7 Best Places to Adopt Guinea Pigs

Written by Dana Mayor
Updated: October 1, 2022
Image Credit waldru/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • Local pet sanctuaries can provide you with the opportunity to adopt a guinea pig at a cheaper price.
  • It is also possible for you to obtain these pets from small animal rescue organizations.
  • Reputable breeders are also an excellent option, as are pet shops, too.

Where is the best place to adopt a guinea pig? If you’re interested in bringing one of these small, furry rodents into your home, you might think the local pet store is the best option. However, many people don’t realize that guinea pigs – also known as cavies – can often be found at a local sanctuary or shelter. If you’d rather rescue a guinea pig that someone bought on a whim, odds are that you can find one from one of these organizations, and there are lots of benefits to doing so.

Before looking for guinea pigs to adopt, it helps to know some basics. First, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 or more depending on where you obtain your new pet. For instance, the average cost to rehome a guinea pig from a local shelter is between $10 and $35. Local animal shelters and animal control facilities may charge anywhere from $20 to $40 per guinea pig. Pet stores sometimes have these furry little critters available for adoption for between $10 and $40. You’ll pay top dollar adopting one from breeders, where the average cost is typically anywhere from $40 to more than $100 per pet.

1. Local Animal Sanctuaries

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
Two young women adopting beautiful dogs at the Animal shelter.

hedgehog94/Shutterstock.com

Many local animal sanctuaries, including the SPCA, rescue and rehome unwanted or otherwise homeless guinea pigs. Thanks to their compact size, these creatures are considered “pocket pets,” and you will discover that many animal sanctuaries have dedicated pocket pet services. Unfortunately, these services are necessary because people often rashly decide to adopt cavies, assuming they require virtually no care. Although these are, indeed, low-maintenance pets, you must be willing to dedicate time and effort to keep them healthy and happy.

When adopting guinea pigs from an animal sanctuary, take your time and visit with all of the available options. You might even want to return multiple times to see which one seems like the best fit for you and your home. It’s also wise to visit multiple sanctuaries, if available, before making your decision.

Many animal sanctuaries require home visits before releasing guinea pigs to their new owners, so be prepared for that. With this in mind, prepare a place for your new pet before going in to adopt one. Find a quiet, secure area in the home, and ensure you have all the necessary supplies. These include a large cage with a low roof or lid, a special guinea pig water bottle, newspaper, and fresh hay for the bottom, and a selection of dry and fresh food.

2. Independent, Local Guinea Pig “Helpers”

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
A woman working with a laptop while her little foster guinea pig sits near her.

Skylines/Shutterstock.com

Since many local sanctuaries and shelters don’t accept guinea pigs, private individuals often dedicate themselves to rescuing, fostering, and finding new homes for them. These guinea pig “helpers” are usually very knowledgeable about caring for these furry little rodents, so they are great places to learn about the ins and outs of caring for them. At the same time, you can feel good knowing that you’re helping to save and rehome a helpless, homeless animal.

These helpers act like foster homes for unwanted guinea pigs, temporarily providing food, shelter, and love until a suitable home can be found. However, make sure you’re dealing with an actual foster care service rather than a guinea pig “farm,” where these creatures are bred continuously by unscrupulous people trying to make a quick buck. Warning signs include finding multiple baby guinea pigs for adoption at one time and being charged exorbitant prices to adopt them. If you’re asked to pay more than $40 or so, look elsewhere.

3. Small Animal Rescue Organizations

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
A large group of guinea pigs eats greens outdoors on a sunny day at an Animal rescue.

iStock.com/NeonShot

In many areas, it’s relatively easy to find non-profit organizations specializing in rehoming small animals like guinea pigs. However, to avoid inadvertently adopting from a breeder, it’s crucial to do your homework about any organization you’re considering. A great way to find a reputable local small animal rescue organization is through online search portals like www.petfinder.com.

Like independent guinea pig helpers, small animal rescue organizations are typically staffed by people with extensive knowledge about these types of pets. You can usually pick up helpful tips about caring for your new pet; for example, guinea pigs prefer having a low roof over their heads due to their instinct to be wary of birds and other predators. Small animal rescue organizations strive to keep guinea pigs in their charge healthy and happy, and they know how to sex them properly to avoid unwanted litters down the road. Expect to pay $10 to $35 to adopt a guinea pig from this type of organization.

4. Animal Control Facilities

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
A group of guinea pigs eating greens at an animal control facility.

yasuspade/Shutterstock.com

Another place to potentially find guinea pigs for adoption locally is an animal control facility like a humane society or shelter operated by a local city or other jurisdiction. Guinea pigs found in these places usually arrive there after their owners abruptly decide not to keep them. Other times, they’re found on the street or in the wild and brought in by concerned citizens.

By adopting a guinea pig from a local animal control facility, you may save it from being euthanized. Such facilities don’t usually have much extra space, so they can only keep pocket pets like these for so long. Additionally, employees aren’t necessarily well-versed about these types of pets or how to care for them, so you’re unlikely to get much help in that regard. Therefore, make sure to educate yourself about the ins and outs of caring for guinea pigs before attempting to adopt one from this type of facility.

5. Online Classified Ads

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
Online classified sites like Craigslist are a good place to look for guinea pigs to adopt.

Zerbor/Shutterstock.com

Try looking on Craigslist and other online classifieds sites if you strike out looking for guinea pigs at local shelters and the like. People who urgently need to rehome these critters often turn to such sites to find new homes as quickly as possible. As an added bonus, many folks are also willing to throw in cages, water bottles, and other supplies, so you can potentially save a little money by pursuing this option.

Although the terms of service of such sites forbid breeders and sales, it’s not unusual for people to try and do so anyway. Therefore, yet again, it’s vital to do due diligence before proceeding. Beware of sellers with several small guinea pigs around the same age, and avoid sellers who are asking for more than $40 or so per pet. These are red flags that something is amiss, and you should pursue other options.

6. Pet Stores

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
Two cute adorable guinea pigs in a cage at the pet shop.

iStock.com/Iuliia Mikhalitskaia

In many communities, local pet stores accept unwanted guinea pigs, helping their owners find new homes for their former pets. If you are thinking about adopting one from a pet store, start with local, family-owned stores first. Such places tend to have connections in the local community, so they may be able to help you locate guinea pigs for adoption even if they don’t have any at the moment.

Although smaller pet stores are easier to deal with when adopting a guinea pig, chain stores are sometimes the only option. Places like Petco and PetSmart occasionally have these furry, colorful rodents for adoption. As an added bonus, they typically stock all the supplies you need, including cages, litter, and food. Occasionally, they may even throw in free supplies if the previous owner left them with the pet. The average cost to buy a guinea pig from a local pet store is anywhere from $10 to $40, and you can usually select one and take it home the same day.

7. Guinea Pig Breeders

Places to adopt Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs in their cages at a breeder.

PHOTO FUN/Shutterstock.com

Most people prefer to rescue unwanted, homeless guinea pigs. However, guinea pig breeders are always an option if you are looking for a particular breed or have other unusual requirements. With that being said, it’s essential to know the difference between reputable breeders and people operating guinea pig “farms,” which churn out pets with no regard for their health or well-being.

Without question, adopting a guinea pig from a breeder is the priciest option. Depending on the breed and other variables, breeders typically charge anywhere from $40 to more than $100. You are unlikely to score any free supplies from a breeder, so ensure you have everything your guinea pig will need before proceeding. On the plus side, breeders are usually vastly knowledgeable about caring for such pets and can provide lots of tips and tricks for keeping them healthy, happy, and safe.

As you can see, you have more options for finding and adopting a guinea pig than you probably realize. Before taking the plunge, research available options in your area. Chances are that you will be able to find your new pet at a local shelter, rescue operation, or sanctuary, allowing you to rescue an unwanted guinea pig that would otherwise be euthanized. Otherwise, online classifieds sites, local pet stores, and independent breeders are also viable options – just make sure to steer clear of guinea pig mills, or farms, which are usually only in it for the money and don’t necessarily provide adequate care to these adorable critters.

Summary

NameAdoption Option
1Local Animal Sanctuaries
2Independent, Local Guinea Pig “Helpers”
3Small Animal Rescue  Organizations 
4Animal Control Facilities
5Online Classified Ads
6Pet Stores
7Guinea Pig Breeders

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About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

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