Guinea pigs can live alone but it is advisable to have them in pairs or groups. However, all this will depend on several determining factors.
Just like humans, most creatures will not appreciate solitude. Most pet owners will keep their pets differently either alone, as groups, or in pairs. Thought about guinea pigs?
If you are a guinea pig owner or planning to be one, you probably wondering if one is okay. In this article, we give you all the insights and clarify any issues related to this matter.
Is it ok to Have One Guinea Pig?
Having one guinea pig is okay but this will require a lot of petting. Cavies are naturally social animals meaning they love to interact and socialize with other pets. Therefore, when you rear one, you will need to compensate for the company it needs.
Additionally, cavies will at times need to be kept alone due to their behaviors. Just like mankind, animals have their personality and temperaments.
Some may be aggressive and overly dominant. Such pets will cause chaos in the cages hence the need to keep them alone.
Do all Cavies Fit in the Same Cage?
Are there any specifics to consider when keeping guinea pigs in groups? Ideally, all cavies will co-habit well as long as you provide enough resources like food, water, toys, etc. The cage should also be spacious enough to accommodate the number of pets available.
However, it is advisable not to put too many males in the same cage to avoid excess fighting for dominance. Normally, male guinea pigs establish dominance among themselves. The high the number, the difficult it is to establish a dominant male.
Moreover, keeping two boars (male cavy) with one female will cause aggressiveness among the males. This is caused by their pursuit of the same female.
How do you Keep One Guinea Pig Happy?
As mentioned earlier, these pets are very social hence keeping them happy will involve a lot. Firstly, you have to ensure they have everything they need all the time. These includes:
- Food. Provide your pet with a balanced diet and occasional treats
- Water. Have enough clean water in water bottles in the cage.
- Cage. The cage should be safe, spacious, and have hiding places.
- Have warm, comfortable, and clean bedding for the guinea pig.
- Provide playing and chewing toys such as balls, tunnels, hay boxes, chew tubes to name but a few.
Furthermore, involve them in constant exercise and play for mental and physical stimulation. Provide your pet with as much outdoor time as possible but at least one hour a day.
Lastly, you will need to provide companionship for your pet by spending a lot of time with it. When you are not around, leave it with a pet-friendly person who can keep it engaged.
All about Outdoor Spaces
Outdoor places should be spacious enough to allow your pet to explore. They should be secure from predators too.
Outdoor spaces allow the pet to explore its wild nature like popcorning. They also allow you to bond with the cavy as you pet and watch over it.
Do Guinea Pigs Get Lonely?
Yes, your pet will get lonely when it lacks human or fellow animal interaction. So, how do you detect loneliness in guinea pigs? Cavies will portray the following signs:
- Chewing on the cage bar.
- Sleeping more than usual.
- Knocking over the water bottles.
- Your pet will attempt to escape from its cage.
- Becoming choosy in the food it eats.
- Staying in its hideout most of the time.
Effects of Loneliness in Guinea Pigs
Loneliness will affect the mental, physical and emotional health of your guinea pig. Moreover, lonely pets will experience social issues. These include:
- Disinterest in social interaction.
- Your pet may become inactive.
- Decreased or loss of appetite.
- The cavy may become grumpy
- It can suffer from depression.
Advantages of Having More than One Guinea Pig
Keeping multiple cavies is highly recommended but what benefits does it have?
- Having multiple guinea pigs makes them feel more secure.
- It also increases the life span of the guinea pig.
- It makes the pet satisfied and happy.
- It gives you more time for yourself by reducing the time you spend with your pet.
- Reduces the chances of abnormal behavior development.
Do you Need a New Guinea Pig if One Dies?
Guinea pigs will need companions, especially when raised in an environment with mates. So, what happens if a mate dies?
Pets raised in pairs will need a new one if the other dies. This is because they are used to the company and cannot survive in solitary. If you are not willing to get a new one, put your pet under;
- Animal center care
- People who have cavies as pets
However, guinea pigs living in groups will not necessarily need a new one. When one dies, they manage with the others left and will continue to bond among themselves.
Too much company among guinea pigs will lead to stress and fights. As much as they need companions, they also require some alone time. Provide enough hideouts in the cages where they can at times relax on their own.
The Bottom Line
Although having companions is the best option, guinea pigs can still do well on their own. However, all this will depend on several factors for example how much time you have for your pet.