Guinea Pigs and Children

Guinea pigs are popular pets for children. But these animals are not for everyone. Here’s everything you need to know before you buy your child guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are very popular with children and are often touted as being good pets for children. Rodents are also often given as gifts for birthdays or Christmas. But beware! Guinea pigs are not stuffed animals, but real creatures with needs. Therefore, think carefully about whether your child is ready for a pet. We’ll help you with that.

Needs of guinea pigs

Before you buy guinea pigs for your kids, you need to make sure that you and your kids can meet the needs of the animals. These are very basic:

  • large, species-appropriate enclosure with retreat and employment opportunities a species-appropriate, healthy diet
  • Carrying out minor maintenance work on a daily basis and basic cleaning of the enclosure on
  • a weekly basis
  • daily free run in the apartment or in the garden

Another very important aspect: your children must understand and accept that guinea pigs are not cuddly toys that can be carried around anytime, anywhere! They often don’t like being picked up and don’t always like being petted. If your children do not respect this, it causes fear and stress in the animals.

In addition, guinea pigs should never be kept alone. You always need at least one conspecific. A rabbit cannot replace this conspecific! So your child cannot wish for “a guinea pig”. There must always be at least two!

Guinea pigs for my child? Yes or no?

If your children want guinea pigs, you should not give in to this wish immediately, but first, think carefully about whether your children are ready for guinea pigs. You should also consider to what extent you are ready for it yourself. Because even if the children want the animals, a considerable part of the work will fall back on you.

First, consider the following aspects:

  • The primary responsibility for the animals always lies with the parents! You must ensure that the animals are kept, fed, and cared for in a species-appropriate manner!
  • If the children are not interested after the purchase, the complete work is left to you.
  • Parents have the task of teaching their children everything about animal husbandry, nutrition, body language, and behavior. Children also have to learn from their parents how to treat animals properly. For example, you can carry out the daily health check together with your children.

Then ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long has my child wanted guinea pigs? Is it a spontaneous imagination or a long-held desire?
  • How responsible is my child?
  • Can my child take the animals’ needs into consideration?
  • Am I willing to take care of the animals if my child doesn’t feel like it?
  • Do I have enough space for at least two guinea pigs?
  • Have I informed myself at length and in detail about the keeping, care, and behavior of guinea pigs?
  • Have I passed the knowledge on to my children or am I willing to do so?
  • Do I and my kids realize that getting guinea pigs means years of responsibility?
  • Am I only thinking about getting a guinea pig because a birthday or Christmas is coming up?

If you are not sure whether your children’s wish for guinea pigs is just a spontaneous imagination or one of many Christmas wishes, or whether they are serious, then wait and see. Do not fulfill their wish immediately, but wait and see if the wish still exists after a longer period of time. Then you can start researching and talking seriously about keeping guinea pigs with your children and, after studying the subject, decide if guinea pigs are suitable pets for your family.

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