Detailed Guide To Buying Guinea Pigs Near You

Guinea pigs, known for their adorable features and sociable nature, are popular pets in the United States. As small and relatively easy-to-care-for animals, they make great companions for both adults and children. Each guinea pig has a unique personality, and despite their size, they can bring a lot of joy and companionship to a household​​.

Image: Peruvian Guinea Pig

Five popular types of guinea pigs commonly found in the United States:

  1. American Guinea Pig: This is the most common type of guinea pig. They have a short, smooth coat and come in a variety of colors and patterns. They are known for their docile temperament and are great for families.
  2. Abyssinian Guinea Pig: Recognizable by their unique coat, which has swirls or rosettes, the Abyssinian is a very popular breed. They are known for their playful and energetic nature.
  3. Peruvian Guinea Pig: Peruvian guinea pigs are distinguished by their long, flowing hair that can grow up to several inches. They require more grooming due to their long coat. They are gentle and calm in nature.
  4. Silkie Guinea Pig: Also known as the Sheltie, the Silkie has a long, soft coat that flows back over its body, unlike the Peruvian, whose hair grows forward over the face. They are known for their sweet disposition.
  5. Teddy Guinea Pig: The Teddy has a dense, wiry coat that stands up all over its body, giving it a “stuffed animal” appearance. They are known for being friendly and affectionate.

Where to Buy Guinea Pigs Online

  1. Petco: A well-known store offering small pets and supplies. While guinea pigs need to be picked up in-store, Petco provides detailed care sheets for new pet owners​​.
  2. PetSmart: Another great option for in-store pickup of guinea pigs. Pets sold through PetSmart are vet assured, screened for illnesses, and meet specific standards of care​​.
  3. Savvy Pets: This online store delivers guinea pigs to your door within 4 weeks of ordering. They ensure safe and stress-free delivery, contingent on ideal weather conditions​​.
  4. Petfinder: While not a direct seller, Petfinder is an excellent resource for adopting guinea pigs. It lists thousands of guinea pigs for adoption annually​​.

Caring for Guinea Pigs

Owning a guinea pig is a long-term commitment, as they can live for about 7 years or more. These social animals need the company of other guinea pigs to be happy. A suitable cage of at least 8 square feet is required, but the bigger, the better. The initial cost of purchasing guinea pigs, along with the cage and accessories, can be substantial​​.

Interesting Video: This couple owns and keeps 150 Guinea Pigs!

Legal Aspects of Guinea Pig Ownership

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the primary federal law in the U.S. that regulates the treatment of animals, including guinea pigs, in various contexts such as research, teaching, transport, and sale. The USDA enforces the AWA, ensuring that animals bred for commercial sale, among other purposes, receive a minimum standard of care and treatment. The Act has been amended multiple times to improve standards, and it requires adherence to specific care, treatment, and transport regulations​​​​​​.

et’s break down the legal aspects of guinea pig ownership in simpler terms:

  1. Main Law Involved: The key law that applies to guinea pigs in the U.S. is the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This law was first passed in 1966 and has been updated several times since.
  2. What the Law Does: The AWA is the only federal law in the U.S. that sets out how certain animals, including guinea pigs, should be treated when they are used for things like research, teaching, being shown to the public, being transported, and when they are being sold by dealers.
  3. Who Enforces the Law: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), specifically a branch called Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), is responsible for making sure that the rules in the AWA are followed.
  4. Minimum Standards of Care: Under the AWA, anyone who breeds guinea pigs for selling, uses them for research, transports them, or exhibits them to the public has to make sure they meet certain standards of care. This includes providing proper housing, food, water, and veterinary care.
  5. Amendments and Updates: The AWA has been updated a few times to include more protections. For example, in 1985, an amendment added more rules to improve the living conditions for animals used in laboratories.
  6. State Laws May Also Apply: In addition to the AWA, some states might have their own laws about how guinea pigs should be cared for and treated. It’s always good to check the specific laws in your state.

In simple terms, the AWA makes sure that guinea pigs and other animals are treated humanely, especially when they are being bred for sale, used in research, or moved around. This law helps ensure that these animals live in good conditions and receive proper care.

Is it legal to eat Guinea pigs in the US?

The correct answer is YES. However, the practice of purchasing guinea pigs for consumption is not common and can be culturally sensitive. The majority of guinea pigs in the U.S. are kept as pets, and the laws and regulations regarding animals, including guinea pigs, are primarily focused on their welfare and humane treatment, as outlined in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Are Guinea Pigs from Guinea?

The name “guinea pig” for these small rodents is somewhat misleading, as they are neither pigs nor from Guinea. Their name’s origin is a bit of a mystery, but there are a few theories which we’ll share in another post.


Guinea pigs are excellent pets that require responsible care and attention. When considering purchasing a guinea pig, potential owners should be aware of the care needs, the commitment involved, and the legal aspects of ownership. By understanding these factors, one can ensure a happy and healthy life for their guinea pig companions.