7 Sad Reasons Why People Give Guinea Pigs Away

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You might think that if you have a pet and it’s not working out for some reason, you can always give them away again. But, why would people give their guinea pigs away?

It’s a pretty sad thing to do when you think about it. Here’s seven reasons why people might give away their guinea pigs:

a guinea pig wondering about the reasons why people give guinea pigs away

1. Allergies

Getting a guinea pig can seem like an awesome idea. But, most people don’t take the time to consider that they (or someone in their home) may be allergic to their new friend.

People who are allergic to their little friends are usually allergic to the proteins in cavy saliva and urine – not the hair and dander (or dead skin cells).

Sometimes people discover that they have bad reactions to the hay and wood shavings that they use with their guinea pigs.

Some ways to deal with this issue are:

  • wear gloves and a smock when handling your guinea pigs
  • switch to Orchard hay, which is usually better for allergies
  • have someone else handle your guinea pigs for you
  • see your doctor for anti-histamines or other allergy treatments

In some cases, people live with their guinea pigs even though they have allergies, but it’s important to be aware of the potential problems before you make that commitment.

(After all, no one’s trying to be miserable with allergies, so you don’t have to feel guilty if this is your reason for giving away your little friend)

And honestly, some peoples’ allergic reactions are so severe that they really can’t continue to keep their guinea pigs.

(Yeah, I’m talking reactions so severe that it might kill some people and it’s nothing to play around with)

To avoid having to put a harmless, little cavy through a bunch of upheaval and change (and to prevent putting yourself or your family in a life-threatening situation), please do your research before your commit to a guinea pig.

If you’re not sure whether or not you’re allergic, try spending some time around a guinea pig before you adopt one. Or go to an allergist to get tested BEFORE you invest supplies and time into a pet that you might end up having to give away.

2. Can’t Get Them A Friend

One of the great things about guinea pigs is that they’re social animals and love to have friends.

(At least most of them do. There’s a few exceptions when it’s sometimes best for guinea pigs to remain “single”.)

But, what if you can’t find another guinea pig for your piggie pal?

And I’m not talking just any ole guinea pig. I mean a compatible friend that your guinea pig will love and won’t stress out over (or have horrible fights with).

Many cavies can become very lonely and depressed without a friend to play with.

If you’re not sure whether or not you can provide a friend for your guinea pig, please do some research before you adopt.

The best way to find a good cage mate for a piggie it to let a reputable rescue try to help you out. They can test the personalities of the pigs and put them in a home together if they’re compatible.

If that’s not an option for you, then you’ll have to do some serious sleuthing on your own.

You can post on online classifieds (like Craigslist), go to your local pet stores (this is probably the last place I’d look, though), or try looking on responsible piggie-friendly groups on social media sites (like Facebook).

And then you have to find a way to introduce your fuzz spuds properly (not the easiest thing to do) without causing a huge mess and breaking up their friendship before it even starts. Generally speaking this involves:

  • placing them in cages next to each other for a few hours at a time
  • introducing the cavies in a neutral area (like a freshly cleaned open space)
  • making sure they have their own food, water, and hiding spots
  • watching them carefully (sometimes for several hours) to see how they interact

It’s not the easiest task in the world, but it can be done with a lot of patience and a lot of know-how.

Please do not get a guinea pig if you can’t provide them with a friend. It’s just not fair to your cavy.

a list of reasons why people give away guinea pigs

3. Not Enough Space

Guinea pigs are relatively small animals, but they do need a decent amount of space to live comfortably. Plus, they’re active little guys and need room to run around and play.

Some things you may want to take into account are:

  • the size of your home
  • the size of your yard (or lack thereof)
  • how much room you’ll have for an enclosure
  • if you’ll have room for a playpen or run anywhere on your properly

If you’re living in a small apartment or condo and don’t think you have enough room for your little friend, you’re probably right. Or if you live in a house that’s stuffed with people – that can be an issue, too.

Remember that single cavies need at least a 7.5 square foot enclosure (but 10 square feet is better). If you’re housing more piggies, then you’re going to need more space – like A LOT more.

You can get creative with the space you have (lots of people do), but if it doesn’t look like you can provide what they need – please don’t adopt a guinea pig.

At the end of the day, it‘s better to make that decision BEFORE you uproot a guinea pig and bring them into a situation that they’re not going to be happy in. Or one where you can’t find a proper space for them and end up having to give them away.

4. Can’t Provide Necessities

In order for your guinea pig to be healthy and happy, they need a few very specific things:

  • unlimited amounts of hay (to help with digestion and to keep their teeth ground down)
  • proper, safe bedding (like aspen shavings, fleece liners, noddle mats, or Carefresh)
  • a big enough enclosure like a C&C cage to roam around in (with toys and huts)
  • a healthy diet that consists of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of pellets
  • access to clean water at all times

Now, you can sometimes pinch your budget to get the basics for your pet, but if you can’t provide all of these things – please reconsider getting piggies.

A lot of folks get guinea pigs without being fully away of how much they cost. And that ends up being a problem down the line.

I’ve stumbled on a number of people that have said they can’t afford to buy hay, bedding, an enclosure, or vegetables for their guinea pigs.

In most of these experiences, this has happened because of major life events like losing a job or other form of income. And in some cases, they’ve had to give their guinea pigs away.

5. Too Busy or Bored

I get it.

Guinea pigs are a lot of work.

They need to be fed every day, have their water changed regularly, and their enclosures cleaned at least once a week (actually they need to be spot cleaned EVERYDAY, too).

People who suddenly realize that they’re too busy to take care of a guinea pig after they’ve gotten one are often the ones that give them away.

And sometimes when a guinea pig is bought for a child, the child loses interest and the cavy ends up being dumped at a shelter.

If you’re not prepared to take care of a guinea pig on a daily basis, please don’t adopt one.

And if you’re an adult getting one for a child, you have to understand that the guinea pig is going to primarily your responsibility.

This is one of the saddest reasons why guinea pigs get given away, but it happens a lot.

It’s not fair to your piggies and they might end up in a shelter or, worse, euthanized.

Be honest with yourself.

If you really don’t have the time to devote to a guinea pig, please don’t get one.

There are plenty of other animals out there that don’t require as much attention as cavies.

Do some research, decide what kind of pet is best for your lifestyle (or the personality of your child), and then go with that particular animal.

6. Living Situation Change

This is another very common reason why people give their guinea pigs away. There’s a couple of scenarios that take place. Sometimes:

  • people move to a place that doesn’t allow pets
  • they’re getting married and their spouse doesn’t want the guinea pig
  • maybe a new baby has been born in the family and there’s simply not enough room (or time) for their cavies

Whatever the reason may be, sometimes change in living situation is enough for people to say: “These guinea pigs need to go.”

If you know that your living situation is going to change in the near future and you can’t take your guinea pigs with you, just don’t get one.

It’s much better than finding them a new home down the road.

7. They Changed Their Mind

Last but not least, some people simply give their guinea pigs away because they decided that they don’t want one.  They literally just change their mind. 

They might be tired of taking care of them, they’re bored of having them around, or they think that they’re too much work.

Or maybe the experience of bonding with a guinea pig is too difficult for them and they give up.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s still going to be a big, stressful transition for the cavy when they’re given away to a new home or plopped back into a shelter.

It’s always best to be honest with yourself and not take on something if you know that you’re going to give up on it in the end.

Can I Rehome A Guinea Pig To A Friend?

Yes, you can rehome a guinea pig to a friend if the friend is willing and able to take care of the guinea pig. An added benefit is that there’s the possibility that you can see your guinea pig from time to time.

Just make sure that the friend knows what they’re getting into, is willing to take care of the guinea pig properly, and has the necessary supplies on hand before you make that decision.

Where Can I Take My Unwanted Guinea Pig?

If you don’t want your guinea pig, you can rehome the guinea pig to a friend, take the guinea pig to an animal shelter, or to a guinea pig rescue.

If you rehome to a friend, then make sure your friend has the supplies and time to take care of your guinea pig.

If you choose to take your cavy to an animal shelter, please make sure that it’s one that doesn’t euthanize animals. Some shelters do if the animals haven’t been adopted in a certain amount of time.

If you choose to take your cavy to a guinea pig rescue, please do your research on the rescue and make sure that they are a reputable organization.

Both animal shelters and guinea pig rescues will often require you to fill out an application or provide some information about yourself before they take in your unwanted cavy.

Can I Release My Guinea Pig Into The Wild?

No, you can’t release your guinea pig into the wild because they won’t be able to survive. All guinea pigs are domesticated. They don’t know how to protect themselves from predators or find food and water. Releasing your guinea pig into the wild is cruel and your little friend most likely end up dying.

What Are The Chances Of My Guinea Pig Being Adopted?

If you take your guinea pig to an animal shelter, the chances of your guinea pig being adopted depend on a variety of factors, including the age, sex, and color of the guinea pig.

Generally, the younger the guinea pig is and the more unique its coloring, the higher the chances are of it being adopted.

If you take your guinea pig to a guinea pig rescue, the chances of your guinea pig being adopted can be much higher because the rescue will often publicize pictures and information about the guinea pigs on their website or social media pages.

But, to be perfectly honest, lots of shelters and rescues are filled to the brim with guinea pigs that’ve been bred irresponsibly or returned by previous owners.

There just aren’t a lot of stable, loving homes out there for piggies.

Final Thoughts

Giving away a guinea pig can be a very sad decision, but sometimes it’s necessary – for a number of different reasons. If you’re considering giving your guinea pig away, please try to do so through a good rescue or shelter.

This will ensure that your guinea pig is going to a good home with proper care and that he or she will be safe. If you can’t find a guinea pig rescue or shelter, then try to find a dependable, piggie-loving friend who’ll do a good job looking after your little fuzz spuds.

Have you ever had to give a guinea pig away?

What was your reasoning? Let me know in the comments below.


Guinea pig cages. How much space do they need? | Small pet select. (2020, July 13). Small Pet Select Blogs. https://smallpetselect.com/providing-adequate-cage-space-for-guinea-pigs/

March is “Adopt a rescued Guinea pig month”. (2021, December 14). The Scoop. https://thescoop.seattle.gov/2019/03/27/march-is-adopt-a-rescued-guinea-pig-month/

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

What companionship do my Guinea pigs need? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-companionship-do-my-guinea-pigs-need/

What exercise and environmental enrichment do Guinea pigs need? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-exercise-and-environmental-enrichment-do-guinea-pigs-need/

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