Small pets are common gifts, especially for children, during the holidays. And why won’t they be? Seeing a cute guinea pig inside a cage sticking out his adorable little piggy tongue would make anyone want to grab it and give it as a gift to a child or a loved one. But is it a good idea?
People who give guinea pigs as gifts mean well, but guinea pigs (or any other pet for that matter) are not supposed to be given as presents or prizes. Pets are a lifetime commitment and caring for one should be carefully considered by the whole family, because these animals need to be provided the best care as long as they live. Children can get tired of guinea pigs quickly when their novelty wears off, or when they decide that they’re not as low-maintenance as they look. Piggies also take a long time to trust people, so children may become tired of them eventually because they cannot even hold their pet. Some parents also don’t want the responsibility that comes with an additional family member, and inevitably, they will be the ones responsible for the care of the piggy when the child “outgrows” it.
What about giving piggies to adults? They’re more responsible and can afford the costs of caring for a guinea pig, so it must be okay, right? Well, this is also not recommended, since an adult committed to caring for a piggy must choose the cavy himself. This ensures that he and the piggy he will choose are a good match. This will also ensure that he adopts the pig when he is ready to take on the responsibility. A potential piggy parent must be involved in all stages of choosing a pet and determining when the right time is.
So if you are someone who is contemplating on giving a piggy as a gift, what are your alternatives?
- Give guinea pig care essentials instead.
If a person is really determined to care for guinea pigs but isn’t ready yet, why not give him some of the essential supplies in caring for them, such as food bowls or cage materials? Your recipient will surely appreciate it. You can also be sure that the future piggy will have everything it needs when it comes home!
- Give a guinea pig care book.
Help them understand what they need in caring for these little ones. A lot of books have information on befriending and taming piggies, as well as suitable housing, exercise, and food for them. Some even have medical record books at the back, which can come in handy when tracking the piggies’ weight and vet visits. Be careful when choosing the book, though! Make sure it contains accurate information on all aspects of piggy care.
- Introduce your loved one to a friend who has guinea pigs (if you have any).
Your recipient will appreciate the advice that a piggy parent can give. Your recipient will also see the life of a piggy parent up close; and who knows, maybe he will get to have some experience in bonding with guinea pigs, which will help him get ready for the responsibility ahead.
Not all stories of piggies being given out on holidays end badly. Your loved one may love the surprise that a guinea pig would bring him during the holidays, but it is a better gift to help him carefully consider his decision and prepare him for the responsibility that awaits.
What gifts would you give a guinea pig lover? Tell us in the comments!