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KIDS &
CLASSROOM

Guinea Pigs make great classroom pets because they are typically comfortable being handled and are relatively easy to take care of. And, because they prefer to follow a regimented routine, Guinea Pigs can help teach children about the importance of schedules and responsibilities. Guinea Pigs, however, should never be the sole responsibility of a child – it should be a joint effort with an adult (a parent or teacher) leading the way.

TIPS FOR HANDLING A GUINEA PIG

  • Always be gentle when handling a Guinea Pig, but don’t have such a loose grip that a squirmy Guinea Pig can wiggle or fall out of your hands.
  • Always pick up a Guinea Pig with both hands after the Guinea Pig has demonstrated it’s ready to be held (don’t pick up a Guinea Pig if you have to chase it around its enclosure unless for safety reasons). One hand should be placed under the Guinea Pig’s hind legs and the other should support the torso, and the Guinea Pig should be held close to your body.
  • Always wash your hands before and after handling a Guinea Pig, food bowls, water bottles or bedding.
  • Always ensure supervision is provided when children are handling or caring for a Guinea Pig and when children wash their hands after handling a pet or its habitat.
  • Never leave a Guinea Pig unsupervised outside.
  • Never place a Guinea Pig in an exercise wheel or ball; they can injure themselves.
  • Never let a Guinea Pig loose near outlets or electrical cords.

A GUINEA PIG IN THE CLASSROOM

A teacher should always be responsible for the care of a classroom Guinea Pig. Your Guinea Pig will need daily food and cage maintenance in addition to interaction and affection. Before bringing your Guinea Pig into the classroom you’ll want to take into consideration any student allergies or behavioral issues that may make caring for a classroom Guinea Pig a challenge and how well your finances are set up to handle regular preventative veterinary visits and emergency care.

Your Guinea Pig will need to be cared for on the weekends and during vacations and will need fresh veggies every day. Remember that the way you treat your classroom Guinea Pig will influence the way your students treat their own pets. If you demonstrate that pigs are living, feeling creatures who need to be respected and cared for your students will do the same.

FOR KIDS

Guinea Pigs can be a fun addition to your classroom or home, but they are also a lot of responsibility. You can learn how to become a responsible helper to take care of your new pet by visiting our Kids & Small Pets resource page for tips and advice.

Learn more from our Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Pets.