All guinea pig lovers like us strive to keep their Cavies happy. It’s not rare though to spot the signs of stress in your Guinea pig. In case you find your Cavy stressed and depressed, it’s good to know how to cheer it up!
Provide proper habitat ( spacious, dry, and set in a quiet area of your home), keep your Guinea pig separated from cats and dogs but bring him another guinea pig to keep him company, try to be calm around your pet, handle it gently with a soothing voice, make its living space interesting by putting different toys, keep the room temperature moderate ( between 18-23c or 65-75F).
What Do Guinea Pigs Do When They Are Stressed?
Guinea pigs are prey animals and when something is wrong with them, it’s not always easy to see that because they might hide more than usual. But even that change in behavior may tell you that something is not right with your pet. Other things that could indicate stress in guinea pigs are:
- A lot of sleeping /lethargic behavior/ not moving around too much
- Poor appetite/ changes in eating habits
- Aggressive behavior
- Hair loss
- Head tossing
- Teeth barring
- Chewing the cage bars
What Causes Stress in Guinea Pigs and How To Cheer Them Up?
If your guinea pig is stressed you have to find the cause. First of all, make sure your guinea pigs have a spacious cage for them to explore. Fill the cage with interesting items and provide places for them to hide when scared or simply want to isolate.
- Set a habitat far from too much noise, draft, and direct sunlight.
Guinea pigs are creatures of habit, they don’t like changes, especially because they don’t like to change their living space. So if you have to travel somewhere it’s better to ask someone to take care of your guinea pigs while you are not around, than to take them with you
- Travel and any other change of routine are a great source of stress for guinea pigs. Try not to change your pet’s routine unless it’s really necessary ( you are moving to another house for example)
Guinea pigs are afraid of loud sounds as other prey animals. They also have a very good sense of hearing that helps them survive in wild. In the safety of your home, that good hearing still can bring stress, although they are not in any kind of danger. We already mentioned that their habitat should be placed in a quiet area of your home but also try not to make any type of loud sounds around them
- Make sure your Guinea Pigs enjoy a quiet environment without loud and sudden sounds
They have to be separated from other animals especially cats and dogs because Caives see them as predators so they will make them very stressed.
- Keep your guinea pig safely separated from all large pets since Cavy sees them all as predators.
If you have a new guinea pig do not expect it to be accustomed to you right from the start, it takes time to get to know each other. So take it slowly and when you start petting your new Cavy, make short cuddling sessions, and let them back to their favorite spot till gradually you get to the point you are friends and spend more time petting and enjoying.
- If you have a new guinea pig, be patient with him/her. Start with short cuddling sessions and don’t insist on handling you notice that he/she is anxious and uncomfortable
Children that are handling the pet have to be educated on how to properly handle the guinea pig. If they squeeze their pet too much or hold them the wrong way it can be very stressful for the guinea pig so make sure that elders supervise their interaction at all times.
- Never leave the children alone with a guinea pig, supervise their interaction always.
Guinea pigs are herd animals and basically need another cavy to be happy. It is suggested to have same-sex guinea pigs to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Also, it is much easier to introduce two guinea pigs at a younger age because that way they will easily bond
- Always keep two or more guinea pigs. They are social creatures and will be super unhappy if they live alone
New guinea pigs introduced into the herd can cause stress. First, start with a separate cage next to the herd to get used to each other. After a while, try to put him with the herd and interfere if the situation escalates and separate them.
- Be careful when introducing a new guinea pig. Keep him separate from others in the beginning and then slowly let them get to know each other. Be prepared to jump in and split them if the situation doesn’t go the way you hoped.
Change the toys from time to time, the easiest way is to always keep a 1/3rd of the toys outside the cage and after a while replace those with some of the toys in the cage. Cavies will be happy to explore and play with ”new ” toys and after a while when they forget about the ones you took out, put them back and remove some other toys that they are bored with. Make their habitat interesting.
- Keep rotating the toys in order to keep the guinea pig happy and entertained. Boredom and lack of mental stimulation lead to stress in guinea pigs.
If you plan to make a change in their diet make sure to do the transition slowly because if you replace their food with a new one and they do not like it they become stressed and will stop eating. Also, each guinea pig is different and they can have different tastes in food so make sure that all of them have their preferred food.
- Don’t suddenly change the type of food you feed your guinea pig. Do that transition gradually.
Temperature fluctuations can also affect guinea pigs’ appetites. If the temperature is below 65°F or higher than 75°F guinea pigs become nervous and stressed. Both temperatures outside the range can cause serious conditions especially if the temperature goes over 75°F they get overheated fast and are in danger of stroke.
The main reason is that they do not have sweat glands and they are not able to sweat to cool down.
- Make sure that the temperature around your guinea pigs is monitored and in range.