Guinea pigs are furry, fun little creatures that are sure to brighten your lives. They are great for little children to care for as their first pets—they can teach them a whole lot about responsibility and caring for other creatures. As sweet as they can be, they are not easy to take care of; they require a lot of care and attention so they can be a happy addition to your family for a long time.
No Need for a Long Search: They’re Everywhere
Guinea pigs are considered to be common pets so they are quite easy to find (you can find them anywhere from PetSmart to Petland), and are usually around $30. However, you should consider adopting from a local animal shelter; they often take in animals that have been left behind or abused, and you would be saving them by bringing them into a new home.
Bonding Over Building Homes
Guinea pigs need their cages, and the bigger the better. Usually, a starter cage costs $110, and as they get bigger can be up to $300. This seems pricey, but guinea pigs are happier with a lot of space, and would feel constrained inside a smaller cage. Buying a cage is not your only option though; you can also build your own with homemade materials. It’s not that difficult, and you, as parents, could use the time building the cage with your children. Use it as a learning experience of working with tools and crafts. Use this quality time with your kids to get them inspired and excited about their new pet.
Learning About Healthy Diets
Maintaining a healthy diet for guinea pigs is essential. Help your children understand that there is a lot of work into ensuring that they are providing their pigs with the essential supplements to survive. Guinea pigs’ diet largely consists of hay, and they require an abundance of it. Timothy hay is the best and you must feed them regularly through the day to help their digestive systems and maintain their molar teeth. They also need Vitamin C supplements, as guinea pigs cannot produce their own, and they need these vitamins to prevent getting diseases such as scurvy. In addition to these foods, your pigs need vegetables as treats every day. Lettuce, celery, and bell peppers are the best greens to give them due to the vitamin intake. Fruits are good as well, but refrain from feeding them an abundance of them, as they are high in sugar. Make it a special treat that they can look forward to but don’t regularly see every day. Don’t forget about the water, and be sure to replace their water bottle every day. Children can learn a valuable lesson from all of this. Since there are so many specifications regarding guinea pig diet, they can see that it takes a lot of dedication and responsibility to ensure that their pets are healthy. Help them see that feeding their pets is not a chore, it should be fun and something to look forward to.
Watching Them Become a Part of the Family
Guinea pigs are very sweet, and you and your children are sure to love them dearly, but be patient. When you bring them home and you set them in their cage, leave them alone for a bit. Let them take in their new surroundings and adjust to their new home. Don’t smother them or keep prodding and holding them; give them a week. They are also very timid creatures who are nervous more often than not, so you have to earn their trust. Talk to them as you pet them so they know the sound of your voice. When it’s feeding time, say their names so that they associate your voice with food, and guinea pigs love food. A lot. It’s also essential that they have at least thirty minutes to roam around outside of the cage. Once they’re comfortable, they are very playful. They are sure to provide hours of fun for the young ones.
Sometimes your guinea pig may start walking towards a place you don’t want them to, or maybe you need to take your pigs out of the cage to clean it. To pick them up, have one hand around their chest, the other at their bottoms. Guinea pigs don’t really like being carried so you want to make them feel as safe as possible. Guinea pigs are very vocal creatures; always listen to them. Let this be an opportunity for your children to show affection to these little things. This will help them realize that all their efforts in taking care of them is worth it, knowing that their pets are happy and healthy in your home.