The Pros and Cons of Owning a Guinea Pig

Cavy conundrums!

Considering a guinea pig? Maybe you’ve seen the little guys racing around the displays at your local pet store. Perhaps you’ve met a few at your local rodent and rabbit show! You’ve fallen in love and you just can’t stop thinking about how cute or sweet they are.

We’re right here with you. Guinea pigs are our passion. They’re fantastic little friends, but we won’t mislead you. There are some significant drawbacks to guinea pig ownership. What are the pros and cons of owning a guinea pig? First, we’ll take a look at these fabulous pals. Then we’ll talk about some of the issues you may face if you decide to pick up a piggy as your buddy!

The Big Pros

Guinea pigs are friendly, vocal, and easily trained (both tricks and litter). 

Even the most skittish guinea pigs usually calm down with a few weeks of careful interaction. They’re fantastic first-time pets that will satisfy kids and adults alike. 

Easy to maintain and very biddable, guinea pigs want to please, and it shows!

Perhaps one of the biggest pros to owning a guinea pig is the way it will impact your diet. 

Guinea pigs require fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. 

This means you’ll have them around the house more often to keep your cavy’s cravings in check. 

Maybe you’ll find yourself snacking on them, too!

The Cons

Guinea pig fur can cause an allergic reaction in some people. While this is pretty rare, it does happen from time to time. 

Some people may also be allergic to their bedding. Those with asthma should have an allergy test performed prior to adopting (or purchasing) any guinea pig.

The largest con is finding a space big enough for your guinea pig to be comfortable. 

Coroplast sheeting and felt have been the build-your-own-cage standby for years. 

Unfortunately, a space large enough for a pair of guinea pigs may take up an entire corner of the room. 

When you’re considering a guinea pig as a pet, remember that they need a significant space to be comfortable. 

The tiny cages at most pet stores are not sufficient.

The In-Betweens

There are certainly some people who find the nighttime activities of guinea pigs to be a concern or disruptive. 

However, there are more who think it’s fun to have a little friend who squeaks and grunts during the evenings. This one is really dependent on your personality and that of your guinea pig.

Another tweener situation lies within guinea pig lifespans. For those who want a pet who will only live for a couple of years, this may not be the best pet for you. 

Guinea pigs typically live between 5 and 12 years of age. They’re wonderful companions, but if you’re looking for a pal for a longer (or shorter) time, this may be hard for you to deal with.

Guinea pigs are also somewhat messy within their own cage. Poop can end up in water bowls and food bowls, they must constantly have something to gnaw, and it can be difficult to keep up with their water needs if you come down with a cold. 

For those who are fairly robust or willing to deal with a piggy who needs help, even at their worst, a guinea pig is likely an incredible companion for you.

Summing it up

A guinea pig can be an amazing pet. They’re sweet, fun, and active demeanors make them an inquisitive little pal for years to come. They’re great for teaching kids about the cycle of life and helping them understand how to care for first-time pets. For adults who are deep in their working career? Your guinea pig is always happy to nibble a carrot while you’re away at work and play when you get home.

We can’t possibly recommend anyone better than a guinea pig for a first-time pet or for a pet whose owner is on-the-go quite often. They aren’t demanding in any significant way, and they can go a day or two without out-of-cage time if the cage is of significant size and you’re simply too tired to interact.

However, those who won’t enjoy guinea pigs are largely those who don’t have time to tame them down. More guinea pigs are abandoned due to owners who simply got in over their heads and did not understand that guinea pigs usually don’t come tame. They learn quickly and easily. You can even train them to do agility tricks, much like dogs.

But guinea pigs are still small prey animals when it comes down to it. The world is a large place, and it can be frightening. A bite from a guinea pig is rare, but it may still happen during the taming period. If you can’t deal with that, a guinea pig may not be for you. If you can, welcome to the world of cavies!

References

World of Cavy – The pros and cons about keeping guinea pigs

Guinea Pigs Guide – The pros and cons of owning a pet guinea pig