Breaking the myth: guinea pigs are not easy pets.


Guinea pigs are a species of rodent that live on hay and vegetables. They are commonly thought to be an easy beginner’s pet. Because of this, parents give these small pets to their children, unaware of the care that guinea pigs truly need. 

The food given to a guinea pig needs to be closely monitored. Any more than they need and their body gets chubbier, applying too much pressure on their legs and putting them in pain. Although, they do need an endless supply of hay. According to Guinea Piggles, “Without hay, they will become very ill as their teeth will overgrow and their digestive systems will not function correctly.” Guinea pigs do need fresh vegetables every day for proper nutrition. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, and kale are all very nutritious vegetables for guinea pigs. Fruits can be given as a treat due to the amount of natural sugar in the food, but not too much, or else the guinea pig can get sick. 

Guinea pigs are also very social animals. They need one or two more to accompany them or else they may get sad without equal communication. The more guinea pigs you have, the more mess you have to clean up. Like most small pets, they are not easily potty trained. They use the bathroom wherever they sit. Cleaning the cages takes time if you don’t do touch-ups often. For easy cleaning, it is recommended to use fleece liners as bedding. This also helps with the health of the guinea pigs, as paper bedding could get dirty faster. “Many of you always ask me, “does cleaning the cage take a long time?” and the answer is no, the cage can be cleaned in 5 minutes. Trust me, I’ve even timed it on one of our YouTube Vlogs. The reason for this is because I spot clean their guinea pig bedding twice a day, so it always stays clean longer,” says GuineaDad, a guinea pig blog.

Guinea pig nails also need to be cut once a month and long hair guinea pigs need to be kept well-groomed or else they can get infections. Guinea pigs can get quite expensive with all the hay, bedding, and veggies needed. Parents may not be prepared to take care of the guinea pigs, therefore leading the animals to be left in unsafe and unsanitary homes. 

Before you get a pet, research all the things it needs and how to take care of it. Here are some websites going into more detail about guinea pig care: Guinea pig care | Animal Humane Society, What To Feed a Guinea Pig | RSPCA, Know Your Guinea Pig Is Happy | RSPCA, 6 Golden Rules of Guinea Pig Care.