Greetings guinea pig lovers!
Having guinea pigs is a huge responsibility as there are so many things you need to do to give your guinea pigs the care they deserve. Cleaning, feeding, etc are some things you need to be doing on a regular basis, and it comes down to whether your child is going to do that or not. In the end, you, the parent/guardian might end up having to care for your childs guinea pigs if they won’t. For more information on the basics of guinea pig care, see this article.
Do You and Your Child Know the Basics of Guinea Pig Care?
Both your child and you, the carer must know how to take care of your guinea pigs, what hutch to get, etc. So if you are going to get guinea pigs, see this article. Please do your research on many websites before determining what is best for your guinea pigs as not all sources are correct.
Depending on the size of the hutch you’ll need to do spot cleans every 1-2 days and replace all the bedding every 1-2 weeks. If you can’t clean their hutch when it’s needed, guinea pigs aren’t for you. It really is important to keep your piggies clean!
Guinea pigs also need fresh vegetables and hay (or grass) every day for them to stay healthy and happy. They also need a constant supply of fresh water, which will need to be cleaned when dirty. I recommend a water bottle as guinea pigs tend to poop a lot in bowls of water which is not sanitary. Hay or grass is very important to a guinea pig’s diet, so make sure you have a continuous supply of it for your guinea pigs.
You will also need to clip your guinea pigs’ nails as not doing so can cause painful conditions like bumble foot. I’d recommend getting a vet to clip their nails for the first time so you can see how to do it yourself. If you think you can do it yourself, then see this article.
Do You Have the Space?
Your guinea pigs hutch must be at least 2.5 square metres for two guinea pigs, keeping in mind that guinea pigs are social animals and need the company of other guinea pigs, you will need to get more than one.
See this list for how big your hutch should be, depending on the number of guinea pigs you have:
- 2 guinea pigs – 2.5 square metres
- 3 guinea pigs – 3 square metres
- 4 guinea pigs – 3.5 square metres
Lofts do not count as space.
Do You Have Enough Time?
Time is also an important factor as you will need at least an hour a day to look after your guinea pigs. Depending on the hutch, cleaning typically takes around 15 minutes and feeding and giving them water each day will take about 10 in total. Then there’s clipping nails, playtime, and letting them out on the grass if they’re indoors.
While guinea pigs aren’t the most expensive pet, you should have enough finances to support the care of your piggies. It is always a good thing to have at least $200 aside for emergency vet trips and any potential medicine needed. These things do happen so it’s best to be prepared. You also have to factor in food and the hutch, as well as bedding, and toys and hides, etc. If you’re not financially able, don’t get guinea pigs, or really any pets for that matter.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend guinea pigs for a child under 11 years old unless you, the guardian will be caring for them full time. If you’re willing to do that, great! If not, guinea pigs are not the right pet for you or your child. Another thing is do not get them guinea pigs as a surprise present, as you don’t know really whether they are willing to care for them, or even wanted one in the first place.
Having said this, guinea pigs offer abundant cuteness, sweetness, unexpected affection…………..etc etc. They really are wonderful companions and pets. Can you tell I love them just a little? This is why I am insistent that they are looked after so well.
The take away message here is that guinea pigs are amazing pets to have and can offer much joy, however, you must weigh up the cost in terms of how much time you have, the willingness to keep up constant care, and being able to financially afford them.
A guinea pig is the correct choice for your child IF:
- They have your unconditional support with caring for them and providing what they need
- You have the wherewithal to accommodate and care for them, including proper hutch and bedding, food etc etc
- You and your child are willing to provide love, care and attention every single day
- They adore guinea pigs!
Don’t get me wrong! Guinea pigs are worth it all! However, it is not worth it for anyone if you can’t commit to daily care.
Consider carefully for the sake of our furry cavy friends 🙂
So, for the love of guinea pigs, thank you for reading, and goodbye!