Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets For Kids? Age, Commitment and Responsibilities

Guinea Pigs Watching TV

Guinea pigs are adorable, captivating, little critters that are small but make a perfect pet for children. They make good pets for children of age six and above, giving them a sense of responsibility. Guinea pigs are playful and energetic pets known for their funny vocalizations such as warbles and purrs.

Are guinea pigs good for pets for children? Yes, they make good pets for children.  They are long term commitment for children and if well taken care of, can live for about 5 years or more.

Guinea pigs are fragile animals that need to be treated with care. They are larger than hamsters and mice, so they are less likely to fall victim to accidental injury due to someone not seeing them.

Children can learn to understand a guinea pig’s boundaries thereby, enjoying petting and having fun with a pet guinea pig.

One of the factors that can make having guinea pigs as pets for children not suitable is allergies. If you or any member of your family is allergic to furry animals, you might have to meet an expert who will make sure the allergies don’t pose a threat to health upon exposure to the guinea pigs.

Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets for Kids?

Guinea pigs are lovely pets that are suitable for kids who are age six or above. In the act of caring for a guinea pig, a child learns how to take responsibility and care for the pet.

Guinea pigs are fairly cheap to maintain and care for, small and cute, and require no walking in cold and rainy weathers unlike dogs.

As a parent, you are the best judge of your child’s ability to be engaged in caring for a pet. Gentle handling and constant care are very important.

Generally, guinea pigs may be nervous at first. But, with consistent gentle and soft handling, they usually become less skittish and a lot easier to touch.

Guinea pigs are great pets for children as they introduce them to taking responsibilities such as cleaning, feeding and caring for the guinea pigs.

They can give children valuable experience about life and death and introduce them to grieving upon death.

Guinea pigs make a distinctive whistling sound, often in anticipation of getting some attention or a treat.

They are not loud enough to disturb your next door neighbour but if you are looking for a pet whose vocals will never interrupt your conversation or short nap, you might have to reconsider.

How Much Do Guinea Pigs Cost?

Guinea pigs belong to the rodent family and come in a mixture of colors ranging from white, to black and brown. They possess compact bodies and have no tails.

They are one of the most interesting pets that you can own. Not only are they cute, they have a fun personality that will always make you smile.

While they appear small in nature, they require time, money and other resources to keep them healthy for a long period of time.

INITIAL COST OF A GUINEA PIG

The average cost of a guinea pig is $15 – $40.

Guinea pigs with black and white coloring or gold and white coloring cost about $29.

Himalayan guinea pigs or long and curly haired Peruvian guinea pigs cost about $30 – $35.

The initial cost of a guinea pig is about $15 – $40 depending on the person or store you buy from.

There is no particular guideline for pricing that people follow, so there is no fixed price that they are sold for.

When you want to purchase a guinea pig, it is generally not advisable to purchase the cheapest ones as they are usually the neglected and less healthy ones.

Guinea pigs that cost a bit more than the average cost price appear healthier, having received better care.

Averagely, the initial cost of a guinea pig ranges from $490 – $950. The initial cost encompasses the cost of the guinea pig, housing, bedding, food and medical care in your first year of ownership.

THEIR CAGE

Guinea pigs are larger than mice and hamsters, and they require a fairly large cage for easy movement and room for play.

A proper guinea pig cage is at least 7.5 square feet, with enough room to roam. The cage should be easy to clean and made with safe materials.

To purchase a good guinea pig cage, you will spend at least $75 and some of the best cages cost $150 -$200.

It is generally advisable to get the best cage that you can afford, as you will have the cage for a long time and the guinea pig will spend majority of its life in it.

FOOD

Guinea pigs food is highly influential in the sustenance of their health. So, it is advisable to get quality food with adequate nutritional needs.

In terms of guinea pigs food, there are two main parts namely: hay and pellets.

Providing your guinea pig with a good mixture of these two foods is a great way to keep its diet nutritionally balanced and at the same time tasty.

For a pellet food, hay-based food is one of the best options. And as for hay, orchard grass which is packed with nutrients is very healthy for your guinea pig.

You will need to replenish the pellets once in a while but the hay will need to be replaced more frequently.

It is these two foods that make up the bulk of the yearly cost of owning a guinea pig.

BEDDING

Just as food is essential to the growth and well being of a guinea pig, the importance of the right bedding cannot be overemphasized.

Most guinea pigs owners use paper based bedding, aspen bedding or fleece bedding. These beddings are the most common types because they are safe to use and have lots of benefits.

Paper based bedding is a good choice of bedding for guinea pigs because it is soft, absorbent, and controls odor.

When choosing for a good brand of paper based bedding, choose a material that is less messy and dusty as this will make the cleaning process easier. More importantly, it is better for the health and happiness of your guinea pig.

Ingestion of paper bedding by your guinea pig can be detrimental to its health. Hence, monitor your guinea pig in order to make sure that it isn’t eating the bedding.

If you notice any form of nibbling, you can switch the bedding to a safer type such as aspen or fleece bedding.

Fleece bedding has gained popularity in recent years and it is a lovely, soft material that will provide comfort to your guinea pigs.

Proper pre-treatment and under layer can make fleece bedding absorbent. And they good part is that it is reusable.

One of the disadvantages is that it takes more time to wash and air dry before reinserting it into the guinea pig cage.

Aspen is a non-aromatic hardwood which is dust free and also scent free. Aspen bedding is eco friendly and non toxic to the guinea pigs.

One of the disadvantages of aspen bedding is that it may require more time to clean than paper based bedding and fleece bedding.

RECURRING EXPENSES

After the purchase of your guinea pigs, there are some other things you will need to buy in order to give your guinea pig the utmost touch of care and satisfaction.

Some of these include: food, bedding, treats, medical care, grooming supplies, medications and supplements.

A high quality guinea pig treat is an excellent way to diversify your guinea pig diet and reward good behavior.

While there are healthy treats which are fairly cheap, it is important to note that there are some inexpensive treats that are terrible for guinea pigs. Averagely, treats cost about $15 – $40.

Some of guinea pigs treats include assortment of vegetable such as cabbage, celery or broccoli. You can also buy some store bought treats such as timothy hay chew sticks.

The health of your guinea pig should be of great importance to you. The price range of the medical cost of a guinea pig ranges from $50 to $120.

Guinea pigs may be small in size but they also require grooming which include bathing, nail trimming and hair cutting. The cost of grooming supplies ranges from $5 to $20.

How Much Work Does It Take to Look After a Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs are hardy, funny and easy to maintain pets. Despite their size, they require good attention and care in order to stay healthy and happy.

Depending on the type of bedding you use for the cage of your guinea pig, cleaning can vary from daily scooping of soiled hay to washing of guinea pig’s water bottle and food dish.

For thorough cleaning, it can be done once in a week. Take out your guinea pig and other accessories from the cage and wipe out the cage.

Make sure the cage is dry before adding new beddings and all the accessories and of course, your guinea pig.

You can check your guinea pig’s eyes and nose to know if it is healthy and happy. Look out for bald spots when brushing your guinea pig’s coat.

Any redness, dryness or flaking should be reported to the veterinarian and uncomfortable itching should be treated without any delay.

Remember, your guinea pig’s health is very important.

Do Guinea Pigs Bite?

Yes, guinea pigs can bite but it’s not very common and is usually because they’ve mistaken you for food or they are frighten.

Guinea pigs bite as a result of mistaken identity. When your hand smells like their food pellets, fruits, veggies or hay, there is a likelihood that they will nibble on your hand.

Noise is another factor that can make guinea pigs bite. If a loud noise or commotion such as a loud TV stereo, thunderstorm or any other frightening activity occur while you are holding your guinea pig, it might bite you in a guise to return to its cage – its safe haven.

Pain and discomfort can make your guinea pig bite you. Also, improper handling and moodiness can trigger biting.

How Often Do You Need to Play with Your Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs are friendly pets that are much fun to play with.

How often you need to play with your guinea pig depends on its personality, mood and your availability.

Averagely, 1 to 2 hours daily is good. Guinea pigs can start nibbling on your clothes or fingers when they are done playing.

Create time to play with your guinea pigs as they are sociable and playful. Buying some toys suitable for guinea pigs can be a great way to engage them and help them bond.

How Often Do Guinea Pigs Need to be Cleaned?

Guinea pigs are excellent pets and just like every other pet, they need to be clean and healthy in order to thrive.

Long haired guinea pigs should be brushed daily. Groom your guinea pig as necessary.

Guinea pigs are like cats, they keep themselves clean. Unless your guinea pig has gotten smelly, you only need to bathe it once a month.

Change the bedding once a day, clean and disinfect the cage once a week and make your guinea pig as spot clean as possible.

Do Guinea Pigs Need To Live In Pairs?

Guinea pigs live in extended family groupings in the wild and should not be kept alone if it can be avoided.

Guinea pigs live happily in same sex pairs and should not be kept in male and female couplings unless you intend to breed.

It is advisable to introduce guinea pigs as pairs while they are still young.

Although guinea pigs are better kept as a pair, having just one as a pet is also a good idea.

What are The Pros and Cons of Owning a Guinea Pig?

There are many pros of owning a guinea pig as a pet. Some of them include:

  • Guinea pigs are healthy animals. If they are properly cared for and maintain a healthy diet, you might be rewarded with very few vet visits.
  • Guinea pigs are friendly, social and cute. They are interactive and fun to be with.
  • Guinea pigs make perfect pets for children in elementary schools and older children.
  • Guinea pigs have a high life expectancy which can be as high as 6 – 8 years.
  • Guinea pigs are cheap to afford unlike other pets.

Although guinea pigs make excellent pets, there are some cons to owning one.

  • Guinea pigs can bite if handled improperly or if frightened.
  • The daily task of cleaning the cage can be tedious.
  • If not properly cleaned, accumulation of waste can lead to nasty odor.

Related Questions:

How often should my guinea pig’s claws be clipped? Clip the claws as often as possible to avoid scratches on your body when you hold it. Also, a guinea pig that spends a lot of time on grass will need its claws clipped more often.

How long do guinea pigs live? Depending on the breed and the amount of care a guinea pig gets, the lifespan of a guinea pig is between five to eight years.

Do guinea pigs like to be pet? Most guinea pigs enjoyed being petted when they are at ease. Make sure your guinea pig is on a stable surface before petting them.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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