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Buying Guinea Pigs From Pet Stores

GuineaPigsArNic

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hello, i am going to get my Guinea pig from a pet store, but I know, I have heard about how it's horrible. I don't want to go to a breeder, and I don't want to adopt one. I know it's great to give homeless Guinea pigs a loving home, but I plan to get mine from the pet store. As long as I know it's healthy from the beginning, it shouldn't die. I will provide it with a large cage (probably not from pet store) veggies, good pellets and I will find a good hay. I am currently working on getting a second Guiana pig as we'll. Please comment and tell me if this will work even though I am getting my pig from pet store
 

Julie M

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I would get 2 at the same time as they like companionship. All my guinea pigs have been other people's unwanted pets. All mine were off gumtree (a freeads site).

At the end of the day it's your personal choice where you get your pets from. However if you choose a reputable rescue they will be healthy and properly sexed and socialised something which sometimes pet store piggies aren't. Good luck whatever you decide.
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Welcome to the forum!

I would definitely get 2 piggies that are already bonded, otherwise you face the challenge of having to bond them which is stressful and may not work out.

I'd be a bit careful with pet shops as quite often they're already poorly before you get them, have a seriously good health check before you get them (listen to breathing, check teeth & skin etc).

Honestly I go with rescues not just because you're rescuing a piggy but also because that's the only way to guarantee that they're happy & healthy pigs with some socialisation. Also they usually have babies, Bella & Cissy were 6 weeks old when I got them from my rescue, tiny wee things!

What ever you decide to do I'll just hope they're healthy and settle in with you nicely :)
 

flowerfairy

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I dont support pet shop animals as a rule although I have bought from them in the past. The reason that I would not now is the truely awful conditions that the animals for breeding are kept in.

Due to the stress of those conditions and stress from being seperated from mum at a young age and transported long distances with other youngsters and being on the petshop floor often with inadequate housing and bedding the animals often have health problems.

A good rescue will health check and will properly sex the animals in there care.

Whereever you chose to get your guinea pigs from we would love to see pics. Best of luck and welcome to the forum.
 

Wiebke

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hello, i am going to get my Guinea pig from a pet store, but I know, I have heard about how it's horrible. I don't want to go to a breeder, and I don't want to adopt one. I know it's great to give homeless Guinea pigs a loving home, but I plan to get mine from the pet store. As long as I know it's healthy from the beginning, it shouldn't die. I will provide it with a large cage (probably not from pet store) veggies, good pellets and I will find a good hay. I am currently working on getting a second Guiana pig as we'll. Please comment and tell me if this will work even though I am getting my pig from pet store
Hi and welcome!

Please wait until you are able to keep two guinea pigs and can provide any necessary vet care for them; this also means that you do not have to quarantine any second piggy and that you do not have to conduct any introductions later on. Adding another guinea pig is not as easy as simply popping it into the cage: that usually leads to fights. You also have to know that while guinea pigs need somebody to talk to and be with round the clock, like humans they do not necessarily get on with everybody!
Shop and breeder piggies have usually not had much in the way of human interaction. They are prey animals and not instant living cuddly toys. Don't be deceived by all those cute online videos - they are usually from a proud owner having carefuly built up a bond over time.

Healthy guinea pigs live on average between 4-7 years - where are you then and do you still have the time and interest to look after them when you need to study hard for school and want to rather hang out with your friends?

Be aware that it can take up to 2-3 weeks until an infection or infestation picked up at a shop, like ringworm, mange mites or URI (respiratory infection) shows up (see the steady influx from new shop piggy cases in our health/illness section).
Make sure that you sex any guinea pig again upon arrival; shop personnel is not necessarily known for getting it always right nor do they always separate mixed genders in time (see our pregnancy section), nor are personnel in most shelters (which do not provide the medical and other support that good standard rescues provide).
Please also be aware that boars go through a hormonal teenage period between 4-14 months of age when they suddenly stop being cute little babies.

Young guinea pigs (as you get from a pet store) are especially desperate for company of their own kind. Guinea pigs are group animals, they are NOT wired to be on their own!
Single piggies of either gender often develop unpleasant attention seeking behaviours and can play dominance games with you from lack of companionship.

Adopting from a good rescue (the ones we have listed are the ones we can guarantee for your being in safe hands) is not only about doing something for unwanted guinea pigs. Adopting also means:
- all guinea pigs coming into rescue go through a mandatory quarantine and pregnancy watch upon arrival and get any necessary health and vet care. They are only put up for adoption when they are fully healthy and rehabilitated.
- they are properly sexed and guaranteed not pregnant, including rescue born babies.
- any pairs up for adoption have been already carefully and stably bonded, so you do not have to fear fall-outs.
- they have been handled regularly at the rescue or in a home setting at a fosterer's, depending on the rescue and are much more used to human interaction.
- You will always have the rescue to fall back on during the lifetime of your guinea pigs if they do not get on or if for some reason you can no longer keep them.
That is a LOT extra service and long term peace of mind that you get for very little extra money.

Be aware that vet cost can quickly get into the hundreds of dollars. Make sure that you or parents can pay that upfront whenever your guinea pigs need veterinary. they are small animals and cannot way for days or weeks in an emergency; they go downhill very quickly. Vet cost are going to make largest part of what you spend on a guinea pig during its life time. At some point you are most likely to need a vet. Emergency and illness never happen at a good time, nor will your parents be willing to shell out up to $1000 for an operation easily. That is something very important that you need to settle and prepare from right from the start.
These days, if you want to be ar responsible and caring pet owner, there is no cheap pet anymore.

Quick Information Bundle For Wannabe Owners
New Owners' Online Starter " Booklet" For Helpful Advice
Here is a link for good standard rescues in several countries: Guinea Lynx :: Rescue Organizations

As you say pet store and not pet shop, I assume that you are living in the US?
We are aware that not everybody is able to adopt from a safe rescue, but if you can, please consider this option. Many rescues take in pregnant sows, so there are often youngsters for adoption, too, if you are set on babies. No rescue worth their salt will however rehome guinea pigs into a single situation unless they have an unbondable guinea pig that has lost the ability of perceiving itself as a piggy, which is quite rare.
 
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I would like to know what serious reason you have for preferring a pet store. Because here in Italy I know the reasons... here people don't want to have visits at home from strangers (volounteers of the rescue who come and see your house and your family; they don't give piggies to teenagers and families with little children). People here don't want to sign papers, don't want to give documents and simply want to feel free of getting rid of a pet or giving him the worst cares without any risk. Because the probability of getting an ill piggie is high...
But you seem to be different... why don't you want a "guaranteed" piggie? why don't you want to chose him/her from a large group?
I bought a piggie long ago when rescues did not exist here. I had luck, he was healthy... just stubborn and not well educated about the correct diet, but I thought "who cares?".
Once at home the troubles started because my stubborn piggie went on eating only pellets and carrots (and some grass). He died a two years old, of course he died after an expensive bill at the vet and his deseases were caused by his wrong diet.
Last March I decided to get two piggies again, but this time I called a rescue 300km from home. I asked for: two young sows, peruvians, young, healthy, certified by an exotic vet (who tested them for TEN bacteria in their poo. Of course negative), guaranteed (in the next three months from the adoption the rescue would have paid the vet), well educated to the correct diet and already used to live together.
There were also other piggies (even in Rome), with difficult situations, but a rescue never hides a problem.
Going to the pet store in Rome would have cost less (considering the cost of the train and the offer I left to the rescue), but it is like when you buy a microwave... I did it just yesterday, but I asked for a guarantee of course! and I wanted to have a big choice.
As you can see, I am not talking of anything noble and idealistic, such as saving a poor abandoned piggie... because also the piggies at the shops are poor and abandoned (also from breeders... who sell the best examples and get rid of the poorest).
Anyway, welcome on here! and... don't be a fool... insist on getting a warranty at the shop (or at the rescue or anywhere else) because ILL piggies are EXPENSIVE pets. Also a cold cost an arm and a leg...
 

badger2503

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Hi, my two are pet store bought as there were no rescues close enough to me (I don't have a car and it was just not logistically possible). This is a rescue supporting forum and I am a firm supporter of "adopt don't shop", particularly with dogs/cats, but I understand that reputable piggy rescues are harder to come by. If you have the option, I would say 100% avoid Pets at Home! There are horror stories of sick/old/inbred guineas dying within a couple of weeks of being bought. They are also not the most knowledgeable, so a bad idea if you're a first time piggy owner. No reputable place would sell a single piggy unless there were VERY good reasons.

I'm not promoting pet shop pets in any way, but if you don't have a choice, I would thoroughly recommend Pets Corner. This is where my two are from. I chose them because of their ethical policy (Selling Pets The Right Way | Pets Corner), the knowledge of the shop workers, they provide a 21 day health guarantee and sex guarantee, refuse to sell single pigs, refuse to sell lower than minimum cages and do refuse sale, which is not something I've encountered at other places who hand out piggies like free sweets to anyone and everyone. They also only keep one pair of pigs at a time, unlike Pets at Home who have several, and they are bonded and handled regularly. Obviously, pet shops depend on the branch, but Pets Corner do have decent minimum standards and ethics and these were adhered to in my experience.

My two were in perfect health and are two lovely piggies. But please please please do not get a single pig!
 

*kate*

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I wouldn't personally support any petshops as I don't agree with animals being sold in these places. I don't like how they are generally kept in store, the fact that they miss sex animals and don't give good solid advice on how to keep animals.
 

Kylie80

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I bought my two from a pet store as the nearest rescue is almost three hours from here although I have since become aware of one a hour or so away so will be getting any further piggies from there as all my previous animals have been from cat rescues. As much as I love my two piggies I would never buy one from a pet store again because it was obvious they had never seen hay or any sort of vegetable before they came to live with me and it took several months of frustration and stress to even get them to eat a 1/4 of a cup of hay a day which thankfully they are big hay eaters now after only 10 months of tearing my hair out. And I don't even want to talk about the cage I bought which I was told would fit two adult piggies that barely fit two babies. Still my experience has been positive compared to some of the other owners on this forum who have been sold miss sexed piggies and piggies who have become terribly unwell shortly after being sold. I wish you well on your piggie search and hope they will be happy and healthy which of course is the main thing.
 

shannonandrosy

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I to bought my 2 rosey and mona at a pet store not knowing the risks and no rescues close to me. So far I have been lucky and they are healthy and settling in nicely
 

Jecf

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I bought my two from a pet store as well not knowing anything ..and have learned a lot have,had them a little,over a month now they seem healthy they run around the cage ,eat likes pigs ,eat hay and pellets and veggies they love lettuce,bell pepper and cilantro and they get a small grape tomato and a baby carrot as a treat at night.. not sure how,much hay as,I'm always,adding to it ..and they gaining weight one gained 7 ounces on week other gained 3 so I may have,lucked out knock on wood
 

sport_billy

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We have to realise as a forum that sometimes people wish to buy from pet stores for whatever reason and while we promote rescues and all the benefits they offer - and there are many! Some people may still wish to go down pet stores/breeder routes for many reasons. Often those from the UK do not live in travelling distance of rescues. In the UK we are fairly lucky in most areas, but even in the UK it is not always possible to go to a rescue.

I would echo advise above of getting two pigs together as they will already be bonded. I would get one then another and bond yourself, bonding is nerve wracking for even the most experienced of owners.

Welcome to the forum
lee
 

Eriathwen

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My Blackberry andd Bramble were pet store piggies and while seemed healthy on first inspection, it very quickly turned out not to be the case. Blackberry unfortnately passed just after their first birthday and Bramble id now deaf, blind in one eye and has neurological damage. They cost me hundreds of pounds in vets fees, hours and hours of medicating, syringe feeding, care etc which if I actually had a job, I wouldnt of managed. Ive seen an awful lot of similar stories since looking into it a little more, with one lady losing her 2 after only 8 weeks to a blood disease...which ive forgotten how to spell, but it wasnt pleasent.

So yeah, unfortunately I found out to my cost, just because they look healthy at purchase doesnt mean they are! :(

Regardless of where you end up getting your piggies, I hope theyre happy and healthy little furtatoes! :)
 

Sasra

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All I knew about piggies when I impulsively bought my first 2 over 12 years ago was that you should always have more than one or they get depressed and can pine away. So I bought two, relying on some pet store workers to assure me they were boars and both from the same litter. Well, 5 weeks later my 2 were suddenly 5. I think if a pet store can get that wrong, what else are they getting wrong? It's irresponsible of pet stores to sell single piggies, as they don't adapt well to leaving community life and then finding themselves solitary. They can actually die from the shock and depression this brings.

So.. what I'm saying is, make sure you go to a reputable pet store if that's the route you wanna go. (Preferably one with an onsite vet) and please... for the sake of the piggies... get more than one. Also, make sure you have all the necessary supplies first. Piggies are delicate and sensitive creatures, needing more than just a cage and food. they are a big commitment and need your time and energy to keep them well and happy.
 

Betsy

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I bought my 2 from a Pet Store and 35 days later I had 5! They are 2 girlies but one of them had been 'got at' at the breeders according to the Manager of the Store. To be fair to the Store they did pay for the boys to be neutered (only cos I asked they didn't volunteer!).
 

Freela

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My pigs have all been from pet stores. With the first pair I really didn't know there were any other options, with our subsequent pigs I had no other options because the only rescue near us only adopts out bonded pairs and I was always in the position of needing a single pig to pair with a bereaved pig at home, so the rescue wasn't an option.

My advice for picking out a pig from a pet store- check to make sure that the pigs are the same gender and that there are no opposite-gendered pigs in the same enclosure. Not all pet shops separate by gender (or they try but make mistakes) and the risk is bringing home a missexed pair or a pregnant female... or two pregnant females. Look for common health problems... eye infections... runny noses... patchy fur... excessive scratching... fungal skin infections... and don't just look at the ones you choose, look at the pigs they are housed with, as these things are contagious.

Realistically, pet shop pigs can be perfectly healthy and fine... out of the five pet shop pigs I have had, only one came home with any sort of problem (she developed an eye infection/upper URI shortly after coming home, which we treated successfully.) Out of the ones that have passed one, two lived to old age and one died young (due to a dental abscess that caused sepsis, which I don't think had anything to do with where she came from.)

Hope this helps a bit and good luck on your new pigs!
 

Freela

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Just to add, it's definitely a better plan to get two at the same time. Guinea pigs do thrive with company. Getting two who are already familiar with each other saves you having to risk an introduction gone wrong in the future. Plus, it minimizes any health risks that can come with introducing pigs later (you could luck out with a perfectly healthy pet store pig, only to introduce one with a contagious illness when you get your second pig. It's also advisable to quarantine to prevent spread of illness when introducing pigs, otherwise you could end up with two sick pigs and a huge vet bill.) If you get two at once from the same place, they know each other and already have exposure to the same germs/environment, so no need to quarantine.
 
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