Guinea Pig Adoption

cute grey guinea pig in the outdoors

If you can adopt a guinea pig from a rescue centre, you have the potential to transform that little pet’s life. With hundreds of guinea pigs in rescue shelters all over the UK, these small pets with the most adorable personalities are desperately in need of your help.

Before buying from a pet shop, please think seriously about adopting a rescued guinea pig instead. 

But, even more importantly, before getting guinea pigs at all, do consider the commitment it takes to look after them and be sure you’re prepared to take care of them for the duration of their lives. 

Adoption vs buying from a pet shop

It’s easy to fall in love with a guinea pig when visiting the pet shop but there are many reasons why you should choose a rescued guinea pig over a pet shop guinea pig:

White and Grey Sheba Mini Yak guinea pig
Sparkles, our adopted Sheba Mini Yak Guinea PIg
  • If the guinea pig is in a miserably small cage in the pet shop you may think that by buying him you’re helping. But the pet shop will just get another to replace him and more guinea pigs will suffer exactly the same fate.
  • Guinea pigs are often mis-sexed at pet shops leading to new owners ending up with more guinea pigs than they can manage or afford.
  • Guinea pigs are bonded at rescue centres so you know they won’t fight and will be great companions.
  • There are often health issues with guinea pigs from pet stores so you may get  a guinea pig who doesn’t live very long at all or needs veterinary treatment shortly after buying them.
  • A rescue centre is always there to support you. Their knowledge is far deeper than that of someone who is working in the pet store because of the experience they have in rescuing guinea pigs.

It is unfortunately too easy to buy a guinea pig from a pet shop. Pet shops will stock their shops with however many guinea pigs they need to meet demand. The more people buy  them, the more guinea pigs will be needlessly bred and a great many of these will end up in the rescue centres where they are struggling to cope with the intake of guinea pigs.

If more guinea pigs are adopted from rescues, pet shop demand will decrease resulting in less guinea pigs being bred and ending up neglected or in rescue shelters.

Important things you need to know before getting guinea pigs

Before buying or adopting a guinea pig, it’s really important to find out as much as you can about how to care for them as well as how much they will cost on an ongoing basis.

Brown silkie guinea pig being held and stroked
Lychee, a Silkie guinea pig

Getting a guinea pig must never be an impulse buy from your local pet shop. They are very cute pets and it’s so easy to make this mistake but they are a lot of work.

Before you make the decision to adopt guinea pigs, first check out our “What you need to know before getting a guinea pig” page. This gives you a load of quick information that you may not know about guinea pigs and will help you decide whether this is the best pet for you.

How can I adopt a guinea pig from a rescue centre?

First you’ll need to check if there’s a guinea pig rescue near where you live. Or you can contact your local animal shelter as they may also have guinea pigs awaiting adoption. Rescue centres all have their own ways of doing things so you’ll need to find out from the one you choose what their particular requirements are for adoption.Here are some of the common adoption requirements:

  • You’ll have to buy everything the guinea pig will need in advance of bringing  your guinea pig home.
  • Most rescue centres will only let you adopt a pair of guinea pigs and will only let you adopt a single guinea pig if you are looking for a companion for one you already own. This is because they are social animals and need a friend.
  • Your cage will need to meet their minimum cage size requirements. This will be at least  120cm x 60cm (4 x 2ft) but  in some cases they may require you  to have a 150cm x 60cm cage (5 x 2ft) and we recommend you go for the larger cage.
  • Many rescues only adopt out guinea pigs after a home visit to make sure you have everything in place and that it is a safe environment for the guinea pigs.
  • An adoption donation is usually required.
  • Some may insist on them being kept indoors rather than in an outdoor hutch.
Ginger, chocolate and white American Crested Guinea Pig
Mr Jaffas, our adopted male American Crested Guinea Pig

Bear in mind that  rescue centres are extremely careful about where they re-home their guinea pigs. This is totally understandable when you think of the love and care they’ve given to these guinea pigs to rehabilitate them.

It would be heartbreaking for a rescue to see one of their guinea pigs in a state of neglect or unwanted yet again.

Will rescue centres have baby guinea pigs for adoption?

You don’t need to go to a pet shop if you want a baby guinea pig because rescue centres will often have babies that are awaiting adoption. 

But don’t rule out adopting an adult piggy as they also need a good home. So many of these lovely pets have had years of neglect and have waited a long time to find that special forever home.

Baby Silkie guinea pig
Baby Silkie guinea pig

Can I foster a guinea pig?

Some rescue centres may require temporary foster carers for guinea pigs while they await a permanent new home. This is another option you may want to consider.

Why are there so many guinea pigs in rescue centres?

There are many reasons why guinea pigs end up in rescue centres. Here are some of the following reasons:

  • The guinea pigs were bought for a child who has lost interest in them
  • The family have moved house and are now not allowed pets or don’t have space in the new home
  • The owner can no longer afford the ongoing costs of keeping guinea pigs
  • It is too much work and too much commitment for the owner
  • The guinea pigs have been abandoned
  • The guinea pig has had babies and the owner can’t manage all the new guinea pigs.
  • The pets were given as a gift and are not wanted
  • There is a new baby in the house

There are many more reasons why guinea pig rescues are so full and it’s incredibly sad that so many of these pets have also been neglected or even dumped somewhere because they were no longer wanted. 

Female white, chocolate  and ginger abyssinian guinea pig
Baileys, our Abyssinian guinea pig

Learning to care for your new guinea pigs

There are lots of resources on our website to help you learn how to care for your newly adopted guinea pigs. We also have loads of product recommendations and, as guinea pig lovers ourselves, we only recommend those products that we know to be safe and suitable for guinea pigs. 

In fact, we’ve tried most of the products we recommend to ensure they are good enough for our favourite small pets.

Here are some links to products and care information that you’ll find helpful: