Introduction: How to Pick the Best Guinea Pigs!

Picture of How to Pick the Best Guinea Pigs!

In this Instructable I want to tell you how you can pick an awesome guinea pig from any pet store and what they might like with some helpful hints on how to take care of them.

Step 1: Where to Go

Picture of Where to Go

Petsmart is a great place to get your small furry friends but any pet store that sells hamsters or mice will probably carry guinea pigs too. I know there has been some accusations about large pet stores like petsmart and petco treat there small animals poorly and abusing them (YES I KNOW YOU HAVE NO NEED TO COMMENT). I think this is untrue seeing as my piggy (from petsmart) loves people, was in perfect condition, and was nice and plump. But as great as Spunky (my pig) turned out I still support small stores to get your piggy because most people there are very passionate about their animals.

Step 2:

Picture of

Once you find the right place you want to get your sweet piggy of joy from you should learn which ones will be most human friendly and will want to play.

Most pet stores may have a house or hut that the pigs like to stay in. Once you decide which one you like the best lift up the house if they stay still rather then scatter and you can pick them up they may be the right one for you.

*Pick one thats young so they grow up living with you and love humans*

Step 3: Items...

Picture of Items...

your new piggy will need the obvious cage, food bowl, food, bedding,water bottle, Igloo (optional but they will be happier) and my piggy's favorite, timothy hay. Along with these essentials you might also want to get fruit and veggies for your pig such as lettuce, carrots, apples, raw corn, watermelon, banana, and pineapple. But people be smart if you think it might not be good for a pig, or any animal DON'T GIVE IT TO YOUR PIG!!!



You and your pig should be happy now and please keep your piggy safe, don't lose it and don't let little children pull it's hair off.

P.S. Pur means they love whats happening, High piched squeel means they hate whats happening. If random squeaking occures and will not stop put pig in cage and add lots of food to food bowl teeth chattering means that they feel threatened and random chewing means nothing in particular .

P.P.S Piggys love lettuce and fruit!

Step 5: My Inspiration

Picture of My Inspiration

My inspiration is my piggy spunky who I picked and she was the best! On December 22, 2009 she will be turning 6


tcup (author)2009-01-15

I've read that carrots are bad for cavies, what's you opinion?

Ionic Hamster (author)tcup2009-01-17

Ummmm... I don't believe that they are bad for guinea pigs. I read a couple of reliable guinea pig care books and they say nothing of that.

tcup (author)Ionic Hamster2009-01-17

I am heartbroken, I think my guinea pig has ovarian cysts, she is losing hair on her sides and there are crusty patches on her nipples. I have an appointment with the vet on Thurs. I don't know if I can afford the surgery and I can't bear to have her put down, I can't bear to see her suffer either. I'm her 4th owner, she has a problem trusting and I can't blame her. Cross your fingers that I'm wrong. Anyhow, I've read that Vitamin A in carrots can cause liver problems in cavies so feed them in moderation. I've removed Poppy's salt lick and mineral lick. She wasn't pleased but I don't want to cause anymore problems for her. Thanks for your advice.

Ionic Hamster (author)tcup2009-01-18

good luck to your piggy

tcup (author)Ionic Hamster2009-01-18

I'll let you know what the vet says, I pray for good news. do you have any ideas how I can get Poppy to trust? She doesn't like to be picked up or held, I think it's because she's had so many owners that she doesn't trust people anymore. After all, how many times can you give your heart before you finally shut down?

PiggiesRock (author)tcup2017-04-23

I have the same problem with Lucky. a lot of the time it's that they don't get handled enough so they aren't used to it and freak out.

Ionic Hamster (author)tcup2009-08-12

I'm sorry I haven't responded but I haven't seen this comment the best way is to hold them and play with them every day! if just holding them while feeding them there favorite food, or just watching TV with them! Best stated spend more quality time with your pig and they'll trust you more.

the best food to feed them is romaine lettuce and most other lettuces just stay away from ice berg lettuce (it won't kill her but it has a high water content so there isn't a very high nutritional value and to get her to like you the best thing to do is constantly be in or near her cage try moving stuff around and talking to her

tcup (author)daltonpearson2011-01-13

Thank you all for your advice, it was most welcome and appreciated. Unfortunatey, Poppy died last July, she had a large tumor in her abdomen and b the time we found it it was too late. I was heartbroken. Poppy and I had time to become good friends. It has been a year of losses for me, my husband in March, Poppy in July then two weeks after Woody my hamster. Losing Woody and Poppy only added to my grief for my husband.
You have all been wonderful, keep up the good work.

Ionic Hamster (author)tcup2011-10-11

I can finally understand how you feel. It saddens me to tell you this but Spunky my piggy passed away last April, at the age of seven. I am going to college soon and thus cannot care for another Guinea, but i am assuming that as with poppy and woody, Spunky took a piece of me with her. I am even more deeply sorry for the loss of your husband. Whilst any death is terrible, that of a spouse is one unimaginable to me, This subject is out of my area of knowledge so all I can say is, Stay strong, and if you are religious, don't fret as you will all be reunited some day, best of luck to you, and may the coming years bring joy and happiness to your life.

tcup (author)Ionic Hamster2011-10-11

So sorry to hear about your Spunky. Isn't it funny how attached we become to our pets? Sinced then I've added and lost pets, I now have two dogs a cat, a rat, a hamster, a mouse and two parakeets. My family calls my home a petting zoo. Thank you for your kind comments about the loss of my husband. I'm quite sure we'll be reunited when my time is up. This past 19 months has had a lot of ups and downs for me, it seems that everything in my house has decided to break but I view every setback as the means to make me stronger. Soon I should turn into a female Hercules. lol. Congratulations on going to college, you can't lose when you have a good education. I often wish I had gone to college but now I"m too old, it would be a waste of time and money. Good luck with your studies.

tcup (author)Ionic Hamster2009-01-22

Good news! I had Poppy to the vet today and she has a clean bill of health. The vet complimented me for taking such good care of her. I'm patting myself on the back :). I am so relieved. Now I need to work at establishing better trust from Poppy. I just found out that I'm her 4th owner. Poor thing, no wonder she is backwards about getting close. Any suggestions? I try to hold her often and I am trying the Ttouch and I also give her Reiki, she seems to love the Reiki, she gets very quiet and still. Thanks

AussieAnglerGal (author)tcup2012-02-20

all our guinea pigs love (and loved) carrots
as long as they aren't strong in pesticides etc they should be fine
but , if your worried you can always find other things

Yes, I totally agree. Mine all love, or did love, carrots and have lived for a long time. Sometimes if you feed them too many they may get sick of them but otherwise it's fine.

tcup (author)AussieAnglerGal2012-02-20

Thank you for your reply.

breadcrumbz (author)2009-04-23

I'm a long-time cavy owner and I happen to disagree with a few of your suggestions. Getting a cavy from a petstore is actually a very bad idea. PetsMart and Petco actually have a reputation for mistreating their smaller in-house pets, buying from illegitament breeders. Cavies bought from places like PetsMart and Petco are often sick, which is unnoticable to an untrained eye, and die with in the first few weeks. The best place to get a cavy is from a local animal shelter or from legitament (and well-known) breeders. Also, cavies need access 24/7 to timothy hay (unless they are nursing mothers or very, very young babies), not cubes. The hay helps them digest their food and also grinds down their teeth so they don't grow to long. Cubed hay does not do that, therefore really has no benifets. I do like your other comments though, and goodluck to anyone getting their first piggy.

hi... so u mean buying from any petstores is not good idea??? maybe u have point but .. we have a shelter here but only for dogs and maybe cats..

I'll be perfectly honest. I bought my guinea pig from a pet store and she was one of the greatest things to hit our family ever. she may not have been "Normal" But she was docile, loved to be held, and was essentially potty trained(She would squak at us really loud before she had to go). So overall, No one really knows if petstores abuse these animals but even so, If you buy one from there whats the worst thats going to happen you SAVE it? You have to do what you think is best, but that is my personal point of view.

It is true that a lot of them turn out great, live for a long time, but many others have been abused, die early, etc. And if you 'save' it, you are only encouraging the pet stores, so in the long run you are really not doing the species a favour, while that may be what you think.

I know this is a few months late haha, but anyways. I too, when I was younger, bought guinea pigs from pets stores and had some great pets. However, saying that its good to buy them to save them is wrong. When you buy a pet from the store you are supporting their business and encouraging them to bring in more stock. While I know that everyone wants to save a hurting animal, buying is only contributing the more pain. When business dies down they tend to stop stocking and in the end it helps stop the business.

oh ok.. thank you

PiggiesRock (author)breadcrumbz2017-04-23

YES! SO TRUE! Before I got my piggies, I had a hamster from petco which I had for 6 days before it died. I NEVER buy animals from there anymore and instead get them from either much smaller shops or adopt them. Also, if you're looking to buy one, craigslist is a good place to start, as my current very healthy guinea pig was advertised on craiglist. Just please don't buy from petco or petsmart. I know some of them turn out ok but most likely they have been abused and/or are sick.

fishcatcher (author)breadcrumbz2012-01-14

i used to work at a petsmarts and in the small animal section :). the birds was nice but smelled like goddawful turd. i was on morning shift and had to clean the cages well the hampsters and ginny pigs are violet. i would reach in to the little box and try to pick out the food bowl and they would run at my hand like it was a devil and try to bite me. i hated them things and i never knowed why kids wanted them. did u ever get this?


tcup (author)breadcrumbz2009-08-02

Since you've owned cavies a long time, perhaps you can help me with a problem. My piggie is losing her hair. The vet didn't find any lice or mites and suggested that her cage was too small. We made her a new cage, four times larger, and still she is losing her hair. I've bathed her in tea tree oil shampoo, flea shampoo and neem shampoo, all three have helped for a short time. I can't figure what her problem is. The vet is one that takes care of all animals, large and small so I'm not doubting her say-so, but I'm at a loss as to what is going on. Any suggestion?

Ninzerbean (author)tcup2009-10-24

 Mites - mine had them and I used the flea killing shampoo for dogs and that worked. This was after $100 visit to the vet who could find nothing with her stupid tests and cultures. Another pig owner told me what to do, good luck.

tcup (author)Ninzerbean2009-10-25

I know what you mean about the vet.  Mine said mites, gave me selamectin and charged me $78, the selamectin isn't working.  What advice did you get? 
Now Poppy has bumblefoot.  I've been soaking her feet in warm water and boric acid, no easy feat keeping her in the basin.  The soaks seem to be helping.  I changed her bedding too, I was using newspaper and I think she was sensitive to the ink.  I'm using Carefresh now but I'll be sewing a couple of large pads for her cage, softer and the batting will keep the moisture away from her.  Some people in my guinea pig group are using the pads and love them, I'd rather make my own, cheaper. 
Poppy's care is home made, it's about 3 ft. by 5 ft., the cost was minimal and she loves the room she has.
I'm doing my best.

s780053 (author)2016-12-03

I just wanted to say thank you for the tips!

HannahF2 (author)2014-12-26

ok loved the hamsters from petco but some of the guinea pigs are really poor and mistreated there. Plus, has anyone seen the ferrets, store managers let the big brother jump on the grandpa and makes him fight. Then he goes and wrestles around with his brother till his brother starts crying. You should not get a pet from petco unless it is a hamster, another thing to add though is that I love the food and cages and toys and all of that stuff. Really cheap and lasts for years. Nothing I've had has broken yet and I've had it for three years. So there are still lots of great benefits to pet

Brandy.Baker.613 (author)2014-11-26

Um, I work with PetSmart now in their Pet Care section and they are definitely not abused or mistreated with us. After we receive them, we hold them for a three day period to make sure they're healthy before putting them on the floor. If they for some reason get sick or injured, they are taken to a vet for treatment and medications (if needed) for afterwords.

mylittlepiggy20 (author)2011-10-11

im gonna buy guinea pig.. how many would i buy and male or female.

I would get a female guinea pig, as they are smaller, and in my experience more docile around humans. My guinea pig treated us like family, but if you fear for the loneliness of you piggy you can get one or two more. HOWEVER, make sure they are all the same gender or you may end up with even more piggies, as well as make sure they have enough space for each of them in their cages or play areas.

ok thanks... i would buy two :D
thank you....

Ballabirdie (author)2010-09-04

I recommend buying a C&C cage. Small pet store cages are always to little. I suggest getting a C&C cage. They are big, customizable and make for more healthy guinea pigs.

albylovesscience (author)2009-08-12

you guneapig looks exactly like my gunea pig her name is baby

breadcrumbz (author)2009-04-23

You left out teeth chattering. Teeth chattering is a sign of aggression and extreme anger, if you hear it you must stop whatever if upsetting them immeadiatly, especially if it is another animal that is angering them.

Ezza (author)2008-10-28

My guinea pig purrs and chatters its teeth when it feels threatened, and wheeks when it's saying hi. When I go out to my yard it squeeks and runs up to me.

tcup (author)Ezza2009-02-04

Poppy makes all kind of sounds to me but I have no idea what they mean. Sometimes she seems to be chewing, she makes a chewing noise often when I talk to her. I get the wheeks when she hears me in the refridgerator. She will chatter real low when my dog is facing her, otherwise she follows him all over the room. I can't figure out all her sounds, but she seems content, hopefully more trusting someday.

Ravlet (author)2008-11-01

If you give your piggy a salt lick, you're shortening it's lifespan. The minerals inside are very unhealthy, so please don't give them to your little one.

And if possible, stick to timothy hay. Alfalfa hay is good for baby piggies up to six months of age... But after that, you may be providing more calcium to your piggy than he/she needs. Calcium usually leads to stones in the urine which can be very painful for the cavy to pass.

Your piggy will love to run around and an average pet store cage will most likely be too small for them. Check out for some info on how to cheaply build your own cage. As soon as I made one for my girls I noticed a huge improvement in their overall mental/physical health. They popcorn now and have a lot of room to run laps. =) (And I was able to make the cage for only $14!)

tcup (author)Ravlet2009-01-15

No salt lick? Oh no, my Poppy loves her salt lick. I'm taking it out now. Thanks for the warning.

Ionic Hamster (author)Ravlet2008-11-01

Thank you so much for the great info. Personally my pig hates alphapha and salt lick to begin with and I will remove that from my Instructable ASAP Thanks for reading Ionic Hamster

About This Instructable




Add instructable to: