Guinea Pig as a Pet

Updated on August 13, 2010
Y.D. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

I have an opportunity to get a guinea pig for my kids, but have a few concerns. I'm used to having dogs, never had a guinea pig, so just wondering if they are good pets, any issues or concerns...
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answers from McAllen on

I have two, and i LOVE them, and so does my 3yo. They dont need to much care, are really clean, and very easy to feed, my son feeds them!!. Other than changing the bedding, there's not much left to do!!
I read from another poster that they stink, in my experience, they don't but it depends on the bedding that you get it, there are very good odor controlling, and how often you change the bedding, we do it twice a week, usually but they can very well go with once a week. They kind of "jump" its called "popcorning" and its hilarious so they make throw bedding out of the cage, to avoid this, just put carton around the base of the cage to prevent it from coming out, and it works wonder. Also be careful with the size of cage you get them. Mine are not noisy at all, unless they are hungry, or its been too long since we've played with them, but we give them a little love, and they are happy!! I strongly recomend having them, in my experience they are wonderful pets!!!. Good Luck =)

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answers from Dallas on

We have two guinea pigs right now. We got them from a shelter they were already paired together. Guinea pigs are great pets and we have had alot of fun with them. My son is five and just loves them. We did alot of research on care and everything else before we got them. Here is a website that is very helpful for us.
It has info about proper, cheap cages, food, bedding. Just a lot of great info. Check it out. I think it will help you make up your mind.

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answers from Chicago on

Ok, I was a 'cat and dog' pet person but we now also have a guinea pig and I have to say we LOVE her! Here is our little story:

My son went to someone's house with a gp and came home asking for one. He is 10, so able to help care for a pet, but we already have 2 dogs and 2 cats and I was thinking that was enough. Also, my little brother had gerbils growing up and they just ran around and weren't much FUN- you couldn't actually play with them or anything.

But then my husband- who I thought would be on my side, lol- said HIS little brother always had GPs as pets when they were kids and that they were great pets! I talked to a GF of mine- again, expecting her to be on board with the 'no more pets' policy- and she said " Didn't you know that WE have a GP?? They're really sweet, you should get one!"

Lol- so the universe REALLY aligned against me when my GF called to say a GP was at the local animal shelter- it had been found wandering in someone's yard. We went to check her out and found an orange and white long-haired GP with a little Mohawk named 'Twinklebeam'. She is like a little ray of sunshine!

1) Some GPs bite. Ours does not, but you have to make sure your kids know to pick them up CAREFULLY and Twinkle will just sort of nibble on your hand to get your attention when she is ready to go back in her cage. Otherwise, she will hang out on my son's bed with him for an hour at a time while he reads, pets her and feeds her a carrot.

2) GPs PURR!! I had no idea= they purr like cats when you stroke them- it is really adorable! They also do this awesome thing called 'popcorning' when they are excited- they just pop right up into the air, they are so happy to see you! They make loud sort of whistling noises called 'wheeks' and will 'wheek' back at you when you whistle and talk to them. Twinkle will wheek at me whenever I walk past my son's door or come in with laundry- she really seems to recognize each of us in the family and be happy to see us as a dog or cat would be.

3)GPs poop. A LOT. If you are a person who is totally grossed out by poops, just know this. But- they are tiny, dry poops, and actually much less smelly than I thought they would be. I am allergic to the shredded up stuff many people put in GP cages, so here is what WE do: I line the bottom of the cage with an old towel and then we put a puppy training pad (waterproof) over it. Then we put her little igloo hideout, her chewable tube, food bowl, etc. and hay all in for her. I change the pad and put in a fresh towel about twice a week, and my son helps me.

Maybe it is because we are not using the shredded material in the cage, but unless I leave it an extra couple of days, it is NOT smelly. That was a big concern of mine because it is in my son's very small bedroom, but it mostly smells like grass, from the hay in the cage. Of course if you don't clean it regularly it will get stinky!

4)Our dogs are definitely interested in the GP and if she got out of her ball or was loose I am sure they would go after her. But other than some sniffing at the dresser top where her cage is, they mostly ignore her now. Same with the cats- surprisingly! They will sometimes come up on the dresser and I have caught one trying to put a paw through the cage bars- but the cage is very secure and the GP didn't seem afraid at all! Once I found them nose to nose through the bars, but the cat honestly was just acting more curious than anything else. Again- I am sure it would be different if the GP was loose, but they just all mostly ignore each other.

5) GPs are just much more social and interactive than I realize. As I said, Twinkle seems to recognize each of us and seems really really happy to see us. She's just got a lot more personalty and is much more fun than I thought she would be.

Even my mom, who is NOT a 'rodent pet' person really thinks she is adorable. Also, GPs only live about 5 years, so they are a good short-term pet, if you don't want to be taking care of one when your kids go to college.

I would recommend getting the LARGER size cage. It is totally worth it and our GP just seems much more comfortable and happy. Some of the cages they sell for them are really cramped and small. although she is nocturnal, she has never kept my son up at night, or been so noisy it was a problem. (maybe we just have an extra good GP???) But we socialize with her a lot, and so possibly she isn't looking for as much attention at night?

Trimming her nails can be tricky, but I hold her wrapped in a towel with something to gnaw on, and my husband does the actual trimming with a pair of nail clippers. ( he is the 'claw trimmer' for all pets of the household!)

Also, there are LOTS of GP rescue places online- search a little and see if you can rescue one, rather than buying one at Petsmart or something like that! (I mention this only because I had no idea there WERE GP rescues until we started researching this!)

Also, they are EXTREMELY fertile!!! So I would say only get ONE - and no playdates with other GPs.

Hmm, only other thing- she will eat the core of the lettuce, bits of apple or carrot, veggie trimmings you might otherwise throw away. I also give her mint and parsley from our garden which she seems to really like and which makes her cage smell good too, lol.

Anyway, I recommend them whole-heartedly! We love our Twiklebeam and she is a great pet. When she is gone, we will definitely get another one :)

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answers from Sacramento on

We have guinea pigs and we love them!!!! I would, however, do some research to be sure you really want them. We have two (because they are social and happier being paired). The biggest mistake people make is getting a cage that is too small. We made a cage for ours out of sign material (chloroplast) and wire cubicles. There's a great website

We have a 6 year old and a 5 year old and they have been terrific first pets for them. I could give you lots of info (we wanted to be sure they would be good pets too), but it's found easily on the internet.

PS.We have two males and they do not smell, but they do poop a lot! We change the bedding twice a week because I have a daycare at home and maintain a clean house. To make it easy we use puppy pads underneath the bedding and this makes changing the cage a snap.

E-mail if I can help with questions! Good luck!

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answers from Columbus on

We have one. He is a very good pet, but the cage needs frequent cleaning. Ours is very large, tame, and surprisingly affectionate.


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answers from Atlanta on

I had the cutest guinea pig as a child for 8 years! He was completely trained and I had so much fun with him. Poor thing -I would put doll dresses on him and ride him around in my Barbie cars! He would also sit up and beg, squeal on command, and we were able to let him run around the house frequently. Like any animal -if YOU keep his environment clean, you usually won't have a problem. We cleaned his cage a few times per week. He had an area he would pee in, so we primarily scooped those shavings and then cleaned the whole thing once a week. We had a rabbit-hutch type cage for him in the laundry room, but we would hold him in our laps while watching tv. He loved to be held and petted. We used cedar shavings, and smell was never a problem. Mine was a short hair, and I do prefer those over the long-hairs.



answers from Houston on

I had a GP years ago....yes, they are cute. HOWEVER, they STINK!!! If you have a GP in your home, you can tell with just one foot in the door!!!! Its their pee....very strong amonia smell....even cleaning the cage every other day...still smells!!!

Good Luck!!!


answers from Cleveland on

Guinea pigs can be cute...but they can be annoying also.
I grew up with my sisters having them.
They make noise all the time, you have to clean their cage quite often, and most of them kick their bedding around so it gets out of the cage and all over your house :)
I'd agree with Joanne, if you aren't afraid.
Rats are WAY better pets.

So smart, and actually can be quite loving lil guys.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I had a guinea pig as a pet when I was around 8 or 9 years old. The one I had was really noisy and I had a hard time sleeping with it in my room. It squealed a lot! Also, it always flung the woodshaving bottom cover everywhere and was a bit smelly. I ended up giving it to my Grandparents when their bird died. I'm a big fan of the Hampster myself.



answers from Minneapolis on

I had one when I was in late grade school to early high school (gave it away as I got busy with other things and my mom had a friend whose little kids really wanted one but they couldn't afford one). I kept mine in an aquarium, so the shavings weren't a problem. I cleaned her cage regularly so it didn't smell. I really enjoyed cuddling her, but my attempts to take her for a walk didn't work. =) (I was pretty young, so I didn't know better and bought a little collar and leash.) She was noisy, which annoyed my parents, but didn't bother me. There wasn't too much work in maintaining her, but they do need to have their nails clipped if they don't run around on hard surfaces. It wasn't too hard to learn and I was able to do it myself after having been taught by a person at the pet store. Good luck on your decision.



answers from Philadelphia on

Guinea pigs are cute and can be tamed. As mentioned by others they are stinky and need cage cleaned quite often. I would think about a hamster. I have a regular size hamster and he is quite nice and is not that stinky. He has a critter trail which you can attach different tubings to it. If you have to go away for a few days then they are self sufficient if they are left adequate food and water.

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