In principle, you can buy guinea pigs from animal shelters, animal welfare organizations (e.g. guinea pig aid organizations), breeders, pet shops, and animal fairs. No matter which provider you choose, please make sure that all guinea pigs are housed in a healthy and animal-friendly manner.
If the animals are kept in cages that are too small, unclean, or kept together with rabbits, you should refrain from buying them. The guinea pigs should be separated according to gender and only sold when they are at least four weeks old (with a bodyweight of approx. 300 g).
Guinea pigs that are separated from their mothers too early often have health problems and are prone to behavioral problems (abnormal social behavior and aggression). Do not buy sick guinea pigs because they feel sorry for the animals. You would only support the poor keeping and breeding conditions. You can recognize a healthy guinea pig by its well-groomed coat, clear eyes, and clean anogenital region.
Animal shelters/animal protection organizations
A good address for purchasing new guinea pigs are animal shelters and animal welfare organizations that specialize in adopting guinea pigs. You can support the work of animal rights activists by helping some guinea pigs find a new, animal-friendly home. Guinea pig agencies can also provide you with expert advice on all questions relating to keeping and caring for rodents.
If you already have a guinea pig and are looking for a suitable companion (e.g. because the partner animal has died), some guinea pig helpers are available to advise you on socialization. Animal protection organizations and animal shelters also have the advantage that the animals have usually already been examined by a veterinarian and the males have been castrated.
If you are enthusiastic about a certain breed (e.g. long-haired or rosette guinea pigs), it can be worth going to the breeder. You can find breeders of special breeds in your area on the Internet. A breeder has the advantage that you can check the conditions under which your guinea pigs were raised. A reputable guinea pig breeder has large, well-kept pens and only sells healthy animals that have not been separated from their mothers too early.
You can also find out from a breeder which food your guinea pigs are already used to and avoid changing the food too quickly. Due to the transport and the new environment, the rodents are already heavily stressed and are more susceptible to illness. A sudden switch between dry and fresh food is an additional factor that can lead to disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract.
Pet shops/small animal exchanges
Pet shops and small animal exchanges have the advantage that you can buy all the accessories (cage, furnishings, food, and bedding) directly here. Please remember, however, that the guinea pig home should be fully furnished before the new residents move in. Unfortunately, rodents are not always kept and cared for in an animal-friendly manner in pet shops and on small animal fairs.
Therefore, make sure that the guinea pigs are optimally housed and that fresh hay and drinking water are always available. It is also important that you get good advice! A disadvantage is that you usually do not get any information about the conditions under which your animals were previously kept and what food they are used to. It is best to give the animals (temporarily) the dry food that they are already used to from the pet shop.