March is National Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) dedicated March to raising awareness about guinea pigs in rescue shelters. According to Petfinder.com, over 900 guinea pigs are awaiting adoption in Arizona alone. Would a guinea pig be a good pet addition to your home?
Adorable, squeaky, and highly social, guinea pigs make great pets for a variety of people, including older children who know how about gentle handling and caretaking. If properly raised and handled, guinea pigs will rarely bite, although it is critical that you let them get used to you before picking them up. Once they are comfortable taking treats from your hand, you can begin petting and holding them carefully. Guinea pigs are best kept in pairs or small groups, however, like all rodents, they will multiply quickly if you keep males and females together.
Guinea pigs have an average life span of three to five years with some living as long as ten years, so potential pet owners should be prepared to make a long-term care commitment before bringing one home. The costs of bedding, food, and annual veterinary care can average over $500 each year—another detail that should be budgeted for prior to adoption.
A Space of their Own
Guinea Pigs require at least four square feet of cage each and need a cage with a solid bottom—not one made of wire or glass. For bedding, they need hay or hardwood shavings (not cedar or pine chips—the oil those woods emit can be dangerous to your guinea pig). They love to hide and play so their environment should include tubes to tunnel through, rocks to climb, and sleeping boxes or flowerpots in which to hide.
As with all pets, fresh, clean water is essential to their survival and must be available at all times. Guinea pig pellets, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, grass hay, and chew sticks or untreated wood (to keep their teeth from growing too long) provide a well-balanced diet.
To the Rescue
March is a great time to learn more about adopting a rescued guinea pig. With so many lovable little ones awaiting a home, perhaps you are the owner they have been searching for.