March Madness isn’t the only event to look forward to as the first spring buds appear. Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month takes place for the entire month of March, ushering in a season of animal-friendly holidays that follow in April. This is the perfect time to tell your guinea pig’s comeback story and encourage others to adopt a rescue. If you aren’t yet a piggy enthusiast, you might consider digging up some information on these small pets to see if your household would be a good fit.
History of Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month
In 2002, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) pioneered Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month. Their efforts focused on raising adoption awareness in hope that more displaced guinea pigs would find homes. Fortunately, most guinea pigs that end up in the shelter find homes quickly since they don’t usually end up there in the first place. However, recent events have prompted a higher volume of pet surrenders than usual, coupled with a decline in pet adoption rates following the end of the pandemic. Given these sobering statistics, it’s becoming more important than ever to raise awareness about adoptable animals to make sure all creatures find a safe home.
How to Celebrate Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month
Although guinea pigs are probably not the first animal that comes to mind when you think of pets in need, plenty of guinea pigs do get surrendered due to owner hardship or other pressing issues. Rising costs and a return to normalcy following the pandemic prompted many pet parents to surrender their animals in order to cut costs. It’s not always an easy decision, but unfortunately, there isn’t as much financial support available for guinea pig parents as there is for parents of human children, or even cats and dogs. For example, some shelters have a food pantry stocked with essential supplies for puppies or kittens, but rarely piggies.
As a part of Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month, you could ask your local shelter if they would consider giving some support to piggy parents in need. You could even host a fundraiser to pay for the initial supplies. After all, many times the best home for a piggy is the one they already feel safe in. Here are some other ways to commemorate Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month:
TikTok and Instagram aren’t just for funny cat videos. Start a channel for your rescue guinea pig and spread their story. Don’t forget to use hashtags like #adoptaguineapigmonth and #rescueguineapig.
Adopt a Guinea Pig!
Now is the perfect time to adopt if you haven’t already. While guinea pigs are certainly not as demanding as a dog or a cat, you still need to make sure that you have the spacial, financial, and emotional capacity to handle one before you bring it home. Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs are social animals that really need to be adopted in pairs, so that’s something else to consider. If your local shelter doesn’t house guinea pigs, you can search petfinder to find your best match.
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
If you can’t adopt a piggy, you might keep one company by volunteering at an animal rescue. Keep in mind that not all shelters accept guinea pigs. If yours doesn’t, you might try to investigate the reason why and start a petition for that to change since guinea pigs deserve a safe home just like other pets.
How to Care for a Guinea Pig
If you’re considering adopting a guinea pig, it’s important to know how to care for them. Cuddly and cute, guinea pigs are certainly great small pets to care for. They’re incredibly unique creatures that frequently bond in pairs, so you’ll want to be sure to take home two so they don’t feel lonely.
Unlike many rodents, guinea pigs are herbivorous. They like to free range on fresh green grass hay such as Timothy hay and can also benefit from a supply of leafy greens such as carrot tops. You can feed them between ¼ and ½ cup of commercial pellets a day. The Animal Humane Society discourages buying pellets that chiefly consist of seeds, however, because of the high fat content. Obesity is a huge risk for guinea pigs. Because of their small size, just a couple of ounces can tip the scales out of their favor and put them at risk of adverse health conditions.
Housing guinea pigs in an appropriate enclosure is important in order to protect them from other household predator pets, such as cats and dogs, and keep them safe. Be sure the enclosure has a solid bottom that’s easy to remove when you change the bedding once a week and measures at least 24” tall and 24” wide. If you’re adopting two guinea pigs, you might want to opt for a slightly larger enclosure and change the bedding twice a week.
As long as they receive the care they need, a guinea pig may live 5 years or more. Routine vaccinations aren’t required for guinea pigs like they are for larger pets, but it’s still recommended that you take your guinea pig to the vet at least once a year for a checkup, or anytime they’re showing signs of illness.
Other Guinea Pig-Friendly Holidays
March is only the beginning of season-long activism for animal enthusiasts. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month comes next in April. While most of the specific days observed revolve around cats, dogs, and horses, April 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, which includes guinea pigs as well.
Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month gives 31 days to highlight these little guys in hopes that they can find a more suitable home or give assistance to the home they already have. While March may be their official adoption month, there are adoptable guinea pigs year-round. If you’re considering adopting a piggy, always check your local animal shelter first to see if there may be one waiting there for you.
Featured Image Credit: Janet Waldbillig, Shutterstock