Guinea pigs make great first pets for kids because they are easy to take care of and fun to play with. Guinea pigs are also more affectionate than other small pets and will be loving towards your child if given proper care. Guinea pigs also live somewhere around 5 to 7 years, so this pet could be a great way to teach your child responsibility as they help raise the guinea pig for a number of years. If you are getting a guinea pig for your child, it’s important to teach the child how to properly take care of the guinea pig so that it can have a happy and healthy life. Here are some tips on guinea pig care for kids:
Find a happy home: Once you get a guinea pig, you’ll need to decide where to set up the pet’s home. Putting the cage in your child’s room should only be an option if the child is older than 8 years old and is fully prepared to take care of the guinea pig on his or her own for the most part. For younger children, place the guinea pig cage in a more centralized area, like the living room, a den or dining room. The cage should always be away from drafts and in an area that is quiet for a portion of the day so that the guinea pig can relax and sleep. Guinea pigs can live in outside spaces as well, but this is not recommended.
Learn about the new pet: Teach your child about guinea pigs to ensure that they are well informed about their new pet. Kids should know about what guinea pigs can and can’t eat, how to handle a guinea pig, how to let a guinea pig exercise and how to clean a guinea pig’s cage. As an adult, you’ll most likely be helping with many of these activities, so it’s beneficial for you to review guinea pig care as well. Make sure that your child feels comfortable with the new pet so that he or she will enjoy spending time playing and caring for the guinea pig.
Make time for playtime: One reason that guinea pigs make great pets for kids is that they are extremely social. Guinea pigs love to bond with a family and spend time with their owners. Guinea pigs are inquisitive and intelligent, so their playtime must be monitored. You can set up a special area (like a kitchen or a bathroom) that is sectioned off from the rest of your home for the guinea pig to run around in, or during the warmer months, you can let your guinea pig sniff around outside while you are right by its side. To keep your guinea pig happy and healthy, regular exercise and playtime is key. Kids love to bond with their guinea pigs during this important exercise time.
Cleaning up: A guinea pig’s cage will need to be cleaned about once a week, which includes changing the bedding and washing the plastic bottom of the cage with disinfectant spray or warm, soapy water. This will prevent the guinea pig from getting sick, and also reduce the smell in the cage. Fresh water should be supplied at all times for the guinea pig, and any food spillage should be cleaned up daily. Guinea pigs keep themselves fairly clean, but should be bathed with a gentle small animal shampoo and brushed if they have medium or long hair.