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Where to Buy Guinea Pigs in 2023: 4 Options

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

guinea pig getting dried with a towel

When most pet owners think of getting a pet, they think of a cat or dog. However, if you’re looking for a more exotic pet, or at least one you don’t have to clean up after daily, a Guinea pig might be at the top of your list.

Of course, when you decide you want a Guinea pig for a pet, you first think of going to your local pet store. While the pet store is a viable option, there are other places to adopt or purchase a Guinea pig. In this guide, we’ll discuss where to purchase a Guinea pig and a quick overview to get you started. Don’t forget to check out our section on what you should know before keeping a Guinea pig as a pet.

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The 4 Places to Buy Guinea Pigs

1. Pet Stores

The first place anyone thinks of when purchasing a Guinea pig is the pet store. While going to a pet store to buy a Guinea pig is an easy task, it is possible that the store got its cavies from a large-scale breeder, which can come with its own set of problems.

While most pet stores, large and small, are reputable, they have no way of knowing where the cavies they sell come from, so if there are problems with any of the Guinea pigs, it’s difficult for the pet store to know ahead of time.

This means that you won’t know anything about the cavies’ parents, the breeding facility quality, or be able to get a reliable health record for your Guinea.

Also, if the Guinea pig has been transported from the breeding facility to the pet store, it’s possible it has health issues that are related to the stress of being moved constantly. Of course, you’ll pay more at a pet store than at some of the other locations on our list.

It’s best to research pet stores at the American Cavy Breeder’s Association website to ensure you’re getting the healthiest Guinea possible1.

2. Shelters and Rescues

If you would prefer to avoid the pet stores in your area, you can also check into shelters and rescues for surrendered Guineas. Most people consider pet stores the only place to find these types of pets and think that shelters and rescues only handle dogs and cats. That isn’t true, so make sure to check your local shelter to see if they have a surrendered cavy available for you to adopt.

There are also rescues that make it possible to adopt surrendered Guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, and more.

Rescues and shelters are usually a bit cheaper than a pet store to adopt a Guinea, and most keep their small pets in sanitary conditions. Also, many rescues make sure that the cavy is in good health before adoption by having a vet on staff examine the pet.

hands holding guinea pig
Image Credit: Dmytro Vietrov, Shutterstock

3. Breeders

If you’re willing to pay the price, you can sometimes get a Guinea pig directly from a breeder. Most of the larger breeders prefer to sell to pet stores, but some smaller breeders are willing to sell to individuals.

While these locations are experts in breeding Guinea pigs, they are also going to be quite a bit more expensive than a pet store or adopting from a rescue shelter. If you decide to go with a breeder, you’ll want to do your research to ensure the breeder is reputable.

Ask the breeder for a tour of their facilities to see what condition the pens are in and how the animals are treated. If a breeder refuses to give you a tour, it’s best to leave and go to the next possible breeder on your list.

4. Rehoming

Many times, people adopt one or two Guineas as a start and then decide they don’t want them or can’t take care of them. If they end up with quite a few Guineas, they may be looking to rehome them. You can usually find these animals on social media sites, but you need to be careful with anything you do on social media.

The cost will probably be lower than the other options on the list, and you can also ask if supplies are provided. You need to take your new Guinea to a vet just to ensure it’s in good health.

children holding a guinea pig
Image Credit: Shschus, Shutterstock

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Guinea Pigs as Pets: What You Should Know

It’s important to note that although Guinea pigs make good pets, they also come with a lot of work. You must keep your Guinea’s cage clean at all times, feed it with fresh food and water, and take it to a vet for regular checkups.

Guinea pigs can live 7 years or longer, so you want to be sure that you’re in for the long haul so that you aren’t one of the people surrendering your Guinea to a shelter or trying to find a way to rehome it.

white crested guinea pig
Image Credit: Bad_Bear_Pictures, Pixabay

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You can purchase a Guinea pig in a few places, from shelters to breeders. However, you need to be careful when doing so, as each location has its own pros and cons.

You’ll also want to ensure you have the time to commit to caring for your Guinea, as they can live for over 7 years. It’s not the type of pet you can put in a cage and forget either, so make sure you’re up to the task before deciding to give a cavy a forever home.

Featured Image Credit: Pogodina Natalia, Shutterstock

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