Guest Post: Adopt a Guinea Pig Month

max_roccoMarch is a time for spring, flowers, and guinea pigs! It’s also designated as “Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Celebration Month.” If you’ve done your research, bring your luck of the Irish to your local animal shelter and adopt a cute guinea pig. Remember, adopt don’t shop!

Most everyone knows that dogs and cats have adoption shelters and rescue groups, but did you know that there are guinea pig adoption shelters and rescue groups too? Until a few months ago, I didn’t realize that guinea pigs end up in shelters and that many of those shelters can’t keep guinea pigs and so they end up being euthanized immediately. This article will give you some resources to help you save a guinea pig.
Guinea Lynx

This is a great website for information on on guinea pigs, it’s like the guinea pig bible!  Jackie Smith-Burns wrote, “So You Want To Adopt A Guinea Pig.”  Here’s some helpful advice if you want a guinea pig from a rescue or a shelter:

  • What should you expect?
  • Why do they ask the questions they ask?
  • Why do they not allow me to breed my guinea pig?
  • Why do they charge adoption fees and not give them away?

Petfinder

This website reports that guinea pig purchases are often unplanned and not researched.  Before getting any kind of pet, please research the pet!  Some pet stores are required by law to provide care sheets with the purchase of each pet.  An average of 10,000 guinea pigs are listed on Petfinder yearly. Petfinder recommends adoptions for a few reasons:

  • You know what you are getting
  • The shelter or rescue group can help you can for your guinea pig
  • Some guinea pigs are spayed or neutered

Interested in adopting a guinea pig? Let’s talk guinea pig facts! Guinea pigs are adorable, but like every other pet you need to have a better reason to adopt that just they’re cute. Guinea pigs are living, breathing creatures that can’t be tossed away because they’re not wanted anymore. I can’t stress enough that guinea pigs require a lot of care and research on how to take care of them.

Time for the cold, hard guinea pig facts:

  • Guinea pigs live 4-8 years on average
  • Guinea pigs have a strict daily diet:
    • Fruits high in Vitamin C (some fruits are harmful to guinea pigs)
    • Vegetables (some vegetables are harmful to guinea pigs)
    • Timothy Hay
    • Guinea pig chow

Vet care for a guinea pig is a little different for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are considered exotic animals and exotic animals need to be taken to a vet that has experience with exotic animals. Guinea Lynx recommends calling 5-10 vets who don’t practice on exotic animals to see what they would recommend for a guinea pig.  When you talk to these veterinarian offices, you should ask the following questions:

  • What antibiotic do you use on guinea pigs? (Penicillin based drugs are deadly to guinea pigs)
  • Have you used Critical Care or suggested it for your rodent patients?
  • Can Baytril be used on young guinea pigs?  (No, it’s not safe for young guinea pigs)
  • What types of foods do you feed a guinea pig on a daily basis?

According to Guinea Lynx, rabbit vets are also good for guinea pigs. Never assume that a vet is a equipped to take care of your guinea pig. Ask questions and go with your gut instinct. If you adopt a guinea pig from a rescue or shelter, they can help direct you to a specialty exotic vet. A good rule is, if you can’t afford vet care for a potential guinea pig or pet, please don’t get one, it’s unfair to the animal.

Many people don’t understand how much money and effort it takes to keep a pet.  Daily, animals of all types are surrendered to shelters or rescues because of various reasons.  Sometimes people get a pet with the best intentions of taking care of them and something out of their control happens, they are not able to care for or afford the pet anymore. Unfortunately, sometimes people get a pet and then decide they just don’t want it anymore, that’s unfair to the pet! Please think and research before getting a guinea pig or any kind of pet. They deserve it!

As a guinea pig owner, it was an interesting experience having them as pets.  Guinea pigs are loving, fur balls that make great pets.  Our guinea pigs had personalities that made us laugh most of the time, especially when Rocco would flip his pigloo out of his cage.  Max always was the “motor boater,” the head guinea pig, but was an affectionate cutie pie.  The best part about having guinea pigs as pets is the fact they are full of interesting noises, you have a cat, dog and bird wrapped up in one animal.  If you’re able to adopt or rescue a guinea pig, you’re in for a wonderful treat!

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Written by Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff, for LAA Pet Talk. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright August 2013-March 2014.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

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