Guinea Pigs? - Austin,TX

Updated on December 15, 2009
A.S. asks from Austin, TX
13 answers

We're thinking of getting guinea pigs. Does anyone have any advice for us? We're currently researching their needs and care, but additional info would be much appreciated. :)


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answers from Houston on

We had 2 guinea pigs and they were absolutely adorable. I loved them!! They are social animals so you absolutely need to have 2 of them so they are not alone. They are also dirty and very time consuming and need a pretty large living area for their size. Weighing the pro's and con's if I had the time and a nice place to keep them (indoors so they can stay out of the elements-yet away from my living areas) then I would have guinea pigs again.

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answers from Houston on

We got 2 after having hamsters and had to get rid of them after a year. They stink and require a lot of cleaning. When we took them out of the cage to play with them they would go to the bathroom all over either the person holding them or the floor. They eat nonstop so they go to the bathroom nonstop. They are very cute and make adorable noices and will eat from your hands but messy and smelly.

Hamsters were much better in my opinion. Not smelly and much smaller so the cage was easier to clean. Although not as fun to handle just because of their size.



answers from Killeen on

We LOVE our guinea pig!!! My daughter is 7. Her father bought her one about a year ago. He moved and his fiance' would not let the g.p. to live at her house. So, we moved her to my house. They are really easy pets. They need to have feed (pellets), water, hay (timothy hay), and green leaf lettuce. The green leaf lettuce is important for a specific vitamins that g.p. need to grow bigger. Penny gets a lettuce leaf daily. We sometimes feed her carrots, as a treat. They can also eat oranges. "Penny" does not like the oranges.
I discovered a new way to keep her cage. I was buying the bedding to layer the bottom of her cage. This was costing about $20/month. I now line a towel in the bottom and place a piece of felt over the towel. When we clean her cage, we lift the towel out and dump the poop in the yard and then wash the towel and felt in the washing machine. It takes about 3 minutes to clean her cage. I had an old towel. The felt was $2.49 at Michael's. I washed the felt before putting it in her cage. I keep two sets of towels/felt. We wash one and replace it with a clean set.
We have a lot of fun with our g.p. She squeals and talks to us when we are in the kitchen. She sits with my daughter and snuggles. She will nibble your fingers and can bite. If you have younger kids, that is something to know. Good luck. We bought ours at PetsMart. The staff has been a wonderful source of information. I hope your g.p. brings joy to your home.
Take care,



answers from College Station on

I used to work in a lab facility and the only pet I will not allow my kids to have is a Guinea Pig. Their urine is highly acidic and are difficult to clean. They can also be temperamental.



answers from Houston on

Hello A.,
Guinea pigs are SUPER easy to take care feed 'em, play with 'em, clean their cages......but just be warned. They stink to high heaven!!! Unless they are in a cage outside, or "garage type" setting (and I'm not suggesting you put them in the garage), you can smell those things from a distance!!! If you just have ONE in your house, you WILL smell it coming in the front door.
I had one a few years back. I even took to cleaning the cage out every three days....still stunk. AND, they are messy. If you desire a perfectly clean floor, not the animal for you. I would have to have the opinion that guinea pigs are only a slightly less smelly animal than a ferret.
I'm sorry to sound so "down" about them, but like you stated, you are researching and want info...I would rather you make an informed decision, with all the facts, than buying one only to have to find it a home later.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!!
Margaret :)

P.S. I had my GP for several years, (Einstein, may he rest in peace) He actually got cancer and died. I like guinea pigs. BUT, will definetley NEVER own another....unless its an outsider.



answers from Beaumont on

I love reading the other responses. My question would be how old are your kids? Mine are 8 and 9 and we have 2. The kids do none of their care but will play with them, hold them when I tell them to. They eat constantly which means 4-5 times a day I'm giving them something. Mine love carrots, any lettuce besides iceberg, celery and their favorites are cucumbers. They also need hay and pellet food. We also put them outside to play (our cage top is separate so we just put them outside with the cage top over them) when the weather is between 70-90. They love, while they're outside, to have a towel over them so they can hide and tunnel around. Inside their cage they need some shelter to "hide" in also. I enjoy them but they are pretty high maintanence. Good luck!



answers from Austin on

It depends on how old your child/ren are (assuming they are who you are considering the Guinea Pig for). I had a few growing up (starting with when I was in 1st grade. I was able to keep the cage cleaned and the little guy fed & watered.
The more they are able to be handled, the more tame they become (as with most rodents). Make sure your child/ren are able to handle the pig gently because they will become more afraid of people if not handled with care.
They will 'talk' to you to show their love and two of mine even would lay on my chest & lick my face!
I'm sure I probably didn't answer your questions, but if you have specific concerns, I can try to answer them.
Good Luck!



answers from Victoria on

talk to your pet store. we were at a pet smart and over heard them discussing a certian customer yet again brought back the pets (either guniea pigs or hampsters i cannot remember ). apparently they told her not to put them in the cage together because one will eat the others head. and sure enough she was in there for the third time because thats exactly what happened. ick! they did tell her about this.



answers from San Antonio on

We've never had g.p's but we've had several hamsters. Hamsters are very entertaining! They don't smell, they clean themselves and keep a neat cage. Cleaned it once every 5 days. They eat a little and we found them very tame and social.
They are a riot in their running wheels, or those little plastic balls that run on the floor. The habit trail cages are great....and fun to watch as they tunnel around and bury things.
When going on vacation, it is easy to find friends to watch hamsters, as they are fun. My kids have watched neighbor's g.p's before and prounounced them boring.

Just our opinion.



answers from Houston on

They squeal A LOT! So make sure you will have a space for them far away from the kids room. Other than that they are great!



answers from Houston on

Our family has had both guinea pigs and hamsters. Of the two, the hamsters are cleaner, less smelly, and easier to care for. However, the kids did enjoy both. Here is a website that might help you make a better informed decision:



answers from Atlanta on

I had two as a child. They do squeal, we thought it was cool. They are loud but quiet down at night when the lights go out. Not unlike a gerbil in that you have to change and clean their cages weekly, or more. We used to let our's out of the cages for a short time, they are quick. And can be friendly, liking your fingers and sitting on your shoulder but not like a dog or cat that you can play with and teach tricks. They certainly don't come when called. You cannot walk them which could be a plus. We did take our outdoors in the summer they love to run in the grass and often set their cages out on the porch during the day. Nice alternative to a fish or gerbil. Not much care needed.



answers from Houston on

how old are your kids? Are they old enough to handle the responsibility more than 50% of the time? If not, the pig will become your pet and not theirs.

We have a GP and our daughter - who is 9.5 - tired of it after about 2 months. Because I put my foot down when we got it and said I would not be responsible for it, it has become Dad's GP.

They live an average of 8 years. Makes all kinds of noises at night. They poop like no animal I've ever seen and you will need to properly clean out their cage about every 2-3 days. If you don't have a picky eater, they can eat what is suggested in books - if you have a picky eater (and yest they come like this), you'll have to buy the special food and supplements.

Like a dog, you'll need to make arrangements for someone to tend to it should you go on vacation or out of town for a long weekend.

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