Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted Feb 28, 2014
My guinea pig was, hands (paws!) down, one of my favourite small animals I've ever owned. They are friendly, easy to care for animals that are so much fun as a companion animal.
Some guinea pigs can be quite shy, apparently; mine was the complete opposite and ran right up to me, squealing, and jumped in my lap the first time I met her. She was gentle (never any biting/scratching) and really enjoyed a good backrub, so they're great pets for sitting and watching telly and cuddling with. She was also very vocal and squealed loudly to get our attention, especially when we opened the fridge. They can be noisy when they want to be, so it may be good to keep them in a place other than your room or something if you're trying to sleep (although once it gets dark out, they are pretty calm and ready to settle down if you are).
Guinea pigs are easy to feed, there's all the pre-made mixes to feed them, and fresh vegetables are great as a substantial part of their diet (make sure you research carefully which ones are safe). Fruit is good too but only should be given sparingly as a treat, piggies have a tendency to grow fat very easily.
Exercise, just like for any other animal, is key. Guinea pigs aren't particularly active/athletic animals, but it's still essential. Mine loved free roaming and got along perfectly with my other animals (she LOVED my rabbits--who tolerated her, because she wanted to groom them ALL the time--and was gentle with the hamsters, and loved the dog as well although it was harder to keep up with him and the rabbits haha).
As long as they have a decent sized cage they can walk around in, plenty of fluffy bedding to sleep in and a pigloo to hide in, they are easy to provide a habitat for, which needs pretty frequently because like most small animals, they potty quite a lot.
Unfortunately they don't have super long life spans but I've had friends who have had guinea pigs that have lived till 6 or 7. Like most small animals, they are good at hiding any symptoms of sickness and are hard to treat so unfortunately if something goes wrong health wise, you may not know it until it's too late, no matter how diligent of a pet owner you are.
Overall, guinea pigs are easy to love and care for and make fantastic pets! They are full of personality and charm, especially with their adorable "wheee, whee, wheee!" squeal.