My guinea pig is nothing less than my best friend. Her name is Penelope, and she turns one in April (and you better bet that I’m having a party for her). For many different reasons, she is one of the best pets I’ve ever had. If you are looking for a new best friend and don’t have enough room for a dog, a guinea pig is the perfect pet for you. Here are a few reasons why:
1. They make for easy first pets. Guinea pigs don’t need much to get by. For starters, their diet is pretty normal. All you need to get for them is the normal “guinea pig food” bag from your local pet store, some hay (Penelope likes Timothy), and fresh veggies! I will usually buy a bag of carrots and two green bell peppers from the grocery store and they will last me a few weeks. Not to mention they’re cheap!
2. They have a huge personality. I like to refer to my guinea as a small dog. Penelope, similarly to many other guinea pigs, likes to run around her cage all hours of the day just to entertain herself. Guinea pigs also do this thing called “popcorning.” When they get super happy and excited (mostly to see you), they start hopping all around their cage just to show you their excitement.
3. They live a long life. Unlike many other hamsters or gerbils, guinea pigs live to be around 6-8 years old, sometimes going into their teens. Like the comparison I’ve made before, they have a similar life span as dogs! Years of a best friend.
4. They are not all the same. Guinea pigs are extremely diverse. Starting with their appearance, many cavies have different fur. They can have long hair vs short hair; curly vs straight; thick vs thin. Next, they can have different colors in their coat: white, black, grey, tan, and multicolored. Guinea pigs can also have diverse personalities. Some are shy, most are outgoing, many are in the middle (like mine). With Penelope, it varies on the day. Sometimes she can be moody and just wants to be left alone, but most of the time, she begs to come out of the cage to cuddle.
5. They like to be clean. Before you get a guinea pig, make sure you are prepared to clean, clean, clean! For some reason, guinea pigs poop EVERYWHERE; however, they hate being anywhere near it. Normally, your cavy will choose one corner of their cage and designate it as their “potty area.” I got into a habit of taking a small dust pan to the fleece once a day just to straighten up the cage. You would then need to completely strip and clean the entire cage at least once a week.
6. They will always love you. Regardless how much they chatter their teeth at you (they do this when they’re pissed), they will still cuddle with you. I know I will always have a best friend to come home to.
Owning a guinea pig could be difficult at times, but it is so worth it. My Penelope makes me laugh more than anyone, and she loves taking naps in my lap. Cavies have a come-and-go personality, but the one thing that will never change is their love for their human... YOU!