A guinea pig, also called a cavy, can be an ideal house pet. Before buying a guinea pig, people should make sure the animal is old enough to leave its mother. They should also check the rodent over to make sure it does not have lice or scabs on its body, and that no teeth are broken. It can be a good idea to learn about different breeds and how they are cared for in order to make sure the right one is chosen.
One of the first things to ask a breeder when buying a guinea pig is the age of the animal. These exotic pets are not normally weaned until they are around eight weeks of age. If the owner is uncertain when the animal was born, the age can be estimated based upon the size of the guinea pig. It should weigh around 12 ounces (400 g) at eight weeks of age, so rodents smaller than this should be excluded.
People can often assess the health of a cavy by looking it over carefully. Some things to look for include scabs or lice on the animal's skin. The eyes should also be checked, and bright, clear eyes that are not runny indicate a healthy animal. It can be helpful to pick the rodent up in order to get a better idea of its overall muscle tone.
Individuals can tell a great deal about the health of a guinea pig by watching the exotic pet's behavior. The animal should not appear listless and tired unless it is sleeping. If multiple guinea pigs are caged together, they should be watched in order to determine how each interacts socially with the others. It can be a good idea for people to check the breathing of this rodent to make sure it does not take shallow breaths or wheeze.
Before buying a guinea pig, pet owners should have an idea of which breed they prefer. There are shorthaired, longhaired, and hairless breeds of cavy. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, which should be carefully discussed with a breeder prior to making a purchase.
Many times, buying a guinea pig is an impulsive decision. This should be avoided, because these animals are indeed pets that need adequate care in order to thrive. Taking the time to learn about these exotic pets can help people make the right choice and alleviate the stress involved with learning to care for one of these animals.