Guinea Pig Companionship and Bonding
Guinea pigs are herd animals and require the company of their own kind to effectively communicate and express themselves. Imagine if you were the only human and couldn’t even talk to another person who could understand you and keep you company!Having two guinea pigs or more will enrich your guinea pigs life and also provide you with the chance to observe all the wonderful sounds and different behaviours your guinea pig can only express with another cavy.
Benefits of Adopting a Companion for your Guinea Pig
Adequate Exercise: Guinea pigs require daily exercise in order to maintain a good quality of health and also to increase their mental stimulation and prevent them from becoming complacent. A companion will assist in letting your guinea pig express themselves.
Varied Diet: Guinea pigs are known for their reputation when it comes to enjoying food. Often when a guinea pig is by themselves they do not have any other guinea pigs to teach them which foods are the right ones to eat and may refuse to each some vegetables you offer them.
Mental Stimulation and Behaviour: A guinea pigs natural instinct is to be with its own kind and having a companion will allow you to assist your guinea pig in being as healthy and happy as possible.
Males or Females?
Guineas pigs need to establish dominance in order to have a successful herd. Sometimes guinea pigs may get along straight away and it may take weeks, months or may not get along at all. Don’t give up on a pairing it can take sometime. Guinea Pigs Australia highly advises same sex pairs i.e. two males or two females. Do not breed your guinea pigs! There are numerous risks involved and many homeless guinea pigs who require a loving home can be adopted instead. Opt to Adopt!
Male Guinea Pig Pairs
Male guinea pigs need at least 2.25SqM of cage space in order establish dominance and also be able to have a time out area where they can get away from their cage mate and have some time alone.
Female Guinea Pig Pairs
Female guinea pigs can be bonded in much larger groups in comparison to males however there are some owners who have reported of up to 8 males living happily together. It depends on the “personality “ of the guinea pig. If two females have a very dominant personality they may not get along at all despite your best efforts. Having a large cage is also key to ensuring a successful introduction.
Tips to Choosing Your Guinea Pig a Companion
Age: A younger guinea pig paired with an older guinea pig may help establish a natural hierarchy.
Size: The size of a guinea pig can also help establish a good bond. The larger guinea pig will usually be the “boss” whereas the smaller cavy will be subservient in the pairingCage Size: Your guinea pigs require adequate space in order to establish a new bond. Essentially they need an area to “time out” and having a large enough cage to effectively achieve this is vital.
Neutral Area: Guinea pigs are able to mark their territory via adanal glands located just above where the “tail” would have been. When introducing a guinea pig into an established environment it is important to thoroughly clean the cage where both guinea pigs will be housed in order to ensure that there will not be any conflicting scents on bedding, housing or cage accessories.
How to Hold Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs require gentle handling and extreme care to ensure their spine, legs and body are all supported when being lifted to and from their cage. They also have fragile bones and internal organs so care must be taken to ensure you do not squeeze the guinea pig but keep a gentle yet firm hold.
It is strongly advised that if any children are holding a guinea pig that it is only in thepresence of adult supervision.