5 Things to Know Before Getting a Guinea Pig

5 things to know before getting one of these lovable little furballs

By Peggy Frezon, Rensselaer, New York

WEB EXCLUSIVE

You may have recently spent a Saturday matinee watching G-Force, Disney’s new 3-D movie about a rollicking team of super-spy guinea pigs.

As the credits rolled, possibly your kids were already begging you for a pet guinea pig of their very own.

The good news is, guinea pigs can make wonderful pets. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about a cuddly little “cavy” of your own.

1. Guinea pigs are friendly.
These little rodents, about 1 to 2 pounds, enjoy attention. They’re not as small or quick like a mouse, so they’re easy to hold. Some may be nervous, but they’re not nippy.

2. Guinea pigs are vocal.
Guinea pigs squeak, squeal, chatter, whistle and purr. You can get to know your pet’s emotions by becoming familiar with its different calls.

Whenever I opened the refrigerator door, my guinea pig would squawk for lettuce!

3. Guinea pigs are easy to care for.
Provide your guinea pig with food and water, clean bedding, play time and lots of love.

4. Guinea pigs need a large cage.
Larger cages will provide your pet with plenty of room to move around. Here are some ideas for inexpensive cages you can build.

Use a cage (not an aquarium) with good ventilation. 

5. Guinea pigs are sweet—but messy.

There’s no getting around it; you’ve got to keep their cage clean. An unclean cage smells bad.

Guinea pigs (especially long haired ones) need brushing, and sometimes, a bath.  

It’s not always smart to buy a pet just because it looked cute in a movie. But if you have the time and space, a guinea pig will make a welcome addition to your family.

For more information, read this article from the Humane Society of the United States.

Peggy Frezon, freelance writer and pet lover, has owned dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, hermit crabs, turtles and fish. Visit here twice monthly to read helpful tips on caring for your pets and check out her blog.

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