Which Is Better for a Pet: A Guinea Pig or a Rabbit?

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Guinea pigs and rabbits are popular pets for children, but you might be wondering which is best. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages can make it easier to choose a new pet for your family. A pet that's a good fit for someone else might not be the best for your household.

Advantages of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs enjoy living in pairs. These rodents are popular because they rarely bite and are always happy to interact with their owner. Guinea pigs perk up when their owner enters the room, and they enjoy coming out to play. They also enjoy the companionship of their fellow guinea pig. Guinea pigs are smaller than rabbits and take up less room. They are excellent for grade-school children who have mastered handling and socialization techniques with hamsters or other smaller rodents. Guinea pigs are active throughout the day and night, sleeping in shifts. Their average lifespan is five to seven years.

Disadvantages of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs can be a lot for a small child to take care of, and a young child might lack the patience for socialization training. Guinea pigs can be noisy and a bit smelly. The more guinea pigs you keep in a habitat, the more the cage will need to be cleaned. Guinea pigs can also suffer from a number of health conditions, such as anal impaction, that require constant care when they get older.

Advantages of Rabbits

Rabbits are very smart animals who can live up to seven to 10 years when kept indoors. These excellent companion animals can be trained to use litter boxes. With supervision, they can roam around your living room, much like a dog or cat. Rabbits come in a variety of sizes, with most domestic breeds weighing less than 4 pounds.

Disadvantages of Rabbits

Although rabbits could roam around your living room, they might chew on the carpet, cords and anything else that stuck their fancy. Another problem is that despite the ease of litter box training, rabbits who haven't been spayed or neutered might be more apt to mark their territory. Rabbits take up more space than guinea pigs and other small rodents. And hey are mostly nocturnal.

Which to Choose

Guinea pigs and rabbits both make suitable pets. Although a guinea pig is content being in his cage with his buddies until playtime, rabbits are more like cats and dogs, and they like to be out whenever possible. If you have smaller children, a guinea pig offers the advantage of being awake during the day. However, small children might bond better with rabbits. Weigh the pros and cons before deciding which pet to pick. The answer really depends on what your family is looking for.

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Author

Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.