Why Guinea Pigs Need Rescues

Every week there are guinea pigs that need to be rescued. Every week in our state there are dozens of guinea pigs in shelters and rescues who need new homes. Where do they all come from?

Owner Surrenders (Loss-of-Interest)

Loss-of-interest surrenders break down into two categories: a family realized that guinea pigs require more care than they’d anticipated and than is compatible with their lifestyle, or guinea pigs were purchased for a child, the child lost interest, and the parents aren’t able or willing to care for the animals.

Owner Surrenders (Extenuating Circumstances)

Relocations aren’t always anticipated when animals are first adopted; unable to bring their pets with them, or unsure how to do it without jeopardizing their health, families give up all their pets. Severe allergies or severe health problems (e.g., a family member diagnosed with MS or cancer) are another big reason. Finally, layoffs and long-term unemployment are also increasingly a reason; families try to hold onto pets but sometimes just can’t.

Surprise Pregnancies

Surprise pregnancies occur because:

  • Someone brought home a female guinea pig from a pet store, not realizing she was pregnant (because some pet stores still do not separate males from females – which they must)
  • Someone thought they brought home two males or two females and instead had one of each.

If owners don’t read up on guinea pig reproduction, they quickly wind up with more litters. The problem is avoidable with better education: Store managers must separate males and females in store cages, store staff needs to learn to correctly identify the sex of animals, and owners need to educate themselves about their pets.


Whether left outside a shelter at night, left in dumpsters, let loose in the woods, or left behind in a house, the survival of these guinea pigs depends on someone finding them. Their health and general condition is dependent upon where they were abandoned, and how long it took for them to be found. Abandonment like this is cruel, irresponsible, and unnecessary.


Whether a hoarder, a breeder, or a do-gooder in over their head, seizures result from the authorities stepping in and shutting someone down. The conditions in which the animals were living are usually deplorable. The health of each animal varies, and involves one or more of the following: malnutrition and dehydration; mites; skin infections; foot infections; eye infections, respiratory infections; urinary tract infections; bladder stones; tumors; and more. Additionally, females may be pregnant and must be held until pregnancy is ruled out or babies are born. The majority of these animals are rehabilitated and adopted; without rescues like The Critter Connection, these animals would almost certainly have died.