Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is it ok to have just one guinea pig?

i've been doing a bit of research on guinea pigs because i am hoping to get one for my son for his birthday, but everything i'm reading says that they do well in pairs. will it hurt to just get one?
Really, for the sake of the animal, you should have more than one. Anyone telling you that it is okay to have just one has little to no experiance with guinea pigs in larger groups. I personally have four guinea pigs, but started out just as you are going to. I had one by itself in a store bought cage that was the largest offered between the Petco and PetSmart stores. I decided to get another when I read that they do better in pairs. After introducing the new guinea pig to the older one I had, I immediatly saw a change in behavior for the my first pig. What was once a timid, quiet animal became outgoing and happy. I had never seen him "popcorn" before (popcorning is when a guinea pig leaps in the air our of sheer joy), but I did the same day I bought him a friend. I now have four guinea pigs in a 20 square foot C%26C cage, and they are as happy as could be. All of them are male, so don't ever let anyone tell you males fight. They can fight, but many times they won't.
While it is up to you on how many guinea pigs you think you need, consider this: Why wouldn't you get more than one? Are you afriad of additional food costs? More smell? Two guinea pigs are cheap to feed, if fed correctly, and smell exactly like one guinea pig does. As long as the cage is cleaned weekly and the pig is housed on either cedar, careFRESH or fleece, you will smell nothing. There is liturally no downside to owning two guinea pigs as opposed to one. You should always aim, however, for two males, two females or a mix where at least one sex is altered (neutered or spayed).
I'm impressed that you're taking the time to research guinea pigs before going out and buying them. While you're at it, make sure you check out Take a look at the forums there for all the information you will ever need on proper guinea pig care. The people there are truly excellent and have never given me incorrect information.
Also, be sure to adopt rather than buy from a store. Adopting a guinea pig is a good idea for a number of reasons, including the fact that a guinea pig from a shelter is probably used to being handled while a guinea pig from a store has just come from a backyard breeder where they get little to no human contact. There are also thousands of guinea pigs in the U.S. alone that are in need of a forever home, and you can easily find bonded pairs (pairs of males or females that have formed a special bond, usually from living together for their entire life) that are adoptable together. Shelter pigs also tend to be healthier and more well-cared for than pigs in a pet store, who are likley to be ill. Out of the four pigs I have, I adopted two and bought two. One of the ones I bought from a pet store is a habitual biter (very rare for a guinea pig, but it does happen) and the other had mites at the time that I purchased him. After a $60 vet bill and several trips to Petco, I finally got the pet store to agree to compensate for the vet visit but many people aren't so lucky.
Another thing you need to do is be sure you are the primary care giver for the guinea pig, unless your son is old enough to care for one (and by old enough, I mean 16 and over). Children, and even young teenagers, often have trouble caring for guinea pigs (refer to for stories).
There is so much more I'd love to tell you, but I feel like I've probably said enough as it is. Just, please check out that website and the others listed below before you make any decisions. Even if you don't agree with what they have to say, it would be wise to consider it. Thanks for asking and reading and good luck!
just one? there awesome, they love to be in large groups, but one is enough, unless your one of those people who feel sorry for pets social life, As long as it's feed, its happy :),. Guinea pigs thou are messy,. but good for children, Id prefer a dog thou, maybe a wiener dog, or something small/slow like that :D,
Good luck, and I hope your son enjoys his new pet :)
I have personally owned guinea pigs for well over 12 years and with my experience I have found that a lot depends on the amount of time you can devote to the animal and the animal's personality. I have had pairs of male and female, I have had two males and I have also had loners. Guinea Pigs love lots of attention, and they will let you know it. They make wonderful pets and I recommend them all of the time.
Its ok but they have adittudes get him a teddy bear hanster they dont squek and drive you nuts and there just the right size for your son and there so cute there very small i would get one of them
No It wont hurt at all. My neice has had one for a year it does fine. It will squeek alot if you dont pay it enough attention.
It will do fine by itself. My friend has had her g.pig for about five years now, and he's doing just fine and dandy. He likes to play with her cats too.
yes it's fine. I had 1 and she was alone but I played with her a lot.
well only if you give it a lot of attention..but the guinea pig might get lonely but i would get a boy and a boy or a girl and girl cuz if u get a boy and a girl you might end up with more than just 2 guinea pigs..
I know alot of people with guineas but I don't know anyone who has more than one...they can be perfectly happy by themselves as long as their owner is willing to go the extra mile and give them lots of attention.which it sounds like your future guinea will be getting alot of attention: I'm glad to see that you are researching your pets before you buy frustrates me to see so many people on this forum who do not research their pets first and then they wind up with animals they never should have had and no clue what to do with them -the animals almost always suffer in the end when the owner doesn't know what they are getting themselves into.congrats on being one of the few, the proud, the smart and responsible pet owners---lol
It is ok to have just one, but if you have ever had a bunch of guinea pigs, you will know how hilarious it is to see them run around the room in a line like a tiny squeaking guinea pig train - don't miss it, it's cheap clean family fun (except for the pellets, but don't worry they're easy to clean up).
Of course it is okay to have one but it doesn't mean it is the best thing for the guinea pig. They are timid prey animals and would do best in a cage with at least one friend. They don't take up much space and purchase cost of the animals aside, two guinea pigs won't cost much more to keep than one.
During the times when it is in it's cage, it will have another guinea pig to interact with. You do not need to get a pair that will breed so two females will be good.
You've realised from your research that guinea pigs do well in pairs so do not ignore that fact for convenience sake. It is the responsible thing to do because guinea pigs are living and feeling animals.
I have a guinea pig. Just one. She is fine by herself.
If they grow up alone, it's probably good to keep them alone, but if they grew up in a group, have a playmate is probably good.
To be honest, no, it won't be fair on the guinea pig. I have had guinea pigs alone in cages before and they just don't thrive like the rest (they were breeding males). They sit in their cage, eat, and sleep. They rarely play and as a result, they didn't enjoy being handled by me much either.
If you want to get the most out of your pet, get two. They will interect with you more, play more and be more happier themselves. In the wild they live in groups so you need a pair at least.
What is the reason you are afraid of two? I am 16 and have 11 so they are not hard work at all. We are certainly not rich either so you won't go out of pocket with 2! They aren't smelly animals either - just as long as you clean the cage out often enough (at least once a week).
Honestly it will be better for you and the guinea pigs to get a pair.
It doesn't matter how much time you devote to the piggy, they'll still need to communicate and interact with their own species - just like we need to. It is truly sad how many answerers on here are saying it is ok to have a lonely one.
Please listen to the experts!
Good luck, I hope you do the right thing!
Maybe join a guinea pig forum to learn more and get advice from people who have had much more experience than people on ( :-)
go to and join the forum they are very knowledgeable
they like to live in groups. they are very social. it is just as easy to care for one than it is for two. get 2 girls. they are so cute and they snuggle together.
It's ok to have only one pig as long as you have the time to devote to it. Guinea Pigs can get lonely when left all alone, with very little company from humans or fellow pigs. However if given sufficient care, it can bond one closer to the lone piggy.
But havin piggies in pairs or even in groups would be advantageous. they show their affection more openly, wheeking and purring much more and popcorning more too as compared to when they are solo. at least that's what happened to my lil piggy when she got a new friend. they do love to get your attention and can get kinda competitive for it.
Piggies are social animals who need a considerable amount of care, especially diet-wise. Personally i wouldn't recommend giving a guinea pig for a birthday present 'coz much more care is needed for them (grooming, health, blah3) as compared to say a hamster. they may get mites and stuff like that due to their thick coat, which would need time and attention.
yep they all have different personalities some like to be around others and some prefer to be alone - if you have only one you may want to spend a little extra time with them so they dont get too lonley and make sure to get one who doesnt seem to be as social as some others
I have six guinea pigs and some enjoy being together while others don't. Your son will probably give enough attention to the one guinea pig. If not you might want to get two. Just never get two males, they will fight. Hope this helps!

1 comment:

  1. We just bought a guinea pig for my daughter and she stays in her room with her and gets a lot of attention and seems just fine. The people at the pet store said to buy two, but our vet who specializes in guinea's and loves them, said that it really irritates her that owners are told to have two. She said there is no guarantee that the guinea pigs will get along, and she sees more guinea pigs being returned because of it. She said so long as the guinea gets lots of attention and is socialized she will be quite happy. This is coming from someone who has devoted her life to these types of animals, and still has the good sense to recognize that humans all too often ascribe their own feelings to the animal. Attention, food, water, large clean cage, toys, hidy hut etc...and your piggy will be fine alone.