Most of us fondly remember our childhood guinea pig pets. These adorable creatures really are a great first pet for children (and parents who are short on space!) and provide just as much friendship as any dog or cat.
Here are some of the reasons why guinea pigs are the perfect pet for children.
1. They’re gentle, social creatures that will entertain your children
Guinea pigs are funny creatures! You can really tell what they’re thinking, despite their small stature. Watching the little guinea pigs will be great fun for your kids - whether it’s them ‘wheeking’ with glee at the sight of food at dinnertime, or a guinea pig being so incredibly happy that it ‘popcorns’, where it springs into the air, lands on all fours and does it again!
If the guinea pigs have been handled from a young age, then they’ll be cuddly and affectionate - which is exactly the type of pet children love. Just make sure they don’t squeeze their furry friends too hard, as guinea pigs are quite small and delicate creatures.
2. Guinea pigs will teach your children about boundaries and responsibility.
Having a pet for your children is a great way for them to learn about what they can and can’t do, and the impacts of their decisions.
For example, there are certain things guinea pigs need to have in order to stay healthy and happy. Vitamin C is very important for a happy cavy, so you should feed the guinea pig lots of fruit, and vitamin rich veggies such as broccoli. Your child can be in charge of making sure the guinea pig is getting their daily fruit salad!
As we mentioned before, guinea pigs are delicate, so your children will have to the boundaries of what they can and can’t do with their adorable pets. If they squeeze them too hard, the cavies will let out a squeal of distress. If the children are handling them correctly, they’ll snuggle and be affectionate. A pleasant experience for all!
3. The guinea pigs become attached to their owners
Like many pets, guinea pigs will become accustomed to the sound of their owners voice. If your children like to have a chat to their little furry friends, chances are next time the guinea pig hears their voice they’ll come running! What a happy experience this would be for your kids, to have their little friends ecstatic to see them! This also means that the children and animals can forge a real, heartfelt bond.
4. They’re easy to look after
One of the most important aspects of choosing a family pet is that they’re easy to look after. This means that the children can get hands on with the care of the guinea pig, without the parents having to do all the hard yards!
All guinea pigs really need is a Vitamin C rich diet, fresh water, a draft free guinea pig hutch and at least one other of their own kind for company. They don’t need constant walking like a dog - running about their enclosure and playing with the kids will tire them out enough! The guinea pigs also will nap multiple times a day, so during that time you won’t hear a peep from them. They really do seem like the perfect, low maintenance pet!
What you need to get started
Decided that guinea pigs would be a great pet for your children? If you think guinea pigs are the right fit for your family, here’s what you’ll need before you bring the cute little animals home!
A guinea pig enclosure
Guinea pigs need a safe enclosure comprised of a hutch and a run. The hutch is the comfy, safe and dark nook where they can sleep, and the run is somewhere they can roam around and play while their owners are away. Being so small and delicate, guinea pigs are also susceptible to draughts (just like chickens), so will need a hutch that’s well insulated and draught free.
Comfy bedding for the enclosure
Bedding for the enclosure is really important for the guinea pigs hygiene and healthiness of their environment. The bedding absorbs the guinea pig’s droppings and excrement, and also makes cleaning their enclosure much easier as you simply change the bedding over (until it comes to the big spring clean). You can buy specially made guinea pig bedding from most pet stores that’s been designed to keep your animals healthy and happy - it’s usually made from pine or wood pellets.
Food - grass, greens and vitamin rich fresh produce
Guinea pigs primary food source is grass. They love to chew on bits of grass and grass hay - it also keeps them amused as they chew and chew away!
Guinea pigs should also be fed fresh greens that are rich in nutrients. Great choices include broccoli, cabbage, asian greens. As mentioned, guinea pigs have a high requirement for Vitamin C in their diet, so will need some nutrient rich fruit like kiwi fruit and oranges to munch on.
Finally, you can buy guinea pig pellets for your animals to feast on, but they shouldn’t make up the bulk of your furry friends diet. And of course, fresh water!
A furry friend!
If you’re buying your first guinea pig pets, make sure you buy two, not just one. Guinea pigs are very social creatures, and find comfort in the company of their own kind. Without it, they will become sad and lonely! They’re so small and low maintenance that two guinea pigs won’t be more effort than looking after one anyway.
If you’re looking for a small, friendly, low maintenance pet for your children, then guinea pigs are the perfect animal. Sweet, affectionate and cuddly, guinea pigs will really bond with your children and vice versa.
Before you go to pick up your new bundles of joy, make sure you have a safe, secure guinea pig enclosure where they can sleep and roam to their heart’s content. The Piggy Parlour, Piggy Paradise and The Piggy Pen are the perfect house for your little furry friends.