You never want your pet to feel lonely. As humans, we often crave companionship and seek out friends and family. Our furry friends have a harder time expressing themselves, and they cannot as easily find companionship when they need it.
When I first started researching guinea pigs, before adding one to my family, I was surprised to learn that they are pack animals. These creatures are naturally very social and enjoy spending time with others in their species. I was originally planning to just get one cavy, but after doing some research I changed my mind. Keep reading to learn about guinea pigs and their need for companionship.
Is it ok to have one guinea pig?
It is possible to have just one guinea pig, but I do not recommend it. If you only want one cavy, there are some important steps to follow to keep them happy without a companion. Some people are unable to house multiple pets at a time, but you still need to ensure your piggy is healthy and secure in its environment.
Provide enough entertainment.
- If your piggy does not have a cage mate, they can easily get bored. They will lack stimulation when they spend most of their time alone.
- Fill their crate with plenty of toys to play with and items to chew.
- Provide hiding structures for them to run around or have a snack in.
- Crumbled up paper and cardboard can make excellent chewing material.
Garden with your cavy.
- They will like to be outside with you while you plant and maintain a garden.
- Make sure your garden is fenced in so they cannot run away.
- Keep them away from any plants that could be poisonous.
Let your pet out in your home.
- They may get bored by spending all of their time alone in a cage.
- Limit the space they can occupy in your house.
- Pick up anything that can hurt them or anything they can chew on.
- Block off any places where they could hide from you or get stuck.
Monitor their health.
Regulate the temperature of their room.
- If they do not have a cage mate, they could easily become cold.
- Guinea pigs often huddle together for warmth.
- Keep the room with your piggy’s crate at about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Play with them.
- Talk to your pet to establish a relationship.
- Let them set the pace of your interactions.
- Have them sniff your hand before picking them up.
- Spend time petting them and holding them once they are acclimated to you.
Give them a fake companion.
- Consider adding a mirror in their crate for them to look at.
- A soft toy about the same size as your piggy can provide some level of companionship.
Do guinea pigs get lonely on their own?
Yes, guinea pigs get lonely on their own. They are naturally very social, and they live in packs in the wild. They rely on each other for warmth, staying active, and gathering food. If you only have one piggy, they can easily become lonely.
What animals can live with a guinea pig?
Guinea pigs are best kept with others of their species. Keeping different types of animals together can be dangerous. Larger animals may hurt them, and smaller animals may be hurt by them. Since cavies all share the same diet, it is safe to keep them in the same crate. However, you should be careful about mixing the sexes together because I have found that this may lead to fighting. Follow these tips when housing your guinea pigs together.
- Two females (sows) can live together.
- Two males (boars) can live together.
- It is easier to keep them together if they are siblings or similar in age.
- Only keep a female and male together if they are neutered or spayed.
- Three females can live together (but they may fight).
- One male can live with two females.
- Never put more than one male in a cage with a female.
Do guinea pigs need a friend to live with?
Most of the time it is best to give your guinea pig a friend. I’ve found that housing two cavies of the same gender together is the best situation. They are less likely to fight, and they will greatly enjoy each other’s company. They often like to play together and just spend time near one another.
Having a cage mate will keep your piggy’s brain stimulated and help them get the activity they need to stay healthy. By keeping guinea pigs of similar ages together, you can ensure they have the same activity level and dietary needs. Most cavies enjoy having another pet in their crate, and they may get sad if their companion dies.
Do guinea pigs die of loneliness?
Unfortunately, guinea pigs can die of loneliness. They love to be with animals of their own kind. In fact, it is in their nature to be part of a herd. When they are alone for too long, it can greatly impact their psychological and physical well-being.
Guinea pig herds tend to consist of ten animals or more. When a pet piggy is left alone, they can easily become depressed. They may stop eating or drinking. They could also stop getting any exercise and become sedentary. All of these issues can lead to health concerns and eventually death if they never get a companion.
Can I leave my guinea pig alone for two days?
I do not recommend leaving your guinea pigs alone for two days. Even if you provide enough hay and pellets for the time you will be gone, they could easily overeat or experience other issues. If you are leaving one day and coming back the next, they may be okay overnight. You should make sure to put enough vegetables and hay in their crate and provide an extra water bottle.
How long can I leave my guinea pig alone?
Leaving your guinea pig alone for more than 24 hours can have terrible consequences. I’ve found that my cavies are just fine at home alone when I am at work all day. However, they could easily become ill if I am gone for much longer than that. The temperature of your house could change, or they may run out of food. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you leave them on their own, which is why I recommend boarding them or having a friend check on them while you’re gone.
Guinea pigs are better in pairs. While it is possible for them to live on their own, they do best when they have a companion. They are more active and healthier as well as happier overall. If you are considering adding a guinea pig to your family, I recommend planning to purchase at least two animals instead of just one.