Guinea pigs are so cute! Their wheeks and squeaks… Their popcorns… The snuggles… I love them so much! But is there a downside to having pet guinea pigs?
Cons of having guinea pigs
Guinea pigs are prey animals so they get scared very easily. This causes frustration for many because it can take months for them to trust you. It’s not impossible to gain their trust, but some guinea pigs are more social than others.
Guinea pigs do not smell… as long as you take care of them. They are not 100% litter trainable, and they will poop where you don’t want them to poop. A simple spot clean every day will do wonders to keep the smell down.
Guinea pigs go to a special type of vet, as most vets only take dogs and cats. Exotic vets are not as common and may be miles away from you. As well, they are often more expensive for visits. This is not a reason to deny your guinea pig medical care. All animals, even small ones, are part of your family and deserve to be treated humanely and receive medical treatment when sick.
They need a guinea pig friend. Guinea pigs are herd animals and must have a friend of their space species to hang out with. See the health determinants of having solo guinea pigs. Personally, I did not find the jump from one to two guinea pigs much different because you still have to clean the cage and feed them.
Contrary to popular belief, guinea pigs actually take up a lot of space. The recommended cage size for 1*-2 guinea pigs is 7.5 square feet minimum/10.5 square feet preferred. This could even be set on a table with storage underneath but most people are not willing to make this much space.
*It is not recommended to have one guinea pig. They thrive in groups. Why guinea pigs need a friend.
Pros of having guinea pigs
Guinea pigs make this adorable sound when they are excited or trying to tell you something. It’s called a WHEEK! I find this sound so cute and love hearing them get excited for dinner.
If you are set on a type of rodent or small animal, guinea pigs have a longer life expectancy. While mice and hamsters live about 2-3 years, guinea pigs live 5-7 years. With great genetics and care, some can even live until 10 years old.
With the recommended, or larger, cage size and another guinea pig buddy, you do not need to take them on walks or exercise like dogs. Some people choose to have floor time (optional), but they are able to get most of their exercise in their large cage and socialize with their friend while the owner is at school or work.
There is an opportunity to reuse most guinea pig products so you don’t have to buy new supplies every month. Washable fleece bedding and pee pads are easy to DIY and make for great bedding. Fleece snuggle sacks and beds are commonly found.
There’s so much more to guinea pigs than a short pro’s and con’s list. Keep exploring and find out how amazing these little creatures are.