This is a big mistakes and unfortunately happens far too frequently. You visit a pet store and you instantly fall in love with a certain piggy. Then you see there are four more guinea pigs crammed in with him in a small aquarium. Initially you think if you purchase the special guinea pig that you will be rescuing him, and so it is really a good thing to buy your guinea pig from a pet store. However, the best thing that you can actually do is to not support a pet store so it won’t exist some day and other animal will not be treated the same way, especially when thousands of homeless guinea pigs are in shelters who need homes.
Supporting a pet store where the animals are mistreated is the perfect example of a common but easily avoidable mistake that many new pet owners make. The “cages” that are used tend to be aquariums that aren’t even large enough for one guinea pig, but frequently house three or even more at once. Those practices have been a huge problem for many years and is no secret.
If you are potentially interested in having a guinea pig as a pet, the best thing for you to do is adopt one. It is guaranteed that a rescue that specifically handles small pets such as guinea pigs is familiar with how to care for them properly more than pets stores ever will. Guinea pigs coming from pet stores are not as well cared for, and most likely are in a poorer state of health. You can also ask your local rescue any questions you might have about your new pet, whereas the 17-year-old clerk work at a pet store may not have answers to your concerns.
Another benefit to adopting is that it is easy to find cage mates. That eliminates the problem of having to introduce a new pig to the cage. The guinea pigs that I have are brothers. They have always been cage mates their entire lives, and I got a two-for-one special since the woman who had rescued them understood how important it is to keep cage mates together. Also, her husband is a veterinarian, so I knew these two guinea pigs would be very healthy when I adopted them. Over the past three years, we have stayed in touch and every once in a while she asks me how they are doing. This type of care and concern is something you won’t find in a pet store.
However, what if you would like to have a young guinea pig? That isn’t something you need to worry about, since there are thousands of guinea pigs who are waiting for homes at rescues and shelters of all different ages. Until you actually meet them you shouldn’t rule out a mature guinea pig. But also, you are mistaken if you think you can only yet young guineas from a pet store.