Are guinea pigs the right animal for you?

Guinea pigs are a big responsibility and a long-term commitment. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide if guinea pigs are the right animals for you and your household:

  • Who are the guinea pigs for? Guinea pigs can make rewarding animals for adults, or children with careful supervision from a responsible adult. An adult must ensure they are cared for properly every day.
  • Have you thought about the future? Guinea pigs can live for 5 to 6 years so be sure you can commit to caring for them for their whole lives.
  • Do you have the time for guinea pigs? Caring for guinea pigs takes a lot of time each day as they will need cleaning out, feeding, grooming and interacting with.
  • Do you have the space for guinea pigs? Your guinea pigs’ home will take up a large area of your house and/or garden.
  • Can you afford guinea pigs? Consider the costs of yearly veterinary checks, possible neutering (for males), other veterinary fees, housing, holiday care, food, bedding and toys, for two or more guinea pigs.
  • What will you do when you go on holiday? Guinea pigs get stressed by travelling and new surroundings so would prefer to stay in their home while you are away. You will need to find a trustworthy and competent person to visit your home and look after your guinea pigs every day.

This is basic information only, so if you decide you can care for guinea pigs you’ll need to obtain more detailed information beforehand.

It is important to ensure you can commit to your guinea pigs forever. However, if in future you can no longer care for an animal you purchased from us, please contact Pets at Home as we will try to rehome them via our in-store adoption centres provided by our charity ‘Support Adoption for Pets’. Never abandon any animal or release them into the wild.

About guinea pigs

Guinea pigs can make rewarding animals for adults or children with careful supervision from a responsible adult. Remember that with any animals for children, an adult is always legally responsible for ensuring the animal is cared for properly. Guinea pigs are inquisitive and intelligent animals, and they can become friendly if gently handled from a young age. They can live for five to six years, though some may live longer.

We need company!

Guinea pigs are social animals so they’re usually happiest when living with at least one other compatible guinea pig. A good combination is a neutered male with one or more females, or a pair or group of females. A pair of littermate brothers can sometimes live together successfully if they have been brought up together. Ask a vet about introducing new guinea pigs to each other and neutering. Guinea pigs can also enjoy human company, so provide them with rewarding interactions with you every day.

Guinea pigs should not live with rabbits because guinea pigs and rabbits have different diets and communicate in different ways. Rabbits can bully or injure guinea pigs, and can pass diseases on to them.