Guinea Pigs As Pets For Kids - 7 Essential Considerations

in Children

If you are a parent considering getting a pet guinea pig for your child, there are 7 essential issues you must think about before making your decision. Guinea pigs are also known as "cavies", derived from their scientific name Caviidae Porcellus.  I personally often tend to use the more affectionate nickname "piggies".  Cavies can make a fabulous pet for your child and add tremendous value to his or her life, if you firstly consider:

1.  How patient are you?

If you are a patient person and you are prepared to spend some time to teach your child how to correctly handle and care for a cavy, it can be a wonderful bonding experience between parent and child.  However having a new pet can also be a frustrating time!  I remember countless hours of chasing our cavies around the back garden before my children had learned to keep a firm hold on them!

2.  Are you willing to learn?

When you are willing to learn (with your child) all about the delights of having a guinea pig, you will ensure he has the best experience of piggy life possible.

3.  What if your child tires of the pet?

Are you willing to take care of the pet if your child tires of the responsibility (or when your child eventually leaves home)?

4.  Will you take responsibility?

As a parent, are you willing to assume the ultimate responsibility of guinea pig caregiver? (Of course, your child will need to be given some responsibilities, and this will be a valuable learning experience.  However, don't expect your child to always meet all the piggy's needs, no matter how much they reassure you that they will.  It's great if they can but for most children the novelty of cage cleaning wears thin quickly!).

5.  Will the other members of your family welcome the newcomer?

Is your entire household, other adults and pets included, happy to welcome a guinea pig into your family?  If you also have cats or dogs, you'll need to consider how to keep the piggies safe from harm.

6.  It will take time

While piggies are very lovable and can become endearingly affectionate pets, they are very timid and shy by nature and most piggies will need a lot of time and patience before they enjoy being held. (This is because they are prey animals).

7.  When the end comes

Guinea pigs usually live for between four and seven years. Are you are prepared to help your child deal with his or her grief when the time comes to say goodbye to your furry friend?

I've seen a lot of wonderful things happen in families with guinea pigs as pets when the parents are prepared as above - and I've also seen a lot of disappointments too.  So please take the time to consider your decision.

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R Garlick has 1 articles online

Rachel is a guinea pig lover and mother of two daughters. Visit Rachel's site for more information on guinea pigs as pets. Alternatively, if you've decided a guinea pig is not your cup of tea just now, find out how to keep your kids happy with our secret guinea pig superhero here:

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Guinea Pigs As Pets For Kids - 7 Essential Considerations

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This article was published on 2010/03/30