Adopting A Rescued Guinea Pig

March is Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month! These little guys are quite popular children’s pets. In fact, they may be more popular than many people realize. They’ve been gaining popularity since the pandemic. About 1.5 million households have these tiny balls of fur. They are also the third most searched for pet in many American states, including Massachusetts, California, and New York. If you’re looking for a pet that is small, sweet, super cute, and easy to care for, a Guinea pig—or cavy, as they are also called, may be a great fit. Read on as a local Jensen Beach, FL vet answers some questions about adopting a Guinea pig.

Why Is March Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month? 

The month of March was chosen by Julie Morris, ASPCA senior vice president for National Shelter Outreach back in 2002. The goal was—and is—to help spread awareness about the plight of Guinea pigs needing homes, and to urge people to go through shelters and rescues when adopting one of these charming pets. 

Why Is It Better To Choose A Rescued Guinea Pig?

We think all animals deserve to be treated with love and kindness. We’re also always happy to advocate giving abandoned pets a second chance. Rescuing a pet—no matter how big or small—can be a very fulfilling experience. It’s also a great way to contribute to the greater good. 

Why Do So Many Guinea Pigs Need Homes?

These little guys may find themselves up for adoption for many reasons. In some cases, the owners moved and could not—or did not—take their cavies with them. There are also situations where a child may beg for a pet, only to lose interest in its care. Unfortunately, this often ends up with the pet being rehomed. Sometimes it’s simple bad fortune, such as the death or illness of an owner, or even financial difficulty.

Another factor that comes into play here? Many people get Guinea pigs as impulse buys, without realizing how much care they need. We know, it’s hard to resist those adorable faces. However, animals are living beings that need care and attention. 

There is progress being made. For instance, California now requires pet stores to provide care sheets for every animal they sell. There’s still a long way to go here, though. We can’t overstate the importance of doing thorough research before adopting any animal. 

What Are Some Fun Facts About Guinea Pigs?

The most surprising fact about Guinea pigs is probably the fact that they are not pigs, and are not from Guinea. The tiny furballs we know and love today are relatives of wild cavies in South America. Spanish, Dutch, and English traders brought them over to North America and Europe in the 16th century. They soon became favored pets of the nobility. In fact, Queen Elizabeth even had one!

What Are Signs of Sickness In Guinea Pigs? 

No matter what kind of pet you have, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of sickness. Contact your Jensen Beach, FL veterinarian immediately if you notice anything off. 

Here are some things to watch for: 

  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Refusing Water
  • Crust on eyes
  • Unkempt Fur 
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Dull, red, sunken or watery eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Sitting in stiff or hunched positions
  • Withdrawal
  • Limping
  • Stumbling
  • Bloody urine
  • Hair loss
  • Skin irritation
  • Lumps, bumps, or lesions
  • Erratic/Unusual behavior 
  • Weight loss 

It’s important to find a vet that is experienced with Guinea pigs. Many medications, such as amoxicillin, can be deadly to them. 

How Much Care Do Guinea Pigs Need? 

Guinea pigs certainly aren’t the most high-maintenance pet, but they do need daily attention. Every day, you’ll need to provide fresh food and water. As far as food, your tiny pal will need plenty of grass hay, commercial pellets, and about a cup of safe fruits and veggies every day. 

You’ll also need to spot clean your pet’s cage to remove waste and uneaten food. These little guys also need free time every day. 

As far as grooming goes, you’ll need to keep your pets’ nails trimmed. Some cavies only require brushing:  others may benefit from baths. Ear cleanings are also on the agenda. Ask your Jensen Beach, FL veterinarian for specific advice. 

What Kind Of Toys Do Guinea Pigs Need? 

Your adorable pets will need lots of chew toys. Guinea pigs have open-rooted teeth, which never stop growing. You can make many toys yourself out of household items, such as paper, cardboard, and even many wooden items. 

Just stick with safe options. Don’t give your pet anything small or sharp. Items covered in decorative coatings, such as paint, varnish, glitter, or dye, are also unsafe. 

You can also provide mazes and solid exercise wheels. Ask your vet for more information. 

Are Guinea Pigs Expensive? 

Guinea pigs are on the lower end of the cost spectrum, but that doesn’t mean free. A good cage is a must. That’s a one-time expense, but you’ll need to provide food, hay, bedding, toys, and veterinary care. Keep in mind that these guys can live ten years, though the average is more like five to seven. 

Are Guinea Pigs Good Kids’ Pets?

Yes! These can be great companions for children. However, we don’t recommend getting them for children that are younger than about five or six, unless you’ll be caring for the animal yourself. Be sure to supervise all interactions. 

What Are Some Guinea Pig Care Mistakes? 

We could (and may) write a blog just about this, but for now we’ll just touch on the basics. 

Here are some of the most common mistakes: 

  • Getting Just One: Guinea pigs are very sociable, and need buddies! 
  • Not Petproofing: These guys need daily play time. However, it’s crucial to make sure the area they are allowed in is safe. 
  • Letting Them Interact With Other Pets: You can certainly have Guinea pigs, cats, and dogs, but you should never let them play together. 
  • Wire Housing: While you may find cages with wire floors that are advertised as being for Guinea pigs, wire floors are actually a horrible choice. They don’t hold bedding, and can even cause paw injuries. 
  • Lack Of Vitamin C: Cavies need Vitamin C to stay healthy. If they don’t get enough, they could develop scurvy. 

Do plenty of research, and ask your vet for advice.

What Annoys Guinea Pigs?


All of our animal companions have their own pet peeves. Even tiny furballs, like cavies, have things that rub them the wrong way. At the top of that list? Being rubbed the wrong way. You may find that your pet doesn’t like to be touched or petted in certain areas. Basically, anything outside the head, back, and shoulders is probably off limits. 


Other things these little guys don’t much care for? Being picked up or held against their will is a big one. Your pet may go stiff, or they may start making unhappy noises. Guinea pigs are also not fond of loud noises, car rides, and strong smells. They aren’t big fans of nail trims or baths, either, though these may fall under the umbrella of necessary evils. Ask your Jensen Beach, FL veterinarians for recommendations on grooming. 

Should I Hold My Guinea Pig Every Day?


All of our animal companions have unique personalities. It’s important to understand that some pets are naturally more cuddly than others are. Guinea pigs tend to be a bit more friendly and sociable than other pocket pets, such as hamsters, mice, and gerbils. Some even like to cuddle up in their humans’ laps. 


Taking time to pet, hold, and play with your little buddies will help with bonding. This can also help the little guys feel loved and safe. Just don’t force it! That will do more harm than good, and could even make your cavies scared of you. It’s also best to give your little friends time to settle in before you handle them. 


How Often Should I Take My Guinea Pig To My  Jensen Beach, FL Veterinary Clinic? 


Most smaller animals should come in at least once a year. Ask your vet for specific advice. Of course, you’ll also need to bring the little guys in if you notice any signs of illness. 


Do you have questions about Guinea pig care? Contact us, your Jensen Beach, FL pet hospital, today! 

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