Guinea Pigs as Pets

Things you should know about before buying a guinea pigs

Guinea pigs can be lovely pets, but there are a few things you should know before making that big commitment. From expected lifespan to the social nature of guinea pigs, here are some things to consider before choosing a guinea pig as a pet.

  • 01 of 07

    Guinea Pigs Are a Long-Term Commitment

    Pet guinea pig (Cavia porcellus)
    Tobias Titz / Getty Images

    While a guinea pig doesn't live nearly as long as a cat or dog, they're still a large time commitment. Guinea pigs live on average around five to seven years, sometimes longer, so be prepared to provide care over the long term.

  • 02 of 07

    Guinea Pigs Are Social

    Guinea pigs sitting together
    Robert Daly / Getty Images

    Guinea pigs are very social animals and will be happiest living with other guinea pigs (and don't worry, they will still bond with their owners, too). Keep a same-sex pair to ensure you don't have any unwanted litters. Females can be kept together, as can males without any issues. Be aware that sometimes personality differences in the animals will mean certain guinea pigs won't get along. Introducing them as babies is the best way to get a pair to bond, though even adults can usually...MORE be introduced with care.

  • 03 of 07
    Men Standing By Guinea Pigs In Cage
    Md Muzahir / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Guinea pigs need a lot of floor space, and most cages marketed as guinea pig cages are much too small, especially for a pair. Making a homemade cage is very easy, though, and since ​guinea pigs are a good size and not escape artists, a homemade cage is a great option.

  • 04 of 07

    Guinea Pigs Are Quiet, Sometimes

    Guinea pig peeking out of his hut
    kickers / Getty Images

    Guinea pigs make a distinctive wheeking or whistling type sound, often in anticipation of getting a favorite treat or when in need of some attention. Though generally not loud enough to annoy the neighbors, a wheeking guinea pig can be surprisingly loud. If you're looking for an animal whose vocals will never interrupt a dinner party or afternoon nap, a guinea pig might not be for you.

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  • 05 of 07

    Guinea Pigs are Generally Easy to Tame

    A girl stroking a Guinea Pig
    Catherine Delahaye / Getty Images

    While guinea pigs may be nervous or skittish at first, with consistent gentle handling, they usually become tame very easily. Careful handling is a must, and children should be supervised with them, but they are unlikely to bite even when stressed.

  • 06 of 07
    Close-Up Of Cute Guinea Pig Indoors
    Ganina Ekaterina / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Guinea pigs are one of the few animals (humans are another) that cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, so they need to get it from their diet. Choosing a good quality diet and providing a variety of fresh foods is important, but most owners choose to also give their animals a vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C tablets are considered a better way to supplement than adding vitamin C to your pet's water.

  • 07 of 07
    Close-Up Of Guinea Pigs In Cage
    Priyanshu Trivedi / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Before heading out to buy a guinea pig, check with your local shelter or rescues for guinea pigs in need of a new home (or check on Petfinder). Many guinea pigs end up at shelters and are in need of a second chance at a forever home. Shelter guinea pigs are generally social and easy going. It should be easy to bond with an older piggie!