5 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Make Great Pets

I have had a guinea pig (also known as a cavy) off and on for my entire life. I won my first guinea pig "Petey" from a name-drawing in my 1st grade class, and he became my first pet ever. After owning 4-5 different guinea pigs I would easily recommend a guinea pig as a pet to anyone considering a new member to the household.

I currently own two boars (male guinea pigs). Apollo and Wilson are brothers, as well as cage mates. My boyfriend and I adopted them from a guinea pig rescue in Meadville, PA. Their personalities are extremely different so it is fun to see how they interact and play off of one another.Being the sweethearts that they are, guinea pigs make great starter pets for potential pet owners, which is why I have devoted this hub to promoting these chubby balls of fur.

My two boars (Wilson-Left Apollo-Right)
My two boars (Wilson-Left Apollo-Right)

Reason 1: They are very Friendly

Along with guinea pigs, I have owned a lot of other small pets and know that all pets are capable of being friendly. I also know that there is always the possibility of a mean guinea pig, but this I have never seen.

Rabbits are often bought from a pet store (never do this!!) as bunnies, and then given away when they go through their "teens" because most owners don't know that as the bunny gets older and goes through puberty it can become very mean and nasty. This time will pass and getting it spayed or neutered will definitely help (though it is costly), but a lot of owners give the bunny away before it is able to mellow out.

I have heard that rats are extremely smart and can make great pets, but rats can also be very territorial. A fun fact about rats: their bottom front teeth literally split apart into a v-shape to get a better grip on their prey, and they can bite through concrete, meaning they can easily bite someone to the bone. It is very important to tame a rat when its still a baby and unable to hurt you as badly. I have a friend who bought a rat from a pet store (again a terrible idea!!). Sookie, named after a character from the popular television show "True Blood" (ironic, right?) was shy and gentle for her first day home. Once she became comfortable with her new cage, she began to change. After 3 days she started biting, and it got to the point where my friend had to start dropping food from above her cage into her bowl because if you ever put your hand into her cage she attacks it, and draws blood.

I'm not saying this to offend any faithful rat owners, I am aware that rats can be amazing pets, I'm just saying that it is important to the owner to tame them or things can turn ugly.

I have owned many hamsters and love them to death, but when it comes to biting, I will admit I have been bitten by a couple of hamsters. There are certain types of hamsters that are less likely to bite, (Russian dwarves, for example) but in referring to hamsters as a whole, I would say that they bite more than guinea pigs.

Ok, back to what I was originally talking about. I have never owned a guinea pig that bit. I have even taken my index finger and touched Wilson's bottom lip and he has no interest in it whatsoever. I think that's just it, guinea pigs don't care. They are very timid creatures, so they are very unlikely to mistakingly bite your finger thinking it's food, because they are afraid to try any kind of new food that's actually put in front of their faces. They are extremely gentle little animals, and it's hard to fear them.

Reason 2: They are easy to care for

Guinea pigs require very little maintenance. They need fresh water, timothy hay, dry pellets, and veggies. Their cage needs to be cleaned about once every 1-2 weeks and is very easy to clean. An even easier option would be to have a c&c cage (a cage made from grids and coroplast) with fleece as bedding. Using fleece as bedding is a very easy option that is meant for guinea pigs specifically (kind of like linoleum for rabbits).

Typically guinea pigs do not need to be spayed or neutered, unless you plan on having coed cage mates. This means that vet costs are at a minimum, unless your piggy becomes ill. They don't need to be bathed often at all, in fact they shouldn't be bathed more than once or twice a year. They do not need to be groomed unless they have long hair, but they will need their nails clipped about once every 3 weeks.

Reason 3: They are not Destructive

A very good thing about guinea pigs, they won't destroy your house! They are much less likely to chew furniture, and you never have to worry about them tearing up your carpet. It goes along with the reason why they don't bite. They just don't care, and are too curious and afraid to do anything to begin with. It would be hard to not catch a guinea pig before it is about to do something destructive or crazy, they don't think very quickly and their actions are even slower than their words.

The worst they will do to your house is pee or poop on your floor. Some people claim that their guinea pigs are litter trained, but for the most part it's a hit or miss with litter training. They either get it or they don't, and most don't. When giving them floor time it is a good idea to put something down such as fleece or towels so to avoid any accidents.

a quick peek into a piggy's C&C cage shows how easily these cages can be turned into a comforting home. What pig wouldn't want to live here?
a quick peek into a piggy's C&C cage shows how easily these cages can be turned into a comforting home. What pig wouldn't want to live here? | Source

Reason 4: They are Inexpensive

Another great thing about guinea pigs is that they can be adopted for a very reasonable price. I adopted my two boars for $30.00 together. They can be bought from pet stores for many varying prices, but you will never spend big numbers on a guinea pig.

**It is a much better idea to choose to adopt a guinea pig rather than buying one at a pet store. There are many orphan piggies out there in shelters and rescues who have most likely been handled more and have definitely been more taken care of. If anyone knows how to take proper care of a guinea pig, it's a rescuer. They will be able to answer any question under the sun.

As I have mentioned before, there won't be too many vet visits with a guinea pig. I have only ever needed to take one pig to the vet. They don't require any shots and spaying/neutering is optional.

Cages can be inexpensive if you know what you're doing. A great cage option is to build a C&C yourself. A C&C cage is a cage built with a coroplast base and a grid boundary for fencing. I can guarantee that any cage in a pet store will be overpriced and too small for any adult guinea pig. For the price you pay for a large cage in a store you can build a cage that is at least 4 times the size using cubes and coroplast.

Food prices vary depending on how much you care about the quality of your food. Oxbow Cavy Cuisine pellets are a very popular pellet type bought by many loyal guinea pig owners. I have been buying it for my boars and they love it. This food is very high quality and doesn't contain any extra ingredients that aren't good for a pig. Regular pellet food can be found for a fraction of the cost, but I warn you it is not recommended for piggies diets. Timothy hay can be bought at a store or provided by a local farmer who ensures that it is not harmful in any way.

Bedding can be the most expensive part of owning a guinea pig, but there are ways around it. Using fleece for guinea pig bedding cuts down costs immensely. Rather than purchase bag after bag of wood shavings, save money by throwing a few towels and a yard of fleece in the wash instead.

Overall, once you have your piggy settled in their new home, the cost to keep them alive and well should be in the range of about 20 to 30 dollars every two months. This varies depending on how many pigs you have and how fast they eat! My pigs go through a bag of pellets probably once every 2 months.

Reason 5: They live a good, average life

For such small animals, guinea pigs can live a considerably long life. Averaging 4-7 years, these piggies aren't as likely to be found shockingly deceased after less than a year. It is pretty safe to assume they will give you a friend for at least 3-4 years, considering you take good care of them. I owned a guinea pig who lived for about 6 and a half years, so he stayed with me all through the torturous years of middle school and almost all of high school.

Hamsters can live about 2-3 years, which is pretty good, but there isn't as much stability in living a good solid 3 years. I bought a hamster for my best friend last year, and 3 wks later she died. It was interesting because the pet store only gave refunds after 2 days, so not only was it a huge disappointment but it was a waste of money altogether.

Though rats can grow rather large and appear to live long, they actually only live 2-3 years as well. This is because they are very prone to disease and illness.

I think that the life span of a guinea pig is pretty good. It isn't too small that you have just gotten to know them before they leave, but it isn't too long that you lose appreciation for them and start to take them for granted.

Wilson, livin' the life

Wilson lulls off to sleep in his bunk bed, surrounded by cozy fleece
Wilson lulls off to sleep in his bunk bed, surrounded by cozy fleece

In a nutshell, guinea pigs can be considered great pets for people of all ages. I wrote this article to share my thoughts on guinea pigs, and to hopefully share some knowledge to potential piggy parents. I feel that they are great family pets, and even better "first" pets. They don't bite, they're a cinch to take care of, they won't destroy your belongings, they're cheap, and they won't croak on you too soon. Most of all, they are great little animals. They are fun to interact with, and they are fun to watch as they interact with cage mates. They make cute noises and have a quirky behavior involving things such as "popcorning" and "rumble-strutting".

Bottom line, adopt a piggy!

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Comments 33 comments

joan dietz 6 months ago

VERY unfair to rats! :( As with any pet, if you want it to be tame (no matter where it comes from), you must put in the time. I have had pet store rats who gave kisses and were sweethearts (this one from a pet store) and I have had rats from breeders (notably one female who started out wild and despite my best efforts, has never become "domesticated".) They are all individuals, as with all species. Before you spread questionable statements about an animal, at least have one yourself - and preferably more than one. I love my two new guinea pig boys but one in particular is pretty bad tempered, whereas the other is totally sweet. And both came from the same place as babies.

Kayleigh 8 months ago

Thank you I will do that right now Wilson really is livin the life

Guinea pigs  9 months ago

Guinea pigs will live for 5-8 years if you take good care of them. My Harold ( full name is Doctor Perseus Haroldson James Holmes a fairy tail wizard from Asgard

dan 12 months ago

a guinea pig live 2-3 years

Darrick 13 months ago

Let me say this, I have had pets my whole life, mostly dogs with an occasional cat thrown in there every few years. My last few dogs were English Mastifs. It was seriously like having a gigantic, loving and loyal pony that thought they were lapdogs; however, a couple years ago I purchased Bella, a black female guinea pig from a family that had her a couple weeks, but didn't have the time for her they originally thought. Anyway, Bella has been the greatest pet I've ever owned! I love her more than all previous pets I've owned combined. She's smarter than I thought guinea pigs could get, more loving than any other pet and has a huge personality on top of it all. I keep her cage door open and when I get into bed she will hop out and make her way to my bed and once she's on the bed she'll crawl up on my chest and lick my face like a little puppy. After she gets tired of that she will tuck her head under my chin and lay there while I pet her. If I want her to go back to her cage I'll just say, "time to go to bed" and she'll go straight towards her cage and jump in all on her own. It's crazy how well she understands what I say or ask. I could go on and on about crazy stuff she does, but I think you get the point.

Person 16 months ago

Guinea pigs can also have odd friendships my dog and my piggie are bffs!

brimock 19 months ago

i have loved my little ones forever

Ellie 2 years ago

Thanks so much meeko and marble love playing food scrabble

wymyczak66 profile image

wymyczak66 2 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

Haha, that's great! Thank you for the feedback!

Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 2 years ago from London

Great hub, thanks for writing it. We have two guinea pigs, two boars, who we love. One is on my lap right now. I've showed him your photos, I think he likes them...

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wymyczak66 2 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

Haha, I think some of us can definitely agree with that!

Megan R Rose profile image

Megan R Rose 2 years ago

I love my piggies! What's sad is I would spend any amount of money-no matter how expensive-to make their cage as enjoyable as possible.

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wymyczak66 3 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

Thank you ^_^

Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 3 years ago from United States of America

Your guinea pigs are adorable! It is true that some rats can be aggressive - it sounds like your friend's rat was cage aggressive. I was going to adopt a rat from my job that a woman just abandoned in our store, but it turned out to be cage aggressive and I didn't want it to hurt my two girls. I've heard they can be trained out of it, but it takes time. Voted up.

Buying a rabbit from puppies to 3 years ago

Plaese i want a felmale rabbit she white and i name her sunggles and i buy her a playpen and a cage and food and treats and pallets and a bed and i will not hurt her i will take very good care of her and pet her very nice and hold her very nice and if she don,t want it then i live her a lone

guineapig123 4 years ago


wymyczak66 profile image

wymyczak66 4 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

I apologize Kinsey, I somehow missed the email for this comment! I hope I can still help!

The adoption for my two guinea pigs was $30, the rescue gave me two for one because they were cagemates and it's very important that piggies have a friend to live with. I built a C&C cage for probably close to $60 with the cost of the cubes and coroplast, it's a 2 x 4 and the appropriate size for two pigs. I use fleece for bedding and spent around $10 for fleece. The food and hay for two pigs will probably estimate to about $30 every two months.

I would estimate spending around $100 up front to get them all settled in, and then around $30 every other month to keep them fed and well.

Sorry for such a huge delay, I'm sure it's too late now but I wanted to make sure I answered you!

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wymyczak66 4 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

Thank you MAGICFIVE :) I've never owned gerbils before personally, but my friend owned two for awhile and I thought they were adorable!

MAGICFIVE profile image

MAGICFIVE 4 years ago from New York

This is a great hub! I have always thought guinea pigs are cute. We have gerbils right now...another great "small mammal pet."

Kinsey 4 years ago

Thks for the info.Ive been wanting two guinea pigs for a u think with my 209 dollars that i can buy a guinea pig AND adopt a dog?ive been wantIng a dog too. I used to have two guinea pigs and they both died after a year.i have five gerbils now im thinking bout getting rid of them cause there not as sweet as the guinea pigs i used to have.if i got two guinea pigs a cage timothy hay and food (and maybe a few toys) approximately how much will it cost??

piggymama 4 years ago

I have a guinea pig but I have to clean his cage once every two days or just one. He is very shiny though, and he is probably one of the best pets I've ever had.

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wymyczak66 4 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

No problem! Thank you for the feedback : )

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wymyczak66 4 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

Aren't they? I can't help but laugh sometimes when I look at my Wilson. His eyes sit further apart than most guinea pigs, and he ends up looking like he's looking in two different directions. It's mean but I can't help but laugh lol

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

Reason 6: They're pretty funny-looking in an adorable way. I've never had guinea pigs as pets but I do like them a lot! :)

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wymyczak66 4 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

There are so many variables that can come into play I don't think there's a right and wrong span of time to wait. If someone has twice as many guinea pigs their cage is obviously going to need more maintenance, and vice versa. I wouldn't worry too much about what guinea pig gurus say, if your methods work and your pig is happy and healthy that's all that should really matter :)

Alison 4 years ago

I've never heard 1-2 weeks as a time span for cleaning their cage. I usually wait about a week between and I get a lot of mean comments about that.

East Texas Girl profile image

East Texas Girl 4 years ago from East Texas

Guinea Pigs do make great pets. I have had several over the years. We have two right now a boy and a girl. The girls are usually more moody and tend to bite more. I have been bitten by two different female Guinea Pigs.

Most of the cages they sell in the pet stores are too small and a pain to clean. One of my piggies is in a plastic kiddy pool and the other is in a large plastic tote.

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wymyczak66 5 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

Thank you so much! It's good to know these articles are proving useful :)

:) 5 years ago

I really want a guinea pig and have done lots of research. I think this site was the most helpful one out of all of them!

itsme 5 years ago

Hey :)) Thank you for the info.

KristenGrace profile image

KristenGrace 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

WOW! Great hub here with so much information. I have had guinea pigs throughout my life and agree with what you're saying. They're absolutely adorable and very loving. I read Muktu's comment, and agree about the rabbits- They're so much fun!

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wymyczak66 6 years ago from Buffalo, NY Author

I have never owned a rabbit but I would LOVE to! I originally was going to get a rabbit last year, but I was worried because I have heard that they can chew wood around the house and pull up parts of the carpet, so I opted for a guinea for my apartment so I wouldn't have to worry about my security check :P I definitely would like to get a rabbit sometime in my life though, because I love that they can be potty trained and run around the house, one of the biggest downfalls to a guinea I think haha. Thank you for your input!

Muktu profile image

Muktu 6 years ago

Wow, a great hub and lots of info. I prefer rabbits myself, but have always been curious about guinea pigs. Thanks for your work.

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