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Low Maintenance Pets: Guinea Pigs

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Also known as cavy or cavies, guinea pigs stand to be one of the top low maintenance pets in the world, famed for even being described as the ideal “starter pet” for kids.


With different types of guinea pigs known to come in various coat colors, patterns and hair types, there are thirteen guinea pig breeds acknowledged by the American Cavy Breeders Association, each having their own distinct physical characteristics.

As a “starter pet” for children, the guinea pig’s sturdy physical body is often described as ideal, when talking about the possible rough handing they could experience when children play with them.


Though they do require a lot of exercise, guinea pigs are known to be self-sufficient when it comes to addressing their physical fitness needs. Also, though they are called guinea pigs, they don’t really come from Guinea – they come from South America – and they are not pigs.

With lifespans that could range between five to ten years, guinea pigs are also not all that fickle to feed, with a wide variety of commercial food pellets available in pet stores, apart from their compatibility with diets composed of fresh fruits and vegetables and prairie hay.

Companionable and simply fun loving, keeping a guinea pig as a pet is not really all that challenging to do, a guinea pig pet quality that is backed by its reputation for being the best type of pet that is perfect for children of all ages.


If you’re looking into getting a new, low maintenance pet this year, consider the guinea pig as a possible option.
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February 11, 2017 at 11:07 AM

Guinea pigs are not low maintenace, they demand more maintenace than cats or dogs, as they can do nothing for themselves. They are bad pets for little kids as they are easily injured and require lots of daily attention to stay healthy. Please think very carefully before getting a guinea pig. They are very shy and it takes a lot to earn their trust. The misnomer that they are low maintenance is why many die after only a few years, when they can live to be 7+ years. They require daily feeding of fresh vegitable(high in vit c low in sugar with low gas production), pellets and a constant supply of timothy hay. They have to have nails trimed at least once every few months or their paws can get deformed, the fingers curling and growing into the pads. Guinea pigs poop A LOT, they need cage cleaning a once a day with a bedding change at least once a week. My guinea pig has had to have three operations to fix his teeth at $400.00 a pop. Despite the fact they are normally $20-45 at a pet store, they can be very expensive. Most guinea pigs are niglected or abandoned because kids get bored of them and the parents don't take responsibility. They are one of the most abused pets in america because they are often bought on a whim and then forgotten. Small children are likely to hurt a guinea pig when picking them up, as guinea pigs have rigid backs and should be picked up with support under their chest and rear. They also require a lot more space then pet store cages would lead you to believe. A 3x2ft cage is a minimum for a single guinea pig- but when guinea pigs are single they are prone to depression and will be even less interactive with humans. Infact in some countries in the world it is illegal and considered animal cruelty to only have one, as they are herd animals. Male guinea pigs have special needs and require regular cleaning/ checking- they can become impacted if not fed a propper diet that includes hay, and their rectal muscles become weak if not given enough room to run around. I rescued a male guinea pig from a home where two small children were left in charge of the animals care. His paws were deformed and he was severly impact, trying to hide in a cage with virtually nothing in it. He eventally passed because the only water bottle he ever had was for a hampster, and he spent a good portion of his day without water, his kidneys shut down after a year of being rehabilitated. An animal is a serious commitment and no animal is truely low (especially one that is so small it can't express it's needs) maintenace except maybe a beta fish. This article is poorly researched and potentially puts animals in danger. I'm very sad to see it and I hope it is revised with real information on guinea pig care, not just 'They are great for kids!' As little as a three foot drop can kill a guinea pig, and I have heard more than one story of them dieing from children sitting on them. Please, I beg you to revise this article.

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