Regardless of where you choose to purchase your guinea pig, the price will be relatively the same. Most pet stores charge between $10 and $15 for a guinea pig while breeders and rescue organizations charge around $20 to $30. Some breeders may charge more for certain breeds than others.
Before you take home a guinea pig from a breeder, a pet store, or a rescue organization, you need to do the following things:
Ask how old the guinea pig is
A guinea pig should never be taken from its mother earlier than four weeks, and some breeders recommend waiting until at least six weeks. If the individual does not know, then you shouldn't buy that guinea pig.
Ask what sex it is
Even if you plan on sexing the guinea pig yourself, you should ask the person selling it to you to specify its gender. Don't let them tell you that the animal's too young to be properly sexed since that's never the case.
Ask if the males and females have been kept separated
Some pet stores already do this, but since many of their employees are not able to tell one guinea pig's gender from the next, it may not always be reliable.
Check the guinea pig's health
As you are choosing your guinea pig, you should look for the following things since they signal an unhealthy animal:
- Unless the guinea pig is alone, it should not be sitting by itself in a corner. These are lively, social creatures that enjoy contact with one another and people.
- Check the guinea pig's skin for bald patches and its eyes and nose for discharge. These are signals of health problems.
- Look at the droppings in the cage (you don't have to get too close) and be sure that you don't see evidence of diarrhea.
- Check female guinea pigs for signs of pregnancy. If they are very large near their rumps, then it is very likely they are pregnant.
Remember that the health of the guinea pig is especially important if you are bringing it into a home that already contains guinea pigs since many diseases and conditions can be passed between the two animals. Also, nothing is sadder than losing a new pet not long after bringing him or her home.
Florian Ross is a freelancer and small animals expert. For more tips on raising Guinea Pigs and having them live 3 times longer, see http://www.pets-lovers.com/guinea-pigs/guinea-pigs.htm