Post # 1
My fiance and I are thinking about getting a guinea pig and I was hoping to get some advice from other bees who have experience with them. We recently moved and while we wanted to get a dog, after much searching we couldn’t find an apartment in our ideal neighborhood and budget that was also dog friendly. We now have a great apartment we love and my fiance got a new job while I’m in school. Our place has explicitly stated in the lease that dogs are not allowed, but cats are and other pets may be allowed with permission from the landlord. I am assuming guinea pigs are likely to fall in that bucket but will obviously have to ask. Neither of us are big cat people and I’m quite allergic.
My Fiance has a bit of a lonely work experience – he’s the only person on his team and doesn’t get much face-to-face interaction at the office. In addition, he’s welcome to work from home a few days a week, which he often takes advantage of. On top of that, I’m increasingly busy with school and we have less quality time to spend together than we used to. My Fiance has been dealing with anxiety and has been really wanting a pet for comfort. We think guinea pigs would be perfect! We have a nice sized sun-room we rarely use that gets a lot of natural light and we can put a cage for them. I think they can provide some comfort, company, and cuddles while my Fiance is home but are low responsibility enough for us to not compromise our lifestyle. My understanding is that they can infrequently be left alone for weekends, and we don’t have to stress too much if we, say, both have a busy day at work/school and get home later than usual. It’s not like a dog who will need to be taken out and fed on a schedule – as long as we keep their environment clean and keep them with food and clean water they are good.
Plus, I think they’re really cute! I remember when I was a kid we had a class pet of a guinea pigs and I really loved playing with them. My Fiance likes piggies too.
I will be a first time pet owner – I didn’t really grow up with pets. My Fiance grew up having dogs but has never had any as an adult. Anything else that I’m missing on why this would work? I know it will be a responsibility, but hopefully less than the responsibility of having dogs or even cats.
Anything I’m missing? Any words of wisdom?
Post # 2
AnonBee2019 : make sure you get 2, they need to live with a friend or their life is very sad. I had some in my classroom and I loved them, they were great and not rodent-y to me as I hate rats, hamsters etc. they don’t bite although one of mine did nibble. I would do some research on appropriate cage size. The little ones they sell at petco and such are not big enough by a long shot, they need a decent amount of room to move about.
Post # 3
carolinabelle : Yeah I’ve heard this. We plan to get 2
Post # 4
We had guineas when I was a kid. They’re sweet and they make cute little chirping noises!! Just be sure to pet the breed you plan to get ahead of time so you’re sure you’re happy with their snuggliness level. There’s lots of different fur textrues out there!
Post # 5
I had 2 as a classroom pet and they lasted about a month…. they are a lot of work….and their cage needs to be cleaned daily or it stinks so bad. They were not the pets for me and they make the whole room smell.
This is coming from a person who has 3 dogs at home lol…. the pigs were very stressful.
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
I had Guinea pigs for several years and honestly would not have them as pets again. They require daily fresh veggies, pellets and hay (so beware if either of you have a hay allergy), can be quite noisy, and are definitely messy pets. We had ours in a 2-story hutch so they had plenty of space, and it needed to be cleaned at least once every few days, max, or the whole room smelled to HIGH HEAVEN.
We adopted them out over a year ago and I’m still finding hay around my apartment lol. While they are adorable pets, they aren’t typcially cuddly type animals. One of our piggies would somewhat tolerate being held and petted, but the other would legit just squeal loudly anytime anyone came near it unless it was to offer food, and even then she would grab the food and run and hide hah.
I think if you go into it with all your expectations in check and thoroughly research the time and commitment it takes, and you’re okay with what that looks like, you may be okay, but be sure you fully understand what you’re taking on. Personally, I think my cats are way less work to take care of, and way more cuddly. 🙂
Post # 7
It’s a common misconception that they’re low responsibility pets. I’m an experienced Guinea pig owner. Few things to keep in mind. 1.They can be very fragile and if they get sick they go downhill fast. There’s many things to need to watch out for including dental issues.
2. Absolutely no wire flooring. This can cause bumblefoot which is very difficult to fix and can be fatal. They also must be kept in clean cages to prevent this and keeping them clean can be time consuming.
3. You need at least two. Obviously 2 males or 2 females. You don’t want them to breed out of control. And I’d highly recommend you adopt as opposed to going to a pet store.
4. There’s a list of foods that they cannot eat. No potato, no lettuce etc. Please educate yourself on their diet because so many people neglect to do so and it can be fatal. They need an endless supply of Timothy hay to keep their teeth from over growing. Plus 1 cup of veg per pig per day.
5. Find a good exotic pet/ small animal veterinarian.
In saying all that, they are lovely little pets but not low responsibility. But you’ll find it highly rewarding because they’re the sweetest. Just keep in mind before you get them that you will need to put time into cleaning cages, checking their teeth, possibly taking them for teeth trims (they grow constantly). Weigh ins to ensure they’re not losing weight (sign of illness). You may even end up needing to clean their bottoms. I had a rescue who suffered impaction and had to clean his butt for 12 years! I’m not trying to deter you, at all because I love my piggies. I just want you to be aware of these things.
Post # 8
These are our girls- Marceline and Carrot. They are sweet girls. I don’t think that are a lot of work- but I grew up with pets. They are very affectionate and love to sit in your lap while we watch tv. I’ve found that females are less stinky than males. Make sure you get 2 so they have a buddy.
Post # 9
If you don’t want a guinea pig – who does need straw which can aggravate allergies – perhaps consider a pair of Love Birds. They’re a little lower effort than a furry friend but they are pretty cuddly so I hear!
Post # 10
eeniebeans : Omg they’re so cute!! Look at those babies
Sorry I wasn’t clear in my first post – I am aware the piggies are social animals and need a cage mate. I definitely intend to get two. I also definitely plan to get a big environment and cleaning and feeding them daily. I assume we’ll just add some fresh veggies to our weekly shopping list and keep ourselves stocked with hay and pellets.
In terms of “low responsibility” – I just mean that we can leave them for 8-10 hours sometimes (if say, Fiance or I grab dinner after work) and don’t have to rush home, or even a rare weekend away. Also, I’m assuming they’ll be a bit easier to find care for than a dog (like someone to stop by and feed them rather than full on pet sitting). I also imagine we can pack them up in the car if we go to visit our parents for a week or so.
Fiance also has diagnosed anxiety so I think we’ll be able to have them as “emotional support animals”, which will be nice.
Post # 11
I have 3 guinea pigs (used to be 4 but one died a few months ago) and I love them but I honestly would never do it again. They’re cute and sweet but SO much work. They need significantly more space than the cages you can buy in pet stores to thrive and be happy, which can get pricey to special order online or build. They shriek every single time anyone opens the refrigerator (which is packed full of lettuce and their other veggies just for them at all times. We seriously have been talking about getting a second fridge just for them.) because they know that’s where the veggies come from even if they just got fed. There’s constantly hay all over the floor (which I didn’t realize I’m allergic to until after getting them) no matter how often I sweep by their cage. They require so much attention to be happy and I honestly feel like because Fiance and I both have full time jobs that they just aren’t getting as much as they need. They also can live 8+ years, so while not as long as most dogs or cats, they’re still a long term commitment. Guinea pigs are awesome little creatures, but if you really want one do your research and make sure this is the right animal for you because they are not easy when cared for properly. I also have 2 dogs and 2 cats and they are nothing compared to the upkeep of the pigs. Also don’t get a long haired one unless you’re prepared to groom it constantly to keep it from getting matted and peeing on its hair 😭
Post # 12
I had a single male for 5 years. He liked being petted (purred like a kitten) but didn’t like being held. I didn’t get him until he was over a year old; I think if you get them as babies and hold them, they get used to it. You do have to keep the AC on in your home if it’s hot (they don’t sweat). There were times we air-conditioned the whole house just for the pig lol. He did squeal when the refrigerator opened, but we found it amusing. I think they would be okay overnight without someone there. I did have to take him every 6 weeks to the vet to get his nails trimmed, but some people do it themselves. I had monthly Amazon deliveries of hay (he only liked a certain kind) and bedding (beware of any with scent in it or baking soda; my pig got a respiratory issue from one kind of bedding). I think they are nice pets for older people too. You just have to know what you’re in for.
Post # 13
We have guineas, I’ve had them now for 11 years (2 at a time, on guinea 6 and 7 at the moment). I love my pigs but they’re not low maintenance and certainly shouldn’t be left for a weekend away.
My pigs get fresh hay, pellets and water daily (sometimes multiple times per day), and fresh greens and veg 3 times a day. They can be left for a long time during a day (so sometimes they miss out on a meal if we’re out), but I wouldn’t go longer than maybe 16 hours?
I’d recommend girls over boys, as boys can be more aggressive and can be difficult to bond. I’m lucky with my boys, but my friend has to have hers in two separate cages as they just kept fighting, and they were from the same litter. They only turned on each other when they were about 9 months old, which was difficult for my friend as they were all set up with a big cage and hadn’t accounted for space for two big cages.
Also, they shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight as this can cause them to overheat and die – ours are kept at the far end of the living room where the sunshine doesn’t touch them. I’m not sure how your sun room is set up, but something else to consider.
I use fleece and towel bedding and clean them out properly once a week, but also spot clean and sweep the cage for poops daily. They can still get stinky (particularly boys, especially if they scent at each other). One of mine loves strokes and cuddles, the other is NOT affectionate.
I’ve already said to my husband, I’d prefer girls again next as I prefer them to boys. I love my pigs but they’re not easy pets!
Post # 14
They’re super sweet and I want 2 so badly.
I just know I’d be awful at cleaning a cage.
If you’re not certain you want a pig consider getting an older guy.
Try to avoid buying them at a pet store! Opt for a rescue or a breeder.
Bearded Dragons may be something for you to consider. They’re pretty tamed as far as reptiles go and low maintenance.
While they don’t bond like mammels do some do enjoy a good cuddle with their human.
Post # 15
graced : Love birds are much higher maintenance than guinea pigs. Love birds are unfortunately another animal whose needs are extremely misrepresented by pet stores. Because they are so adorable and small people assume they aren’t as demanding as their larger parrot cousins, but they have very similar needs as a full sized parrot! Fresh food, daily cage cleanings, almost constant mental stimulation. Not to be annoying, but I have friends who rescue parrots and so many of them come from owners who had no idea what they were getting into!