Here is a comprehensive list of guinea pig rescue shelters in Colorado.
If there are any we have missed, please do let us know.
Foothills Animal Shelter – Based in Denver, they are an open-admissions facility (never turning away an animal) and one of the largest animal shelters in the metro Denver area – taking in 8,000 animals each year.
Dumb friends league – Based in Denver, the Dumb Friends League is the largest community-based animal sheltering organization in the Rocky Mountain region. We are a leader in providing shelter and humane care to companion animals and horses; rescuing sick, injured, abused and neglected animals.
Humane Society of Boulder Valley – Based in Boulder, It is the mission of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley to protect and enhance the lives of companion animals by promoting healthy relationships between pets and people.
The Adams County Animal Shelter / Adoption Center – Based in Commerce City, Federal Heights, Northglenn and Thornton, the town of Bennett and unincorporated Adams County. We provide animals for adoption to the public.
Cavy Care inc – Based in Aurora, Cavy Care Inc. is a licensed, federally recognized, nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue and placement of cavies, also known as guinea pigs. We are a private shelter, serving the community, with a 501c3 status so your donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated!
Humane Society of Weld County – Based in Evans. It is a priority of the Humane Society of Weld County to adopt out healthy and behaviorally sound animals to our caring community.
Larimer Humane Society – Based in Fort Collins, Larimer Humane Society is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and provide the responsible care and treatment of animals. As Northern Colorado’s largest open-admission animal care facility, we provide shelter, medical attention and care to thousands of lost, abandoned, injured, abused, ill and orphaned animals each year.
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region Based in Colorado Springs, Every year, more than 19,000 animals pass through the doors of Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.These are animals surrendered by their families, lost pets, injured strays and abused animals who have lived a life of neglect.
Steamboat Springs/Routt County Animal Shelter Based in Steamboat springs, “The Routt County Humane Society is a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals, providing humane education, promoting spaying and neutering as a means of decreasing the number of unwanted pets, and encouraging respect for the dignity and worth of all animals.”
Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
People are often unaware that many local shelters have guinea pigs, or that a cavy rescue could be located nearby. In many parts of the country, hundreds of rescued guinea pigs need homes – primarily as a result of caretaker surrenders. Doug Duke, director of the Nevada SPCA in Las Vegas, finds that in his area, half of their adoptable guinea pigs are turned in by owners and the other half are transferred from the county shelter. He notes, “We try to keep the county shelter, which shares the complex with us, from euthanizing any who are healthy.”
A pet store guinea pig purchase is often unplanned and unresearched. Getting information on proper care into the hands of prospective new guardians helps them make better-informed decisions. Since January 1, 2003, California pet stores have been required by law to provide care sheets with the purchase of each animal. Several dedicated guinea pig people were instrumental in getting this legislation passed. Be proactive: encourage your state representatives to address this important issue for all pet-store animals in your state.
Julie Morris, ASPCA senior vice president for National Shelter Outreach, designated March as Adopt-a-Rescued-Guinea Pig celebration month. “The idea behind the celebration month is to encourage future adopters to think of shelters and rescue groups first.” Her promotional team has assembled an online page hosted on www.petfinder.com with fun and educational materials contributed from various sources. Websites like Petfinder are an invaluable resource for people who wish to adopt homeless guinea pigs from shelters and rescue groups. On average, Petfinder alone lists approximately 10,000 adoptable guinea pigs a year.
Guinea pigs are not for everyone. They’re definitely not just for kids! But an informed, committed guardian who is willing to care for them day after day and seek health care when needed will find them charming companions.
Lyn Zantow maintains an informational cavy care website and active message board at www.guinealynx.info. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her two guinea pigs, Nina and Snowflake.
Reprinted from ASPCA Animal Watch, Spring 2004 Vol. 24, No. 1, with permission from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 424 East 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128-6804
Although most animals people keep as pets are allowed within the City, certain regulations apply to each kind of animal. The following sections describe the regulations that pertain to certain types of animals. The list of regulations is by no means complete; animal owners should investigate all regulations by calling either the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region or the Land Use Review Division (contact information follows).
Dogs and Cats
The City of Colorado Springs allows up to four (4) dogs and four (4) cats over four (4) months of age per property. If a property exceeds the limitation it may be considered a kennel, which is not a permitted use within residential zones. Dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated and to be licensed through the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. For more information about Animal Law Enforcement, public pet services, or pet adoption, or to support animal welfare in our region, visit Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region’s website at www.hsppr.org or telephone the organization at (719) 473-1741.
Rabbits and Chickens
Property owners are allowed to keep up to ten (10) rabbits or chickens aged six months or older. Roosters are, however, prohibited. Shelters for rabbits or chickens must contain at least four (4) square feet for each rabbit or chicken and must meet all other applicable zoning and building codes and regulations.
Hoofed animals include cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and mules. The City Code regulates sanitary requirements in Section 6.9.101 and requires that any area in which hoofed animals are kept is maintained in good condition.
Hoofed animals are further regulated by the Zoning Code. In residential zones, up to four (4) hoofed animals are allowed as long as the property on which they are kept is at least 37,000 square feet and any corral or building enclosure maintains proper setbacks. There is a Code provision that allows for a hoofed goat, up to a maximum of 100 pounds, to be kept as a pet at a residential property. Since the goat is classified as a pet, the minimum lot size standards do not apply. If you are considering keeping any type of hoofed animal, it is strongly encouraged that you contact the Land Use Review Division at (719) 385-5905 to make sure your property meets all requirements.
Although hogs and pigs are prohibited, up to two (2) potbellied pigs may be kept in any household or dwelling. Potbellied pigs cannot exceed one hundred (100) pounds, must be registered with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, and must be either spayed or neutered by four (4) months of age. All potbellied pigs must be tattooed or implanted with a microchip containing identifying information by four (4) months old. For other regulations pertaining to potbellied pigs, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
Exotic animals are those which are not commonly domesticated or which are not common to North America or which, irrespective of geographic origin, are of a wild or predatory nature. It is unlawful for anyone to own or keep an exotic animal within the City limits unless he or she has first obtained an Exotic Animal Permit. The application for a Permit must be made to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, along with all required fees
Zoning and Subdivision information is contained within Chapter 7. Regulations pertaining to animals can be found in Chapter 6.
Guinea pigs are hardy and affectionate, and make great companions. However, people often think of them as “low-maintenance” pets, when in reality, they require a lot of care and attention. In return, they will reward you with years of companionship.
Home Sweet Home
More space is better when it comes to your guinea pig’s cage! For one or two guinea pigs, the cage should be no smaller than 7.5 square feet (30” x 36”); for two cavies, the ideal size is 10.5 square feet (30” x 50”). If you plan to have more than two guinea pigs, add on 1-2 square feet of space for each additional guinea pig. Cages with mesh or wire flooring can be harmful to your guinea pig’s feet. In addition, you’ll want to provide your pig with a wooden “house,” tunnels to crawl through and platforms to climb on.
When choosing floor linings and cage furnishings, keep in mind that guinea pigs will chew on just about anything, so everything placed in the cage must be nontoxic. Use plenty of lining material, such as shredded newspaper, or commercial nesting materials available at pet-supply stores. DO NOT use materials such as sawdust, cedar chips or corn cob as they may cause respiratory, digestive or other serious health problems. For safe bedding options, visit http://www.Guineapigcages.com/bedding.htm.
To provide a clean environment for your guinea pig, be sure to clean its cage at least three to four times a week.
Cavies cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, so using a commercial guinea pig food enriched with vitamin C will provide them with what they need. Do not add vitamin C drops to your pet’s water as this can make the water taste bitter and discourage your cavy from drinking.
Provide plenty of high-quality hay, like timothy or orchard grass, to help keep their digestive tracts running smoothly. Also, you can supplement your guinea pig’s diet with fresh foods like carrots, dark green lettuce, cucumbers, dark green vegetables, sprouts, corn and a variety of
fruit. These items will serve as an additional source of vitamin C and other nutrients. Always introduce new foods slowly and in small amounts to reduce the risk of diarrhea. Use a heavy crockery bowl that can’t be tipped over and is easy to clean. Also keep fresh water available in a suspended “licker” water bottle at all times. For more information on foods that are safe for guinea pigs, we recommend that you talk to your veterinarian.
Many sources will tell you to provide a salt lick for your guinea pig, but unfortunately, there isn’t a consensus on the use of this product. Some say it can help prevent mineral deficiencies, while others state that too much salt can lead to health issues. However, if you are feeding your cavy
a well-balanced diet, this product shouldn’t be necessary. Check with your veterinarian before buying any type of salt or mineral lick.
A well-cared-for guinea pig may live four to eight years. Male guinea pigs can weigh between 1 to 2 ½ pounds, females slightly less. Guinea pigs are sexually mature between 4 and 8 weeks of age.
Guinea pigs groom themselves with their front teeth, tongue and back claws, but they still require frequent brushing and the occasional bath to stay clean and tangle free, particularly the long-haired breeds. Use a soft baby brush or toothbrush for brushing. Because your guinea pig’s
teeth grow continuously, it’s essential that you provide plenty of timothy grass hay at all times in addition to its regular food to provide a chewing medium. Your guinea pig’s nails can also overgrow, causing discomfort and increasing your risk of being scratched. Ask your veterinarian
to show you how to trim its nails.
Handling with Care
Guinea pigs are easily stressed and require careful handling. Always let your guinea pig know you’re there by allowing it to sniff your hand. They are also easily startled, so use a quiet, calm voice and slow movements. To pick up your guinea pig, always use two hands, placing one
hand under its chest just behind the front legs, and gently cup your other hand under its hindquarters. Once you have a firm but gentle grip, lift it up and immediately pull it close to your chest or lap so it doesn’t thrash around. Guinea pigs feel most secure when they’re held close to
your body and when their feet are supported. Since guinea pigs aren’t very agile, a fall could result in serious injury.
Guinea pigs love to have their heads scratched and will frequently make a “chattering” sound similar to a cat’s purr to show their appreciation. Also, when happy they will at times buck and throw themselves in the air, a behavior known as “popcorning.” The more you handle your
guinea pig, the friendlier and tamer it will become. Guinea pigs can be quite vocal and will often greet you with whistles and shrieks.
Guinea pigs are social creatures and enjoy the company of other animals, especially other guinea pigs. It is easiest to pair two babies or one baby and one adult, but pairing two adults can also be done successfully. A good way to go about introducing your guinea pigs is to start on neutral territory and monitor their behavior for at least an hour. If they do well with each other, try placing them in a large freshly cleaned cage (that will be their new home), and monitor them in the cage for at least an hour. If your guinea pigs are not getting along, stay calm and separate them with a towel to avoid being bit. When pairing a male and female, be sure to have the male neutered or you’ll soon have unwanted litters!
Guinea pigs have a keen sense of sight. They also have the ability to recognize all the colors of the spectrum. Their hearing is even better than their vision, and they can quickly learn to respond to a specific sound. Young guinea pigs love to jump, so you might want to build them an obstacle course for exercise.
Bielfeld, Horst. Guinea Pigs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual. Barron Book Series. New York.
Willkie, Tom. A Beginner’s Guide to Guinea Pigs. T.F.H. Publications.
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