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Finding the Perfect Guinea Pig

Finding the perfect guinea pig starts with deciding whether or not a guinea pig is truly the right pet for you. Your next decision in the quest of finding the perfect guinea pig is deciding on which breed of guinea pig you are looking for. The last step is to check with reputable pet stores and dealers, or with local shelters and rescue groups, for the perfect guinea pig for you.

Guinea pigs, with their docile personalities, can make terrific family pets. In general, guinea pigs tend to have mild temperaments making them a popular choice for children. When deciding if a guinea pig is the right pet for you, consider how you will house the animal. Guinea pigs should be kept in a smooth-bottomed cage that provides them with places to hide. Glass tanks or aquariums are not a good habitat choice because the limited airflow means they can become overly humid. Consider also the amount of time you have to spend with the animal. Guinea pigs like to run around and explore, so taking them out daily to allow them some exercise is ideal. Exercise wheels are not generally recommended for guinea pigs, so supervised playtime in a pet-proofed area is important. Although they are usually very gentle and tolerant, always be sure to supervise children who are playing with a guinea pig. Guinea pigs are fairly long-lived for small animals, often living 7-10 years.

The next step in finding the perfect guinea pig is to decide which breed or breeds you are most interested in. There are many different breed of guinea pig; among the most popular are the American Guinea Pig (also known as the English Cavy) and Crested Guinea Pigs. Different breeds of guinea pigs have different grooming needs, so it is important to consider more than just the appearance when deciding on a breed. Long-haired breeds, such as Peruvians and Silkies, require a great deal more grooming than the crested varieties. Among the easiest to care for, requiring little coat grooming, are shorthaired breeds like the American. It is important to do some research on what each breed looks like, and check out several pictures of the breed you like. This will help you identify animals with healthy coats when you are finding the perfect guinea pig.

Of course, finding the perfect guinea pig means getting a healthy animal. Look for animals with firm bodies that are neither overly fat nor too skinny. While a guinea pig may be a bit skittish at first, he should settle down fairly quickly and adjust to your touch without being either panicky or overly mellow. Choose a guinea pig with clear, bright eyes with no sign of discharge from the eyes or nose. Finally, look for a soft clean coat when finding the perfect guinea pig, and get ready to enjoy a fun and long-lasting relationship with your new furry friend.