Dogs are known as very friendly beings as they can easily adapt to any environment and live with different animals. We adopt dogs for different reasons and one of them is not to feel lonely. But, when it comes to living with other animals, dogs can exhibit different behaviors. For example, we have seen dogs living with cats but we have also seen dogs attacking cats whenever they see them.
A cat is definitely able to save itself from the dog. It can climb trees and gain leverage to evade the dog’s attack. Now let’s talk about our other cute little balls of fur – guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs and dogs, can they get along? Yes, guinea pigs can get along with dogs but you have to train your dog not to attack or chase the little guinea pig. If the dog is untrained, their natural instinct is to hunt small animals. It is best to pair a small dog with a guinea pig and train it gradually not to hurt or trample the guinea pig.
Now let’s explore in detail why and how dogs can live in the same environment with a guinea pig.
Different Owners, Different Dog Habits
Before you ask me why I mentioned owners, let me tell you something. Dogs are much like kids. If you behave in a bad way in front of your kids, you directly give them the example of the behavior they THINK they should exhibit. The same goes for dogs. If you socialize your dog, train it, feed it regularly, and give it a lot of love, it will pay off… Extremely! Dogs are great because they always return more than 100% of your investment in them. If you treat a dog poorly, it will behave poorly – it will be either very aggressive or very scared.
Now, what does this have to do with our topic?
Well, look closely. A guinea pig is a very weak and timid animal. It can’t fight against these predatory animals and especially huge dogs. Let’s face it, a dog of every size can easily kill a guinea pig so it’s not all about the size but the BEHAVIOR of the dog. Is it trained to hunt small rodents or cats? If so, a guinea pig wouldn’t live more than 15 minutes with that dog. Some dogs are trained to herd the cattle and those dogs might be great for your needs. Naturally, many dogs will develop the first instinct we mentioned, to hunt small rodents.
Guinea pigs are naturally an attraction for dogs as they love chasing everything that runs from them. Luckily for us, we can subside this instinct and train them to love guinea pigs instead. Small dogs can be especially friendly with guinea pigs because their size is much more comparable and this is why we recommend paring a small dog with a guinea pig. Given the size of an average big dog, if not trained well it can easily trample the guinea pig, hurt it or even kill it in second.
Signs That Indicate That a Dog Isn’t Comfortable near Your Guinea Pig
Growling is a typical sign that a dog is angry, uncomfortable or is ready to attack. Just think what happens when you touch a dog while it’s eating. It will start to growl, which means to back off and if you don’t back off, a dog will usually try to bite you.
Staring and Chasing
If your dog is constantly chasing your guinea pig or is staring at it, it’s a sign that your dog is having problems living with the guinea pig. When chasing, there’s a chance that your guinea pig gets scared or that your dog tramples it and kills/hurts the pig.
Alert and Uneasiness
If your dog isn’t relaxed with the guinea pig, that’s already a bad sign. As for uneasiness, you can easily tell when this happens, your dog will lower his ears back and is constantly under tension. Putting the ears back often means that the dog is relaxed but more often than not, it can also mean it’s in a state of uneasiness or it’s scared.
How to Get My Dog Used to My Guinea Pig?
Do people really own dogs and guinea pigs? Yes! There are thousands of cases where people own dogs and guinea pigs. You can even search for it on YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Does this mean that guinea pigs can live with dogs? Yes… and no. Yes, if your dog is socialized and knows how to behave in front of a guinea pig and no if your dog is aggressive or shows the signs mentioned above.
If we look at the dogs through history, they are probably one of the most versatile domestic animals. In the past, for example, small dogs were trained to hunt rodents. But, at that time, people rarely kept rodents and dogs in their house or yard. As mentioned above, a proper introduction should be your TOP priority.
If you just bought a dog, be sure to introduce it to your guinea pig but very gently. Let them spend some time together while your guinea pig is in the cage. Let the dog do the sniffing from outside the cage, and then continue the introduction.
Another case might be that you just bought a guinea pig. If that’s the situation, then the introduction will be much harder. Dogs are known to keep their territory, especially if we talk about dominant dogs. These dogs will not let a mosquito, let alone a guinea pig be in their territory!
So in case you just bought a guinea pig the best way to introduce your dog and a guinea pig is outside the dog’s territory. If you keep your dog in the house, then go outside or at the park and introduce the guinea pig to your dog. Let the dog carefully sniff it and keep it on the leash. Slowly but surely, your dog should get used to your pig and they will develop a good relationship.
How to Keep a Guinea Pig Safe from Dog?
Since we already gave the answer you needed, it’s time to learn you how to keep your guinea pig safe from the dog, in case your dog is eligible for coexisting with the guinea pig. First of all, your guinea pig should always have its space. The best way to do this is to buy a comfortable guinea pig cage in which your pig can feel relaxed and sleep well. The dog also needs to have its space, a confined space! Let’s say you keep your dog and guinea pig in the house. A guinea pig is in the cage and the dog can either be in his house or roaming around the house.
Depending on the behavior of your dog, you might want to keep both animals closed. If a dog is hyperactive, it may scare the guinea pig or run into its cage and wreak havoc inside. If not, then a dog can be released while guinea pig is in the cage. When the dog is in his space, you can release the guinea pig. This applies to the beginning stages of relationship and bonding. When you see that your dog is having fun with the guinea pig and vice versa, you can then proceed to let both animals out.
Beware that you should NEVER steer your attention away from the animals while they’re together. When they’re playing, you should always be there. Watch closely if your dog misbehaves and if it does, simply correct that behavior or separate the animals. Even the slightest flinch can sometimes mean that your dog is ready to attack, so keep an eye out.
What Does Medicine Say?
We all know that dogs and cats are like magnets for bacteria. When we talk about dogs, they usually have bacteria in their mouth, as they love sniffing around, licking stuff, and eating whatever they think is good for them. Unfortunately, these bacteria can cause respiratory diseases in guinea pigs. Some say that even rabbits represent a threat for a guinea pig, so they should be evaded altogether.
Cats are also known to carry some bacteria with them, which is also a minus for guinea pigs. After all, cats are more likely to hunt and kill a guinea pig than a dog. And believe me, cats are much more skilled at chasing and killing rodents than dogs, so don’t ever let your cat approach the guinea pig.
Final Verdict: Do Dogs Get Along with Guinea Pigs?
Dogs and guinea pigs can get along just fine if the dog isn’t aggressive. Even when the dog isn’t aggressive, it can happen that it just doesn’t like your guinea pig, that’s why it’s important to carefully watch how your dog reacts to the guinea pig. In case your dog is calm and goes along with the guinea pig just fine, you can keep them both in the same place. Beware the bacteria in dog’s mouth, as these can cause respiratory disease in your guinea pig.
Finally, if you don’t want to risk losing your guinea pig, please give your pets constant attention while they’re together. Dogs can easily hurt a guinea pig, even if it isn’t on purpose.