Our New Pet

This is Squinky.

Isn’t he cute?  He’s the newest addition to the menagerie we have going on here. He’s also a guinea pig, if you didn’t know.

I love having pets around the house. I think it teaches children respect, compassion, and responsibility. My girls are predominantly involved in the feeding process right now.  They feed Delilah (our tortoise) regularly and the dog as well.  Not everyone has room for a dog or cat, and I think pocket pets are great for kids.  There are a lot of options out there.  but guinea pigs are my favorite for kids 5-8 years old.  Here’s why.

1. No biting

If you stick your finger in a guinea pig’s mouth, they will bite, but otherwise, it really isn’t their primary defense mechanism. I don’t have to worry about my kids getting nipped and dropping the pig or flinging it across a room by accident.

2. They’re Big

That makes them a little more sturdy then some of the smaller pocket pets.  They can handle a smaller child’s rougher touch.  They don’t squish so easily. And unlike a rabbit, if your kids let their feet dangle, their not going to break their backs kicking their hind legs. (Really, it happens.  No rabbits for kids under 8.)

3. They’re slow

Unlike smaller rodents, a guinea pig left on the floor is not going to sprint for freedom and wind up in your walls.  You can catch a guinea pig pretty easily.

4. They Don’t Escape

When you open a gerbil’s or rat’s cage, they try to make a break for it. Every time.  Not guinea pigs.  They mostly just sit there.  Leave a guinea pig’s cage door unlatched accidentally, and most like, it will still be in there the next time you look.

5. They Make Cute Noises

They get their name from the squealing sound they make when excited.  It’s a little like a tiny pig.  It’s really cute.  And they stampede.  Nothing like a guinea pig stampede.

6. They Live 5-8 years

Other rodents, 2 maybe 3 years for a rat.  Dead pets and little kids are not fun. I try to avoid mixing them as much as possible.

If you’re thinking of a guinea pig, there are a few things you need to know.

1. They eat guinea pig pellets

Not rat, or mouse, or any other kind of rodent pellets.  Guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C (same with people) so it’s supplemented in their pellets. Other rodents make their own vitamin C, so there’s none in their food. The pellets need to be kept refrigerated and you should only get enough to last about 3 months or the vitamin C starts to degrade.  I get a 5 lb bag every three months.  If they don’t get their vitamin C, they get scurvy (just like people. And pirates).

2. They tend to be messy

As far as rodents go, guinea pigs are, well, pigs.  They throw their litter and hay, they sometimes play with their water bottles and make puddles, and they generally poo a lot.  Keep them somewhere easy to clean under or around and be prepared to change the litter twice a week if you don’t want an odor.  (Once a week isn’t too bad.)

3. They eat hay

It should be the main part of their diet.  They’re like little horses.  They should eat Timothy hay, not alfalfa. No matter what the high school drop out at the pet store tells you, timothy hay.  They’re pellets are alfalfa, and it’s high in calcium.  They can get bladder stones if they get too much calcium.

We’re all enjoying our little piggy.  Penelope loves him.  She wants to hold him all day long and carry him around like a baby in a blanket. (We don’t let her, much.)

Another great thing about guinea pigs is they are great dog entertainment.  This is how Missy sat for the first week we had him.  She did not move. Penny did too, by the way.

Do you have any pocket pets?  What are your favorites?

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About Jessica Anne

5 Responses to “Our New Pet”

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  1. Yona
    Twitter: pricelessteam

    Thanks for the information on guinea pigs – good info that I had no clue about. I had 3 hamsters throughout college and I was always nervous about the teeth of a guinea pig – i think I just assumed they bit like a rabbit. As a dog lover, I LOVE the last picture!
    Yona´s last post ..Zhena’s Gypsy Tea – Coconut Chai Green Tea

    • Jessica Anne says:

      A lot of people think guinea pigs are biters, I’d be scared of their bites too, if they did. The dog’s new trick is keeping the cats away from the guinea pig cage. It’s sweet, but I think she really just wants to make sure if there’s a chance to eat him, she gets it. :)

  2. Kristin
    Twitter: kristinglas

    Hello Squinky, it’s nice to meet you. I saw a cute knit guinea pig sweater on Pinterest, I’ll send it your way. ;)
    Kristin´s last post ..Out With The Old And Ugly.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I so need to make that. :) Oh, and I was crocheting a cell phone case, quite sloppily I might add, and my nanny came today and made one in 30 minutes. I’ve been working on mine for at least 4 hours and mine’s half done. And now I don’t need one.

  3. Mel says:

    Although this looks like quite a bit of an older post; thought I would comment to first say how ADORABLE Squinky is in the top picture. Also, your point on vitamin C is so vital. This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen new owners make with their piggies is not realizing the need for vitamin c and the importance of it. We recently wrote a post on it to hopefully help anyone that needs more info on it (http://smallpetselect.com/guinea-pig-guide/guinea-pig-pellets-vitamin-c). Hope Squinky is doing well :)