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Should I get guinea pigs? Watch

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    I am a 23 year old medical student and I really want to get a pair of guinea pigs (so they can keep each other company during he day). I have read up on how to care for them, etc. The problem is that in the next few years I might be sent away from home for weeks at a time on placement. I live with my boyfriend of nearly 5 years who works and so won't be sent away, but I'm just worried about what would happen if we broke up, who would care for them while I was away.

    My boyfriend has said that he would take them, but at the moment we have a flat to ourselves, while lots of spare room renters wont accept pets, so if we broke up it might be hard for him to find somewhere to live with the guinea pigs. I live in a flat owned by my parents so I could always rent out the spare room to a housemate on the condition they feed the pigs while I'm away (I would come back weekends), but I feel that this is a bit unfair. Any guinea pig owners out there - what do you think? By the way, I would adopt unwanted adult guinea pigs, not buy babies.
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    yes yes yes yes yes I love guinea pigs !!!!
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    I own 6 of the wee beasties and used to admin a guinea pig care website so hopefully I can give you some useful tips. The problems would be living in a flat, as healthy guinea pigs really should have a minimum of 2 hours exercise a week. Outdoor runs are the best for this (as they get to eat the grass at the same time), but living in a flat as you do means you'll have to compensate with 'floor time'. Do you have a room with laminate/ wooden/ tile flooring which is safe for guinea pigs (no electrical wires) and one where you can clean up their mess easily?
    Guinea pig cages do smell of urea and can pong out your flat after 4 days of the last cage/ hutch clean out. Which isn't the most romantic thing for you and your boyfriend. So guinea pigs tend to be best in a garden shed or kitchen but in a flat you may not have room? Also the cage/ hutch should be in a room not containing a carpet as it will be a nightmare for you when you clean them out weekly.
    Guinea pigs are noisy creatures! Ours are kept at the bottom of our stairs and well, even with my door shut I can hear them drinking from the water bottle at 11 o clock.

    I don't want to be all negative however of course. I have no doubt that a guinea pig's quality of life would be better with you than at a shelter. Even if that meant you had to put them back there if you and your partner were to split. You sound like you've thoroughly researched this, and are empathetic enough to be asking this question on a forum (and also caring enough to get into medicine) so I feel that if the above paragraph didn't put you off then you should definitely go for it. Try picking social guinea pigs which don't run away, as these are far more rewarding.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Heroi)
    I own 6 of the wee beasties and used to admin a guinea pig care website so hopefully I can give you some useful tips. The problems would be living in a flat, as healthy guinea pigs really should have a minimum of 2 hours exercise a week. Outdoor runs are the best for this (as they get to eat the grass at the same time), but living in a flat as you do means you'll have to compensate with 'floor time'. Do you have a room with laminate/ wooden/ tile flooring which is safe for guinea pigs (no electrical wires) and one where you can clean up their mess easily?
    Guinea pig cages do smell of urea and can pong out your flat after 4 days of the last cage/ hutch clean out. Which isn't the most romantic thing for you and your boyfriend. So guinea pigs tend to be best in a garden shed or kitchen but in a flat you may not have room? Also the cage/ hutch should be in a room not containing a carpet as it will be a nightmare for you when you clean them out weekly.
    Guinea pigs are noisy creatures! Ours are kept at the bottom of our stairs and well, even with my door shut I can hear them drinking from the water bottle at 11 o clock.

    I don't want to be all negative however of course. I have no doubt that a guinea pig's quality of life would be better with you than at a shelter. Even if that meant you had to put them back there if you and your partner were to split. You sound like you've thoroughly researched this, and are empathetic enough to be asking this question on a forum (and also caring enough to get into medicine) so I feel that if the above paragraph didn't put you off then you should definitely go for it. Try picking social guinea pigs which don't run away, as these are far more rewarding.

    Good luck!
    Thanks very much Heroi for your thorough answer You're right I do want to research animals thoroughly and not get one unless I am sure it will be cared for properly. I have decided that given that I am busy and might be sent away I don't think I could give guinea pigs as much attention and love as they would need. It is my dream to get them in the future when I'm more settled I hope you're enjoying your 6 piggies!

    I have decided to get some gerbils, as they are more self-reliant and my boyfriend could feed them during the week while I'm away and we could clean them out over the weekends when I get back (as they require cleaning every 2-3 weeks), and they can be kept in a bedroom if he needed to take them to a new flat. If you have any gerbil tips I'd be happy to hear them lol x
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    Guinea pigs are generally low maintenance so if you like them then get them. I've got two myself. If you give them enough food then they can get by even if they don't see you for a few days. I used to give them more food when I was away and my mum fed them too.
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    (Original post by Kaiaaa)
    Thanks very much Heroi for your thorough answer You're right I do want to research animals thoroughly and not get one unless I am sure it will be cared for properly. I have decided that given that I am busy and might be sent away I don't think I could give guinea pigs as much attention and love as they would need. It is my dream to get them in the future when I'm more settled I hope you're enjoying your 6 piggies!

    I have decided to get some gerbils, as they are more self-reliant and my boyfriend could feed them during the week while I'm away and we could clean them out over the weekends when I get back (as they require cleaning every 2-3 weeks), and they can be kept in a bedroom if he needed to take them to a new flat. If you have any gerbil tips I'd be happy to hear them lol x
    Ah I'm glad my advice helped! Unfortunately I've never had gerbils so don't have any tips I'm m'fraid but I think getting them over the guinea pigs was a sensible move at where you are now in your life. Despite their size guinea pigs do require a surprising amount of dedication and time.

    Anyway, in couple on months or years you know who to call if you have any further inquiries! Aha good luck.
 
 
 
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