Considering a piggy for a pet

willowbeads

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:23 pm


I hope you all don't mind me posting here, but I'm seriously considering getting pig for my son. He is five and desperately wants a pet. I've made a deal with him that if he does certain things for a month (sleep in his own bed, pick up his toys, etc) that I will get him a pet. We can't get a dog right now and he seems to be allergic to cats.

After doing a ton of research I am thinking a guinea pig might be the best pet for him. Hamsters aren't much fun because the are nocturnal, are escape artists and aren't very cuddly (I had them growing up). From what I've been reading here and on other sites, it sounds like piggies have great personalities. My son is a bit timid with animals, so I don't see him being rough with a pig. If anything it might give him some confidence with animals.

I've checked out the C&C cages, read the care guide and today even went to the pet store and played with one just to get more familiar with them. I'm feeling more confident, but I'm hoping someone here can address my biggest concern.

My husband and I have to travel several times a year for a week at a time. Our son stays with my parents while we are gone, about 45 minutes from home. Because the cage at home would be so large I would need something smaller to take the pig to my parents' for them to look after while we are gone. Everything I've read says that smaller cages aren't good for pigs. Would it be ok to use a smaller cage for 5 or 6 days while at my parents, or would it stress the pig too much if it were used to its larger home?

If we decide to take on this responsibility, I just want to make sure I am the best piggy mom possible. Any advice would be very appreciated.

Thanks!

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GuineaPinny

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:45 pm


It sounds like you're really doing a lot of thinking about this. I imagine you will get a lot of advice from parents here, but I just wanted to encourage you to adopt whatever animal you do choose as a pet-there are many homeless animals other than dogs and cats. On petfinder.com I have frequently seen guinea pigs in shelters in your area, should they continue to seem the best fit for you.

One consistent piece of advice I have seen given is that it's important that the parent knows to be the main caregiver, rather than counting on the child to perform the responsibilities-frequently in that instance the guinea pig can wind up neglected if the child loses interest. An animal needs a forever home for the length of its life, so it's important the parent commits to its ultimate care.

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lisam

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:48 pm


You say you can't get a dog right now, but what happens to the guinea pig when you can get one? I recently had to take one into my rescue because the family got a puppy and they didn't want the pig anymore.

Be aware that guinea pigs are usually hard to catch, and they sometimes have fast jerky movements that can alarm kids who are timid. It took my son a long time to feel comfortable with guinea pigs. Especially since sometimes they nibble on fingers.

As for the smaller cage, I think it depends on just how small. Some pigs need space or they will fight.

Thank goodness you are researching all this before hand!

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cabaya

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:15 pm


First, of course, we are all going to strongly advise you to rescue and not buy from the petstore. There are many reasons why that you have probably read if you read the guinea lynx care site.

Also, since your son is allergic to cats it would probably be a good idea to take him somewhere where he can have contact with a guinea pig to make sure he is not allergic to them also.

I also agree with everything the previous posters have said. Also, it does depend on what size cage you would take to your parents' house and the compatibility of the guinea pigs. First, the stress of a new cage, surroundings, the water may taste different and new noises may be much for the pigs, but again it depends on the guinea pig, some are more skittish and sensitive than others.

I want to thank you so much for understanding the need to research an animal that you are considering and the fact that you understand that you are the primary care giver!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:36 pm


Daily exercise in a confined area might be a great way for your son to interact with him. He could sit quietly and offer food by hand. It may take a while to get to this point but would give him a relatively safe special time with his new pet if you think this will work.

slavetofuzzy
4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:07 pm


Please know that you will be the primary caregiver for this or any other pet you bring into the house. Your son may help by making sure there is always hay and water but you should follow up behind him (without taking his confidence away) and make sure the jobs are being done.

Also, you will need to be the one weighing the pigs and making sure they are healthy, trimming nails, checking for any lumps or sores, etc.

There is a lot of great information on this site and it's good to see someone doing research before adopting a new pet.

Cage-wise, for vacations a small version of the C&C cage would be ok or a very large pet store cage but again, with two that are used to a larger space it may be a problem especially if they are males. And guinea pigs should be paired in groups of 2 or more. They are herd animals and need their own kind to interact with.

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newagain

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:27 pm


I would definitely get a small version of a C&C cage as opposed to a very large pet store cage only because they're much much cheaper.

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Quinc-Emma

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:30 pm


Also make sure your parents are ok with looking after a guinea pig as well when you go out of town.

Erin8607
Knee Deep

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:34 pm


Check out pet rat forums, too. I've read that rats seem to make better childrens pets, too.

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newagain

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:37 pm


I would definitely get a small version of a C&C cage as opposed to a very large pet store cage only because they're much much cheaper.

willowbeads

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:45 pm


I certainly do understand that I will be the primary care giver :) My son can't remember where he put his sleep toy 10 minutes ago, much less to feed a piggy! I think it will be a fun thing for us to do together.

No need to worry about us getting a replacement pet. My husband and I had a dog when we brought our son home. We had to find him a new home because he was older (12) and I couldn't trust him with the baby. After that we agreed that we really didn't want another dog because we are away from home for most of the day, which isn't fair to the dog, and we didn't like having to run home right after work to let him out. We live out in the country so it was very difficult for us to run errands in the evening, etc. I also don't want an "outside" dog, as I feel they tend to not get enough attention. Anyway, now that we have to travel so often during the year we are even less inclined to get another one.

My first choice would definitely be to adopt. Our local shelter doesn't have any piggies available right now, but I saw that there is a shelter in Columbia, MO that has several. My sister-in-law lives in Columbia, so we could go there. I was concerned at first about the three hour drive, but I've read several posts here on the forum and it sounds like it is certainly doable.

We are still about a month out from doing anything, but all of the information here and your willingness to share are a huge help!

Thanks so much!

willowbeads

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:50 pm


I certainly do understand that I will be the primary care giver :) My son can't remember where he put his sleep toy 10 minutes ago, much less to feed a piggy! I think it will be a fun thing for us to do together.

No need to worry about us getting a replacement pet. My husband and I had a dog when we brought our son home. We had to find him a new home because he was older (12) and I couldn't trust him with the baby. After that we agreed that we really didn't want another dog because we are away from home for most of the day, which isn't fair to the dog, and we didn't like having to run home right after work to let him out. We live out in the country so it was very difficult for us to run errands in the evening, etc. I also don't want an "outside" dog, as I feel they tend to not get enough attention. Anyway, now that we have to travel so often during the year we are even less inclined to get another one.

At least if we have two piggies they can keep each other company until we get home.

My first choice would definitely be to adopt. Our local shelter doesn't have any piggies available right now, but I saw that there is a shelter in Columbia, MO that has several. My sister-in-law lives in Columbia, so we could go there. I was concerned at first about the three hour drive, but I've read several posts here on the forum and it sounds like it is certainly doable.

I like the idea of a smaller C&C cage. My mom is totally on board with this and I'll bet they'd be willing to store a smaller one at their house for piggy-sitting.

We are still about a month out from doing anything, but all of the information here and your willingness to share are a huge help!

Thanks so much!

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cabaya

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:51 pm


If you find a pair of pigs you want, then let everyone here know and people around you would be willing to pick up the pig and help travel part of the way for you, some of us call it a piggy train.

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tia2370

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:53 pm


I'm not sure how well this would work, but you could get a spare set of Cubes and Coroplast that's a bit smaller than your home cage. For instance, if you use a 3x5 at home, it could be a 2x5 for your vacations. Dis-assemble it when the piggies aren't there and stand it upright so it stores easily. Then, show up a little early when you drop them off so you can set up the cage for them.

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rshevin

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:21 pm


Don't forget about the option to adopt a guinea pig from a local person who is rehoming. There's a little more risk here than adopting from an established rescue (they will often give the pig a health check and treat for mites automatically) but it's a meaningful adoption none the less.

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newagain

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:42 pm


ok wow I didn't mean to post twice earlier. My apologies.

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ColoradoMama

Post   » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:34 pm


I was in a similar situation. My 4 year old kept saying he wanted a puppy. I was like "YEAH RIGHT!" I started reseaching guinea pigs because I have a friend with them, and I ended up being the one that REALLY wanted them! So now my son thinks that he has guinea pigs, but everyone else knows that they are really mine ;)

I found this site and it changed the way I looked at these amazing animals. You can have guinea pigs for your son to love and enjoy, but they WILL be your pets ultimately. Just be sure you are ready and that you understand that they are pretty time consuming. And their care is not cheap, so keep that in mind when you are making your decision.

I'm so glad I got them "for my son" ::wink wink:: And I'm happy that I made the choice to get them from an amazing rescue. You are doing the right thing by asking these questions. You'll make the right decision

Tracis
Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:21 am


My son was four when we decided to get our first guinea pig.

He really loved her. We had daily floor time in a "guinea pig-proofed" area, where he and I could sit quietly and talk or read while watching her explore. She was quite a brave guinea pig and really enjoyed interacting with us, and climbing into our laps for food.

I was the primary care-giver, but he helped keep her haybin filled every day. I kept a bag of hay underneath her cage, and he could safely give her as much hay as he wanted.

My son is ten now, and definitely enjoys having guinea pigs in his life.

willowbeads

Post   » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:18 pm


Thanks for all of the great ideas. Sorry for the double post earlier. My computer acted up. As I continue on this adventure I'm sure I'll have a lot more questions for all of you. I'm so thankful this great website and forum exist!

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Sloan

Post   » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:20 pm


Thank YOU for doing the research before bringing a pet into the home. You have no idea how rare that is! Please let us know as you have questions - there are really great people here that are an immensely valuable resource.

+1 to the adoption/rescue idea! *wink wink*

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