Guinea pigs are great pets. They like to be held, pet, and loved as much as many other domesticated pets. However, do they get lonely?
It is not recommended to let guinea pigs live alone. Guinea pigs are social animals that require a lot of love and attention in order to stay happy. The best solution to this would be to give the guinea pig a companion of the same species. Some other animal breeds will also work.
So, how do guinea pigs fare while living alone? And what other animals would be good to keep with your guinea pig? Read on to find out!
Guinea pigs are social creatures. This means, like humans, they cannot survive without companionship. Guinea pigs are herd animals as well.
In the wild, they live in groups of ten or more called a muddle, and when left on their own they can start to show signs of depression and boredom, which can also affect their physical well-being. A few countries have even passed laws to make it illegal to own only one guinea pig.
Another Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs, much like other animals, can form strong bonds between themselves, so much so that a guinea pig that has lost the other half of its pair can die of loneliness. Having more than one guinea pig around can help decrease their stress levels, as they feel safe in groups, make them more physically active because they have someone to play with, and help them become even more social around you because they feel safe! (Source)
Guinea pigs bond best with animals of their same species. Veterinary experts and rescue centers will always recommend getting two pigs when you first adopt, though normal adoption services will often sell you one. Some centers will even refuse to sell you only one because it can be so hard on the animal to be alone.
It is important to monitor your guinea pig when introducing a new pig to the enclosure! Make sure they get along before leaving them together for long periods of time unsupervised. It is also important that you know what is best when it comes to pairing guinea pigs. You have to know your guinea pigs’ personalities as well as their tendencies in order to correctly pair them up. Here are some pairs that work well together.
- Two baby guinea pigs
- More than one female with a neutered male
- Two male guinea pigs who grew up together
- A dominant and a submissive male
- An older guinea pig with a younger one of the same sex
Guinea pigs are super friendly animals that love being held, cuddled, and loved on. So, it seems they would get along with most other animals. This may be true, but it is not guaranteed.
Rabbits are fairly similar to guinea pigs, especially in temperament. Guinea pigs love to cuddle and rabbits will lay down with the pig and often give them kisses! However, rabbits also have short tempers and may get annoyed with the guinea pig without warning. They can often think the pig is getting too clingy and annoying.
However, do not worry about getting a guinea pig while also having a rabbit! If they are slowly introduced and become friends, they can hang out with each other when supervised. It is not, however, recommended that they stay in the same enclosure due to rabbits’ tendency to get annoyed and aggressive.
Ferrets may seem like a good match for guinea pigs, as they are both rodents. However, it is important to know that guinea pigs are herbivores. This makes them prey and ferrets are hunters. Ferrets might attack your guinea pig at a moment’s notice, even if they are raised together. It is impossible to fully erase the ferret’s hunting instinct.
It is never recommended to keep ferrets and guinea pigs together, or even in the same room, for this reason. It can be very stressful for the guinea pig to be able to smell the ferret. Guinea pigs understand that ferrets are hunters and can become very scared if they smell one near. This puts a lot of stress on your guinea pig, which can end up affecting them physically and mentally.
Cats are known hunters and can stress guinea pigs out or even hurt them if not careful. However, they can be better companions for guinea pigs than ferrets. When cats and guinea pigs are raised together starting at a very young age, they can learn how to get along.
However, cats need a much larger space to roam around in than guinea pigs. It is recommended to keep your guinea pig in an enclosure that they cannot escape from, for their own safety. However, cats like to explore. Cats and guinea pigs will get along well if raised together, but their needs are not as similar as would be best for companion animals.
Hamsters are similar creatures to guinea pigs, but this does not mean that they would get along. Hamsters, for one, are not very social animals. They do not like sharing a space with others. They do not like to be touched by humans and other animals alike. (Source)
Dogs can be trained to be nice to smaller animals, and it is quite easy to do because of their high intelligence. It is important to consider your dog’s temperament as well as its breed before you consider introducing a guinea pig to them though.
Some dog breeds like Terriers instinctually will hunt down rodents, including guinea pigs. If you have a Terrier, it is not recommended that you own a guinea pig at the same time unless you have a plan on how to keep them completely separate at all times.
Dogs that are too big and too excited might also unintentionally hurt a small animal like your guinea pig. Breeds with low prey drives, unlike Terriers, will be great to have with guinea pigs! Breeds like livestock guards and shepherds are great because of this.
These breeds include German Shepherds, Border Collies, Great Pyrenees, or Newfoundlands. They are great to have with most non-dog pets, though this still does not mean they would keep the guinea pig from being lonely and fill the need for another guinea pig companion.