Life happens and it’s OK to ask for help. I hope these resources I found are able to help support you and your guinea pigs through this rough time. You are in my prayers.
Supplies and Food
Buying hay in bulk is often cheaper than the small plastic bags at the pet store. Check with your local livestock feed store to see if they sell bales of Timothy Hay. It’ll be heavy, but it will last you months! Side note: the livestock store may also sell timothy hay pellets cheaper in bulk, just check the ingredients and compare it to what you were using before. Tractor Supply also sells 40 pound bales for ~$22-28. Their bales are seasonal though, I often find that it’s too brown and dusty in the winter and beautiful in the summer and fall (but that may just be my area!). Just head back to the horse feed section (they do have a small pet section, but I don’t think it’s any cheaper than a pet store).
Some grocery stores may be able to donate fresh veggies that are close to expiration. Sometimes, local produce store that sells cheaper vegetables than the grocery store. Also look for a grocery liquidation store near you, like American Discount Foods. They sometimes have fresh produce that needs to be used quickly at a cheap price.
Helping Guinea Pigs in Need Facebook group
This group includes individuals who need help and who want to help. Their rules note that the group isn’t for hand outs or rehoming, but to help fellow piggie owners who have fallen on hard times, to help fund rescues, or help piggies who need rescue. IN NEED OF posts (Amazon wishlist or crowd funding links) can only be posted once every 60 days. Join now.
Health Questions & Support
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a guinea pig medical concern, you should consult with your exotic vet or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website or in any linked materials. There may be online support groups or payment plans with your vet that can help with medical bills.
Wheekers! Guinea Pig Group Saskia, volunteers and Friends of LAGPR
This group is helpful for asking others’ experience from product recommendations to guinea pig behavior to health questions. Staff from the LA Guinea Pig Rescue are also in this group as moderators and admins to answer questions. The group rules place an emphasis on keeping comments kind and compassionate while taking advice with grace and a heart for learning. Join now.
At-home Guinea Pig Health Check
This video from LA Guinea Pig Rescue teaches you how to perform a general health check on your guinea pigs by yourself. Catching health issues early may save you money at the vet down the road. Depending on the severity of the health issue, there may be at-home treatments.
Guinea pigs have to go to a special type of vet called an “exotic vet.” Scotty’s Animals has compiled a list for many areas. View guinea pig vet list.
Oxbow hosts “Ask-A-Vet” live with Dr. Micah Kohles once a month on Facebook and Instagram. This live session is not for medical emergencies but questions about small pet health can be asked in the chat. Keep a lookout on their social media for the next upcoming event. Oxbow Facebook Events & Oxbow Instagram Profile
GuineaLynx: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig
GuineaLynx has several resources about illness and what to do on their website. Emergency medical guide
Bigger Cage and Habitat
There are generic alternatives to the recommended guinea pig cages. You may have heard by now that 1-2 guinea pigs need at least 8 square feet (or more) of space. The cheaper alternative to a Midwest cage is the Amazon Basics Small Animal Habitat. The cheaper alternative to a Guinea Pig Cages Store or Kavee C&C cage is a DIY C&C cage using Amazon Basics Storage Grids.
If you absolutely cannot get rid of the pet store cage, consider adding an extension to it.
Loyalty and Money-Saving Programs
For every $1 spent, 10 points are earned for future purchases. This program might be worth it if you are already purchasing Small Pet Select products. 625 points = $5 off. 1,250 points = $10 off. 2,500 points = $20 off. 5,000 points = $40 off. Join Small Pet Select Rewards.
PetSmart Treats Loyalty Rewards
Earn 8 points for every $1 spent (point earnings may vary by market). 1,000 points can be redeemed for $2.50 in savings on your next purchase. PetSmart also sends member-only coupons and discounts. Join Treats.
Earn 1 points for every $1 spent (point earnings may vary by market). 100 points will earn you a $5 reward on your next purchase. Petco also sends member-only coupons and discounts. Join Petco Pals.
Earn 2 Cavy Cash points for every $1 spent at The Natural Cavy. 50 Cavy points can be redeemed for $1 off your next order. Several point incentives are offered for sign up, referrals, and your birthday. Join Cavy Cash.
Tractor Supply Neighbor’s Club
Neighbor’s Club members earn points for eligible purchases and exclusive offers; 500 points earns a $5 reward to spend at Tractor Supply. Join Neighbor’s Club.
Will add more as I find them…
Rehome or Surrender your Guinea Pigs
It’s a hard decision to decide that your guinea pigs can no longer live with you for various reasons. If you need to find a new home for your guinea pigs, consider the following.
- Private rehoming – Use sites like GuineaPigFinder.com, join a guinea pig Facebook group for your area, or even Craigslist. Grill potential adopters, asking questions like “How big will their cage be?”, “Do you have other pets or children?”, “Have you had guinea pigs before?” to learn if their home is a good fit or not. Don’t be afraid to deny adopters. DO NOT offer your guinea pigs for free. It typically attracts people who are impulse buyers, do not intend to be your guinea pigs’ forever home and there have been reports of reptile owners looking for free food.
- Guinea Pig Rescue – Google “guinea pig rescue near me” or better yet search on Facebook “guinea pig [your area]”. You may also want to look for “small pet rescue.” Oftentimes guinea pig rescues don’t have websites that rank on search engines, but ask them questions to make sure they are legit if they only have Facebook.
- Local no-kill shelter
DO NOT RELEASE GUINEA PIGS “INTO THE WILD.” Guinea pigs do not survive when released on their own.