Guinea pigs can have different comfort levels for where they want to be petted. You will have to experiment to learn what your pet likes and doesn’t.
Some guinea pigs like being petted under their chins, on their back, and so on.
Thus, this article discusses some common favorite spots that guinea pigs like to pet.
In addition to that, it mentions what you must keep in mind when trying to pet your guinea pig.
Common Favorite Spots Where Guinea Pigs Like to Be Pet
Here are some common favorite spots where guinea pigs like to pet.
Sticking to these spots is the best way to start making your guinea pig comfortable with being pet.
- Under the chin (many guinea pigs prefer scratches here instead of pets)
- Around the head
- At the top of its head
- Behind the ears (again, some prefer scratches instead of pets—you’ll know through trial and error)
Spots Where Guinea Pigs Commonly Do Not Like to Be Pet
There are some spots where you should avoid petting completely, at least in the initial stages.
Take a look at the list of them below.
- The belly
- Its feet
- The fact
- Anywhere far back (near the buttocks)
Some pet owners attest to their guinea pigs liking being pet on some of the spots mentioned above. For example, some guinea pigs may like being pet on the face (just above the nose).
On the other hand, your guinea pig may allow belly rubs in some rare cases. However, that is only after they reach a significant comfort level.
Guinea pigs are prey animals. Therefore, their prey instinct is likely to kick in when their bellies are exposed.
So, instead of feeling comfort through a belly rub, your pet is likely to experience panic and fear. Thus, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Signs That Your Pet Likes to Petted
You can only tell which spots are good for petting if you can determine whether they like being petted or not.
You can look out for some signs, as listed below.
Your Guinea Pig Seems Playful and Excited
You should monitor your guinea pig’s mood and behavior before you attempt to pet it.
If it seems to be playful and excited, that shows it’s happy to be around you.
It may jump around in that case or seem relaxed when it’s around you. In that case, your guinea pig may seem ready to be petted.
However, you must also monitor its reaction when you lay your hands on it.
Your Guinea Pig Seems Relaxed Despite Your Hand Reaching Out to It
The first time you attempt to pet your guinea pig, you must monitor its initial reaction.
Extend your hand toward your guinea pig and watch its expression.
If your guinea pig seems to be tensing or freezing, you should take a step back. In some cases, guinea pigs also run or cower away.
Thus, these signs indicate that your guinea pig is afraid and is not ready to be petted.
On the other hand, it may stay still and have the same body language as it did before you tried to pet it. If that’s the case, then you can continue.
Makes Noises Associated with Comfort
Your guinea pig may try to communicate with you when it likes being petted. It may squeal a bit or whistle when it’s enjoying your presence and the pets.
A guinea pig may also make sounds of discomfort or fear when being petted.
A hiss or high-pitched shriek are common signs that your pet doesn’t want you to touch it.
Starts to Lick Your Hand When It’s in Reach
In some cases, guinea pigs also show their comfort levels through physical expression.
Thus, your pet may start to lick you to show you that it enjoys the affection it’s receiving.
Why You Must Take Your Time with Getting a Guinea Pig Ready for Petting
It’s important to understand that guinea pigs are prey animals. Therefore, their instincts prepare them to survive predators.
This also means that they’re not trusting when it comes to physical contact.
Your guinea pig, for example, may view your hand like a talon that’s ready to grab it.
That is why many guinea pigs also don’t like being handled. They don’t immediately know that you mean them no harm.
Thus, even if you do manage to catch yours, your guinea pig may feel tense and threatened. In that case, they may only feel calm and relaxed after you’ve returned them to their enclosure.
So, you will need to take your time to develop trust with your guinea pig before you start to handle or pet it.
Leaving it tensed or frightened can make it stressed. In turn, stress can result in various symptoms, including depression.
How to Make Your Guinea Pig Comfortable with Being Petted
Despite guinea pigs’ prey instincts, you can get them to trust you.
When you accomplish that, you can try petting yours. Here’s how to build trust.
Try to Pet Your Guinea Pig When It Seems Ready
As mentioned earlier, you should monitor your guinea pig’s body language. When it seems playful, you can try petting it.
It’s also essential to mention that your guinea pig should be aware of your presence before you try to pet it.
You can frighten your pet if you sneak up on it. At the same time, you should not pet your guinea pig when it’s sleeping.
As a result, you may make it harder for your guinea pig to trust you. Thus, sit with your pet for a bit and allow it to get relaxed. After that, you can extend your hand.
Keep Your Movements Slow and Gentle
It’s not a good idea to rapidly extend your hand toward your guinea pig. It’s most likely to be afraid of the movement, and it may run.
Instead, move your hand very slowly toward it. Take your hand closer to it, and stop after moving a few inches.
Resume the movement until you reach your pet.
Use Only One or Two Fingers to Pet It
If your guinea pig is comfortable with your touch, use only one or two fingers to pet it. Your entire hand may be too large, causing it to be frightened.
When petting it, make sure to monitor its body language and vocalization. You can tell if it’s starting to feel uncomfortable.
Pet in the Direction of Its Fur Grows
It’s a good idea to pet your guinea pig in the direction its fur grows.
Doing so can cause the least amount of discomfort to it.
Keep the Petting Brief
It’s best to just give your guinea pig a few pets and stop soon after that. Overdoing that may make it feel uncomfortable or tense.
In some cases, guinea pigs also walk away after being pet for a short while. That is a sign that you should stop and leave your pet alone.
With that said, your guinea pig may allow longer petting sessions as it starts to get used to it.
Things You Must Keep in Mind When Petting Your Guinea Pig
Read about some things you must keep in mind when petting your guinea pigs.
Choose the Location Wisely
It’s critical that you select a suitable location to pet your guinea pig. Ideally, you should pick a flat, stable surface.
In addition to that, it should not be above the ground. For example, you should avoid petting your guinea pig when it’s on a table. It may make sudden movements, which could result in a fall and injury.
You should also pick a location where your guinea pig feels safe. Therefore, you should not let other pets be around that could potentially scare it.
You could try petting it while it’s in its enclosure. However, you must be careful not to touch it when it’s in a hideaway. In that case, allow your guinea pig the freedom to be undisturbed.
Your Pet May Run from You
There’s a good chance that your guinea pig may run away the moment you try to touch it. This may occur even if it seems comfortable and playful in your presence.
In that case, it’s best that you don’t chase your pet. Instead, give it space because it doesn’t want to be petted or handled. You can then try the process again at another time.
Also, chasing your guinea pig may make it feel more threatened. It may feel that you’re chasing it to harm it. So, avoid it at all costs.
Consider Giving It a Treat
You could make your guinea pig more receptive to pets through positive reinforcement.
What this means is that you can give your pet a treat after every petting session.
Eventually, it will learn that it earns a reward for being petted. Thus, it may become comfortable with the process.
You may want to consider taking your guinea pig to a vet if it starts to object to being petted in spots it typically allowed.
That may indicate a health problem.
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