Homes needed now for
Many of our adoptable pigs are listed on our adoption pages: sows, boars and couples. We also often have animals that have not quite made it to the website yet so if you are interested in adopting a guinea pig please don’t hesitate to contact us for an application. There is also a tax-deductible adoption donation to adopt our guinea pigs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much space do they need?
How much does it cost to keep a guinea pig?
Why doesn’t my guinea pig seem to like me?
What are the most common illnesses?
What happens if an adoption doesn’t work out?
Should I get two guinea pigs?
Is there an adoption fee?
Can I adopt a male-female pair?
Can you adopt a male-male pair?
Can I visit your facility to see the guinea pigs?
Do you ship guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs need more space than the average pet store cage. In fact, these tiny plastic cages are terribly inadequate. Without proper room to roam, your guinea pig will be unhappy and this affects what kind of pet they are. A guinea pig in a small cage is frequently depressed, unfriendly, and can become obese. With adequate cage space, a guinea pig can be a delightful pet. Just watching them scamper around their cage is a source of amusement to many guinea pig owners!
For cage dimensions and instructions on how to build a very easy, inexpensive cage, visit the Cavy Cages page.
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Guinea pigs are inexpensive pets, as long as you take good care of them.
We advocate building your own cage at a cost of under $50.00, while pet store cages frequently run up into the hundreds and are almost always too small.
Your local feed store carries most of the food you need for guinea pigs, and they often sell hay in bulk which is much cheaper than buying it pre-packaged. In addition to hay and pellets, guinea pigs need fresh vegetables, particularly those which are high in vitamin C. You can stock up at the local farmer’s market, and have spend as little as $2 per week on veggies for two guinea pigs.
However, even though guinea pigs cost little to maintain, you must be willing to take them to a qualified vet if illness should appear.
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Many people, who are used to the affectionate behavior of cats and dogs, are upset by what seems to be the guinea pig’s initial aloofness. In fact, many guinea pigs are cuddly lap pets who love handling, but you must work with them in order to bring out their sweet natures.
A guinea pig is a prey animal, which means that they have a built-in flight instinct. Even most tame lap pigs run when you approach the cage. This is something that you should not take personally. When handled daily, a guinea pig can be a very loving pet. However, like all baby animals, a guinea pig may nip to taste or when it doesn’t want to be held anymore.
Certain illnesses (like mites) can also cause a guinea pig to be unfriendly. If you experience repeated unsociable behavior in your guinea pig after continually trying to tame them, you might want to check the resources link for information on possible medical problems.
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This short description is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to guinea pig health. It is, however, necessary for owners to be aware of symptoms of illness in their pet. This list should help you make an assessment of your guinea pig’s basic health and also help you determine the health of an animal that you are about to adopt. Never bring a sick animal home to your healthy pets, and never adopt another guinea pig when you have a sick one at home.
Guinea pigs are hardy animals. A few basic precautions need to be taken, however, in order to keep your guinea pig healthy. They are susceptible to drafts, so please do not keep them near windows or by fans or air conditioners. This can result in a URI, or upper-respiratory infection, which has symptoms like a severe cold. They are also not tolerant of high temperatures, which can cause heat prostration and immediate death. The ideal temperatures for a guinea pig are between 65 to 75 degrees with a little wiggle room for fluctuations.
Scurvy, caused by a vitamin C deficiency, is unfortunately fairly common when guinea pigs are not properly cared for. Signs of scurvy are: weight loss, lethargy, runny eyes and/or nose, diarrhea, and rough or brittle coat. Since guinea pigs cannot manufacture and store their own vitamin C, it needs to come from the food or supplements they eat. Some people give their guinea pigs chewable vitamin C or buy a special tablet from Oxbowhay.com. Others supplement their guinea pig’s diet with flavored liquid vitamin C. You must be very careful when doing this, as it is easy to overdose and cause illness. However, most knowledgeable guinea pig owners supply their pets with vitamin C through fresh vegetables. For information on which vegetables are good for guinea pigs and other information about their diet, see: www.cavyspirit.com/shopping.htm
Some guinea pigs may contract a UTI, or urinary tract infection, which can lead to bladder stones. A lot of times this is diet-related. For example, an adult guinea pig should not be given alfalfa hay, which is high in calcium and can cause crystals in the urine. Additionally, veggies high in calcium (such as parsley) should be kept to a minimum for adult guinea pigs. Symptoms of this illness include squeaking while urinating, drinking excess water, and a pink or red tinge to the urine.
Even less frequent in guinea pigs is a condition called Malocclusion, which is a misalignment of the teeth causing overgrowth and sometimes injury. A guinea pig with this condition will have difficulty eating and may drool and/or have a drooping lip. This problem needs to be treated by an exotics vet or one who has experience trimming rodent teeth. Often, the problem lies not in the front but in the back teeth, and special tools are needed in order for the veterinarian to see back that far. However, if you have the right vet, regular teeth-trimmings can keep this problem under control.
Mites are a source of contention in the guinea pig community. Some believe that all guinea pigs carry mites specific to their species, and that these mites only become a problem when stress or illness weakens the animal’s immune system. This is a very common condition when guinea pigs are purchased from mass-breeding situations. Mites are invisible, so you cannot see them. Signs of mites include: scratching, biting at the fur, head-shaking, hear loss, scabs, and a reluctance to be touched or handled. The treatment for mites is a medication called Ivermectin, which can be given orally, topically, or by injection. Your veterinarian can administer this medication in a series of 3 to 5 doses, depending on the severity of the infestation.
As you can see, most of these ailments are caused or exacerbated by improper care. If you take good care of your guinea pig vet trips will be fewer and less costly. You must, however, be willing to get your piggy a check-up once a year.
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It is our policy, and the policy of the rescues we work with, to accept the return of any of our guinea pigs that you can no longer keep, for whatever reason. We will try to work with you first to find a solution to the problem, but in the end, you signed a contract that stipulates the return of the animal if you cannot care for it. We do ask that you exhaust all possible solutions first.
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Guinea pigs are social animals, and do not do well as single pets. They have a herding instinct that drives them to be near their own kind, and get very lonely when they do not have this contact. A single guinea pig often becomes depressed and loses his appetite, or simply loses interest in life. In addition, having a friend to live with makes the guinea pig a better pet for you, because they feel more secure in their surroundings.
It is our policy, and the policy of most rescues, to only allow adoptions of pairs, unless the adoptee has another piggy at home. This is in the best interest of the pet.
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Yes, the fee for adopting from Orange County Cavy Haven is $35 for one guinea pig and $50 for a pair. The adoption fee is tax-deductible. This money, like all other donations we receive, goes directly into a fund for the animals that we take care of in the rescue. Our adoption fee rate in no way begins to cover the cost incurred for medical treatment and upkeep of the guinea pigs until they are adopted out.
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Our rescue like all other animal rescues does not support breeding of animals. We therefore will not adopt out guinea pigs in male female pairs unless at least one of the animals has been altered.
We all love baby animals, but babies always grow into adults and all too often are discarded because they are no longer the cute little things they used to be. For more information on why you should not breed guinea pigs please visit Cavy Spirit’s breeding page.
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Orange County Cavy Haven is a foster organization. This means that our guinea pigs are kept in private homes where they are cared for by foster parents until they are adopted. For this reason, our guinea pigs tend to be very well socialized and adjusted to living in a household. However, this also means that we don’t have a facility you can visit to see all of our pigs. If you are interested in meeting some of the pigs we have for adoption please contact us for an adoption interest form.
No, we do not do out-of-state adoptions. Thank you for wanting to save a life, but we have no safe way of shipping guinea pigs. Please find a animal shelter or guinea pig rescue closer to you.
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