SMALLPET / health & care
Guinea Pigs and Kids
If you have young children (ideally elementary-aged or older), a guinea pig can be a great addition to your family. They can provide hours of entertainment and companionship for kids. Guinea pigs also make great classroom pets. However, there are a few things to remember when it comes to kids and guinea pigs. Learn more about how to keep both your pet and your child safe when handling and caring for a guinea pig.
How should I handle my guinea pig?
Guinea pigs are small, typically gentle and should be handled properly, so it’s important to know how to make them feel comfortable. Guinea pigs who are handled when they’re very young tend to be more receptive to being handled throughout their life. If your guinea pig is still young, take as many opportunities as you can to interact with them, so they will be more comfortable being handled later.
First things first: Hygiene. Clean hands are a big part of guinea pig playtime. Before cuddling your guinea pig — and right after — hand washing is a must. Once your hands are clean, it’s time to pick up your pet. Guinea pigs like it when you pick them up with both hands. Place one hand under their hind legs and use your other hand to support their body weight. Keep your grip firm and hold your guinea pigs close so they feel safe and secure (and to stop any squirming or falling).
Letting kids handle guinea pigs: If you’re letting your kids handle the guinea pig, make sure they use a gentle grip. Sometimes, little ones have a tendency to love on the little furballs just a little too much and can squeeze too hard. Be sure to explain to your children that guinea pigs like to be held softly and gently before you give them the green light to hold them. Provide close supervision to your child and your pet the whole time they are handling them. It is recommended to have younger children interact with a pet while sitting on the floor to eliminate the possibility of a pet being dropped.
Guinea pig adventures: Your little critters may want to roam around the room, so it’s okay to put them down and let them explore. But it’s best to always stay close by and keep an eye on them during their adventure to keep them safe.
Guinea Pig Class Pet: A guinea pig in the classroom
Are you considering adopting a guinea pig as a class pet for your classroom? There are a few things you should think about before introducing these lovable small pets to your kiddos.
What Do I Need for a Guinea Pig Class Pet?
There are a few small pet supplies you’ll need to invest in before bringing one of these adorable pets into your classroom. Guinea pigs need a habitat or a guinea pig hutch, some toys to keep them entertained, litter and bedding, tunnels and hideouts to roam and explore, a feeder and water bottle for their habitat, and of course, hay, food, vitamin C supplements and treats to snack on.
How Much of a Commitment is a Guinea Pig Class Pet?
There are a couple of things that your guinea pig needs everyday: love, affection, food, water, vitamin C and a clean habitat. Even when school isn’t in session, everyday care is a must, so make sure you can take them home when school is out. Before bringing guinea pigs into the classroom, check to see that no one is allergic or afraid. Keep in mind, too, that a guinea pig will need health checks, just like your pets at home, so factor vet visits into your schedule and budget.
Parenting a classroom guinea pig is a powerful way to teach kids empathy. Young guinea pigs—three to four weeks old—do best in the classroom, as they get used to being held by kids from an early age.
Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.