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Guinea pigs as pets

Does a small mammal fit my lifestyle?

10.11.2020

Test yourself with our '30-day challenge'

Small but mighty! Small mammals like rabbits and guinea pigs might not at first glance seem like pets that require a lot of work, but dig deeper and you’ll discover there are numerous tasks and duties that need to be taken care of to make your small mammal’s life a good one. 

We challenge you take up the 30-day small mammal challenge to give you more of a grasp of the responsibilities that may come your way when you decide to adopt a pet such as a rabbit or guinea pig. 

IMAGINE that you are already a small mammal Owner:

Day 1:
Clean out wet straw and bedding

7 days a week 


The pet’s enclosure must be regularly kept clean, including taking out wet bedding and straw.

Reade more about 'Keeping guinea pigs in an apartment'
Day 2:
Remove 'hair' from your clothes

7 days a week


Rabbit and guinea pig fur loves to stick to clothing; removing it before going out is part of a pet owner’s life. Do you have a lint brush at home?
Day 3:
Regularly clean out the 'food/water bowls'

7 days a week 


You don´t like to eat from dirty dishesyour pets won’t either.

Read more about 'A balanced diet for a rabbit'
Day 4:
Get educated about dental care
for small mammals

Learn more 


Rabbit and guinea pig teeth grow constantly; including a lot of hay in their diet helps to keep their teeth short. Watch a video on rabbit dental care, and get educated about ways to prevent this. 
Day 5:
Weekend? Get up early!

Get prepared


Your pets want their vegetable breakfast, a change of water and a clean enclosure!

Read more about 'Common mistakes when keeping guinea pigs and rabbits'
Day 6:
Read a book on the social life
of rabbits or guinea pigs

Learn more 


They live in groups and it is vital for their wellbeing to keep them with at least one companion.

Read more about 'Putting guinea pigs together'
Day 7:
Talk to other small pet owners

Get prepared 


Pick up important information and tips for good keeping.

Read more about 'Common mistakes when keeping guinea pigs and rabbits'
Day 8:
Miss a weekend trip because
your pet-sitter has let you down

Get prepared 


Sometimes you will miss out on fun because your pet needs you.

Read more about 'Most common illnesses of guinea pigs and rabbits'
Day 9:
Read your rental agreement on pet keeping

Better safe than sorry 


Are you allowed to keep small mammals in your rented house/apartment?

Reade more about 'Keeping guinea pigs in an apartment'
Day 10:
Put some cash into your pet
emergency fund/pet insurance

Better safe than sorry 


If your pet gets ill it can be expensive; having a bit of cash stored away offers some security. Calculate how much of your pay check you can put aside.

Read more about 'Financial aspects of pet ownership'
Day 11: 
Build a suitable enclosure for your pet/pets

Get prepared 


Cages/hutches from the pet store are not suitable and too small; you need to get crafty! There are lots of DIY ideas out there, have a look and find your perfect fit

Read more about 'How to design a rabbit enclosure'
Day 12:
Spend the day looking for your guinea pigs
as they have escaped

Get prepared 


Hiding under the bed or behind the sofaSmall animals can find a lot of spaces to squeeze into!

Reade more about 'Keeping guinea pigs in an apartment'
Day 13:
Make your apartment/garden
rabbit/guinea pig secure 

Better safe than sorry 


Poisonous plants, exposed cables and dangerous hiding spaces need to be removed. Go through every room and remove every danger.

Read more about 'Common mistakes when keeping guinea pigs and rabbits'
Day 14:
Go to a pet store and calculate
the cost of everything your pet needs

Get prepared 


The costs of keeping a small mammal, especially the initial investment, can be quite high. Can you cover the costs?

Read more about 'Financial aspects of pet ownership'
Day 15:
Imagine your pet chews through your TV cable

Learn more 


Hopefully your pet survived, and you will only have to replace the cable.
Day 16:
Plan a pet-friendly vacation
so that your pet can come along

Get prepared 


Where can you travel without causing too much stress to your pets? Are you allowed to bring pets to the hotel?
Day 17:
Find a responsible person to take care
of your rabbits/guinea pigs when you are away

Better safe than sorry 


Talk to your friends and family about whether they would help you out. Make an emergency care plan.
Day 18:
Imagine tiny droppings and wee on your carpet

Learn more 


Rabbits and guinea pigs poo a lot; luckily, they can be litter tray trained. Read up on how to litter train rabbits and guinea pigs.
Day 19:
Create suitable enrichment
activities for your pets

Get prepared 


It’s important to encourage natural behaviour through enrichment. Make plan for a few enrichment ideas to keep you pets entertained.

 Do It yourself: Build a guinea pig food tree - watch our video here!
Day 20:
Get the veggies ready

7 days a week 


A healthy diet for small mammals includes lots of vegetables, which need to be cleaned and prepared. Find out what veggies are the best for your pet.

Read more about 'A balanced diet for a guinea pig and rabbit'
Day 21:
Put wire covers on all cables

Better safe than sorry 


Small mammals will chew them and can get electrocuted. Check where all your cables run and protect them from the little nibblers. 
Day 22:
Dust the room if your pet is kept indoors

7 days a week 


Pet enclosure bedding tends to spread dust everywhere. Dusting and vacuuming every day are a lot of work, do a test run.

Reade more about 'Keeping guinea pigs in an apartment'
Day 23:
Spend half an hour grooming
your long-haired pet

7 days a week 


Some breeds need assistance in grooming, especially around the buttocks. Do a test run on a stuffed animal toy.
Day 24:
Collect some greenery and herbs from outside

7 days a week 


They’re a great addition to a rabbit or guinea pig’s diet, though check beforehand which are suitable and not poisonous. Go outside and see what grows in your neighbourhood. 
Day 25:
Move your furniture around
to make space for the enclosure

Get prepared 


Pet enclosures may need to come indoors during the winter months. Do you have enough space? 
Day 26:
Take an allergy test

Better safe than sorry 


Hay, straw and pet hairs give many people allergic reactions; make sure that you don’t have an allergy before you bring a pet into your home. Make an appointment at your doctor and get tested. 
Day 27:
Watch a video/read a book on 
how to take care of a rabbit/guinea pig

Get prepared 


Read up in particular on enclosure design, social group structures and enrichment.

Read more about 'Common mistakes when keeping guinea pigs and rabbits'
Day 28:
Imagine you are rabbit kept in isolation

Learn more 


Sit in a small room with nothing to do and no one to talk to. Not much fun? Rabbits and guinea pigs should never be kept on their own. 
Day 29:
Visit an animal shelter

Get prepared 


Managed to stick to the challenge this far? The animal shelter is the best place to look for a new companion. Take trip to the shelter and have a look around.

Tip: Read more about 'What makes a good shelter'
Day 30:
Take a walk through a pet cemetery

Better safe than sorry 


Come to terms with the fact that at some point you will have to say goodbye 

We challenged you to take on a 30-day test run of pet ownership, to 'try before you buy'. 

Download and Share

Here you can download our '30-day small mammal challenge' and share it on your social media channels.

FOUR PAWS 30-day small mammal challenge

FOUR PAWS 30-day small mammal challenge

Do you feel Ready to take care of a Pet?

Find out more: How to become a responsible pet owner 

Why do you want to have a pet?

Discover the motivations behind pet ownership HERE!

What pet best suits my lifestyle?

To help you best pet for your lifestyle and preferences, FOUR PAWS has created this quiz, to give you an insight into what pet might be perfect for you. Find out more HERE!

Can you afford a pet?

Owning a pet is not a short-term commitment – some of our companions have a long lifespan, which allows for many years of enjoyment, but also expense so it is important to consider the long-term costs as well as the short-term ones. Find out more HERE!

Where should you purchase your pet from? 

There are many ways where you can acquire a pet, make sure that you find the best solution for yourself and one where the animal’s welfare is put first. Read more HERE!