People have a hard time deciding whether they should get one guinea pig or two. All guinea pigs have different personalities and sometimes are not compatible with interacting with other guinea pigs.
Can A Guinea Pig Live By Itself?
Everyone has their idea of the pros and cons that they are looking for in a pet guinea pig.
So, if all the right needs, such as food, water, and daily interaction, are met, an independent guinea pig may be happy living alone.
When you decide that you want to adopt one or even a second guinea pig, you need to select the right guinea pig suitable for you and your family.
It would help if you had the whole family divide their time into half-hour or an hour play periods that work with your scheduling throughout the day.
Be consistent, have the same person do the same chore simultaneously as the guinea pigs do well with routines.
Yes, when you devote a few hours each day to spend interacting with your guinea pig and building that bond, it will be able to survive alone.
Summary of today’s article:
- How to keep a single guinea pig happy
- Benefits of guinea pigs companionship
- What is a safe environment for guinea pigs?
- Have you decided if you are getting one guinea pig or two?
What is your guinea pig’s name?
Use its name every time you talk to your guinea pig in a calm and soothing tone. I know it will be a one-sided conversation, but it will respond and crave your interaction.
Guinea pigs can become attached to their owners, and you need to provide a set schedule to follow as they become familiar with a routine.
You will need to use many physical activities to keep them entertained and participate in games.
For example, a guinea pig will get much enjoyment from playing with a ping pong ball or even just shredding a cardboard box. They love to chew as their teeth are always growing.
A single guinea pig needs mental stimulation with exercise, games, and toys to stay healthy and use treats as positive reinforcements.
Think about using carrots, grapes, apples, oranges, and berries as treats when interacting with your guinea pig.
Active, positive behavior often encourages and calms them down as they are timid pets and get frightened easily.
As you learn how to handle your guinea pig, avoid walking and carrying them without a towel because they are nervous about heights and are afraid of being dropped.
What Are The Signs My Guinea Pig Is Lonely?
Signs of loneliness are lying around, sleeping or hiding out all the time and refusing to eat food or drink water.
Guinea pigs can develop bad habits like chewing on the bars of the cage or the water bottle in frustration, and if a guinea pig is alone for an extended amount of time, it will show aggressive movements or chatter angrily when they are not happy with their owner.
Remember, if you and your family take out-of-town trips frequently, you need to get a pet sitter that has experience taking care of guinea pigs and will be able to spend time and give it a lot of attention.
You will need to stay on top to prevent potential health problems and severe boredom as the guinea pig can also be vulnerable to depression and have a loss of appetite due to stress.
When selecting guinea pigs, you need to know if they are dominant or submissive.
Just make sure you do not get two of the same; they will not be able to live together.
Try to get two of the same gender, such as two females, as they are easier to take care of than males.
It benefits when two guinea pigs share a close bond, especially when they are from the same family.
However, it is easier when the guinea pigs are younger to introduce them and see if they are compatible as the older guinea pigs are set in their ways already and will take a little longer to bond.
Keep in mind that they are from a pet store or a breeder; you will need to do a two-week quarantine to make sure they are healthy and have no parasites or illnesses.
You will need to be patient and not pick up or play with your new guinea pigs as it can traumatize and make it harder to build trust.
As social animals, the squealing sounds, shrill noises, and aggressive gestures are all expressions of dominance when first introduced.
Remember that the guinea pigs need to be eased into their new environment using a neutral space as they are very territorial.
Do not approach your guinea pigs from behind as the quick movement will scare them and avoid grabbing them from above as they will mistake it for a predator.
Always remember to sit at their level to pick them up and use a calming voice when talking to them.
You will need to use food and treats as distractions when introduced on that neutral ground, so it is new for everyone.
Ensure all cages and equipment are clean, and bedding is new, so it is a fresh start for both guinea pigs.
Even if the guinea pigs do not get along and are in separate cages, they still benefit from being in the same room or area together; guinea pigs enjoy being sociable.
They will gradually get used to seeing each other, their smells, the sounds they make and chattering to each other.
Abnormal Guinea Pig Behavior
Guinea pigs are social creatures and very territorial. However, their aggressive behavior will be shown in the first few minutes if they not compatible.
One sign of aggression is constantly chattering its teeth and squealing while they chase each other around the cage or enclosure.
It is necessary, if they do not draw blood, to establish their boundaries as they are smart natured and territorial.
The second sign of aggression is rough nudging, headbutting, and bottom sniffing, which leads to biting that causes bleeding.
But if you are willing to take the time and have the patience to work with them gradually, they will learn to accept each other if they are willing to bond.
If the guinea pigs continue to show aggressive behavior, they probably will not get along at all.
Sometimes this happens when the guinea pigs need to be independent and live alone. Having a partner will not make them happy, just more stressed out.
It would be best if you also learned never to yell, punish, or withhold food and water because you are upset with your guinea pigs.
They will be even more frightened, and the trust bond will never work.
You are going to have to provide a cage that can be a happy place for them.
Place the cage in a room you spend a lot of time in so your guinea pig can see you, and you can talk to them when you walk in and out of the room.
Things like chew toys, hiding places, and their favorite hay are things that make them happy and content.
If you have two or more, you need a little more space, nothing fancy, plain and simple, to roam around and play.
You would need to provide two of everything, such as food dishes, hiding spots with two ways out, and chew toys.
But guinea pigs will happily chew on large piles of hay without fighting, so you should not confine their hay into hay racks.
They need to be at opposite ends of the enclosure, so the guinea pigs have their hideaway space as they need to feel safe and quiet.
Using cardboard tunnels, hideaways, and igloos gives more options to hide and feel safe.
Do you know the right size? A great rule to follow for a single guinea pig is between 7 1/2 to 10 1/2 square feet.
Two or more guinea pigs need to be up to 13 square feet or larger.
Also, it needs structures to climb on or run through for exercise comfortably or add a runner attached to a shared courtyard area.
Healthy living spaces for your guinea pigs are guaranteed to fit perfectly from comfort to low maintenance.
Remember, as a safety precaution, the guinea pigs and cage do need to be in a place away from cats and dogs, direct hot, cold, and significant drafts.
Small children and loud noises can also be overwhelming. One thing that is important and dangerous for guinea pigs is exercise wheels or balls.
Please do not use them for guinea pigs as entertainment and exercise.
Guinea pig’s health and wellbeing are significant to you!
Love and affection are endless when the guinea pigs’ bond to their owners.
The great news is guinea pigs can be an adventure, either if you went for one or two.
Just remember that if you spend a great deal of time away from home, consider your option with going for two guinea pigs.