Guinea pigs and dogs can get along in the same household if introduced properly.
Both guinea pigs and dogs are popular pet choices for children.
Moreover, both dogs and guinea pigs are highly social, amicable, and civil creatures. This is why you can keep them together in your home.
However, all of this depends on a smooth introduction.
Guinea Pigs and Dogs
Bringing new pets into your home is always an exciting process. If you already have a pet and want to bring a new one, there’s a lot to consider.
You want to give your pets a safe and healthy home. However, this might be an issue when you bring on another pet into the house.
All of this is especially true if you are keeping a small pet like guinea pigs and big animals like dogs. If things don’t go well, it can be life-threatening for guinea pigs.
Hence, you will need to take special care of your guinea pig. For example, you must provide them with a spacious and secure cage.
Moreover, their interactions will need to be supervised at all times. It is also best if you keep your dog and guinea pigs separated.
Do Guinea Pigs and Dogs Get Along?
While they will likely get along, there is always a risk. This is mainly because of the animals’ personalities, natural instincts, and behavior.
For example, dogs see guinea pigs as prey animals. Retrievers and terrier breeds are more likely to see guinea pigs as prey.
This is because these dogs are natural predators even in the wild. When dogs were initially domesticated, they were trained to hunt rodents.
Hence, it is part of dogs’ instincts to find rodents like guinea pigs as prey. Such dogs will likely want to hunt, chase, and possibly attack guinea pigs.
Some dogs, however, might be able to adjust to these tiny critters perfectly.
On the other hand, guinea pigs will always be fearful and nervous around dogs. This is due to the dogs’ size, loudness, and behavior.
Hence, as a disclaimer, while they can get along, there is a chance they might not. You should be aware of this before getting into the process of introducing your animals.
Some breeds of dogs might get aggressive, but most will not. You simply need to make their introduction smooth and train your dog to be civil.
Nevertheless, if you have an extremely aggressive dog, it’s better to skip out on the introduction. In this case, you should keep the two animals separated at all times.
History of Dogs with Guinea Pigs
Part of what makes dogs excellent pets is because they are so friendly and loving. Guinea pigs are friendly as well.
Guinea pigs make great starter pets for children. This is why both animals are popular pet choices.
Only recently, people have started keeping guinea pigs and dogs together in their homes.
As mentioned earlier, dogs had been trained to hunt tiny rodents like guinea pigs. Even small dogs were taught to hunt guinea pigs.
This does not mean that your dog will attack your guinea pig. However, you will need to provide them with proper training before introducing the two.
You have to give them proper instructions on behaving around guinea pigs. This might be the biggest challenge for pet owners.
Once the two animals have been properly acquainted with each other, there will be no problem. Even when they have, you should always supervise their interactions.
How to Properly Introduce Guinea Pigs and Dogs
By now, you must know that the most crucial part of having guinea pigs and dogs is their introduction. If this goes smoothly, you can expect the two to become well acquainted over time.
If your dog has never seen a guinea pig, this introduction process becomes even more crucial. You have to make their introduction positive and stress-free.
You need to do a few things to ensure the introduction process is smooth. First, you should ensure that there is no tension.
Additionally, avoid using negative reinforcement to discipline your dog. This will only increase the tension during their introduction.
Here is what you need to do to ensure a smooth introduction:
Consider Your Dog Personality
You have to first consider your canine’s breed, behavior, and personality. All of these can impact how the introduction goes.
If your dog is a terrier, retriever, or Yorkie, they likely have a high prey drive. This means that they will see the guinea pig as prey.
Hence, they may become more aggressive. If you have these breeds, you must avoid introducing the two.
Other breeds can actually get along well with guinea pigs. These are those with a low prey drive.
Such dogs can include German Shepherds, Newfoundlanders, and Great Pyrenees. All of these can live amicably with other non-dogs.
Secondly, you have to consider the dog’s personality as well. If they are an excited and playful dog, getting close to the guinea pig can be dangerous.
Such dogs might unintentionally hurt the guinea pig since these animals are quite fragile.
Keep the Guinea Pig and Dog Separated at First
When you bring home the new animal, keep them separated in the beginning. This way, the new animal can first get acquainted with its surroundings and caretaker.
Moving into a new house is a nerve-wracking experience for pets. Hence, you should let them get used to everything first.
You should ensure that you keep the guinea pigs’ cage in a room that the dog cannot enter. If you have brought home a new guinea pig, you should definitely follow this.
Changes in a guinea pigs’ diet may already be stressing them out. Hence, the sight and scent of smell could be even more frightening for them.
On the other hand, a new dog should be kept within boundaries. They should not come near a guinea pig when they initially move in.
Introduce the Two through Scent
When handling a new guinea pig or dog, the scent will linger on your clothes. Your old pet can recognize this scent.
Using scents is an excellent way to introduce the animals. You should play with them, praise them, and feed them with treats.
This way, the animals will start to perceive the unfamiliar scent positively. You can also allow your guinea pig to explore the dog’s blanket.
Let the guinea pig explore and smell the blanket. You could also place their favorite treats on the blanket.
Once the guinea pig has gotten comfortable with the dog’s blanket, you can take it away. Now, use the blanket with the dog.
Repeat the same process with the dog and let them sniff the blanket. This will help the two get acquainted with each other’s scents first.
Remove Some Barriers
Once your new pets have settled down comfortably in their routine, it’s time for the next step. This is the perfect time to bring about a change to progress.
You can now arrange a meeting between your dog and guinea pig. You should keep a barrier in front of each other.
You can do this by introducing each other but closing a door between them. This way, both animals can hear and smell each other but cannot touch.
They will eventually start getting used to each other’s scent and smell. As a result, the meeting will be less overwhelming for them.
At this point, your dog might start getting excited at the prospect of a new friend. It is essential that you keep them calm since it will frighten the rodent.
The guinea pig, on the other hand, will get extremely nervous. You should keep their cage nearby and let them go inside.
Arrange a Face-to-Face Meeting
When you have passed the meeting with the barriers stage, it is time for the actual meeting. You have to be patient with this process and gradually allow the two animals to meet.
Now they have become comfortable around each other with a barrier in between. Hence, they are ready for a face-to-face meeting.
This meeting is very crucial, and you should take all necessary precautions. This is mainly because pet owners don’t know how their animals will react.
It would be helpful to keep the dog on a leash. A person they trust can control the leash and calm the dog down.
The guinea pig should be kept in a playpen. When the rodent is contained, you can allow the dog to sniff it.
If either animal shows unusual and nervous behavior, end the meeting. Take this process as slow as possible with controlled and short interactions.
Repeat these meetings until the guinea pig shows no signs of stress or nervousness. You can also have the guinea pig explore the dog’s area.
However, keep the dog on a leash during this time.
Guinea pigs and dogs can live with each other amicably. However, this is only possible if the dog is not aggressive or not a hunting dog.
You have to ensure their introduction is smooth. So, follow these steps carefully and be patient with the process.
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