Our guinea pig died a few weeks ago and after my 10-year-old daughter got over her grief (approximately 0.36 seconds) she asked if she could get a new pet. After we put our foot down that we were weren’t getting a ferret, we’re back to guinea pigs.
I see three options:
Pet store: I have always heard not to buy dogs from a pet store because they deal with “puppy mills.” Is that true of guinea pigs? Is it true of all stores? We popped into the closest pet store, which is a Petco. They have some guinea pigs, advertised as being from Peru. The employee we talked to was not very knowledgable. He thought they were 6-12 months old, and said they had veterinary care before arriving but wasn’t sure exactly what care that included. They were too busy for me to find a grown-up to talk to.
Animal shelter: County animal shelter and Humane Society are both within easy driving distance and both have guinea pigs. But these are generally give-up animals and I don’t know how risy it is to get one about which no history information at all is available, maybe not even age.
Breeder: Seems like a good idea but I don’t know how to find one or how to test their reputation.