Guinea Pig Adoption

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If you’re thinking about getting a guinea pig, read on. Guinea pigs are sociable rather than solitary creatures – they thrive in the company of other guinea pigs (and humans!). Two or three guinea pigs can happily co-exist. Unlike some other species of small animals, male guinea pigs will not necessarily fight other male guinea pigs. One thing to be aware of though is male and female guinea pigs will produce litters with surprising speed that has caught many a surprised owner out.

They make fantastic pets but they do need regular care – teeth, nails, coats, weight, eyes, ears, noses, breathing, droppings and urine and even their rear ends* all need monitoring and attention. As you may have gathered from reading these pages, having the available space to house them is important. They live between 5 and 7 years on average, so think carefully about the long-term future for them, and whether you can afford to care for their needs space-wise and financially (including any vets bills). Finally, although they are often bought for children’s pets, the responsibility must lie with an adult – and that’s a lot of cleaning and care to take on board in a busy household.

Sadly, guinea pigs are often abandoned. The Humane Society of Canada issued a warning to families to strongly consider whether they can truly accommodate a guinea pigs needs following the release of a recent Disney film release, ‘G Force’. The film features lovable animated guinea pigs – which the Society fears could prompt a surge in ‘impulse’ purchases of real guinea pigs by people who later find they cannot (or do not want to) take care of them. The warning came following similar problems with dalmatian dogs after the release of Disney’s animated ‘101 Dalmatians’ (1).

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Rescue centres have a tremendous number of guinea pigs to rehome, and this is a fantastic way to welcome them into your home if you’re sure you can manage their needs. Another way to look at it is, a good rescue centre will go through with you what they need and their staff input can help you know whether it’s the right pet for you.

Guinea pigs in good rescue centres should have received health care and monitoring, whereas the health of a guinea pig sold for profit may not always be so easy to determine. In the worst cases, there may have been no health care or monitoring at all, or indiscriminate breeding resulting in a higher rate of inherited health problems. Be aware if you’re looking for a rescue guinea pig, some regular traders describe their animals as ‘adoptable’, or’ adoption’ guinea pigs – but are simply straightforward breeders, not genuine rescue centres.

In the UK:

RSPCA rescue centres do rehome guinea pigs (1).

Guinea Pig Rehome (2) and Guinea Pig Rescue (3) websites are devoted to rehoming guinea pigs including care advice and a list of rescue centres. Wherever you live, try searching online for regional local rescues – there are plenty out there specialising in guinea pigs.

In the USA:

Petfinder has a website with guinea pig adoptions (4)

The excellent Cavy Spirit guinea pig rescue has a website and tons of resources on care (5)

In Canada:

Canada Rescue and Adoption website has a list of local rescue centres (7)

The Humane Society of Canada has a website with rescue centre details (8)

In Spain:

Spain’s Animal Adoption Network website (9) co-ordinates local rescues throughout the country

In France:

Sauver Proteger Aimer has a website co-ordinating animal rescue centres (10)

In other countries:

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has a searchable database of animal welfare groups on its website – these may have websites in the language of the relevant country (11)

(*Please see the Outdoor Run section for information on flystrike, which can affect the bottom area, with longer haired guinea pigs especially vulnerable.)

Jules Hanson

IMPORTANT:

None of this information is intended to replace the advice of a knowledgeable professional vet on guinea pig care. These articles are intended as a general introduction to the topics only. Every single animal has different needs – so whilst efforts have been made to provide helpful information, we respectfully advise you to check with your vet to accommodate your individual pet’s needs. Thank you.

Useful resources – information on guinea pig rehoming

1. Humane Society of Canada

http://www.humanesociety.com/news-releases/1056-disney-g-force-movie-think-first-before-adopting-guinea-pig-asks-the-humane-society-of-canada-hsc.html

2. RSPCA

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=rehoming

3. Guinea Pig Rehome

http://www.guineapigrehome.org.uk/

4. Guinea Pig Rescue

http://www.guineapigrescue.co.uk/index.htm

5. Petfinder

http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption

6.  Cavy Spirit Guinea Pig rescue

http://www.cavyspirit.com/

http://www.theguineapigrescue.com/photo.htm

7. Canada Rescue and Adoption

http://www.pgaa.com/canada.html

8. Humane Society of Canada

http://www.humanesociety.com/pets/shelters.html

9. Spain’s Animal Adoption Network

http://www.spanimal.org/

10. Sauver Proteger Aimer – Refuges Animaux

http://refuges.animaux.ws/

11. World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

http://www.wspa.org.uk/members/findmember/Default.aspx

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Photo Credits – fantastic photos by:

1. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/huppakee 2. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/therysma 3. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lokaltog

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