The Guinea Pig is a docile creature with a lot of personality. However, they can get bored very easily. We’ll explore some Guinea Pig Boredom Busters for you to implement to keep your little guy/s from becoming bored.
Along with its fuzzy, cute appearance and sociable nature, it’s no wonder that the Guinea Pig has gained such popularity. Guinea Pigs make fantastic pets for kids and adults alike. They love to interact and explore.
Of course, being fairly smart and active creatures, for a Guinea Pig, boredom is a risk. A bored Guinea Pig will not only be unhappy but may even develop physical and mental health issues, such as depression and obesity. Read our article on the noises guinea pigs make when they’re unhappy. Luckily, Guinea Pigs have simple needs. Meet these needs and they will be happy.
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Observe Your Guinea Pig To Make Sure They Are Happy
As with any pet, it is important to learn your Guinea Pig’s language, which is a combination of behaviors and sounds.
An unhappy Guinea Pig, for example, will show signs of agitation, such as distinctive chitters and head-tossing. They will also freeze up and even hiss like cats, or, in emergencies, shriek. These things mean that something is actively distressing your Guinea Pig, whether it be a loud environment, careless treatment, trouble getting along with their cage companion, or the like.
A cheerful Guinea Pig will make a characteristic “wheek,” which is a unique squeak. Guinea Pigs most often make this sound when they are excited for food, attention, or an adventure.
Guinea Pigs also hop with joy, and will offer affectionate nose-nudges and licks. These are signs that they are happy. This activity is called Popcorning.
Guinea Pigs Need Help Staying Entertained Each Day
In the wild, Guinea Pigs are usually on the move, grazing and seeking out new food and terrain. Whereas in captivity, there is typically less to do comparatively. In a stagnant environment, a Guinea Pig will become bored, and therefore deeply unhappy.
To cheer your Guinea Pig up and increase their overall quality of life, be sure to provide plenty of toys, exercises, treats and entertainment to fill their day.
Make Your Guinea Pig A Fun House
No creature likes to live in a sterile cage. Be sure to provide plenty of hay for your Guinea Pig. They will eat it, root around in it, and make nests. Make tunnels from rolled up paper or buy them online is what we’d recommend. A plastic igloo from the store is something they are known to enjoy.
The idea is to create a little playground for your Guinea Pig so that they are not bored when they’re alone in their cage. With this, do not fear to get creative. You can even make a maze! Guinea Pigs are quite clever and are known to like finding their way through these. The activity puts their natural navigation instincts to work.
Give Your Guinea Pig A Variety Of Toys
Though herbivores, guinea pigs are very spunky. They like to chase things and have a good time. Guinea Pig boredom will also be relieved with a multitude of toys, which offer a great outlet for play.
Some favorites are balls, specifically ping pong and tennis balls. Guinea Pigs like to push these around, crawl on them, etc.
Paper crumpled into a ball delights them by being crinkly. Crinkly paper in general appeals to Guinea Pigs, so once again, feel free to get creative with paper tunnels, caves, balls and the like. Watching a Guinea Pig rummage about can be very cute.
Another classic homemade Guinea Pig toy is to stuff a sock with clean Guinea Pig bedding or hay. Tie the sock off on one end to create a little Guinea Pig pillow. Guinea Pigs will quickly claim the little pillow as one of their most beloved possessions. You will see them drag, nap on and chew the pillow.
Store-bought Guinea Pig toys can also be a good choice. Consider chewing toys in particular as it is important that Guinea Pigs chew frequently to keep their teeth healthy.
Finally, an exercise wheel, the classic Guinea Pig entertainment, should always be available. With their moderately high energy levels, Guinea Pigs get restless and need to get their wiggles out frequently. Watching a Guinea Pig play is one of the most rewarding things to see.
Play Guinea Pig Games
Playing games with a Guinea Pig is a fantastic way to bond with the little guy. Play is something that Guinea Pigs do with their friends, so playing with them frequently will help them to consider you a friend and win you their love.
Give ‘Treat-on-a-String’ With Your Guinea Pig A Try
A great way to stave off Guinea Pig boredom is an interactive game that you’ll both enjoy. Treat-On-A-String is really good fun and an interactive game to play with your Guinea Pig.
As the name implies, the idea of this game is an activity which entails a treat, like a carrot or a berry, tied to a piece string. Drag this along for your Guinea Pig to chase – they will likely find it good fun! Make sure to let them win quickly, for the sake of their egos. It is important to challenge pets, but always let them win before they are discouraged at play.
Hide Treats For Your Guinea Pig To Seek
Another game simply entails hiding treats in tricky places. This will allow your Guinea Pig to hone their foraging skills, which they make effective use of out in nature.
Stimulating their wild side is a great way to keep any animal happy. Hide treats in their hay, in tunnels, and in various other creative places for your Guinea Pig to root out randomly. Place some high up, so your Guinea Pig has to stand to reach it. This will help work their muscles and makes for a nice exercise. When they find a hidden treat, your Guinea Pig is sure to be excited and proud of their discovery.
Give Your Guinea Pig Treats And Snacks
In the wild, Guinea Pigs are grazers, which means they eat frequently. While Guinea Pigs should have their primary food available at all times (hay, pellets, etc.), treats and snacks should be offered only occasionally. Some vegetables can be offered daily as a key part of their diet, and others are better in small portions, as snacks.
Fruits and Veggies are Fantastic Guinea Pig Treats and Snacks
|Carrots||Cauliflower leaves and stalks||Celery|
The best treats for a Guinea Pig are fruits and vegetables.
Never feed your Guinea Pig something you not are not absolutely sure is safe. Some common foods that are toxic to Guinea Pigs are potatoes, rhubarb and chili peppers, and there are more.
Guinea Pigs Love Fruits As Treats
Fruits should be offered in certain amounts, and a few times a week only. Some of the best options are kiwis, oranges, pears (with skin intact and seeds removed), apples (with skin intact and seeds removed), watermelon, blueberries and strawberries, etc.
Bell peppers are actually recommended, as they are high in vitamin C. Like humans, Guinea Pigs do not produce vitamin C naturally. Bell peppers are an excellent alternate source, as are oranges and the like.
Be sure to feed fruits in only the directed portions, as they are high in sugar for Guinea Pigs. They should be considered a treat, always.
Guinea Pigs Can Fill Up On Their Favorite Veggies
You can be a bit more generous in feeding your Guinea Pig vegetables. In fact, Guinea Pigs can eat a cup a day of veggies. Providing your Guinea Pig with this variety in their diet will help keep them both entertained, and healthy.
Some veggies to offer your Guinea Pig include: carrot tops and roots, celery (leaves and stalk; remove the stringy bits from the stalk, however, as these can prove a choking hazard), broccoli (in small amounts), and cabbage. The suggested greens are arugula, dandelion greens, and romaine lettuce.
Adopt A Guinea Pig Playmate
Consider adopting another Guinea Pig as a playmate. This will help prevent your Guinea Pig from getting lonely. Guinea Pigs are herd animals (picture a herd of these in the wild!), and a good companion can bring them lifelong joy.
Help Your Guinea Pig Companions Get Along Day-To-Day
Make sure that the cage is large enough to hold the two. Guinea Pigs rarely get into fights, but if they have insufficient space, there may be disputes over territory.
Guinea Pigs also get along best in same-sex pairs, ie. a male with a male or a female with a female (the latter pairing tends to get along more easily).
Otherwise, multiple males will fight over a female. Of course, a male and female pair will mate, so they must be neutered and spayed appropriately. This is why same-sex pairs are usually considered the simplest course.
Try to combine Guinea Pigs with different personalities. Specifically, a dominant, or “Alpha” Guinea Pig with a shyer, more submissive one. An older Guinea Pig and a younger one can be a sound choice, as the young tend to respect the natural hierarchy of age. The only thing to avoid here are feisty youngsters, which might challenge the elder for the position of alpha. In summation, choose the playmate for your Guinea Pig wisely.
Watch Your Guinea Pig Companions Play
After a careful introduction period, and once your Guinea Pigs are comfortable with one another, you will be rewarded with behaviors you would not be able to see in a lone Guinea Pig, like grooming, tug-of-war over snacks and treats, cuddling, etc. A playmate will keep them entertained even when you are not around or are busy.
Take Your Guinea Pig On Small Adventures
Even with a cage stocked with the classic Guinea Pig entertainments, your Guinea Pig may still at times wish to roam free. Taking your Guinea Pig on small adventures will give them a chance to explore. This is a powerful Guinea Pig boredom-buster, as it will stimulate them mentally.
Guinea Pigs can go on adventures inside and outside, provided you take some basic measures for their safety. Let others in the household know your Guinea Pig is out of the cage, and keep them closed off in the room or area where you want them to stay. Keep your Guinea Pig away from the door and open it gently to avoid striking their body.
Outdoors, a little enclosure is your best choice. Keep your Guinea Pig away from garden plants and the like. Never have your Guinea Pig out in weather that exceeds 80 degrees, and in hot weather keep an eye out for hyperthermia.
Indoors, hide cords and any little bits of things they can (but shouldn’t) chew. This includes potted plants, which are often toxic. If these are not stowed out of the way, your Guinea Pig may unwisely decide to give them a try.
Once the area has been made safe for your Guinea Pig, let them roam with their toys. This is a fun time to make tunnels and mazes for them to navigate.
Top 10 Guinea Pig Toys
Conclusion: Stop Your Guinea Pig From Becoming Bored!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to prevent boredom in your Guinea Pig. Simply give the cage a few dynamics, offer some toys, and reward them with some treats. Along with some basic attention and exercise, this is an excellent recipe for making a Guinea Pig happy!