We have just got our guinea pig and it is great! We introduced him to the children and they are excited. Now, some questions are rising. One of the most common questions is do we need to get a new friend for our lovely guinea pig? Is he happy being alone? or he needs a companion, or even if we already have two guinea pigs, is it ok to bring one more?
Yes, we do want to have a friend for our guinea pig. Guinea pigs are very social creatures and they like being together in pairs or small groups. If you have only one guinea pig, I can say that in most cases it’s much better to have him a companion. If you already have 2 guinea pigs, and you are asking if to add a third one into the group, this is totally fine as long as you have not more than one neutered male.
However, before bringing a new companion, there are few important things we must understand and plan – after all, it’s not easy to live with someone you just met!
How Many Guinea Pigs Should I Keep?
Some people will say it’s ok to have only one guinea pig but from my experience, I find it better to go with more than one guinea pig. The guinea pigs do have different types of characters and one can be managed to be lonely but it’s not what I would go with as most guinea pigs are very social and like to be with their own kind. You should also take into account that if that’s the case it will require more time and energy from you for your pet not feeling lonely.
My recommendation is to have at least two guinea pigs. I would personally prefer both females. Some say it’s better to have a mix, but I have two females for a year and they are just great together. If you already have a male guinea pig, bring a neutered female. Sometimes if both are males they can fight so I prefer the mix. Be sure just to have one of them neutered as they like rabbits together! if you know what I mean.
If you plan to have three or more guinea pigs, it’s ok as long as you have only one male, as having more will cause dominance troubles. Just don’t forget to have your male neutered.
In general, if you don’t already have guinea pigs, it is highly recommended getting at least two by the combinations I described above (remember neuter to prevent new little pigs). As we said, these guinea pigs are very social. Also in the wild, they are seen in pairs, small groups, or even in large groups, and always with their own kind.
Can You Put Two Guinea Pigs In The Same Cage?
Two guinea pigs can absolutely live together in the same cage. If you currently have only one guinea pig, think of bringing him a friend. A pair of guinea pigs is better than a single one as guinea pigs are like to be together.
We just need to do the introduction part very carefully and slowly, and better it to be in a neutral area, like a park, or in your outside garden.
How To Introduce Guinea Pigs? Step by Step
First Step – Health
We need to make sure our new guinea pig friend is healthy before start introducing them.
Second Step – Introducing
Don’t enter the new guinea pig in the cage with the other ones. They need to get used to each other. Let them see each other from distance, look at one another, smell, but from a distance. It’s better that way.
Third Step – Moving Closer
After a while, you can go one step further and get the cages one by the other, still not putting them together at the same cage. See if they are squeaking to each other, sniffing each other, or such. I suggest scattering food around so they can feel each other while eating.
Fourth Step – Meeting Time
When you feel your guinea pigs are happy together we can start meeting them together with no barrier. I suggest going to the garden or going out to a park, bringing some veggies, maybe some toys like little wood with a hole inside or any other toy they used to play with.
Now, it’s game time! Put them together and let them play with each other. Keep a very close eye on them as if they start to fight, be prepared to separate them with some kind of long wood, maybe a broom. Be extremely gentle as you don’t want to hurt them. If they keep fighting we need to go back to step one, until they feel secure with one another.
Most of the time, they will behave very nice together and we can continue to the next stage.
The Last Step – Moving Together
Make sure your cage is big enough for both (or three) guinea pigs. These creatures like space. I have seen cases where guinea pigs were fighting and it was because there was not enough room for them together. Keep them with toys so they will not get bored. Keep an eye on their behavior, if they seem happy so we are happy. If you are unsure of their behavior, please write to me in the comments below or contact me and I’ll love to help.
Is It Ok To Have One Guinea Pig?
No, I would not recommend having only one guinea pig.
Having one or more friends for our guinea pig is much better for keeping them happy and healthy. However, the best way is not always possible and I have also seen very aggressive guinea pigs that actually the only way to make them happy is by letting them be on their own.
Take into account that if you finally decide to have only one guinea pig, you need to dedicate at least one or two hours for him each day, so he will remain happy.
Keep in mind that these creatures are basically social and even the aggressive guinea pig, in the long run, will prefer to be with a friend.
How To Keep A Single Guinea Pig Happy?
Having a functional leaving space
Your guinea pig is alone, inside a cage and you must give him a lot of toys as you don’t want him to get bored, places to hide, and large enough space to play. Chew toys are an excellent example of keeping the guinea pig busy for hours and it’s also very good for his dental health.
There are a lot of ideas to keep your solitary guinea pig busy. You can build tunnels from wood, or set a nice “Forrest” from some leaves in the cage.
See that you don’t give your guinea pig all the toys at once. They will get bored quickly. Give them like 1-2 toys each week, and rotate it.
Interacting with your guinea pig
When you have your guinea pig alone, you must consider interacting with him by yourself. It can even be one or more hours from your time.
Guinea pigs are very social animals and they love this interaction. Especially when they are alone.
You can also “talk” with your pig. We know guinea pigs like to hear a voice, some may say they even love to hear music. Calling out their name is a great thing to do also. Put their cage in a place they can see you, it will make them less stressed.
Put them outside of the cage
Our guinea pig is all by himself all day and changes in his living environment, like letting him be on the house floor, can help and be a great refresh. Be very careful when doing that and make sure it’s a closed area which he can’t escape from. Maybe there are some hiding places he can play in or any chewing toys spread around the floor. From my experience, you should do it for at least 1-2 hours a day. It will make your pig happier, and less stressful. If you don’t have the time, other family members, especially the kids would love to do it, believe me, I know.
Guinea pigs are social creatures. I strongly recommend you have more than one guinea pig. Everyone loves to be with a friend sometimes, right? It can be a pair of females or a mix. It can be also more than two while keeping the rules we mentioned. If you already have one guinea pig in the house, make sure you introduce the new one slowly and not set them together at once in the same cage.
Maybe your pig is very aggressive while being with other guinea pigs. If you finally decide, to have your guinea pig by himself, make sure you create him a nice environment with some toys to play in so he will not get bored. Remember, keeping your guinea pig happy keeps you happy!