When you want to find a great pet for your child, you will have to spend a lot of time as you try to figure out the very best option.
Thankfully, Guinea Pigs are perfect for children of all ages because not only are they small, they don’t need that much maintenance, and they can even live up to 7 years in captivity.
Their droppings are small and easy to remove, so you don’t have to worry that much about maintenance to begin with.
If you have a child between 5-12, this may be one of the best pets you can choose. Moreover, it’s important to note that getting a Guinea Pig is inexpensive.
These cute animals are social, and they will interact with the owner all the time. With that in mind, we wanted to create an article which shows you how to nurture these fantastic pets.
There are two primary types of guinea pigs. You have the Peruvian one and the common, American one. The Peruvian Guinea Pig is visually impressive because it has a long hair and it looks stunning.
It also comes with a very distinct, dominant personality. If you want to take care of him a lot, you will need to focus on grooming, something that doesn’t eat up a lot of time.
The Origins of Peruvian Guinea Pig
You are most likely wondering where these great Guinea Pigs come from. Based on how they look, they might seem like an experiment, but that’s not the case.
As the name suggests, these are animals that originate from South America and more specifically, regions like Peru, Argentina and so on.
It wasn’t a very popular pet at first, during the 15th century some considered them as pests. It was only during the 16th century when the French traders brought them back to their country. That’s when their domestication started.
The Peruvian Guinea Pigs soon began to arrive in many other countries, mostly thanks to France. This was the time when this particular breed became very popular as a household pet.
As you can imagine, the Peruvian Guinea Pig is not your day to day guinea pig. There are some great characteristics like being larger than another breeds which make them distinct and unique.
A thing to note here is that their head is smaller if you compare it to some of the other breeds.
How is the Peruvian Guinea Pig hair?
As we mentioned above, you will always note that the Peruvian Guinea Pig tend to have an amazing hair. They grow a silky hair that can reach around 14 inches in length; sometimes it can be even longer at times.
What you also need to keep in mind here is that some people can mistake their coat with a wig, that’s how dense and visually impressive it is.
Taking care of a such a Guinea Pig can be rather challenging. That’s why the Peruvian Guinea Pig might not be the best choice if you want a pet.
However, lots of people still tend to keep them as pets for breeding or at least showing purposes.
If you are okay with the high maintenance, bathing, grooming and a major focus on health and a lot of hygiene, you will find the Peruvian Guinea Pig one of the best pets that you ever had.
The coat color for the Peruvian Guinea Pig differs. You can find the “self” Peruvians that have a single hair color, but you can also find some that have two colors.
There are also a few Three-colored Peruvian Guinea Pig, but these are exceedingly rare.
When it comes to the actual colors, you can expect to find colors like black, light brown, dark brown and white. Some suggest that gray coats can appear at times too, but they are rarer.
What about the personality of Peruvian Guinea Pigs?
A thing to note about the Peruvians is that they are very curious as a whole. Timidity is not encountered here. You will note the fact that their personality is rather strong and they enjoy the idea of moving around and exploring all the time.
They do have a constant state of alertness. So, even if it seems that they might be wandering at random, they don’t. Instead,they know where they want to go and what they want to do.
As we mentioned earlier, the Peruvian Guinea Pigs are known to be very social. If you do want to keep them caged, you will need to find a cage mate from them.
In case you do opt for two of them, make sure that the cage is large enough to help prevent any issues between the two critters!
How do you perform Peruvian Guinea Pig Care?
Yes, caring for the Peruvian Guinea Pigs is rather challenging and certainly not an easy thing to do. You have to groom them often, and you do need to take care of their long, beautiful coat.
What you have to do here is to make sure that the environment is clean.
Since these are active animals, they always end up accumulating dirt and debris on their feet or coat, which is why you need to keep their cage clean at all times.
As you can imagine, grooming is crucial here. You need to brush your Guinea Pig on a daily basis as it will keep the hair away from any potential tangling issues. Tangling is very demanding and stressful for your pig, so you may want to check that out.
Aside from that, their food is rather normal. Peruvian Guinea Pigs do not come with a special diet like other Guinea Pigs do. So, you will be more than ok with some Vitamin C, plenty of timothy hay as well as high-quality pellets.
Some treats such as fruits can be an excellent addition to their diet. However, since they are herbivores, you need to keep meat away from them. This is not good at all, so just consider adding veggies and fruit to their diet, that’s it.
Great food recipe for your guinea pig
One of the best recipes for your Peruvian is to combine the following ingredients into his day to day diet. We recommend you to add the following:
- Golden syrup
- Green or brown hay
- Cracked oat seeds
- Layer pellets
- Cracked barley
Who is suitable to own a Peruvian?
While the Peruvian is a great guinea pig, it’s not a good fit for small kids (the American guinea pig is better here). The reason is simple, they just require a lot of high maintenance, and that can be rather challenging for children.
This is the reason why most Peruvian guinea pig share raised either by adults or enthusiasts that have the time and pleasure to nurture this amazing breed.
There are many pros that pertain to having a Peruvian, yet the reason why they aren’t as popular as other breeds does come from the high maintenance mentioned above.
In case you want to enter competitions, this is the best breed to focus on. It looks amazing, even though you do have quite a lot of work ahead of you!
What should you know about Peruvian Guinea Pig Cages?
You can place the cage of a Peruvian both indoors as well as outdoors. In fact, these animals like to stay in an outdoor cage most of the time, and they retreat to an indoor one solely during the night or during bad weather.
Indoor Guinea Pig Cages
You can find a multitude of styles in this regard. There are plenty of features that you need to keep an eye on, such as:
- Being able to clean the cage fast and easy with a lot of convenience
- Plenty of air ventilation
- An integrated water dispenser (or the ability to add one on your own)
- Enough space to host all your Peruvians (if you have more than one
You can find many Peruvian guinea pig owners that tend to have a plastic storage container and a grill place on top to help the guinea pig breathe properly.
It’s also important to drill a hole in order to allow the water dispenser to reach your pet, but at the same time try to add a wire-based system on the outside.
Moreover, if you want to deal with droppings and urine easier, just consider adding newspaper, sand or sawdust on the floor.
You will have to place the containers into the case and you will also need to put some hay because these critters do need a bed to sleep in.
Outdoor Guinea Pig Cages
There are many ways you can describe outdoor cages. They are called outdoor hutches, outdoor guinea pig cages, and outdoor runs.
These don’t tend to have a floor, only a roof, and 4 walls. This makes it easy for the Peruvians to have grass under their feet, so their droppings can be used as fertilizer.
You will have to add a water dispenser. However, there is no need for a food container if you have such a cage. You can also add a lifting lid, as this will help you guide the Peruvian guinea pig in/out of the cage with little to no effort.
But since you will have an outdoor cage, you will have to worry about attackers. The thing to keep in mind here is that attackers like dogs, cats and birds might look at the case. This is why your guinea pig needs a safe place to hide.
Since these are fragile beings that can be scared very fast, it’s not uncommon for them to die of fear, so you do need to offer them a good place to hide and the cage needs to be very solid so they can feel safe!
Cleaning the cage of a Peruvian
You should consider cleaning the cage one time each week. As for the process on its own, the idea is to remove the critter, then scrape all the mess and add in some new sand and newspaper.
Once a few weeks, you will need to hose the cage and let it dry since it can smell a bit like urine at times.
Peruvian guinea pig pregnancy and breeding
What you need to note here is that the Peruvians are always excited and happy during their breeding periods. Females are known to be fertile,and they can easily get pregnant at around 12 weeks of age.
They tend to create 5 litters per year for up to 2 years, and each litter can deliver a maximum of 4 babies.
Since breeding is very fast, you never have to worry about them breeding too quickly. Depending on the species of each guinea pig, you will be rather impressed with the type of colors that can be created via a breeding program.
If you want to stay away from breeding problems, you should consider keeping the female and male in different cages.
Common Diseases & Treatments
Just like any other guinea pig, the Peruvians can suffer from not having enough Vitamin C in their diet. They can deal with pneumonia and hair loss.
Pneumonia is caused by constant exposure to the bad weather. When it comes to hair loss, this might be due to lice or fleas. You can try to eliminate that with help from dedicated shampoos, powders, and lotions!
You need to keep your Peruvian guinea pig away from a diet that has lots of carbs and fruit/starches. These can lead to diarrhea, and obviously, you want to avoid something like that.
Do remember that diarrhea can appear from veggies as well. Plus, your Peruvian might even have to deal with constipation if the diet is very dry and it doesn’t have enough roughage.
Some guinea pigs tend to keep their head on the side; they may have an ear infection. Your Peruvian might also have to deal with Pasteurellosis which leads to eye and respiratory infections.
These and the streptococcalinfections can be eliminated with the use of antibiotics. Salmonellosis and pseudotuberculosis are also very challenging and sometimes even fatal for the guinea pig. The latter will bring in the creation of enlarged neck glands.
Then you have the fact that male guinea pigs can battle one another if they are in the same cage, and this can lead to plenty of wounds.
If that happens, use an antiseptic to bathe the wounds, they should heal on their own. Old age illnesses have to be endured, which is why you need to offer your Peruvian the space and food it needs. Do that and results can pay off.
25 responses to “11 Facts About Guinea Pigs Pet | Personality, Food & Breed”
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Peruvian and american are just 2 of the several breeds of guinea pigs (some other relatively common ones are the abyssinian, crested, skinny, silkie, teddy, and rex). It should also be mentioned that it’s fairly common for guinea pigs to lose hair because of ringworm, which is zoonotic.
Male guinea pigs also are pretty prone to having impaction problems (because of the location of the testicles). Before deciding to get boys, look up “boar cleaning” and decide if they’re worth it to you. An impacted digestive tract is a serious thing.
Teeth should be regularly checked, because they can break or grow abnormally which can lead to an inability to eat and drink. Guinea pigs should also be weighed regularly, because weight loss is often the first sign of a problem….and being prey animals they tend to hide injuries and illnesses as physically possible.
They really aren’t all that low maintenance once you really start to look into their care.
I agree with Laura on all her remarks,
Guinea pigs are not low maintenance and are NOT suited for kids! They are fragile and easily scared (you wrote it and that part is true), you really have to pay attention to their health and take good (and proper!) care of them, nothing a kid will do.
Please do not spread that wrong idea that guinea pigs are suited for kids, it’s a very common mistake and as they are cheap to buy, parents often buy one if their kids want a pet, without thinking of everything proper care implies.
I agree with you: guinea pugs are NOT suited for kids of all ages. They are too delicate for small children who can hurt piggies by handling incorrectly and/or squeezing. I don’t consider them low maintenance either.
I just placed a long, ranting reply on the comment section for this pin. Fortunately the folks before me have addressed most of them. I would like to add, however, that because they are relatively short lived they might not be a great option for an OLDER child to get attached to and then lose early on. They are VERY social and need a guinea pig friend to play with.
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Guinea pigs definitely are low maintenance, that’s a huge lie. If you want to take good care of your guinea pigS and you want it to have a good quality of life, maybe you should research more. They definitely aren’t for five year olds, 99% of the time you buy them from a stupid pet store, stick them in a tiny pet store cage, ignore it then end up giving it away because the child lost interest the first week.
Guinea pigs needs lots of attention, daily tidying up, and a weekly full cage clean they live for up to nine years. Guinea pigs need daily floor time, feeding fresh veggies twice a day. Your child needs to learn responsibility before owning these precious babies.
Thanks for all the great advice! I agree guinea pigs are high maintenance. I get them for my kids and they lose interest. I wind up cooking and eating the pigs. They are good stuffed, roasted until crisp and topped with a sprig of parsley. It’s not for everyone, however.
Are you kidding me! How can you post something so harsh and inhumane on a pet article?!?! They are such kind and sweet creatures. Next time do everyone a favor and don’t buy them for your children. If you insist, and they do not care for them, take them to a guinea pig rescue. Ugh!
This is just cruel to post on a pet article. Please take your pig to a rescue instead of murdering it.
Most of the information in this article is wrong. There are more than two types of guinea pigs (13+) and one of the pictures you have of a Peruvian is actually a Silkie which I own. Guinea pigs are not good for children. They can bite and if you drop one you will kill it so the child and the guinea pig have to be supervised at all times.
Glad lots of people think the same as l do, guinea pigs have very special needs there are lots of do’s & dont’s,also the long haired breeds need extra bathing & grooming. By saying they are inexpensive & suitable for children somehow implies they are an entry-level pet & disposable. Guinea pig rescue centres are full to bursting with unwanted pets they breed readily if not managed properly & just try finding a good vet, they are classed as exotics & many vets who are fine with dogs & cats can only give basic treatment where guinea pigs are concerned. Luckily I have now found a very good vet for my rescue piggies but l have had some heartbreaking disasters in the past. Please people think very carefully before buying, it can cost more time & money than you might think & if you think you can give a guinea pig a loving home consider adoption.
What content writer put this inaccurate and misleading article together!?!?!!!! It’s total garbage in regard to young children and hinges pigs (no!!!!), food, care etc….
Over the last year, we inherited a once class pet guinea pig. He is precious! After much research because as he grew so did his hair, we realized he was a Peruvian guinea. It’s just my daughter , 9, and myself. We have 4 cats and a dog as well, all whom have taken a liking to our “Ginny”. We actually have a cat that cuddles with him. He however is not low maintenance at all. We bathe him on schedule, brush his hair daily, and clean his cage everyday so he doesn’t get knots in his hair. He is beyond one of the sweetest animals I’ve owned.
I will say that it’s a huge responsibility but my daughter does help a lot. She plays with him and he sits with her when she’s doing stuff in her room. We don’t want a second one so we make sure he gets the socialization he needs from us.
Thank you for this article, while some people disagree it’s still rather informative and it helps me learn more how to care for my Ginny so he can have a long happy life
For older (12yrs+) preteens who are mature, calm and responsible, because they need LOTS of care, attention, patience and love. Most children should NOT HAVE GUINEA PIG FOR PETS. They are fragile, unable to defend themselves and ideally should be with other pigs, too. They may be cheap to buy, but not cheap to keep ($50/month) to care for properly….
I have worked with guinea pig rescues for years and have fostered and adopted many myself, and I have to say this article is COMPLETELY WRONG. Guinea pigs are NOT low maintenance, NOT inexpensive, and are absolutely NOT good pets for young children. They require a lot of space, a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of care. I have seen SO many guinea pigs dropped off at rescues because people bought them for children, with NO concept of the amount of time, mess, and expense they require. Please do NOT get guinea pigs without talking to your local rescue and getting a true idea of what you are getting into.
NO NO NO! I’m sorry to be so rude, but this is all very very wrong. Guinea
It’s are NOT low maintenance at all, and are NOT low cost! I would recommend you do A LOT more research. Skinnypigs1 on YouTube is a great resource, as well as guineapigcages.com, guinea lynx, and happy cavy. Do NOT give a guinea Pig to a child. It will be abused and have a miserable life. As an adult, guinea pigs fascinate me and consume most of my nights of mornings. They require my dedication and effort, and my responsibility. They require as much care as a large dog or cat, sometimes more. A child as young as you are suggesting cannot provide this. Don’t feed your guinea pig a completely alfalfa based pellet, as this can cause bladder stones and kill the animal. Also, NO MOLASSES. The creature can get diabetes from this sugary food, which can be fatal. With a big cage, a companion, (same sex or spayed/neutered) the right diet, attention twice daily, and high maintenance care, the animal will live to be 5-7 years old and will have a happy life. But with a small cage, no friends, non-nutritious foods, non-frequent attention, and low maintenance care, the animal will live a short life (3-4 years) and will be miserable. Please don’t encourage people to give their Guinea pigs a horrible life, and do more research. This care is cruel and not what guinea pigs derseve. Also-there are over 16 very different breeds of guinea pigs. Ever heard of a skinny pig? They are hairless pigs with very unique care needs. There aren’t only two breeds. I’m sorry for my rambly, rude comment.
I just wanted to say I’m really sorry about my extremely harsh and mean comment. I did not mean to sound so terrible.
Let’s try to tone down the anger guys. This is a fun article, you don’t know if a child wrote it… Plus I think many of these comments are very harsh towards children. Obviously you wouldn’t have a small child do all of the care for any pet. However I think a guinea pig is a great pet for a small child. They love them and that’s all they need to do and slowly they learn to care for them and assist in that care. It does teach responsibility. Let’s all please remember we were all children before and would probably have been very hurt by these comments. Also many children have horses and live on farms, a guinea oig, though time consuming and small is much easier than a horse or other farm animal.
Johnny, you are a disgusting animal and should be ashamed of yourself.
What you said was wrong about the ear infection … most likely they are blind if they are leaning their head I am a certified veterinarian who focuses in small animals yes most vet would just say yes it’s an ear infection but no they are providing unneeded antibiotics