Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Held and Petted?

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One of the ways to show your pets love is by holding and petting them. However, you need to know if they like to be held or petted as it helps to understand their behavior. Now, our concern is, do guinea pigs like to be held and petted?

Yes, guinea pigs like to be held and petted like other pets. But keep in mind that not all guinea pigs enjoy physical touch from their owners. While some of them naturally enjoy cuddling, others need to be trained for some days.

For example, cats and dogs enjoy it when you rub their ears and furs. It makes them want to spend more time with you.

This behavior of guinea pigs is a major reason you need to follow this article from the beginning to the end to understand them, especially if you love holding pets.
I know you may have been wondering why your guinea pigs hide in a corner or run whenever you want to hold them.

Let’s take a look at the reasons for this funny behavior

Why Doesn’t My Guinea Pig Like To Be Held?

guinea pig calmly enjoys being held and petted

It’s not uncommon for guinea pigs to withdraw from you after trying to hold them. I know you may feel disappointed by this behavior but understand that there’s a reason behind it.

Naturally, guinea pigs have trust issues because they are prey animals. Unlike other pet animals that you can cuddle with any time you wish, it takes a longer time for them to feel safe with their owners. They will see you as a threat or predator if you’ve not created a connection with them initially.

Looking at this situation from another angle, it makes sense for these creatures to feel unsafe considering their size and shy personality. You should understand that it’s not their fault.

Keep in mind that it will take time for your guinea pigs to feel comfortable with being held and petted. It’s nothing personal. But you must be willing to hold them gently and feed them with their favorite diet, for a start.

Not all breeds of guinea pigs withdraw from being held. If you notice these signs in your pets, it means they like to be petted.

Four (4) Signs Your Guinea Pigs Want To Be Petted

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpMlYJnqIt4
  • Licking: Like most pets, guinea pigs show a willingness to be petted by licking. If your guinea pigs lick your fingers whenever you want to hold them, it means you should go ahead.
  • Whistling: One of the ways to know your guinea pigs are happy to see you is through their whistling sound. Petting should not be a problem in this case.
  • Body Language: All creatures, including guinea pigs, always show a sign that they are either willing to see you or don’t need your presence. To prevent being hurt, study your guinea pigs body language before petting them. If you notice a guinea pig is excited to see you by jumping or acting playful, it wants to be petted.
  • First Impression: Observe the reaction of your guinea pigs within the first few minutes of trying to pet them. For instance, if one or two of them suddenly feels scared, runs or hides in a corner, then you should stay in your lane.

Where Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Petted?

guinea pig enjoys being petted at its back

Most guinea pigs love it when you pet their backs or gently scratch behind their ears.
Considering their nature, guinea pigs can be picky about where you should touch and where you shouldn’t. So, before concluding that they don’t like to be petted, study their behavior through signals to know where they want you to touch.

Knowing guinea pigs favorite petting spot is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing. Each one of them has a unique spot that requires you to figure out. This means you’ve got a simple puzzle to fix.

Here are tips to help you identify your guinea pigs favorite spot:

  • Take one step at a time while moving near their cage; don’t scare them.
  • Don’t hold guinea pigs that doesn’t want to be held just to pet them. They’ll see you as a predator and go into hiding.
  • For a start, pet the head, then move to the chin and observe their body language and sound.
  • Avoid touching their feet, underside and back.
  • Ensure the petting time is short during the first few days until they have become familiar with you.

While observing these simple tips, you’ll know each guinea pig’s favourite spot within a few days or weeks.

How Often Should You Hold Your Guinea Pig?

Almost all pets, especially dogs and cats, love spending time with their owners. On the other hand, guinea pigs take some time before letting their guard down to allow you to play with them.

Understandably, you may not feel good about this but understand that they are tiny insecure creatures that get scared easily. They’ll come around eventually.

Deciding on how often you should hold your guinea pigs depends on you. However, it is not as though you’ll just walk into their cage and take one or two of them then match out. There are certain things you need to know.

Although your guinea pigs will like to be held once they know you but understand that some of them need space. For example, it is not right to hold newborn guinea pigs in your hands because of their weak state. Their health can be at risk.

Also, holding a guinea pig that just gave birth is not advisable. She’ll likely bite you because of her present condition. Give the mother guinea pig some weeks to adjust to her new situation before holding her.

Furthermore, avoid cuddling a sick guinea pig as much as possible. Being unwell can make them aggressive and they can hurt you based on this condition. With the right treatment at the vet clinic, you should be able to hold the guinea pig as much as you want.

How Do I Get My Guinea Pig To Like Being Held?

girl making her guinea pig comfortable to be petted

Rome was not built in a day. It will take some time before your guinea pig enjoys the comfort of your hands. By this, you’ll know they are great and playful pets. All they need is to trust you and everything will fall into place.

Here are five (5) ways to pet your guinea pig:

1. Feed Them

Food plays an important role in the life of both humans and animals. One of the fastest and most effective ways to earn the trust of your guinea pigs is to provide them with healthy food.

Since they have a great sense of smell, regular feeding will make them associate your presence with food. By doing this regularly, you won’t have to struggle to hold them.
Always feed them with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ensure you feed them with different fruits too using your hands as this helps to create a connection.

2. Study their Behavior

There’s no way you’ll gain knowledge about the behaviors of your guinea pigs without studying them. Yes, they are shy and don’t trust strangers easily but there is more to this.

First, they don’t like being alone just like other pets. Consider buying at least three to five of them at a time. Since you won’t be spending all your time with them, they won’t lack company.

Also, they have different petting spots that you can only figure out by being observant. Without paying attention to their reactions, you may not know where they want you to touch. Create time to study your guinea pigs behavior and you’ll see they are fun to watch.

3. Carry Them Properly

Be careful while holding your guinea pigs to prevent scaring them off. Now that you know they are super sensitive and get scared easily, consider holding them gently.

Make them feel safe in your hands and don’t let your hold be too tight. And no matter the situation, do not throw them up to catch. By this, they’ll feel free with you and gain your trust.

4. Visit the Vet Clinic Regularly

Most times, pet owners always wait for their pets to show signs of illness before taking them to the clinic. This shouldn’t be the case with your guinea pigs. Don’t assume that they are in perfect health until you get a report from a professional vet doctor.

Ensure the doctor checks for mites and other signs of illness as early as possible to prevent health complications.

5. Buy Toys for Them

Guinea pigs teeth grow continuously throughout their life. And this may result in the inability to eat or hurting their mouth. To prevent this, you need to provide toys for them to help wear down their teeth.

Besides, putting toys such as balls, natural wood, and in their cages will ensure they are not bored throughout the day.

Let’s answer the following commonly asked questions.

When Can Baby Guinea Pigs Be Held?

baby guinea pig held in a hand

Baby guinea pigs, also known as pups, are always weak at birth like other newborns. Therefore, it is important to hold them with care. Naturally, you’ll want to hold the pups during the first week of birth but it is better to allow them to spend some time with their mother.

Constantly holding the pups too soon may affect the connection between both of them. If care is not taken, the mother guinea pig may lose interest in the pups.
It would be great if you hold the pups between three weeks (some of them may have stopped nursing) to a month. By then, they’ll have gained strength.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Carried?

Like your dogs and cats, guinea pigs like to be carried. However, you’ll need to create a connection with them so that they can be free with you.

Don’t be surprised that your guinea pig pet always looks for ways to escape when you try to carry it. That’s because they are prey animals who constantly run away from predators.

Let’s say they are always trying to prevent being killed by larger animals. Take your time to form a kind of bond with your guinea pig before carrying it. You’ll be surprised by what happens next.

Do Guinea Pigs Need To Be Warm?

Yes, guinea pigs need to be warm. If the weather is hot, you need to keep them cool and when the weather is cold, you need to keep them warm too.

Guinea pigs average temperature is between 18°c and 23°c. Now you see why you need to keep them cool at all times.

Provide your guinea pigs with enough food to ensure they burn calories and buy more than two of them. If possible, you can also put a heating pad in their cage so that they can feel warm during the cold weather. By doing this regularly, you’ll be helping them to maintain a normal temperature.

Can You Hold a Guinea Pig On Its Back?

Do not try to hold a guinea pig on its back, the result can be unpleasant. Not only are guinea pigs sensitive animals, but they also have a weak spine. Holding them on the back can put pressure on the spine that may cause serious injuries.

To be on the safe side, always put your guinea pig on the ground with their feet facing the floor. You can also hold them close to your body for support or place your hand around their chest to prevent an accident.

Final Thought

Now that we’ve come to the end of this article, I hope you have learned some things about guinea pigs? Let’s take a look at what we’ve discussed all through.

We talked about why guinea pigs can feel scared if you try to hold them, which is primarily because of their trust issues. Then, we listed the signs you’ll see in your guinea pig that shows they like to be petted.

Also, we mentioned how to know where your guinea pigs will like to be petted, which is unique to each one of them and how often you should hold them.

Following the tips in this article will help you understand your guinea pigs behavior and the reasons behind it. And it will also give you a better idea of how to relate with them at all times.


Having a few of these tiny creatures as pets will create a wonderful and memorable experience for you!


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