Adding a guinea pig to your family

Don’t let their size fool you. Guinea pigs may be small but they have huge personalities and needs. Guinea pigs make wonderful pets but require far more than most people generally are aware of. They require constant access to grass hay, fresh daily Vitamin C-rich vegetables and a large cage. We love these furry potatoes and there are so many in need of homes in West Michigan.

Get Ready For a Long-Term Commitment

The average lifespan of a guinea pig is 5 to 7 years.  Many live as long as 10 years. This means that while they don’t quite live as long as dogs or cats, they do require several years of commitment.  The majority of guinea pigs surrendered to West Michigan Critter Haven are given up due to children outgrowing them, not having enough time for care or a family move.  Be prepared to commit to caring to a guinea pig for its full life.

Two Are Better Than One

Guinea pigs are highly social creatures and prefer to live with a friend or multiple friends of the same sex. They enjoy eating, playing and snuggling together, especially when their human companions are at work or school.  Just make sure that you do slow introductions and a proper bonding process.

If you adopt a guinea pig and decide to get a friend for him, West Michigan Critter Haven offers assistance with bonding. Approved adopters can bring their guinea pigs to meet adoptables and see how they get along prior to bringing them home. 

More Space is Better

Guinea pigs need a surprising amount of space. The minimum cage size for one guinea pig is 7 square at least one square foot per additional guinea pig. Larger cages provide more space for exercise, accessories like hidey houses and tunnels, as well as less frequent cleanings. Most of the cages available at pet stores are far too small even for one pig. Consider building your own using wire storage cubes and Coroplast sheets.

Floor time is also a requirement for guinea pigs. They will need time out of their cage to get exercise and explore. Exercise pens or a guinea pig-proofed room are great for this! Just threw down some fleece and make sure there are no exposed wires to nibble on.

Exotic Vet Care is a Must

Most regular vets don’t treat guinea pigs. You will need to find an exotic vet that is specialized to ensure your guinea pig gets the best health care possible. And just like cats and dogs, guinea pigs should receive regular wellness exams. Visiting a specialized vet can also come with increased costs. This is why we always ensure that adopters are prepared financially to bring on a guinea pig.

If you’re seeking a social, loving pet with a big personality, a guinea pig (or two!) could be right for you.

Learn more about caring for guinea pigs by visiting http://guinealynx.inf. Visit to see our adoptable guinea pigs. Email if you have questions about adoption, care and exotic vets in your area.