supply PETCO and PetSmart stores across the country. Despite evidence of systemic cruelty and neglect at these small-animal factory farms, PETCO and PetSmart refused to sever ties with Rainbow and Sun Pet and continue to buy animals from them.


PetSmart Cruelty // Photo Gallery
I got my first pig from a pet store 6 years ago and she is the only pig I have/will get from a petstore. I was lucky and she was in her own individual cage because she was a little bit older than the typical baby guinea pigs you see in the store. She just passed a month ago. Below is a picture of her. She was 6 years old. As you may know I recently got 2 male pigs from my humane society and when I was wallking out of the adoption room I felt amazing and felt like I did such a wonderful thing because I knew these pigs will have a great long life with me. I'm not sure if I would of felt the same way if I got them from a petstore. Oh, and the pet store I got Hermie from was Petland. My pet store experience yesterday.
Baby pigs are cute but I can tell you from experience that an adult female shelter pig can melt your heart just as well as a baby. I adopted Ruby from a rescue where she was kept alone & not bonded with any other sows. She wasn't that cute either, but she was sweet, cuddly, knew her name and got along famously with my other female Riblet. Now, understanding that we all want to save those pitiful looking pigs, you must realize that's how those pet stores are making money, off your concern for the animals.... don't support the breeding of pigs when there could be a sweet girl waiting for her first forever home. although we all want to, we can't save them all. Please re-consider adopting an adult. Be more persistant with the shelters and try and schedule a visit so you can meet the pigs for who they are and not what they look like or what age they are. I promise you that you wont regret it. A 2 year old pig can live up to 6 more years with great care from you.
You should contact the recuses and shelters near you, fill out the applications and start a line of communication that way when a pregnant or baby guinea pigs come in they can contact you and tell you about them. You would also be higher up on the list to get the babies as you have already been approved to adopt. See what I'm saying? Keep checking craig's list too. There are always guinea pigs being dumped on that site: babies, adults, seniors. Just wait watch and see you'll find what you are looking for!
I know you want a young female but eventually a young female does get older and won't be that young anymore. You wouldn't abandon her just because she isn't young anymore, right? Why not expand your search to allow for an adult? I'm sure you'll have much better luck at a shelter if you broaden the parameters of what you are looking for.

Keep in mind that guinea pigs live an average of 5-7 years. So even if you get an adult, she could still be with you for 5-6 more years.

Something else to keep in mind...are you prepared to care for or find homes for babies if this young female from the petstore ends up being (woops!) pregnant because the store either didn't know or didn't tell you? What if the pig you end up with ends up being male because the store mis-sexed it (it happens more than you think). Or dies soon after you bring it home because it was sick and the store either didn't know or chose not to tell you?

Believe me, the petstore's main concern is their bottom line. They see their living critters as inventory and if they run low on the merchandise, they order more. Just like they would with dog food or toys. And they sell to anyone with the money in hand, without concern about who this person is or what their intentions for the pig is or if they have the slightest idea about how to care for the pig.

The money you spend on an animal at a store goes back to the breeding mills to manufacture more guinea pigs and to backbreeding more sows that will be killed once they can no longer produce babies. When you adopt from a shelter, you fill out an application, sign a contract, they make sure that the person who is adopting from them is a suitable person to take home that animal.

The money you pay for the adoption fees at a shelter or rescue, goes toward medical care and daily upkeep of the animals. The space you open up by adopting goes toward the housing of another pig in need of a home.
I'm young, therefore of course I want a baby-young guinea pig to grow up with me. I don't want one that I'll only have for like 2 years, if there an adult..

If I do choose to buy from a pet store, within the first few days of the 14-day return policy I will he going to a vet to make sure it is what the pet store says.

I've been waiting about 8 months to find what I want in a shelter, and I havent. I really do not want to wait anymore.
You could always get a young female as well. Babies can be a bit of a pain because their diet is a bit different. But also, what's wrong with a male? I've done a lot of research on them and the only thing that really differs from what I've heard is that they have a bit more personality and need a little extra room to run.
Have you tried craig's list? Put a want ad saying you are looking for a baby or young female guinea pig. One will turn up.
Guinea pigs are considered adult at about 6 months of age, and there is never a guarantee a young pig will live longer then a 1-3 year old. Guinea pigs are very fragile creatures & there is no way to predict their lifespan like that. Especially not from a pet store, with inbreeding, poor conditions behind the scenes & possible genetic diseases.

Think of it this way, MANY pet store pigs die an early death due to the conditions above. The slighty older ones whom make it to the shelter generally have a better chance of life, and are well taken care of & looked over before they reach you. The vet bills you will have to pay to treat a genetically sick pet store pig will get quite expensive, quickly.

I truly hope you reconsider & try to set up proper communication with all the shelters in your area. I also hope you focus on the welfare of these amazing creatures, not you wanting a cute looking baby with future animals paying the price. Good luck with your search!
I'm young, therefore of course I want a baby-young guinea pig to grow up with me. I don't want one that I'll only have for like 2 years, if there an adult..

As I said, guinea pigs live 5-7 years on average. Even if you get an adult, that's still 5-6 years of time with your pig.

If I do choose to buy from a pet store, within the first few days of the 14-day return policy I will he going to a vet to make sure it is what the pet store says.

What does it tell you about how petstores view living animals when they have a 14 day return policy like they would for a chew toy or food bowl?

I've been waiting about 8 months to find what I want in a shelter, and I havent. I really do not want to wait anymore.

8 months? That's it?? That's really not a long time at all to be looking. Some people look for years before finding one in a shelter. What's the rush? You said you were young, why the need to have one right away?
Ok even though you might get lucky and get a guinea pig from the petstore that isn't sick, think about the poor mama guinea pig back in the breeding mill that is sick and old and is just there to be bred again and again. They don't get vet care, they don't get a nice big cage, they don't get to be held, they don't get veggies and hay everyday. By buying a guinea pig from a petstore you are supporting breeding. The mama pig in the breeding mill will probably be forced to breed again since you have purchased a guinea pig from the petstore. She could even die in giving birth since she has been bred so many times. Also if they are sick, are you just going to give them back because of their "14 day policy" and leave the sick one there where they probably won't get adequate vet care and get a "healthy" guinea pig?

Do you really want to support that? Is that really rescuing?

I am younger too, and I would rather adopt a guinea pig that is 2 years old than a baby. They are sweeter and they aren't as messy in my opinion. They are easier to hold as well. You're still going to "grow up" with you guinea pig no matter what their age is. Also a 1-1 1/2 year old guinea pig is still "young". I'm not sure about Critter Corral, but at my local small animal rescue, there are so many more guinea pigs than they have on petfinder! If you email them they might have some babies that are almost ready to be weaned from their mom, or they have a pregnant mom about to give birth. I would email them or go to an adoption event because you never know if they have other guinea pigs not on their petfinder.

Sorry if any of this is a little harsh, but these are things you have to realize and rescuing guinea pigs and adoption is something me and a lot of other people on this forum are very passionate about. Please don't buy from a petstore because you aren't really saving anything.
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To be honest I think it is selfish that you are willing to purchase a guinea pig from a pet store rather than save a shelter animal in need, simply because they aren't the right gender or age. I purchased Louie from a pet store, and I do not regret it as I had a great 6 years with him, but I can tell you I will never support a pet store again, nor will I purchase another pet store pig that leaves an empty spot for another poor pet mill pig to be damned. Where there are pet stores, there are people at home with mis-sexed pigs. I do not believe that you absolutely cannot find a pair of young female pigs somewhere in your area. Check petfinder, craigslist, etc. And consider adopting an older pair of pigs. They deserve a new home, and with the proper care they too can live a long, happy life with you. I seriously think you should open your mind to giving a second chance to older, or male pigs at shelters instead of supporting the nasty cycle at petsmart. And if you cannot do that, maybe you should reconsider getting pigs at all, because it sounds to me like you may not be ready.
I've been waiting about 8 months to find what I want in a shelter, and I havent. I really do not want to wait anymore.

That certainly supports your statement that you're young. Kids want what they want, when they want it, and the consequences can go hang. I would hope you would take a more mature approach and ask if this is the best choice for everyone involved, and if it's not, then find a compromise.

If you'll post the city or cities you're close to, we'll help you find guinea pigs to rescue.

Also, guinea pigs usually live 5-7 years, so you'll have plenty of time to grow up with a young adult pig.

And, if you buy your guinea pig from a pet store, and it's "not what the pet store says" and you take it back, do you know what will happen to it? It will die without vet care, probably either deliberately killed or thrown in the trash to starve to death.
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