An Unexpected Hassle

Guinea pigs do not make suitable pets


Photo by Rheanne Helsel

A guinea pig with a large X over it indicates that guinea pigs are not good.

Guinea pigs are adorable animals. They are part of the rodent family and usually weigh less than a couple of pounds. As awesome as they sound, they are awful pets. Guinea pigs take a lot more work than dogs or cats, are unbelievably messy and cost a lot of money.

The small rodents, from a young age, require a lot of time and energy. To start, they need affection like dogs or cats; this means spending at least an hour a day with them. On top of that, they need another hour of floor time, or time being out of their cage, according to They require nail trimmings, usually once every two weeks. They also like to follow particular schedules, like being fed at the same time each day. Hours of time a day will be spent on these pets.

Having guinea pigs is a guaranteed way for there to be hay, bedding and poop on the floor. Though their droppings are not as messy or smelly as they sound, it is still not something someone wants to see on the floor. Hay is a big hassle to get off the floor as well, as it is very hard to vacuum and takes a while to sweep up. They require weekly cage cleanings and deep cleanings, usually once a month, according to If you have fleece-lined cages, you will also need to deep clean the liners every week using a washing machine and dryer. And though guinea pigs do clean themselves like cats, they sometimes get extra dirty and might require to be bathed.

“It’s tedious cleaning up their cage every week,” sophomore Morgan Devlin said. “I would say it takes an hour to clean up.”

Now, when it comes to price tags, they seem very straightforward. When compared to dogs or cats, they seem inexpensive, and some people may say that they are much cheaper, as buying one is only around $50. This price is misleading. To start, guinea pigs are social animals and will require at least one companion, which already doubles the price. They require a cage, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on what you want to get, according to Hay, which is their main source of food, costs a large amount of money too. One bag of hay from the pet store will easily cost $20, and this bag will have to be replaced in just a couple of weeks, according to A bag of bedding for guinea pigs is also around $20 and only lasts around three weeks, according to They also require fresh foods, like lettuce, peppers and apples, as they give guinea pigs needed nutrients, according to These costs will add up quickly; plus, if your pig ever gets injured, the vet bill will be much more than if you had dogs or cats.

It takes a certain type of person to take on that commitment. From hefty costs to hours of cleaning and interaction time, guinea pigs are very underestimated.