Guinea pigs are pretty awesome! And in this article, we’re going to cover 25 reasons why they make the best pets. Everyone knows they are the most adorable creatures on the planet, but there is so much more to love about these furry little potatoes! Read on for all the best reasons why you should get guinea pigs.
1. Guinea Pigs Are Friendly and Rarely Bite
Guinea pigs generally have very docile and friendly personalities. Although all guinea pigs are different, most are easy to handle and not likely to bite. Occasionally you’ll come across a guinea pig that is nippy, but they are far and few between.
I’ve found that most American (smooth-coated) guinea pigs are very gentle and great for new owners. Peruvians (long-haired guinea pigs) are also generally very calm and friendly. Abyssinians (the crazy-haired piggies!) can be a little more energetic and prone to being nippy. Abbys can be a lot of fun, but if you’re set on having a calm and easy-to-handle guinea pig, this may be a breed you want to avoid.
Regardless of breed, it’s crucial to handle any guinea pig you’re thinking about getting before bringing them home so you get an idea of their personality.
2. Guinea Pigs Are Generally Hardy and Healthy
All of my guinea pigs so far have remained healthy into their senior years. Guinea pigs become a little more prone to health problems after they turn 4 (as all animals do into their golden years!) However, most of my piggies have not required much vet care.
Some people take their guinea pigs to the vet for a yearly checkup, but it’s not necessary as long as you’re keeping an eye on their weight and overall health condition.
A couple of conditions that guinea pigs are prone to include scurvy, bladder stones, and overgrown teeth. However, these can be minimized significantly with the proper diet. Provide unlimited amounts of grass hay such as timothy hay or orchard grass hay. The long strands of hay will keep your guinea pig’s constantly growing teeth at the proper length.
Bladder stones can often be prevented by ensuring your guinea pig drinks lots of water and providing veggies that are relatively low in calcium. Higher calcium veggies can be fed occasionally, but make sure they’re not the bulk of your guinea pig’s fresh produce.
Keep an eye out for powdery white dry pee stains in your cage that indicate your guinea pig has too much calcium in their diet, and make adjustments before they develop into stones.
3. They May Make You Healthier
Guinea pigs need fresh vegetables in their daily diet. This means you’ll be buying fresh veggies and preparing fresh veggies…. You might as well eat them too, right? After all, they’re already in your fridge, washed, and all cut up. Maybe your guinea pigs will have a positive influence on your eating habits after you watch them excitedly munch on all their healthy greens.
If not, at least you’ll always look healthy when you checkout at the grocery store.
4. They’ll Get You Outside More
When you get guinea pigs, you’ll likely spend some degree of extra time outside. You may start a new daily habit of wandering and picking fresh grass and dandelions for them in the yard.
Or perhaps you’ll bring the guinea pigs outside to graze and enjoy some fresh air when the weather is nice (be sure you have a safe enclosure or ex-pen to keep your guinea pigs from getting spooked and bolting.)
You may also want to start growing some veggies in the garden to save money on produce and feed your piggies organic.
5. They Are Generally Quiet Animals
Guinea pigs do squeal excitedly on occasion when they think they’re going to be fed. However, the rest of their noises are pretty quiet. No loud barking like dogs, meowing in the middle of the night, or chirping like birds. They may purr, whimper or make little squeaks, but none of these noises are going to disturb your neighbors or wake you from an afternoon nap.
6. They Have a Long Lifespan
Guinea pigs live a long time for a small animal – much longer than other popular pocket pets such as rats, hamsters, and gerbils. Guinea pigs live an average of 4-8 years, with some even making it into the double digits! This is pretty amazing and makes them an excellent choice for people wanting a smaller pet with a longer lifespan.
However, this also makes them a longer-term commitment. Make sure you’re prepared to bring them along for the ride for the next five or even ten years of your life.
7. They Are Awake During The Day
Unlike rats, hamsters, and other small pets, guinea pigs are awake and active during the day. This means it’s easier to fit them into your schedule rather than the other way around.
If you’re not a night owl, it’s nice to have an animal that is up when you are. Guinea pigs are highly adaptable, so they can be active later, early in the day, or anytime in between once they adapt to your routine.
8. They Are a Great Stress Reliever
Guinea pigs are always so happy and cute. It’s impossible not to have a smile on your face when you watch them. Coming home from a stressful day to see your piggies makes everything better. Guinea pigs are so quirky and fun to watch and interact with.
They are cute and funny, even when they’re not trying. Guinea pigs like to sprawl out and kick their legs out when they’re sleeping. They popcorn and also “fight” over food in the cutest way. Watching them just makes you laugh and takes the stress away.
9. Great for People With Anxiety
Guinea pigs are very calm and fun animals. Petting them is incredibly calming, as is just watching them explore and do their thing. I always find myself going to hang out with the piggies when I’m most stressed or upset about something. Even just hanging out near them has a positive effect.
It’s hard not to smile and immediately feel better when they climb up on the side of the cage to greet you. I have some guinea pigs that don’t particularly like to be petted that much, but they still will run over to me and put their paws up on my leg. They are just adorable and have the cutest ways of making you feel better.
10. Guinea Pigs Can Be Good for Children
Guinea pigs can be one of the best pets for older, responsible kids. They need to be treated with care and interacted with calmly because they are timid animals. Young children should never be allowed to pick up a guinea pig, and they should always sit on the floor to interact with the guinea pigs.
However, guinea pigs don’t kick or bite as hard as rabbits can. They’re awake during the day, unlike hamsters and other little animals. Guinea pigs do live a long time, so they may not be a great choice for young kids unless the whole family is very committed to having guinea pigs. For older kids that are calm and get really attached to their pets, guinea pigs are one of the best animals.
11. Guinea Pigs Are Hilarious and Fun to Watch
Guinea pigs are quirky, fun, and so hilarious. Their antics are endlessly funny, whether they try to be or not. Have you ever seen two guinea pigs “fighting” over a piece of food? It’s the best kind of food fight you’ll ever see.
If you have a herd of guinea pigs, sometimes they’ll form a “piggy train” where they all walk around together in a single file line. Guinea pigs also get happy and run “zoomies” around the room just like dogs.
Guinea pigs can also have a lot of attitude. It’s priceless to be bossed around by a 2-pound potato. My guinea pigs love to run behind me while they’re out for floor time and headbutt me if they don’t have enough room to get through. They also headbutt their hidey houses and move them around.
Most guinea pigs love to rearrange their cages to their liking. Sometimes you’ll see your guinea pigs moving their hidey houses around from the inside, looking like little turtles running around the cage.
12. Guinea Pigs Come in All Colors and Hairstyles
You can find guinea pigs in almost any color combination. In addition, different breeds have all kinds of funky hairstyles. You can choose short hair, long hair, wire hair, crazy hair…. even no hair!
Skinny pigs are a hairless breed of guinea pigs and are also playfully referred to as “house hippos.” Crazy-haired Abyssinians have short hair that sticks up in all directions. They take that bedhead and rock it! Long-haired guinea pigs look like funny little mops moving across the floor. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a guinea pig out there to suit everyone’s preferences.
13. Much Less Responsibility Than a Dog
Guinea pigs make great pets without many of the hassles of owning larger animals. They don’t need to be walked every day or taken outside every few hours to relieve themselves. They don’t need vaccinations or training. In addition, they can be left alone for the day without worrying about hiring a pet sitter to check on them halfway through the day.
14. Guinea Pigs Are Relatively Easy to Care For
There’s a bit of a learning curve when you first get guinea pigs, but they are pretty easy to maintain once you get into a routine. Guinea pigs rarely need baths and require little grooming. They need their nails clipped every few weeks, and that’s basically it. Long-haired guinea pigs need a bit of brushing, but it doesn’t take long because of their small size.
15. They Are Less Expensive
Guinea pigs are also less expensive than many other animals. They require pellets, hay, fresh veggies, and bedding on an ongoing basis. However, there are many ways to save money on these things. They don’t require regular vet appointments or shots, although it is a good idea to have money set aside in case of an emergency. Compared to more common pets, guinea pigs are much cheaper to keep and care for.
16. Guinea Pigs Come in All Personalities
Guinea pigs vary so much in personality from one individual to the next. Some are bossy, adventurous, and naughty. These pigs are the most fun, in my opinion. Some are shy but form strong bonds with their favorite person. Some piggies are cheeky little divas. Some are complete clowns and make you laugh daily without even trying.
They all have one thing in common, though; guinea pigs have big personalities in small bodies. All guinea pigs are curious little animals who love to interact and explore.
17. They Are Cheap to Entertain
Like cats, guinea pigs always seem to prefer the smaller things in life. DIY “toys” like cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, paper bags, and shredded paper are super exciting to guinea pigs. They also love to burrow in piles of old towels or blankets. They can eat grass from outside and also love chewing on apple or willow tree sticks if you have any of those trees nearby.
18. Guinea Pigs Make Great Apartment Pets
Guinea pigs are great pets for small, indoor environments, as long as you can find space for a good-sized guinea pig cage. They don’t need to go outside frequently and are unlikely to disturb your neighbors through the shared walls. In addition, they don’t need to be taken out of the building and walked multiple times a day as a dog would.
19. They Are Smart
Guinea pigs are incredibly smart, which means they can learn their name, come when you call them and do anything else you may want to teach them how to do. You can create a maze using bricks or cardboard and encourage them to navigate it to find treats. Guinea pigs also love their food, which makes them relatively easy to train and bond with.
20. Guinea Pigs Adapt to Your Schedule and Routine
Guinea pigs are very adaptable animals. They are awake during the day, but they can also adjust to being more active when you spend with them. They will get used to your routine, no matter what it is.
Guinea pigs have an excellent internal clock. They will quickly come to know what time you get home, when feeding time occurs, and what times you get them out to play with them. They will often wait for you at the side of their cage during these times and greet you by climbing up on the bars.
21. Guinea Pigs Make the Cutest Noises
In addition to looking adorable, guinea pigs also make the cutest noises on earth. Their little “wheeking” sounds are so cute, even when they’re squeaking in a more demanding way for food. They also whimper, squeak in a quieter pitch, and even purr like a cat!
Guinea pigs often purr when they’re happy. However, a short purr combined with a pause or freezing behavior means they are scared of something. Guinea pigs also purr at other guinea pigs to show off or be bossy. This is almost always accompanied by “rumble strutting,” a motion where the guinea pig walks slowly while swaying slightly from side to side.
22. Guinea Pigs Can Recognize Their Owner
Guinea pigs will come to recognize their owner quite quickly. They learn to distinguish their owner’s smell, voice, and even the sound of their footsteps walking toward the cage! Many guinea pigs can be shy with strangers at first, but they’ll bond closely with the people who spend the most time with them.
23. They Can Learn Tricks!
Guinea pigs can also learn all kinds of fun and awesome tricks! They can stand up on their hind legs like a meerkat, run around in circles on cue, give you a high five, and even play basketball! If you’re a handy person, you can even build them an adorable mini agility course and teach them to run around the obstacles.
All of these things are great fun, exercise, and enrichment for the guinea pig. Training is also interactive and can help you bond with your guinea pig even more.
24. Guinea Pigs Popcorn!
If you’ve never had guinea pigs before, you’ll likely be unaware of this super cute and hilarious thing that guinea pigs do. It’s called “popcorning” because guinea pigs will leap up in the air and pop around randomly like a kernel of corn popping. Guinea pigs will start twitching and jumping in the air randomly when they are popcorning.
Guinea pigs do this when they are happy and excited. Popcorning most often occurs with younger guinea pigs, although older piggies can do it too. Popcorning is often accompanied by crazy zoomies, racing laps around the room while flopping and leaping in all directions. Popcorning is hands down one of the cutest things that guinea pigs do.
25. Guinea Pigs Can Be Litter Trained
Although they can’t always be litter “trained,” per se, you can set up their cage in such a way so that they use their litter box frequently. You can find more information about this on the Litter Training page. This reduces the mess in the cage and makes cleaning much faster and easier. This, in turn, saves you a ton of time and also makes your guinea pigs smell much less.
So there you have it! 25 reasons why you should get guinea pigs. Guinea pigs make pretty amazing pets, and owning a pair (or more) of guinea pigs can be a great experience.
However, there are a few downfalls to owning guinea pigs. You can check those out in the related article, 20 reasons why you should not get guinea pigs. Knowing both the pros and potential cons of owning any pet you’re considering is good, so you are prepared for any ups and downs.