Hypothetical Guinea Pig Questions

  • #1
hey y'all,

so I know some of you own/ed guinea pigs and I wanted to get some opinions from people here who have experience first without getting overwhelmed by a new forum and various websites. my mom wants a guinea pig but I don't really think it's going to happen, at least not any time soon. lol. some background info: i've taken care of guinea pigs before (plus chinchillas) and I used to own rats and hamsters.

1. my mom only wants one pig. I did research and learned that they're social herd animals and should be kept in pairs/groups. I can't convince her to get two (plus I really don't want to take care of two pigs lol -- i'm basically going to be the sole caretaker because my mom is disabled). she explained that the pig we used to take care of did fine alone, plus a ton of pigs are kept alone. that and "the pet store employee said that about the rats too so we got two but one of them nearly killed the other and we had to separate them." is it cruel to keep just one pig by itself? I know it's not gonna die from loneliness or anything but now that I know they're herd animals, i'd feel wrong getting just one. it's sorta like keeping just a single schooling fish instead of a shoal of them when you know better... except guinea pigs are probably a bit more self-aware and live longer than most fish.

2. does anyone have experience with fixing guinea pigs? my mom wants a female but wants it spayed to prevent reproductive cancer/tumors and prolong its life. I don't think she realizes how much that's gonna cost haha

3. what bedding do you use? i've heard some people use fleece blankets, spot-clean, and wash them once a week. i'm not sure if that'll go well with pee...? can you potty train guinea pigs?

4. what cage do you use? i'm looking at the amazonbasics jumbo pet habitat. it's 48"x26"x18". this is the biggest cage I can find. I like that it has a sturdy base and looks easier to clean than the popular canvas-bottom midwest habitat. we have cats so I don't want any accidents.

5. what dry food is best/what do you use? we would of course give it lots of fresh veggies too.

6. mostly just for fun: what is your favourite variety of guinea pig? and favourite colours? I saw a cute baby pig at the pet store that had longish (not super long) fur that was suuuuper soft and curly. it reminded me of an alpaca's coat. i'm not sure what breed it was (probably a mutt?). I think I like the calico (I guess it's called tortoiseshell+white?) ones the best.

7. show me the pigs.

  • #2
Saw this one in Petco the other day. Shortly after I took the pic, one of the employees took it out of the cage to wander around the store with her.

Was about 2-3 times the size of the other pigs in the store, so I nicknamed it Guinea the Hutt.
  • #3
I believe it is in Switzerland that it is unlawful to own just one guinea pig. They are social animals.
  • #4
I believe it is in Switzerland that it is unlawful to own just one guinea pig. They are social animals.
Wouldn't be surprised. It is rare I see less than 2 or 3 in the same cage at the pet stores as well.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I believe it is in Switzerland that it is unlawful to own just one guinea pig. They are social animals.

wow! that's interesting. leave it to europe lol. i'd never even heard of keeping more than one guinea pig until a month ago when I did some actual research online. I always thought they were solitary because all i've ever seen is people with just one pig. plus I think most pet stores perpetuate this idea? sometimes they'll be in groups but I figured it was just temporary/lack of space/pet stores being pet stores.

i've actually never really met anyone with more than one pig in real life or online...
  • #6
AquaticJ don’t you have some?
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
AquaticJ don’t you have some?

I know Guanchy has (more than a few) too.
  • #8
Pleeeeease don't let her get one, it will be so lonely and sad! I have two females, JenI and Mocha. I use recycled newspaper (unscented) that’s meant for cat litter, though nobody uses it for cat litter. I have a 48 inch long cage for them, meant for a rabbit. I feed them oxbow pellets, no colored pieces or nuts mixed in (bad and unnecessary). They need unlimited hay, I use the oxbow hay blends because it has Timothy Hay and Orchard grass which they also need. Then the big one, they need a cup- cup and a half of greens everyday, you can google guinea pig safe greens. It’s important that you supplement their vitamin C, because like us, they don’t produce it on their own and become deficient. The vet recommended oxbox vitamin C biscuit treats. Stay away from vitamins that you add to water, they won’t drink it. As far as the the spaying thing, I don’t think it’s necessary at all. Though it’s usually less expensive than a dog or cat, but MAKE SURE they specialize in exotics. A lot can go wrong on small animals during surgery and if they’re not very well experienced, it’s a big risk. I don’t like using fleece because Guinea Pigs are little poop/pee monsters and if you don’t wash it like everyday, it gets pretty gross.


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  • #9
In some countries it is illegal to own only a single guinie pig.
  • #10
I bought three all female and they were very vocal and boisterous. We named them Toffee, Fudge and Marshmallow. My children and myself picked one each. Mine was Toffee (brown and white) who turned out to be the leader of the herd, James chose Fudge (3 colours) and Oliva chose Marshmallow (black and white, also the smallest, cutest, funniest and the longest lived).

They lived 5.5, 8 and 8.5 years respectively. It was obvious to me from their behaviour that they should be kept in groups.

They ate mainly grass from outdoors which I collected quite easily daily. They had more enthusiasm for this than any other food but they also had pellets and kitchen peelings for variety.

In good weather they were in an outdoor cage. I never needed to mow the lawns with a machine.

In bad weather I took them out of the indoor cage for a run around the downstairs every day.

I kept mine on absorbent material which I swapped out, washed and dried each day. I kept my pigs as dry and clean as possible.

They are lovely animals, seem to like handling and live long enough to be satisfying to keep. However, they do need a lot of upkeep and you need time to do this.

I'd say cats are overall the best pets I've had.

16.01.24 House in Guinea Pig Cage Steve Joul (4) - Copy.JPG
14.08.04 Summer and Guinea Pigs - Copy.jpg
15.10.16 Marshmallow Steve Joul - Copy.JPG
16.01.24 Absorbent cloths Guinea Pig Cage Steve Joul (2) - Copy.JPG
16.01.24 Vetbed bedding Guinea Pig Cage Steve Joul (2) - Copy.JPG
Guinea Pigs and run Steve Joul 16.08.08 - Copy.jpg
Guinea Pigs Steve Joul 18.11.08 001 (1) - Copy.jpg
James and Olivia with Guinea Pigs Steve Joul 02.08.08 - Copy.jpg
Marshmallow Steve Joul 16.04.09.jpg
Steve James and Olivia with guinea pigs An Joul .01.08 - Copy.jpg
  • #11
Absolutely love guinea pigs. Some of my favorite animals. Guinea pigs should not be kept alone, I would recommend her to go woth two females and honestly if you have two females you don't need to spay them. Also look into shelters sometimes they would have guinea pigs and they would come already fixed. Dont get boys, unless you are experienced with guinea pigs I won't recommend them. They would need bigger cages than female for territory and sometimes even with a big enough cage males can get pretty aggressive.

If she really wants to get them fixed she can look into Vets in your area that offer programs for cheap for spaying and neuter. I got my boy spayed for only $150 through a program here in NYC. Regular vet was charging my $500!!!

I use fleece blankets. A little pricey when you first get them but oh so worth it. They would last you forever and you won't have to spend money buying bedding Monthly or weekly. My favorite type of guinea pigs are abyssinian. I love their crazy hair lol

Another thing, and this is my opinion but guinea pigs are not really lap animals. Yeah some of them can be extremely nice but its not the case for majority of them. Despite what people think because they are cute etc... they don't like being picked up and mess with much.

The only time I would keep a guinea pig alone is if they are sick or extremely aggressive towards other guinea pigs. Other than that, they should not be keot alone. Also people think that caring for one guinea pig is easier than two and its not the case, you wiuld just have to add a little extra food when you have two but other than that the cage cleaning etc... would
not be that much more having two.

I think I tried to answer most of your questions lol sorry for the essay. And now some pictures of mine.

I built this cage with my father in law


The kiddos




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  • Thread Starter
  • #12
thank you so much for your answers, everyone! sorry about the late reply. we've decided not to get a guinea pig after all. I stressed that just one is unacceptable and I don't want that kind of responsibility right now. now I just have to stop looking at all the cute piggies at pet stores and online lol

y'all have some very cute pigs, aww. Guanchy I especially love yours!!! awesome shots.

Redshark1 I agree! I wish we could get another cat but we've only ever had 2 at a time. my parents don't want another cat even though one of them is actually my cat... but she lives at their house, so.

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