If you are thinking about buying a new pet guinea pig, a great alternative to a pet store is to look up your local animal rescue center or animal shelter, or your town may even have a guinea pig rescue center that specializes in guinea pigs.
It is not uncommon for an owner of a pair of guinea pigs to suddenly find out that the female is expecting a litter and then find themselves with a cage full of guinea pig pups. In no time at all this will cause cage overcrowding which can then very quickly become a health issue for the babies and the parents. If the owners are unable to sell the guinea pig pups to a local pet store, or to individuals through a classified ad, and they are unable to keep the pups, they will often turn to an animal shelter or a rescue center to take the baby guinea pigs to.
Thankfully there are such things as guinea pig rescue centers. They can be found in every city and town where there is an individual or a group of compassionate animal lovers that want to give a sweet and gentle guinea pig another opportunity to be placed with a caring family. They are a safe place to take abandoned or unwanted pets, and for people who are looking to adopt a new pet they will be able to find a cute and cuddly new guinea pig friend as easily as going to a pet store.
If you do choose a shelter or a rescue center to find your new guinea pig, always take time to find out from the people at the shelter or rescue center what the circumstances were that brought the guinea pig to the rescue center. If it was abused or neglected, for example, the guinea pig may never be able to bond with a human again, and so he wouldn‘t make a good “cuddle” pet. Of course I’m not suggesting that a neglected or abused guinea pig shouldn‘t be considered for adoption – quite the contrary. He or she may be the one that needs a good home the most. But you get the point – its a good idea to see if you can learn the animal’s history.
Of course you will also want to check the guinea pig very carefully for signs of illness, like discharge from the nose, watery eyes, or loss of hair, to name a few, which may indicate poor health or an infestation. These may be minor illnesses that a quick trip to the vet can cure very easily.
Don’t be surprised if a guinea pig that that you find at a rescue center appears to be nervous, frightened, or timid. Remember he is in a new and unfamiliar place, and guinea pigs by their nature don’t like change. If they were treated well by their original owners and by the staff at the rescue center then they will likely adapt quickly to you and their new home, and their shy nervousness will soon disappear.
If you should ever find yourself with an unwanted litter of guinea pig pups, or even grown guinea pigs that you are no longer able or willing to care for, remember that there are people and places, guinea pig rescue centers for example, that will accept your pets and find a good and loving home for them.