More than 5,000 guinea pig owners lent their voice to a census aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of an estimated 400,000 pet guinea pigs in the UK.
Key findings include:
– Only 3% of owners have their guinea pigs insured
– 46% of owners have rescue guinea pigs
– 65% of guinea pig owners feed hay as their primary food source.
Burgess Pet Care published the findings of its Great British Guinea Pig Census, launched earlier this year. The questions were designed to identify any areas of widespread misunderstanding when it comes to guinea pig care and knowledge, and the answers will be used to help improve the health and wellbeing of pet guinea pigs in the UK.
Peter Lancaster, marketing manager at Burgess Pet Care, said: “Guinea pigs make fantastic pets but, as with other small animals, they have very particular needs when it comes to their welfare. Thankfully, according to the findings of our census, we found that the majority of guinea pig owners who provided answers on the five welfare needs – diet, company, health, environment and behaviour – are conscientious with their care, reflecting their dedication to keeping their pets happy.
“It was fantastic to see the number of guinea pig owners entering the census keep rising by the day and we’re reassured that there are thousands of well-informed owners out there. However, despite these resoundingly positive findings, there is always work to be done when it comes to improving standards of animal welfare.
“The information we’ve received from this census does identify the gaps of knowledge in certain areas and we anticipate these gaps to be much larger when it comes to less-informed and engaged guinea pig owners.”
Findings from the 5,045 census respondents included:
– 12% of owners have just one guinea pig
– 46% have a pair
– 42% of owners have more than two
– 33% of owners take their guinea pigs to the vets less than once per year
– 88% of owners provide their guinea pigs with additional space to roam outside of their housing
– 24% of owners believe social interaction puts their guinea pigs in a good mood.