Guardian pets are one of three types of pets that can be summoned/created.
- They will enter into combat on their summoner's behalf, much as a combat pet will, but cannot be directly controlled. They react as a combat pet set on Aggressive and Follow.
- They are generally summoned on a temporary basis, unlike combat pets or Small Pets.
Most guardian pets "share a cooldown" with other guardian pets of 1 minute.
Most non-consumable items (of all varieties) that generate guardian pets have a longer cooldown period than 1 minute. For these items, it is more descriptive to say that they force a global "guardian pet item" cooldown of 1 minute.
This means that while you may not summon a second guardian within that 1 minute, you may use each of your pet summoning items in turn. For instance, once you've waited a minute after using your , you can then use your trinket.
Many guardian pets are created by and for engineers.
Some engineered guardian pets are consumable items, and can be used only once per item:
Other engineered guardian pets are reuseable. These generally take the form of trinkets. While these pet may be killed by damage, you simply wait for their cooldown and you can use them again. Their cooldowns range from 1/2 hour to one hour between uses.
Engineering pets scale with the Engineer's skill level, and their damage output increases. However, they have the same amount of hit points as the level they started as.
These are non-engineering items that summon Guardians:
- (consumable, reward from  )
- (consumable, loot from Ghost Saber)
- (consumable, 80, requires friendly reputation with the Cenarion Expedition)
- (quest reward in Winterspring)
- (quest reward in Western Plaguelands)
- (loot from Onyxia)
- (loot from Balnazzar in Stratholme)
- (reputation reward from Timbermaw Hold)
- (loot from Illidan Stormrage)
- (loot from The Headless Horseman)
These are summoned using a class ability generally requiring a specific talent:
- Three Treants, summoned by balance druids using the Force of Nature talent.
- A Fire Elemental or an Earth Elemental, summoned by shamans via totems.
- Some shaman totems, especially fire totems, have an attack and serve a similar function.
- Death Knights have the greatest variety of guardian pets available:
- Army of the Dead summons up to ten ghouls.
- Risen Ghoul, when used by a death knight without the Master of Ghouls talent, creates a guardian.
- The Blood talent Bloodworms sometimes summons guardians.
- The 51-point Blood talent Dancing Rune Weapon and 51-point Unholy talent Summon Gargoyle both create guardians.