Guinea Pig Companionship

Keeping guinea pigs in pairs or groups and interacting with them regularly will help keep them happy.

Companionship for your guinea pigs

Guinea pigs love company and should ideally be kept in single sex groups or pairs. Litter mates make the best companions.  Males and females can live happily together, but should ideally be neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Never keep guinea pigs with rabbits or chinchillas. They have very different food and housing needs and may fight. Firstly, bullying and aggression often occurs between species, and secondly rabbits often carry asymptomatically the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, which can lead to severe pneumonia in guinea pigs. Although guinea pigs, rabbits and chinchillas are all fibrevores, they do have different nutritional requirements.

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Bonding with your guinea pigs

You can have a great relationship with your guinea pigs. It can just take a bit of time to get used to one another. Firstly, make sure to give your pets time to settle into their new surroundings. When you approach their housing, speak softly and quietly and let them know you’re there. Don’t try to hold them straight away, let them get used to your voice first, and then slowly start to offer them some treats. Don’t put your hand straight into their cage as this can scare them! Instead, when they’re out and about during the day time, try sitting next to them so they can used to you being around.

With some patience you’ll have a great relationship with your little guinea pigs!

Handling your guinea pigs

It’s easy to scare your guinea pigs when you approach them, so it’s best to crouch down and talk softly as you get nearer. Let your pets come to you – offer your hand to sniff, then gently place your hand across their shoulder with the thumb tucked between the front legs on one side.

You should then be able to slowly lift your guinea pigs and support their weight by putting your other hand under the bottom. You should then hold your pets on your lap or, if you’re standing, close to your chest.

Quick tip

Lots of play time means your guinea pigs are getting exercise, which is good for their physical and emotional health.
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Did you know?

Guinea pigs can break dance. Well, not quite, but when they are excited, guinea pigs can jump straight up and down, often turning 90° in mid-air, performing a slick little move known as ‘pop corning’.

Do you need more advice?

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If you should have any concerns about the health of your pet, always consult a vet.