Why We Do Not Support Breeding Guinea Pigs

In honor of Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month in March, we at the Cali Cavy Collective want to explain the reasons why we advocate against breeding guinea pigs and instead support rescue organizations and adoption.

There are already many homeless guinea pigs in shelters everywhere whom are put to sleep if they are not adopted within a predetermined number of days. Most shelters are strapped for funds and lack the knowledge or resources to properly care for guinea pigs. Intentional breeding only exacerbates this problem and perpetuates the cycle.

Rescue organizations always have many guinea pigs waiting to be adopted, including babies and younger cavies born from already pregnant rescued sows. As aptly spoken by GuineaLynx, "There are far too many guinea pigs and far too few good homes. Given the large number of guinea pigs already needing homes, the responsible pet owner will not add to the population."

Breeding a sow means there is a 20% chance that the mother will die due to risk of pregnancy complications. Knowing this, are you willing to put your piggy's life at risk?

According to Cavy Spirit, there is a 25% chance there will be complications during pregnancy. Do you have an experienced cavy savvy vet with a high treatment success rate? Are you prepared to risk losing both the piggy mom, and all her babies? Do you have the time, knowledge and money needed to care for the babies if they lose their mother?

Additionally, breeding a cavy over 8 months old who has not previously birthed a litter can be fatal, due to dystocia. According to GuineaLynx, sows can also suffer from hypocalcemia, pregnancy toxemia or a prolapsed uterus even with the best care. Because the mother is carrying several babies (can be anywhere from 2-6) her weight can double, putting added stress on her heart, circulation, and other vital organs.

It is difficult to find loving, caring, responsible forever homes for the offspring. Since you would be the one responsible for bringing them into the world, can you guarantee that all would be well cared for? How do you define a "good" home? Not everyone is willing to commit to being a responsible forever home, so how can you ensure that the babies won't be given away or dumped at a shelter somewhere down the line?
If you are planning to keep them, can you afford the food, housing and medical costs for all of them? Cavies can have litters of up to 8 offspring, both male and female - and since they reach sexual maturity as early as 3 weeks of age, they need to be housed in separate cages. Do you have the extra space to house them, and the extra time needed to feed them and clean their respective cages?

Breeding can result in cavies with congenital birth defects and life threatening deformities. Offspring can also be carriers of defective genes that can be passed down to future litters, even if they themselves are not affected. One example is Lethal White guinea pigs, all of whom are born blind with missing teeth. Many lethals are also deaf and suffer from dental and digestive problems. Sadly, because of these genetic problems lethals have much shorter lifespans.

Looking at the bigger picture, many breeder associations actively lobby to support legislation that may affect them. As an example, Cavy Spirit highlights the American Cavy Breeders Association, an organization that promotes the use of guinea pigs as research animals. Any money paid to the ACBA such as show fees or membership costs can be used to support the animal testing industry, or fund lobbying efforts that support animal testing legislation.

Due to irresponsible pet ownership, there are already countless numbers of unlucky guinea pigs in shelters and rescues waiting for someone to adopt them.

Won't you give them a loving forever home and a second chance at life?

GuineaLynx - Breeding
Cavy Spirit - Breeding

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