SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Guinea Pigs

Companion Animals

SPCA advocates that guinea pigs must only be kept as companions when a person has the knowledge, ability, and means to provide them with a Good Life where they experience positive welfare and their physical, health and behavioural needs are met.

SPCA advocates that guinea pigs should be provided with sufficient space and enriched environment in order to meet their physical, health and behavioural needs. Guinea pigs are active and need opportunities daily to run, hide and explore. Guinea pigs need to be provided with a secure living environment with ample room. If guinea pigs are housed in a hutch, they should be provided with an additional area in which to exercise.

SPCA recommends that guinea pigs are microchipped, desexed and provided regular veterinary care.

SPCA recommends finding a vet with experience and expertise in guinea pig medicine.

(See Responsible Animal Ownership for more information)

SPCA advocates that guinea pigs should be provided with appropriate social contact of their own species.

Guinea pigs are social species and must be housed as a pair or larger group of desexed individuals, unless advised by a veterinarian.

SPCA advocates for desexing of guinea pigs before they reach puberty.

(See Desexing for more information)

SPCA recommends regular handling from an early age to promote the human-animal bond, minimise stress during routine care.

SPCA recommends indoor housing to provide opportunities for handling and promote the human-animal bond. Indoor housing promotes monitoring health and behaviour for early identification of issues. Guinea pigs should be provided with routine grooming, such as nail trimming and coat maintenance.

SPCA opposes housing rabbits and guinea pigs together, as these species are not compatible.

Rabbits and guinea pigs are not compatible species and have different nutritional and living requirements. Being housed together can be stressful for both species and is associated with welfare harms.

(See Rabbits for more information)

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