Are Guinea Pigs Affectionate Pets?

Are Guinea Pigs Affectionate Pets

I’m sure that everybody wants to know everything about the pet they are going to get. Guinea pigs are one of the most popular pets, and I guess most of the animal lovers consider getting a guinea pig. If you would like to know more about their behavior, especially about how affectionate they are, then you are reading the perfect article.

Are guinea pigs affectionate pets? Well, the answer depends on the owner’s behavior. So if you are gentle and you help them adapt to their new home, your pet should be very affectionate. On the other hand, if you make them feel in danger, of course, they will be afraid of you, and they will not be affectionate. So my honest opinion is that the pet-owner relationship is up to the owner even if the answer to the question tends to be ‘yes.’ Scientifically speaking researches show that guinea pigs are indeed affectionate pets as they live in very bonded groups.

If you plan on getting a guinea pig, you should know by now that in the wild nature, they are prey animals. It is not a surprise knowing their small size. As prey animals, situated at the bottom of the food chain, they are always on alert, and it’s hard for them to feel safe. They can sleep with their eyes open.

Guinea Pigs As Socially Active Animals

These little creatures naturally live in groups, making them as happier as they can be. If your pet is not affectionate and it’s the only guinea pig you currently have, this might be the reason. The bigger their group, the safer and happier they feel.

The quickest way to the heart is through the stomach.

This old expression is genuine when it comes to guinea pigs. You should always give them food when they finish what you already put in the cage. Another great tip that falls into this category is that whenever you provide them with food, you should talk to them making them feel secure around you.

Also, when you feed them, let them sniff and lick your fingers. This way they can make contact with you, and they will recognize your scent the next time you are close to them.

So, don’t worry! Once they recognize you as their source of delicious food, their affection for you will grow substantially.

They Need Your Time

The only way to get your guinea pig to be affectionate is for you to build a relationship with them.

How are you supposed to do that?

The first thing you need to know is that building and maintaining a relationship with them is very time-consuming. If you get to earn their trust, they will require you every day to hang out or play or cuddle with them.

Don’t make a mistake to get a guinea pig if you know you won’t have the time to give him love. This can make both of you (you and the little guinea pig) very upset!

Your First Weeks As Roommates

You need to know a lot about guinea pigs before buying one, but you always have to keep in mind that they are prey animals, it’s their nature, and there’s nothing you can do about their constant fear of being in danger. All you can do is make them feel safe and create a connection with them despite their nature.

To accomplish that, your first weeks together are the most important.

Firstly, always give them what they need. There should always be hay in their cage, and their cage needs to be clean. They should always have water.

A common mistake that most owners do is not letting their new pet to settle in their home and to get to know their surroundings. In the first days, it would be the best if you would resist to take them out of their cage. They need their space and time to get comfortable in their new home.

A good tip is to talk to them, to make them aware that you belong to their surroundings and you are no danger to them. But be gentle when talking as they are pretty jumpy animals (any strange little thing might scare them or put them in biological alert).

I have already talked about why it’s important to earn your guinea pig’s trust. Another great way to do that is by extending your fingers through the bars and let your pet sniff and lick them.

Be careful: your guinea pig might think that your fingers are baby carrots so he might take a bite.

To sum this up, you need to always be gentle and precautious and don’t freak them out! Once they consider you are some danger to them, it’s hard to change their feeling about you.

Their Highest Point Of Affection

I think we all want our pets to show affection back to us.

But did you ever think about it?

What if they show us affection and we misinterpret it?

This is why I will tell you about how a guinea pig behaves when he likes his owner.

When they see you as their source of food, their love will grow substantially. You will feel them more empathetic with you.

Licking their owner might be one of their ways of showing you their affection. This is one of their methods of recognizing your being by taste and smell, to be sure whether you are dangerous or not (depending on how you treated them).

I think their most obvious way of showing affection is by lying up against their owner. This behavior surely reflects love, especially when the owner is sad and he is not in the mood to play with his guinea pig. If your guinea pig lies up against you when you feel this way, you are a very lucky guinea pig owner.

Of course, another obvious one is to have your little buddy wait for you to come home. Whether they run to welcome you back or rest their heads on the edge of their cage, you have certainly accomplished creating a strong bond between you and your pet.

Their Ways Of Showing They Feel Insecure

You should pay a lot of attention to you guinea pig behavior, especially in their first days or weeks in their home if you want to live in peace together.

The first red flag that should make you ring a bell is “hiding.” If your little guinea pig is hiding in its cage when you want to feed him or when you come close to him, then you should be worried.

Their instinct is to hide as they are prey animals and they cannot fight back. So if they tend to hide under the hay in their cages or the corners of the cage, they certainly feel in danger when you are around.

Other signs that your pet doesn’t like you are:

  • not eating from your hand
  • not relaxing when you scratch or brush their fur
  • if they do not enjoy to be in your lap

Tips On How To Make Your Little Friend Like You (More)

The most important thing about creating a strong bond with your guinea pig is being consistent and not giving up. They are animals with personalities; while some may be comfortable with their owners in 3 days, others may need some years to feel secure around their owner.

This means you need to feed them (try to feed them directly from your hand though), provide them with a clean and comfortable home and to show them affection.

Try spending more time talking to them or scratching their head. Try to cuddle with them. Never lose your hope and try to spend as much time as you can with them. It might seem pointless and overwhelming, but when you eventually succeed, it will be worth it for sure.

It depends on their personality how long it takes for that bond to create if you are indeed a good owner.


As prey animals, you cannot expect that guinea pigs are affectionate pets, but in their social groups, they are socially active and very affectionate. Furthermore, they have their unique personalities: some may be more easy-going while others may be less receptive to the love their owners offer.

Ultimately, everything falls on the owner’s shoulders. In the majority of the time, the way you treat your little guinea pig is the way he will treat you. But there are exceptions: you need to be very patient and to show your small pet how much you love them.

There is no point in giving up, and most likely, they will eventually come around.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.