Guinea pigs are a very common pet as they’re relatively simple to care for and have loving and affectionate personalities. That said, they are considered exotic pets and cannot be seen by just any veterinarian. As a guinea pig owner, you will need to find a vet specializing in exotic animals to treat them if ever an injury or accident were to occur. Since they require specialized care, vet bills for guinea pigs and other exotics can be through the roof.
You might wonder if pet insurance is an option for guinea pig owners. Do pet insurance companies offer coverage for piggies? Is it worthwhile investing in some if it does exist? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more.
Can I Get Pet Insurance for My Guinea Pig?
You definitely can get insurance for your piggie, and we recommend that you do. Since guinea pigs are considered an “exotic pet”, general veterinary care for them can be not only difficult to find but excessively expensive. Having an insurance plan in place can help cut back on some of the expensive health care fees you might incur as a guinea pig owner.
If you are looking for the best exotic pet insurance, we recommend looking at a few different companies to compare policies and find the one that best fits your needs.
Top Rated Pet Insurance Companies:
The catch is that you will need to do some searching to find a company that will insure your piggie. Not every pet insurance company offers exotic pet coverage.
How Much Will Guinea Pig Pet Insurance Cost?
The price of insurance for your piggie will vary from company to company. It will depend on how many pets you’re looking to cover and may be pricier if your guinea pig has a pre-existing condition. Also, some insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions, so it’s important to check with the provider upfront if your guinea pig does have such a condition.
Pet Assure offers coverage for single guinea pigs beginning at $9.95 per month billed monthly or $6.58 per month if you choose to pay for the year all at once.
Nationwide also offers pet insurance for exotic animals, but they do not provide information about pricing online.
What Will Guinea Pig Pet Insurance Cover?
The coverage available for your guinea pig will depend on the policy you purchase. Some companies may have separate insurance options in place for different guinea pig breeds.
Many policies will cover things such as accidents, illnesses, examinations, laboratory fees, prescriptions, hospitalizations, and X-rays. Not every policy will cover pre-existing conditions, so if your piggie has a health condition before getting insurance, you’ll want to confirm with the company whether they will cover any fees that are incurred due to this condition.
What Are Common Guinea Pig Health Conditions?
Guinea pigs are prone to several types of health conditions. It’s important to know what conditions they may be prone to before investing in pet insurance as some policies may not cover certain health conditions.
Of these conditions, pneumonia is the most significant. It can be caused by bacteria like Bordetella and Streptococcus since guinea pigs can naturally carry these bacteria. Some may even be asymptomatic carriers.
These bacteria are opportunistic in guinea pigs and may flare up if a piggie becomes susceptible, multiplying and potentially causing disease at that point. Stress increases the likelihood that the infection will develop, and younger piggies are more often at risk.
Scurvy is another serious condition that guinea pigs can often develop. Guinea pigs are unable to manufacture their own vitamin C and will need supplementation to ensure they’re getting the amount they need. Vitamin C is necessary for developing and maintaining joints, skin, and gums, as is vital when it comes to healing wounds. A vitamin C deficiency can also make piggies prone to other diseases and infections.
It’s important to note that not every pet insurance company will cover every health condition, especially if the condition is pre-existing (that is, if your piggie had the condition before getting insurance).
How Can I Keep My Guinea Pig Healthy?
You should strive to keep your piggie happy and healthy regardless of whether you decide to invest in insurance for him. The five-domain model is a great approach to follow to help any animal thrive. This model focuses on the Five Freedoms:
These five freedoms can be simplified into nutrition, environment, health, behavior, and mental state.
Nutritionally, guinea pigs need hay, pellets, fresh veggies, and access to fresh water.
The environment where you house your piggie can further help him to thrive and live healthfully. If you keep your guinea pigs outside, they need a hutch that provides plenty of space to roam as well as protection from both predators and the elements. If your piggies are kept indoors, they still need a cage with lots of room.
You already know that guinea pigs can be prone to certain health conditions. Some of the most common conditions can be avoided with proper nutrition and environment, however. If you believe something may be wrong with your piggie, you must get him to the vet as soon as possible.
Since guinea pigs are social creatures, they need to be kept with other piggies. In the wild, they live in groups, so you must be willing to take in at least two guinea pigs at a time. It is illegal in some places, like Switzerland, to only own one guinea pig.
Happy piggies should be interactive, bubbly, and curious about the world around them. They should, however, always have access to hides should they need to get away from something that’s scaring them. Some guinea pigs are happy with human connection, while others will shy away. You’ll need to treat every piggie as an individual and tailor your care to their personality. For example, forcing a shy piggie to snuggle with you will not bode well on their mental state.
Failing to provide any of the above necessities can not only make your piggie physically ill, but it can cause great mental stress to them, too. Both physical and mental stressors can cause health problems, resulting in higher vet bills as you try to determine the cause of their illness.
General pet insurance for your guinea pig won’t cost you too much on a month-to-month basis, and it can provide you with peace of mind knowing that your piggie will be covered if an unexpected illness or accident were to occur. It is important to note, though, that certain pre-existing health conditions may not be covered under some policies, and if your insurance company were to offer coverage for these conditions, your monthly fees might be more.
Featured Image Credit: Garna Zarina, Shutterstock