Guinea pigs are also called cavies; they have a docile nature and adorable appearance, making them well-liked worldwide. Many people opt for pigs over other animals as pets and there are many reasons why they do so.
They Are Hardy
If a guinea pig is cared for properly and kept in a healthy, loving environment, they are not prone to developing diseases. If they have regular medical checkups and are given the recommended food, they will live a long healthy life without worrying you.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Coronavirus?
With proper care, problems such as dental diseases and bladder stones can be prevented in these pigs. If you are wondering, can guinea pigs get coronavirus? In a global pandemic, this is an important question to ask, but the answer to this is no.
Is COVID-19 a Threat to Small Pets?
Until now, there is not a definitive answer if the COVID-19 pandemic can infect small pets such as guinea pigs. Historically, coronaviruses have been species-specific; hence, if one group of animals has coronavirus, it does not pass on to other species. This is applicable to COVID-19 as well.
Can My Guinea Pig Transmit COVID-19 to Me?
COVID-19 appears to be primarily transmitted by contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions, such as from their cough or sneeze. It can also be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces.
As your pet’s hair is porous and fibrous, it is highly unlikely that you can contract COVID-19 by playing with your guinea pig. However, it is always recommended to wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet as they can spread other diseases.
Additionally, there is no COVID-19 vaccine available for animals currently. But it is important to keep your guinea pig well groomed and regularly clean their food and water bowl to prevent any infections.
According to the World Health Organization, there has been no evidence suggesting that humans can get COVID-19 from small pets, including guinea pigs. Neither can they get infected from humans, so if you choose these pigs as pets, rest assured that COVID contraction would not be an issue.
Once we have understood that COVID-19 is not a threat when keeping guinea pigs as pets, let’s discover other reasons why they make wonderful pets.
There has been no evidence suggesting that humans can get COVID-19 from small pets, including guinea pigs. Neither can they get infected from humans, so if you choose these pigs as pets, rest assured that covid contraction would not be an issue.
They Cost Less
According to the Humane Society of America, the cost of keeping guinea pigs is less than a dog. But of course, a pure breed such as dutch or Himalayans can be higher and more expensive. If you get a short-haired breed guinea pig, it will not put a dent in your wallet and they would not require regular grooming or pet visits.
Their Diet Is Cheap
Since guinea pigs are herbivores, they do not require meat or dairy to survive. They only require fresh hay, water, and vegetables. Since these pigs cannot make their own vitamin C, they also need a vitamin C supplement each day. Clean grass is a good source of vitamin C for the pigs.
Most of their diet consumption involves leafy greens such as kale, parsley, spinach. And only once or twice a week, they require carrots or sweet potatoes. All of these require a very small amount of money. Make sure not to feed them potatoes or chocolate as that can be toxic to their health.
They Do Not Hog Space
If you live in a small place, guinea pigs can be ideal for you as they can be kept indoors and outdoors. All they need is a safe, adequate size cage, safe bedding, and a ceramic food bowl. If you have a large cage that gives them enough room to move about, along with paper-based bedding, they would be happy.
You also need to make sure that their cage is kept clean at all times. These animals are known to create a huge mess, so it won’t take long before the cage starts looking like a dump.
They Are Clean
By nature, guinea pigs are clean animals, and they like to live in a clean environment just like other pets. They might get sick if kept in unkept areas. Hence their hutch should be cleaned regularly, and this way, they will not have any odor.
They tend to groom themselves almost daily and would only require hair brushing and trimming bi-monthly. Along with that, they can be quickly potty trained so that you won’t face any accidents at unwanted places.
They Are Social
Since, by nature, guinea pigs are social animals, they like to be around humans, their temperament is friendly, and they want to have companions along. This makes them great pets for children who are in elementary school or older.
Make sure to socialize your kids with guinea pigs before leaving them unattended. Just as with other pets, if your kids are around pets, it builds empathy, love, and caretaking responsibility in your children. And the best part is they are not fragile as rabbits or small as turtles.
For building social skills in your children, guinea pigs can be a great choice. Studies have shown that small pets such as guinea pigs can also help autistic kids create empathy.
You might not be aware, but guinea pigs love to cuddle. If you hold the pig around its shoulder with one hand and the other under its back, they will cuddle with you happily.
Of course, since they are small, they will try to run off if you go towards them, but once in your arms, they will be quiet and happy to be held against your body. Once they are comfortable around you, they can snuggle up to one hour each day. Their affectionate nature often makes their owners feel loved and wanted.
They Are Unique
It might be surprising to you, but guinea pigs have a strong personality. Some might be shy and quiet, and others might be affectionate and dominant. Before you get a guinea pig, it would be better to interact with them beforehand to understand their personality and then give a loving home to the pet you’re looking for.
Guinea Pigs Also Purr
It might be surprising, but similar to cats, these pigs also purr. When they are happy and being petted lightly, they make a sweet sound. Additionally, you will also see these pigs making rumbling and squealing sounds, which makes you love them more. They only whistle when they want their owner’s attention, but these voices are far from annoying.
You might also occasionally hear rattling voices when they are playing with their toys. Since they are playing, this can assure you that your pet is happy in its environment.
They Tend to Live Long
If you are looking for a short-term commitment pet, you should opt for a hamster, whereas guinea pigs tend to live up to seven years. So before you decide, make sure that you are ready for a long-term commitment even after your kids grow up. The pigs might still require your love and care.
They Like to Pop
Another fun behavior that is seen in happy guinea pigs is popcorning. They will jump straight in the air, one after the other. They might also run forward and backward really fast when they are happy. This is such a unique and fun behavior to watch in pigs, and your kids would have a smile on their face watching them.
Considering all these unique factors, you might now be thinking that it is well worth it to get a guinea pig for your family. But before you go out to buy one, it is recommended to check nearby animal shelters and rescue centers. You are likely to find many pigs up for adoption looking for a forever home.