Every guinea pig parent wants his pet to be happy. For a curious creature such as your Cavy, being entertained is one of the main conditions for a happy and fulfilled life. So there is a tight bond between those two – being happy and entertained.
As being a social critter, your Cavy will be happy if he gets enough interaction with you. But not just, you, your pet needs a company of his kind as well.
A good quality diet with lots of hay, some pellets, and safe fruits and vegetables will help your furry friend to be healthy and in top shape. Interactive surroundings, full of interesting toys will keep the mind of your guinea pig stimulated and busy.
Do Guinea Pigs Need Human Attention to Be Happy? How Can You Interact With Your Guinea Pig?
Absolutely! Even if they have guinea pig buddies in their surroundings, these cute rodents still crave human attention. So your interaction with your pet is highly important for his well-being.
If you still don’t have a guinea pig and consider getting one ( or two), keep in mind that you need to devote some of your time to your pets, providing proper care is just not enough.
What could you do with your guinea pig? Simple things such as daily coat brushing could be a very enjoyable connecting experience.
Sooth talking to your furry friend could also bring him joy and calm. Guinea pigs obviously don’t understand human language but hearing your gentle voice is definitely something they enjoy.
If you take time and learn your Cavy’s language ( both vocal and body ) you could understand what he is ”saying” so after some time you might be able to ”chat” with your pet.
For more details on sounds guinea pigs make you can read our article ”Guinea Pig Sounds and What do they Mean (with audio sounds)”
Hand-feeding is another way to spend some quality time with your pet. Give him some small piece of fruit or veggies every day and see how the bond between the two of you grows stronger.
Avoid picking up your pet. Guinea pigs simply don’t like it as being prey animals and their instinct tells them that only predator picks them up. Better lay down some fleece or blanket to be at the same height level as your pet.
Playtime is also something that could strengthen your relationship. You can drag a toy across the floor on the ribbon. Or you can roll the ball to your pet. When you lay down, play ”dead” and see what your pet will do, will he come to you to explore?
You can also play a very soft and gentle ”peek-a-boo” game. Lie on the floor, take a blanket, and cover your head. Remove it slowly ( remember that any sudden movement terrifies your Cavy) and say ”peek-a-boo”!
After that you put a blanket near your Cavy, giving him a chance to burrow into it. If he does that, remove it gently and say ”peek-a-boo”.
Guinea pigs love the crumpling sound. You can take a plain paper and crumple it to make a ball and roll it to your furry pal.
Whatever you do, bear in mind that guinea pigs have very sensitive hearing so avoid any games that involve loud sounds. Never ever chase your furry friend, as this is another activity only predators do.
Remember that guinea pigs are not all the same. Each of them has its own personality. Some Cavies like more games that include chewing on things while others prefer tossing and rolling objects. You won’t know until you try.
Do Guinea Pigs Need Interaction With Other Guinea Pigs?
Yes, guinea pigs are extremely social animals and need company of the same kind.
In the wild, guinea pigs live in herds and communicate with each other using both vocal and body language. Guinea pigs in captivity have no different needs comparing to their cousins in the wild.
Therefore, a guinea pig in your home requires at least another piggy buddy not to feel lonely. A solitary life is simply not their cup of tea.
If you force a guinea pig to live alone ( as you don’t have a budget, a room, or need to get another guinea pig), he will be very confused and lifeless. He certainly won’t be happy as solo life is not a natural way of living for guinea pigs.
Although guinea pigs like to live in a herd or at least in a pair be prepared for a transitional periods which are not always smooth and easy.
If you have a pair of Cavies and one of them dies, another one will be so sad that most probably won’t accept a new cage mate so quickly. Give him some time.
If you already have an adult guinea pig and bring another mature Cavy, the interaction between the two of them might not go smoothly at first. Even aggressive behavior is quite normal in this case.
If you would like to know more about guinea pig’s behavior and how to understand it read our article ”How To Understand My Guinea Pig? Guide To Guinea Pig’s Body Language”
Experienced owners say that it is better to keep two female guinea pigs instead of two males as fights are rarer in females pairs. If you have a neutered male, you can put him with a female, this combination is also very good.
Guinea Pig’s Diet – Another Way To Make Your Pet Happy?
If your Cavy is eating incorrectly, he lives very unhappy life. Why is that?
An unbalanced diet leads to many digestive issues and poor diet has a very bad influence on your pet’s mood and general health.
Imagine that your pet is feeling weak, sick. He doesn’t have energy. Maybe he feels some pain or discomfort. He struggling with gases and itchy skin. Do you really think he could be happy in these circumstances? An unhealthy diet will significantly decrease the quality of life.
Guinea pigs are herbivores so their fully balanced and complete diet should contain an unlimited amount of quality hay ( second or third cut, no dust, fresh and green in color, no mold nor wetness ), a very limited amount of pellets designed for guinea pigs ( about 1/8 cup once a day) and small amounts of safe fruit and /vegetables, served occasionally as treats.
Make sure your feed your Cavy with vitamin C -fortified pellets as well as fruits and veggies which contain vitamin C, as guinea pigs are not able to produce this essential vitamin on their own ( same as humans)
Guinea pigs need a lot of fibers. Diet rich in fibers will help your Cavy stay fit and prevent obesity, reduce soft stools and help with bloats. Leafy greens and veggies are full of micro nutrients your Cavy needs. But don’t overdo with fresh food. If you do, your Cavy may suffer from diarrhea. If this happens cut off fresh food for a couple of days and than reintroduce it again very gradually in smaller portions.
Avoid feeding your guinea pig with food rich in starch, sugars and carbohydrates. All of these can bring misery to your Cavy, harming his digestive tract, provoking gases and other gastrointestinal issues.
If your Cavy has a poor diet, low in fibers and veggies, you risk he gets some nasty urinary tract infection caused by bacteria.
As you can see your guinea pig needs a balanced and quality diet in order to be a happy and healthy pet.
How To Keep My Guinea Pig Entertained?
Although you will spend some time interacting with your pet, he still needs some entertainment when you are not around. Guinea pigs are active at dusk and dawn.
During the day, they have some naps but they generally don’t sleep a lot. So they have a lot of spare time during which you are not always available. How to keep them entertained then?
Give Your Guinea Pig Something to Hide In
Guinea pigs are prey animals and hiding is part of their everyday life. They feel cozy and secure when they hide. Although they are not in any danger inside your house, they don’t have your brain to understand that.
That is why you should provide some interesting hiding spots. Remember that each guinea pig in your household should have his own hiding spot.
You are able to find tons of different hideouts either in pet shops or online. They could be made of wood (a great variety of houses or flexible sticks hideouts ) which is perfect for your chewing friend. The downside is that you would need to replace the ”house” after some time in case you have a big fan of carpentry work.
Another commercial classic is ”pigloo” or an igloo for guinea pigs made of sturdy plastic, easy to clean, comes in a variety of colors, will provide the perfect hideout for your furry friend.
Different kinds of tunnels. Many guinea pigs are running through the tunnels but some of them like to hide inside the tunnel. Tunnels are made of different materials and fabrics but definitely are a great thing to enrich your Cavy’s cage and keep him busy.
A homemade version can be made of sisal rope ( if you have patience and know-how to do it. There is a great video on youtube about this ) or you can use some longer rectangular shipping cardboard boxes or fleece to make a soft tunnel your Cavy will enjoy.
If you dislike commercial stuff, you can make the hideout for your guinea pig on your own. That could be a larger cardboard box, paper bag, or simple cereal box.
You need a pair of scissors and a couple of minutes to turn a cardboard box into a perfect guinea pig’s hideout. If you have the know-how and tools, you can make something more sophisticated such as a wooden house.
If you like a flexible sticks bridge and you would like to make something similar at your home, instead of buying it in a pet shop, you can use paper towel rolls. Search for the video on Youtube where the whole process is explained in detail.
Give Your Guinea Pig Something To Chew On
Guinea pigs like to chew on different things. It’s not about love, chewing is also necessity for guinea pigs as they need to wear down their teeth regularly to avoid overgrown teeth and many problems that come along with this.
Hay and pellets are doing a part of this work. Constant chewing on hay provides high fiber content to your guinea pig and keeps his teeth short and healthy.
Remember to place above the floor level which will force your Cavy to stretch a little bit which is excellent for his body.
Guinea pigs like variety, so hay is irreplaceable but you should provide some other items they could chew on. Carboard stuff is perfect.
For example, a cardboard box turned into a hiding place is a chewing delicacy at the same time. The same as a wooden house. Of course, you will find a great variety of chewing toys online or in pet shops.
The bottom line is that your Cavy can chew on safe types of wood (hickory, maple, apple, or oak, but only if not chemically treated ), paper ( without any dye or ink ), cardboard (without any dye, ink, glitters, glue, tapes, etc ). Your Cavy shouldn’t chew on plastic toys as he can swallow some small piece of plastic which could make a big problem.
Your Cavy would be happy to chew on different things such as small pieces of cucumber or carrot, as well as apple or blueberry. You can hide some of these tasty snacks somewhere in their cage and watch your pet super busy and entertained while looking for them.
Another great idea is to combine a tasty snack with some chewing material. For example, you can put some nice herbs or hay in the paper bag sack. Double pleasure! Your Cavy can chew on paper and then enjoy a tasty and healthy snack.
Give Your Guinea Pig Some Out of Cage Fun Time
No matter how hard you try to enrich your guinea pig’s habitat by adding different toys, hideouts, and other entertaining things, your Cavy needs some time out of the cage every day.
Guinea pigs are not good climbers, they feel the best at the ground floor level so they need a fairly large hutch /cage. Even if you provide a cage that is big enough, they still need to see ( and sniff) the world behind boundaries.
Those out of the cage fun trips must be always supervised and preferably performed in a guinea pig proofed room ( cover electrical cords, remove any floor level hazards- medications, poisons plants, other pets), for a safety of your pets.
If you are not sure that they will be 100% safe, maybe you can place a playpen and let them inside it. Ok, they have boundaries again but at least they have a new terrain to explore.
You can also make ”a house tour”. Take your furry friend on a tour around your house. You can carry him in your hands and if he dislikes this idea, use a travel enclosure. Let him explore and sniff closely some things and parts of your home you think he might be interested in.
Out of the cage play time is super important as it give a great opportunity to guinea pigs to exercise which needs to be part of their daily routine.
To make this playtime even more interesting you can make some basic maze or obstacle courses. Again you can use cardboard to build the maze, your Cavy will be thrilled with.
They love these kinds of activities. Don’t forget to give them some treats once they complete the maze or obstacle course and reach the finish line.
What Are The Signs That Your Guinea Pig Is Bored?
As guinea pigs communicate both with vocal and body language, be sure that they will show you if they are unhappy with the current situation and their environment.
Vocal language signs :
Apart from vocal language signs, if your guinea pig is bored he won’t be interested in regular daily play activities. He will be more passive and you will notice a lack of interest and energy.
We don’t need to speak about the reason why one guinea big might become bored as this whole article is about that but let’s make it the shortest possible.
Your guinea pig is bored because :
- Doesn’t have enough interaction with you nor with other guinea pig buddies
- Doesn’t have a proper diet
- His cage is too small or too dull or he spends most of his time in it, hardly ever goes out
- He doesn’t have interesting toys to keep them busy and entertained
It’s quite easy to understand what do you need to do to solve this situation and make your guinea pig happier and more entertained but let me add a few more tips.
Although guinea pigs have very sensitive hearing and dislike loud sounds, it would be nice to place your guinea pig’s cage somewhere in your home where is pretty active during the day. This way your pets would feel more connected with humans they like.
Some toys you put have a very short expiry date, as your pets simply chew on them completely, so you need to add new toys from time to time. Make sure you add different toys every time.
If you have long-lasting toys, try to rotate them, place one or two in the cage, and after a week or two, replace them with another two toys and so on.
Guinea pigs are clever creatures that like to be busy. They are curious, like to explore. They are friendly and social critters that like to be in the company of their humans and other guinea pigs. Solitary life makes them miserable and confused.
They need a large cage with plenty of interactive toys, hideouts, and chewing things but they also like to peek outside the cage as well.
Daily exercise and quality diet keep them fit and healthy.
So if your goal is to make your guinea pig happy and entertained, you know what you need to do. It’s not hard work but the pleasure is immense.