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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone give me the low down on guinea pigs? My dd1 turns 3yo in a few weeks and she has been asking for a g.p. for over a month now. We have visited shops with g.p. and interacted with them and she is still asking so dh and I are thinking more seriously about this.<br><br>
I know I'll be primary care giver for g.p. so what exactly is involved (we had house rabbits for years)? I've done the website/book research but would love some input from "crunchier" BTDT mamas on this! Is a g.p. really a good companion for a toddler? DD1 is very conscientious and caring but she is still a noisy/bouncy toddler. And the g.p. we've met seem very..."reserved"? Do they warm up over time and become more interactive? Would you green light a g.p. for a toddler?<br><br>
thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
No one has a guinea pig and a toddler?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wombatclay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10803538"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">No one has a guinea pig and a toddler?</div>
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We don't. Maybe the lack of response is useful info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah... there have been a few responses over in pets, but the lack of response is making me really curious. Just about everyone I ask says "Gunie Pigs are great for younger children!" but then no one seems to have one?<br><br>
It's odd.<br><br>
I know most of the play schools and preschools in town have g.p. as their "class pets" but I don't really trust that as a "good for animal/good for toddler" by itself, you know?
 

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I adore Guniea Pigs and kept them for years. So keep that in mind as I give you their 'cons.'<br><br>
They are boring. I say that with all the g.p. love in my heart, but they are. Most (but not all) children will become bored with guinea pigs...what you saw when you spent the first 10 minutes with one is what you get. They are not intelligent, and they will not bond closely with you.<br><br>
The good: they are adorable. They are very, very sweet in their own little 'clueless' kind of way. They do respond voraciously for food, so you can get some interaction that way.<br><br>
They are somewhat more robust than a smaller animal like a hamster, but they are still quite fragile. There isn't any particular reason to think one would bite you, but they could and very well might if they got hurt, and the bite would do some damage especially to a child.<br><br>
They live quite a long time for a 'pocket pet' (5 to 8 years) which is actually a 'con' in some ways. See above: kids get bored. Your toddler may be in middle school by the time the piggie dies, so it's a longish-term commitment. Shelters and rescue groups are crawling with dumped piggies that no one wanted anymore, usually after less than a year of ownership (and those dumped piggies are the lucky ones, many go into dumpsters and "into the wild.")<br><br>
They need somewhat specific care (fresh food and hay, notably) more space to run than they are often given (no aquariums, for example) and will likely need vet care at some point which gets pricey for exotics.<br><br>
Keeping just one alone does the GP a disservice, IMO, but stores often mis-sex them so you should be very sure that you are getting a same sex pair. The best place to adopt a guinea pig is from a GP rescue organization: they'll be sure the piggie is healthy, correctly sexed and not pregnant.<br><br>
The best site, hands down, for GP care IMO are: <a href="http://www.guinealynx.com/" target="_blank">http://www.guinealynx.com/</a> and <a href="http://www.cavyspirit.com/" target="_blank">http://www.cavyspirit.com/</a><br><br>
If there are animal or hay fever allergies in your family, please don't get GPs.<br><br>
That's my run down...it may sound like I'm trying to talk you out of it, and in a way I kind of am. I hope I don't offend you, but I feel you should definitely know what you're getting into. They are fantastic pets for the right families. Were it me, I'd wait until DD was older unless you really don't mind the piggies becoming your pet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh I understand... I had house rabbits for years (15+ actually) and worked with the House Rabbit Society rescuing bunnies. So I'm VERY aware that "public perception" of a small animal and the "actual needs of said animal" are often at odds. (for example, bunnies are NOT good pets for children, they need companions and actually g.p. often make good bunnie companion animals, they shouldn't be caged at all, they can live 10+ years if properly cared for, they should be neutured but don't handle the meds well, and yes... exotic animal care is not cheap.) And I've given the "don't get a bunnie" speech many man times over the years so I think I know where you are coming from.<br><br>
So I'm looking for actual btdt g.p. info from mamas who love/hate them and who live a more "natural" lifestyle than the writers of most pet books. Our local shelter often has piggies but I wasn't certain if (like rescued bunnies) they'd be even less appropriate for a household with children?
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wombatclay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10803866"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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So I'm looking for actual btdt g.p. info from mamas who love/hate them and who live a more "natural" lifestyle than the writers of most pet books.</div>
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Well, that'd me! I love them. I do think their charm is lost on most children.<br><br>
They aren't for any reason incompatible with young children beyond the obvious: they are fragile, they could bite if mis-handled and they are boring.<br><br>
The GP diet will fit right in a NFL household; they need unlimited amounts of grass hay and fresh veggies. Pet stores will sell you pellets, but a well-fed GP with a balanced diet of veggies and hay (enough Vit. C, not too much calcium) thrives easily without anything store-bought or processed at all.<br><br>
They need space to run, and are pretty naturally potty-trained (they like to go in dark, covered spaces, so if you make sure that's a little box and not under your couch, you're all set <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">)<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wombatclay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10803866"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Our local shelter often has piggies but I wasn't certain if (like rescued bunnies) they'd be even less appropriate for a household with children?</div>
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I thik for a family like yours, a rescue organization is the way to go. They'll serve as an intermediary for you to be sure they match you with a healthy, kid-friendly, not-pregnant and correctly sexed pair of piggies.<br><br>
It's such a personal choice. If someone came to me (I'm a bit of a pocket-pet aficionado) and said "what pet should I get for an animal-loving, gentle and well-supervised three-year-old?" I'd say: a (same-sex) pair of rats. But GPs are great, too, in their own way.
 
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