Guinea pigs are a great pet when you’re looking for a furry companion that doesn’t take too much space or attention.
They’re perfectly fine playing in their cage with their toys and won’t bother you if you take them out of their cage either, which makes them very low maintenance.
Do Guinea Pigs Need a Friend?
Many people wonder if they should get a friend for their guinea pig. The answer is yes, you should ideally keep guinea pigs together.
Even if your guinea pig is fine on his own, he would be a lot happier if he had someone to keep him company.
Guinea pigs live in groups or herds when they’re in the wild. They’re used to doing their daily work with other guinea pigs and rarely go about their day alone.
They need each other to give them warmth and protection
Because of their background, they’re not used to being on their own when you get them as a pet.
While they will adjust over time, they tend to take longer to adjust to changes in the environment than larger pets.
They’ll start relying on only you, their owner, for the love and affection they crave.
When they have a companion, they’re more likely to stay content even when you’re not around.
Guinea Pigs Like Being Social
Guinea pigs that are given the opportunity to be social and interact with others of their species do better and are happier than those who live on their own.
They like talking to each other and conveying their happiness or excitement through their squeals.
How Can You Choose a Companion for Your Guinea Pig?
Deciding whether you want a companion for your guinea pig is one thing, but finding the right companion is another.
The last thing you want to do is get a friend for your guinea pig that does not get along with him.
They could become extremely unhappy and territorial, leading to a worse-off condition than before.
Guinea pigs are very efficient at reproducing, so unless you want your guinea pigs to breed, it’s preferred to keep two males or two females rather than two guinea pigs of the opposite gender.
There are already way too many guinea pigs in shelters, without a home, so letting your guinea pigs breed can be an irresponsible decision.
Getting two female guinea pigs is usually the most optimal choice because it prevents territorial disputes and females are easier to take care of as well.
Male guinea pigs can either be dominant or submissive, so you have to make sure that you don’t get two dominant or two submissive ones.
If you’re going to have more than two guinea pigs, it’s better to have at least one female in the mix, because three males living under the same roof can get rowdy and unmanageable.
How Do You Know if Your Guinea Pigs Are Compatible?
The only way to know whether your guinea pigs are going to be compatible is by placing them together for a while and seeing their response to one another.
Whether you’ve already had one guinea pig from before and another one is new, they’re both going to be intimidated at first, because it is a change for both of them.
When you initially put male guinea pigs together, they might display aggressive behavior and hiss or make strange body movements.
They might arch their back or chatter their teeth, showing that they are not happy with each other’s presence.
However, if the aggressive behavior dies down after some time, like 30 minutes, you might consider letting them stay together.
If they continue to display their behavior and it does not look like they are making any efforts to get along, then you know that these two are not the optimal companions for each other.
When you get two male guinea pigs, if they are going to get along, they usually will be happy with each other from the start.
They’ll get to smell each other and once they’ve built some recognition, they’ll continue to play. If they don’t get along initially, they probably won’t get along at all.
What Can You Do to Help Your Guinea Pigs Get Along?
If you want to encourage your guinea pigs to play happily and not be territorial, get a big cage.
This gives each of them enough space to their own, so they don’t have to fight over a common space.
Get them separate litter boxes and toys, as well as places to sleep that they don’t have to share with each other.
Although your guinea pigs will have times where they play and cuddle together, they need a place they can go to if they just need a space for themselves.
Being in a small enclosure all the time can rile them up and cause unnecessary fights.
Get Guinea Pigs of Different Ages
Unlike some animals, guinea pigs actually get along better with those of different age.
It helps them identify and settle on who is dominant because the older one will take that role and the younger one will be content with it.
You can avoid fights with guinea pigs of the same age because they see each other more like a grown-up and a child looking out for each other.
How Do You Take Care of Multiple Guinea Pigs?
Taking care of two guinea pigs is just a little more work than taking care of one.
You need more food, more space, and more cleaning up, but otherwise, they are still very low maintenance.
With two guinea pigs, you also save on the time you spent with your guinea pig, because they have each other for company.
The rule is to have a space of at least 7.5 square feet per guinea pig.
If you have two, they can manage in this space, but it can lead to problems.
It’s better to get a cage of 10.5 square feet or more when you’re getting two guinea pigs.
This gives them enough space to eat, sleep, and play.
Having more than one guinea pig means ensuring that both of them are meeting their daily required need for food.
Make sure that neither of them is missing out on their food because of another.
They also need clean water all the time, so keep checking to see if the water is dirty. Your guinea pigs won’t drink it, even if they’ve gotten it dirty themselves.
You should also consider getting separate food bowls for both of them because they’re going to fight over the food otherwise.
Even if you have docile guinea pigs, having separate food bowls means that you’ll have a better idea of how much food each one is getting, or if one of them is stealing the other’s food.
What if You Can’t Get Another Guinea Pig?
Sometimes, you won’t be able to afford a second guinea pig, because you have constraints like money or space.
In cases like these, you’ll have to take extra measures to make sure your guinea pig stays entertained even if he is alone.
Since guinea pigs are very social, you’ll have to either make sure that you give them enough time and attention to satisfy their need for affection and attention.
However, no matter how much of your time you devote to playing with your guinea pig, you still don’t know how lonely he might feel when you’re at work or out of the house for long stretches at a time.
Keep them Entertained
Invest in a variety of different toys that will keep your guinea pig entertained even when you’re not around.
You can buy ping pong balls, structures to climb on, and toys to chew on.
However, make sure that the chewing toys you get aren’t breaking off, because they could choke your guinea pig or be dangerous when ingested.
Buy little houses with tunnels that your guinea pig can hide in if he likes to crawl into tiny spaces.
You can also make one on your own.
You can also place scraps of paper, cardboard, and twigs in small piles for him to chew on because these are not harmful to ingest.
Make sure you don’t give him anything like cotton or wool because these can damage his intestines.
Take Them Outside
Guinea pigs love spending time outdoors.
If you’re out in your garden or backyard, you can let him wander around in the grass where you can keep a careful watch.
Make sure you have a fenced yard, so dogs or cats can’t come in and attack your tiny pet.
If you’re looking for something to do while you let your guinea pig explore outdoors, you can start gardening.
This will give you something productive to do as well as be near your guinea pig so that he isn’t alone and vulnerable to attacks.
You also need to make sure he doesn’t accidentally eat something that could be harmful to him.
People opt for guinea pigs as pets because they’re low maintenance, friendly, and provide good companionship.
However, if you’re someone who’s out of your house for long hours at a time, you might want to consider getting a friend for your pet.
They’re at home all day and you are the only companion they have.
If you can’t do all of that, then you should try and give them as much of your time and attention as you can, because they thrive most when they’re socially stimulated.
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