Guinea pigs are adorable furry balls that are preferred by many families. Children love hugging and cuddling them because they are not only gentle but also friendly.
Guinea pigs have a prey instinct that makes them fearful of things and people because they are not sure who is the predator and who isn’t. It’s normal for them to be scared of you touching them to the point of running away but they’ll settle down and remain calm when they are already in your arms.
If they like being held how about being petted? Is it okay for you to pet your lovely friend?
Do Guinea Pigs like to be petted?
Guinea pigs like to be petted. You just need to learn more about your guinea pig’s preferences; what they like and what they don’t like so that you can do it correctly. You should pet your guinea pig in the direction of hair growth. Always be gentle, do not sneak up on them and if they don’t want it anymore, let them go.
Where do guinea pigs like to be petted?
Guinea pigs are different, each having unique preferences. What one guinea pig likes another may not like.
You have to go through trial and error with your guinea pig to learn what they specifically like and dislike. But generally, guinea pigs will love being petted on their heads, behind their ears, and under their chins.
Most guinea pigs on the other hand dislike being petted on the face, stomach, far back, and feet. You should keep watch of kids when they are near guinea pigs to ensure they don’t reach straight for their noses or eyes as they could earn themselves a quick irritated bite.
How to pet guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs like being petted but you could touch them the wrong way and they’ll be chattering their teeth at you. It’s good to learn how to pet them correctly to avoid this.
Let them adjust to their new environment
If you just brought your new pet home, don’t be so fast in touching and holding them. Just like the way you would feel uneasy in a new place, your guinea pig is feeling the same way.
Give them time to adjust to their new environment, to get to learn the smells of their new home, and to feel comfortable in their cage. A week will do the trick as you provide all the things they need like food and water.
Teach them to trust you
In the first few days, your guinea pig may be scared of you, running away any time you go near their cage. This is what guinea pigs are used to doing; running away to hide from predators.
They may think that you are a predator wanting to hurt or eat them so be patient and teach them to trust you. Start small.
Call their name as you go near them, and start a conversation. Let them get used to your voice and in no time they’ll be recognizing you whenever you call them out.
Give them a treat often and let them learn to associate your presence with something good. These little acts will make your furry friend stop fearing you and begin considering you as a friend.
Begin touching them slowly
When they can now trust you, begin touching them. Make sure that you don’t sneak up on them and touch them suddenly or touch them while they are sleeping. This will only startle and scare them into hiding.
First, put your hand inside their cage and let them come and sniff it. Guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell and they can tell apart their owner’s distinct scent.
Try to touch them slowly on their head using one finger and if they don’t run off, stroke them gently. Another trick is to come carrying food. Guinea pigs love food.
Give them food and as they are busy eating, gently stroke them. Do this often. They will get used to your touch and with time they will be coming to you for petting sessions.
Watch their reactions
Guinea pigs will always communicate their feelings through body language and a variety of different sounds. Be keen on how they react to your touch to know if they like the petting or not.
When you touch them and they sit relaxed or seem playful, make whistling and cooing sounds, then they like the way you are petting them. When they begin purring, chattering their teeth, hissing, and looking frozen, then you should stop immediately because they are not enjoying it one bit.
Do they like being petted all the time?
No matter how much your pet loves your petting, they will not always be up for it. Sometimes they will just need to sit in peace in their hideys or they could easily get irritated by your touch.
This may be brought about by stress, mites, skin infections or they just want to chill. Always let them be and pet them another time. Do not force it.
Things to keep in mind
Short-haired guinea pigs are easy to pet as their hair grows in the same direction and it’s easy to see the pattern of hair growth. Long-haired guinea pigs will have their hair growing in different directions making it a task to know the hair growth pattern.
Petting guinea pigs in the opposite direction of hair growth is painful for them and they will not enjoy it anymore. You should also ensure that you pet a guinea pig somewhere they are comfortable like safely on your lap to prevent them from falling over in case they decide to jump.
You can pet your guinea pig as you groom them. Brush the hair gently and give pets while doing it. Guinea pigs love it when you brush their hair, when you pet them and when you spend time with them. It will provide a good bonding session.
Guinea pigs like being petted. Pet them often as you spend time with them but do it just how they like it so that you can both enjoy it.
Remember to pet them in the direction of hair growth and always let them be if they don’t want to be petted. You can always pet them another time when they are in the mood for it.