What Makes Guinea Pigs Happy? 

What Makes Guinea Pigs Happy_

We assume that every single guinea pig owner is very interested in whatever their pet love and we always encourage any pet owners to take time to observe everything they can about their pets.

There is no better way to understand your guinea pig and to give him what he wants than observing what he needs with your own eyes. 

So, what makes guinea pigs happy? It takes time to understand what makes your guinea pig happy because every guinea pig is different. Despite their different personalities they all have in common some things that make them happy like hiding in the cage, playing and cuddling with the owner, eating fresh food, living in groups and some other cute and natural things that you will notice with time.

In the following section of the article, we’ve given you a list of things that can bring joy and happiness into the life of your guinea pig.

Keep reading in order to learn how to properly take care of your little guinea pig pet. So, let’s begin.


How to Make a Guinea Pig Happy: A List of Useful Things


Fresh Food

Guniea pigs need Food

Never underestimate how much power food has over animals. The majority of living creatures on this planet love to eat as much and as often as they can. A small number of pets have an actual sense of fullness referring to food.  

If your guinea pig is sad or inactive, think about when was the last time you fed him. It can surprise you how often they love to eat. This is why you have to be careful about their diet. It is better for them to be fed small amounts of food but more often. 

Related: What Is Guinea Pigs Favorite Food?


Living in Groups

Living in the same place as their family is how they naturally live. No pet feels better than in his natural habitat. This is why creating for guinea pigs the conditions they have in the wild is the key to making them happy. 

Also, it can be hard, near to impossible, to adopt a whole family of guinea pigs. You can at least try to get two of them, guinea pigs love to have each other’s company

Guinea pigs can get depressed if they are lonely. If they get depressed, they have a higher risk of getting sick because their bodies are weaker. Please consider everything before getting a pet. You want to help an animal, not to harm him.  

Related: Can Guinea Pigs Live Alone?


Places to Hide

guinea pigs need Places to Hide

This may sound a little strange, to be honest, but just give me a second to explain. Guinea pigs are originally found in the wild and they are prey to other stronger animals. Because of their small size compared to the larger predators, they cannot fight back, so their only chance of survival is to hide away from them.

In the wild, guinea pig’s instinct is to find a hole already dug by some other animal and to hide in it until the danger passes. Because in a cage they are not actually in any danger (at least, in general), they don’t need to hide.

But guess what? After all these years of hiding, nowadays at least, they still love to hide. So, you do not want to put them in danger, but you give them the possibility of hiding.

You can put some cardboard tubes inside their cage or you can put a thicker layer of hay for them to dig it and hide inside. There are lots of ways to provide your guinea pigs small shelters that they will use for hiding.

Related: Top 10 Best Guinea Pig Hideouts (Tubes/Tunnels and Caves)


An Appropriate Cage

This is an obvious thing but a lot of guinea pig owners do not take it into consideration. Guinea pigs are one of the largest rodents kept as pets and they are still kept in cages. You cannot compare a hamster with a guinea pig in size. If a large box of shoes might be enough for a hamster, a guinea pig might not even fit in there. 

Now, speaking seriously, a guinea pig needs a lot of space in order to live a healthy and happy life. If he has a large enough cage, he can learn where are his ‘kitchen’, his ‘bathroom’ and his ‘playground’ located. This is how they will eventually learn how to keep their cage a little bit cleaner.  

When you are buying a cage for your guinea pig, consider another thing, too – they need to be active. Everybody knows that guinea pigs need to be taken out of their cage every day to play around and run a little. 

Besides that, they need a cage that allows them to move and that allows them to play with things you give to them. 


Related: Top 10 Best Guinea Pig Cages in 2020


A Clean Guinea Pig Cage

Not a lot of guinea pig owners know that their pets actually do not like living in a mess. This is very convenient for both of you.

The mess they make has an unpleasant smell, so if you clean it up as soon as you can, you will actually need to do less work later. On the other hand, you will make your little guinea pigs just a little bit happier. 

Related: How to Clean a Guinea Pig Cage: A Step by Step Guide


• Hay and a Lot of It

guinea pigs need Hay

As we have already mentioned, guinea pigs love to eat, hide and play. These are the same reasons why they love hay so much. The thing is that the greener the hay is, the happier it will make the guinea pigs.

Their favorite hay is Timothy hay. They love eating hay and they also love digging and playing in it. 

Related: Best Hay for Guinea Pigs: A Helpful Guide


Affection

This is just as important as everything else but to me personally, it is the most important out of all the other things on the list. 

There is nothing more important to me than the connection between the owner and the pet. Guinea pigs crave that connection. They crave affection and attention, so if you want to have a great relationship, invest your time in developing a friendship with them.  

Guinea pigs love being held, they love to play with people, especially with their owner. They will accept anyone’s affection after they get used to that particular person. They are very kind animals, they rarely bite or scratch. This is why if you show them you are not doing them any harm, you will forever be in their heart. 

Related: Where Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Petted?


Playing

guinea pigs love Playing

Every pet loves to play, so why wouldn’t a guinea pig love that, too? There should be no surprise they love playing around. They love hiding, they consider hiding the same thing as playing, but it is just one of their methods of having fun in their cage. 

Anything they can hide in, chew on or climb on is perfect for them. This is why their favorite toys are shoe-boxes and cardboards. You can always buy them toys from the pet shop, but be careful as some of the toys that claim to be for certain pets can actually be dangerous for them. Please ask a vet or do a little research on your own about those toys before you buy one. 


• Give Them Floor Time

Nobody likes to continuously live in a limited space. Moreover, guinea pigs love to exercise. This is why you need to offer them at least a little bit of your time every day to run around in your house in order to get some exercise.

The best way to do this is to let them run around as much as they want, and after that, you two can cuddle with them a little bit. Then you can put them back in their cage. This will certainly make your guinea pig a lot happier. 


• Pay a Visit to a Vet From Time to Time

guinea pigs need Vet From Time to Time

This is kind of a ‘special’ way of having your guinea pig feel good. A lot of diseases and infections depress your little pig. He might look depressed for no reason, but if nothing of the things we’ve mentioned above don’t work, it is probably sick.

When thinking about avoiding a visit to the vet, just remember that you are better safe than sorry. If you get your guinea pig in time to the vet, it will be easier to treat it so he could recover so much faster.

After recovering, your guinea pet will be happy again. Just do both of you a favor and take it to the vet when the guinea pig looks like it could need that visit. 

What Makes Guinea Pigs Happy_1

Summary

Generally speaking, it is not difficult at all to make a pet happy. Particularly, guinea pigs are even more susceptible to feeling good when they are given what they need.  

The most important things you can offer to a guinea pig are your time and your energy. We are not being absurd, not all of your time and energy, but at least a little bit for them. This is the only way your guinea pigs can figure out that they can trust you and love you back.

As prey animals, they cannot trust anybody and have to always be reassured by their owner that they are not going to get hurt. 

Never forget that your little guinea pigs are very sensitive to anything. They can get depressed easily, so try to put some effort into building your relationship with them and everything will be good. Best of luck!


List of Sources

Donnelly, T. M., Rodent Husbandry and Care, Purdue University, 2007.

White, W. J., Balk, M. W., Lang, C. M., Use of cage space by guineapigs, 1989.

Sachser, N., Lick, C., Social experience, behavior, and stress in guinea pigs, Physiology & Behavior, 1991.

Schneider, R. L., Schiml, P. A., Deak, T., Hennessy, M. B., Persistent sensitization of depressive‐like behavior and thermogenic response during maternal separation in pre‐ and post‐weaning guinea pigs, Developmental Psychobiology, 2011.

National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition 1995., Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1995.

Sachser, N., Of Domestic and Wild Guinea Pigs: Studies in Sociophysiology, Domestication, and Social Evolution, Naturwissenschaften, 1998.

O’Dell, B. L., Morris, E. R., Pickett, E. E., Hogan, A. G., Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs, The Journal of Nutrition, 1957.

Witkowska, A., Price, J., Hughes, C., Smith, D., White, K., Alibhai, A., Rutland, C. S., The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science, 2017.

Cannon, M. D., Emerson, G. A., Dietary Requirements of the Guinea Pig with Reference to the Need for a Special Factor, The Journal of Nutrition, 1939.

Richardson, V., Care of guinea pigs, Veterinary Nursing Journal, 2014.

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.