Despite their small size, guinea pigs can be complex creatures. This is because they are extremely sociable. Even in the wild, guinea pigs travel in herds. Guinea pigs are also largely docile. Aside from a few disputes on the part of males over females, guinea pigs tend to get along swimmingly. But how can you tell if your guinea pig is happy?
Lets find out and look for the 5 Tell-Tail Signs.
Getting along with others is one way to tell that your guinea pig is happy. There are a few other key ways to judge the mood of your guinea pig clearly.
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Here are 5 tell-tail signs that your guinea pig is happy!
1. A healthy appetite is a sign that your Guinea Pig is happy
Guinea Pigs graze almost constantly. If your guinea pig expresses excitement about food and eats well (but not to excess), this is a good indication that they are happy! Of course, in order to maintain a healthy appetite, a guinea pig must be fed frequently, and properly.
The dietary requirements of guinea pigs are simple. They need plenty of grass hay, which must be available at all times of the day. This they will eat both for energy, and to chew in order to keep their teeth healthy. Guinea pigs also delight in burrowing and creating dens in hay.
We use Kaytee Timothy Hay which we purchase from Amazon in double 96oz bags. These are great value with next day delivery.
Read the customer reviews here on Amazon.
Along with hay, roughly a cup of vegetables should be fed to your guinea pig daily.
While there are many great veggie choices for guinea pigs, some are better than others. For example, cauliflower leaves are a good staple for the diet of any guinea pig. Some other extra nutritious options are carrots, cucumbers, cress, romaine lettuce (red lettuce and butterhead lettuce are okay, too), and bok choy.
Provide fresh water for your guinea pig daily.
When a guinea pig experiences neglect or is fed improperly, it will suffer physically and emotionally. Should your guinea pig show any behavioral changes, such as becoming lethargic, unfriendly, or disinterested in food, consider a visit to the vet; your guinea pig may be sick.
To prevent this, be aware of some seemingly harmless but toxic foods like potatoes, rhubarb, beans, dill (look out for this in mixed salads), etc.
2. A happy Guinea Pig will display plenty of energy
Guinea pigs are extremely active naturally. You can tell when your guinea pigs have energy because they will be active, curious and perky. A lively guinea pig will spend its day grazing, burrowing, playing, and much more.
Given their moderate to high energy levels, guinea pigs should have plenty of ways to get out their wiggles every day. Nothing compares to a good outdoor run that simulates a miniature assault course. Lots of ramps, tunnels and small obsticales to climb over.
Ensure the outdoor guinea pig compound is safe and secure so they don’t escape and now cats or dogs can get in to pester and upset your guinea pig.
Adventures outside of the cage are important, too. First, clear an area of any dangerous items. Indoors, this means cords and other things they might chew. Put potted plants well out of the way, as they are toxic, usually.
Close the door to the room and let people know that your guinea pig is out, so they do not accidentally hurt the guinea pig by opening the door too quickly. It’s smartest to keep your guinea pig completely away from the door area.
If You Are Careful Your Guinea Pig Will Enjoy Going Outside
Outdoors, there are two things that are very important to remember: prevent your guinea pig from getting into potentially toxic plants and make sure that they do not suffer from hyperthermia.
Either of these things can prove deadly. Should your guinea pig get into something they should not have, or if they show signs of overheating, get them to the vet immediately.
Luckily, hyperthermia can be avoided in a straight-forward way. Never let your guinea pig out in weather that exceeds 80 degrees. Even in 80-degree weather, you will want to keep an eye.
Fence your guinea pig in and away from the garden, weeds and any other plants they might unwisely decide to sample. Even plants that are technically guinea pig-safe can do them harm in excess. Really, your guinea pig should not eat anything that you have not offered to them specifically, like grass hay, or the carefully portioned cup of veggies each day.
3. Happy Guinea Pigs are sociable and friendly
A little-known fact about guinea pigs is that they are herd creatures! They travel in groups, with the older leading the younger in a hierarchy. It makes sense, then, that guinea pigs are accustomed to company. A well-adjusted and happy guinea pig will, by nature, be sociable and friendly.
Pair Guinea Pigs Rather Than Keeping Only One
Of course, a guinea pig can hardly socialize if it does not have any friends. This is why it is recommended to keep guinea pigs in pairs, typically a female with a female or male with a male. Pairs of females tend to get along the best, since they are less inclined to fight over territory and the like.
You can keep more than two guinea pigs together, but be sure to expand the cage accordingly.
Do not keep males and females in the same cage or even around each other if you do not wish them to mate. It is not advised to mate your guinea pigs without first doing plenty of research, ensuring the young will have homes and the necessary spaying and neutering, and so on. Use care.
Earn The Love Of Your Guinea Pig With Affection, Treats And Play
Once you have a friend for your guinea pig, you will be able to observe behaviors you may not have seen before, such as grooming, cuddling, good-natured tugs-of-war over treats, etc. A companion will help meet the needs of a guinea pig socially.
Some worry that their guinea pig may give all of their attention to the other guinea pig, and lose interest in them personally. This will only be the case if you do not take the time to bestow affection, treats, and play.
As with most animals, if you give a Guinea Pig attention, you will receive tenfold more. Guinea pigs are in fact willing to make friends with multiple people. This is the main reason it is suggested that they are kept in a lively area of the house: the interaction helps keep the sociable guinea pig happy.
4. A happy Guinea Pig loves to play
This is one of the ways that guinea pigs really shine. Introduce the lively creatures to some fun games, like treat-on-a-string. As the name implies, this game entails a guinea-pig safe treat, like fruit or high-sugar veggie, pulled on a string. Guinea pigs are quite spunky and love a good chase. This is a fantastic way to train their foraging skills.
Another excellent game is one where you hide the treats in places that are hard to reach (by guinea pig standards). This will encourage them to really put effort into their foraging, and stretch out their muscles when they have to stand up or crawl places to reach treats. The game will stimulate all of their senses, as they use their noses and eyes alike to seek.
Well-adjusted guinea pigs will also express interest in games with their playmates (such as the aforementioned tug-of-war, as well as chase, hide and seek, and a few other activities – which are amusing to watch!).
TOP TIP: Guinea pigs get bored quickly. Here are some guinea pig boredom busting ideas.
Guinea Pigs will cherish a variety of toys
Expressing an interest in toys is a sign of a healthy mentality. So, be sure to get your guinea pig plenty of toys.
Fortunately, when it comes to entertainment, guinea pigs are not picky fellows! One of their fondest amusements is paper, crushed into a ball so that it crinkles. Guinea pigs love the sound of a good crinkle. Also, make crumpled paper walkways, and roll up paper into a tube to make tunnels for them to traverse.
Some other favorites are ping pong balls and tennis balls. Guinea pigs like to push these around, crawl on them, and chase.
Always include chew toys. These help with guinea pig dental health and they seem to find a lot of entertainment whiling away their time gnawing at toys such as these.
Make some creative toys.
Guinea pigs are known to enjoy little tunnel systems, and are even clever enough to navigate mazes! Should you feel like getting fancy with your crafts, make some of these, or even some buildings and caves for your guinea pig to explore.
Give your guinea pig a classic homemade toy. This is made from a clean cotton sock, filled with clean grass hay and tied off at one end to make a pillow. Guinea pigs treat these makeshift pillows like stuffed animals, cuddling them and keeping them close. They also delight in chewing holes in the pillows.
5. Guinea Pigs hop and squeak with joy when they are happy
Guinea pigs are very expressive, both vocally and physically. This comes to the fore charmingly when guinea pigs are excited or happy. Guinea pigs are actually known for making a unique sound, called a “wheek.”
As the name implies, this sound is similar to any airy squeak. They emit this when they are excited for a visit, for a trip out of the cage, for food or treats, and even during play. Like all animals, guinea pigs do vary individually in how talkative they are. But you are sure to hear this characteristic “wheek” noise frequently if your guinea pig is happy.
As if this were not cute enough, guinea pigs also jump, an action called “popcorning.” Much like bunnies, when a guinea pig is happy enough, they will literally hop with joy!
Pay close attention to see what your Guinea Pig is trying to say
Guinea pigs will also purr, and warble. If you are petting your guinea pig, and they seem relaxed, a purr is an indication that they are very happy. A purr is only a negative sign if your guinea pig seems agitated in any way.
Warbles, on the other hand, can mean one of many things. Pay attention to the tone of their speech. Sometimes warbles are complaints, or really whimpers of anxiety; sometimes they are enthusiastic sounds, and clearly happy.
If your guinea pig freezes up, chatters, or shrieks, they are experiencing some distress. Be sure to comfort them and address the stressor swiftly.
As you can see, when it comes to their feelings, guinea pigs are very expressive! Simply pay attention to context, i.e. whether a situation is a stressful or relaxed one, and tone, i.e. whether your guinea pig sounds pleased, or unhappy.
Responding to the emotional needs of your guinea pig will help them feel understood, and their trust will increase. You may even notice them making similar efforts to respond correctly to your moods and desires. This might be in the form of better behavior, greater affection, and more.
Conclusion: How Can You Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Happy?
Animals are selfless creatures. Guinea pigs, in particular, have a sweet nature. If you go out of your way to make your guinea pig feel comfortable and happy, in return they will do their best to make you happy!
Guinea pigs show and express their emotions more than any other small pet I know. So, look out for those tell-tail signs and make your guinea pig happy.