Pet Care 101

Carys and friends
Photo courtesy of David Thompson

By CARYS THOMPSON | Junior Reporter

A family pet is simply a must-have for many households in Pacific Palisades.

Whether it is a dog, cat, guinea pig, hamster or gerbil, any animal companion can change your life for the better in so many ways.

Since pets are our family, it is only natural that we want the best for them. This means an environment that is pet friendly, healthy and comfortable.

Some of the leading local stores sell animals, not just pet supplies.

When you visit these stores, you’ll notice that the animals are usually kept in very small glass display cages, which are not at all ideal. In fact, experts agree that containers this size can be very unhealthy.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, “guinea pigs need room to exercise, even with daily playtime outside of the cage.”

However, the guinea pigs at these stores don’t even get time outside their cage. They just sit in there, day after day, hoping that somebody will rescue them from their misery!

I own two gorgeous guinea pigs (Bolt and Flash, both boys), and I can confirm that they need exercise and stimulation. That is why I bought a large size cage that is eight square feet, and the standard size for cages range from nine to 11 square feet.

I bought it from the Guinea Pig Rescue Center in Chatsworth. They cater to all guinea pig needs, including adoption, guinea pig supplies, health checks and more.

According to the informative website “Like people, guinea pigs get bored living in the same old, small cage hour after hour, day after day, year after year with nothing much to do. It would be like ‘being sent to your room’ forever, only your room is the size of a walk-in closet and that becomes your life. You have to entertain yourself, eat, sleep and ‘go to the bathroom’ all in that small space—until you die.”

When I visited the pet stores, I knew automatically that the sizes of the display units are just too small. Given that the display units are too small, people will think that the size of the display unit is perfectly normal and they should get a cage that size too.

Also not only are the display units too small, the cages they sell there are too small as well. The poor guinea pig is finally free from his display unit and now he has to live in another small cage! Tsk, tsk.

Guinea pigs are extremely social creatures and need companionship, so you should never just have one pig as a pet. Two guinea pigs must have at least 76 x 127 cm cage.

The size of the display cages we found at one store is 10 inches wide x 37 inches. That is 25.4 cm by 96.52.

In another store, we found the display cages of the guinea pigs is 13 inches wide x 23 inches long (33.02 cm by 58.42 cm).

Pets are our friends and we stick by their sides no matter what. We always want the best for them. We DON’T want them sitting in a “home” that’s equivalent to solitary confinement.

That said, I don’t think that pet stores are intentionally trying to harm these furry animals in their care, but it is their duty to provide the best care possible. All animals’ lives are in our hands and it’s our job to protect them.

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