Do Guinea Pigs Like to be Held?


Guinea pigs are incredibly sweet, social creatures that make great pets. Not only are they cute and cuddly, but they can also be surprisingly interactive and responsive to their owners. But when it comes to handling, do guinea pigs actually like to be held? 

Yes, most of the time, guinea pigs like to be held by their owners. In fact, most guinea pigs will look forward to being held. However, it is important that you hold your guinea pig properly, so you don’t scare or injure them. Some guinea pigs prefer not to be held even if they have bonded with you.

In this article, we will discuss why guinea pigs like to be held, how to properly hold a guinea pig, and what signs indicate that your guinea pig is uncomfortable with being handled. So, if you’re ready to learn more about guinea pigs and to hold them, keep reading! 

How Do Guinea Pigs Feel About Being Held?

Guinea pigs are delightful creatures with the potential to be great companions. While some may enjoy being held and cuddled, others find handling intimidating and fear-inducing. As prey animals, their natural instinct is to flee and feel safe. 

Guinea pigs living in their natural environment view humans as a potential threat, thus responding by running away or hiding. While domesticated guinea pigs are more comfortable around people compared to those found in the wild, they still possess an ingrained prey-animal instinct that drives them to seek refuge when interacting with humans.

To keep your guinea pig happy and content, it’s essential to respect its boundaries – if it’s not comfortable with being handled, don’t force it. A gentle and calm approach is key – your guinea pig will likely pick up on any negative vibes or tension, so keep the interactions relaxed and pleasant. With a bit of patience and understanding, you can create a peaceful bond that both parties can enjoy.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Held & Petted?

Since guinea pigs like being held, they also love being petted. Guinea pigs are very affectionate, and it makes them happy if humans pet them. It makes them feel loved and attended, and they often show signals that they like what you are doing! Usually, guinea pigs lick you if you reach your hands toward them. 

However, by default, guinea pigs don’t like to be petted. Unless the guinea pig has been hand-raised or patiently tamed and domesticated, it won’t like to be touched or rubbed by a human.

But to avoid any type of harm to your guinea pigs, it is imperative that you learn how to handle them properly. Understandably they may appear nervous in the presence of their owners; however, this doesn’t mean they don’t love spending time together.

Developing a relationship with your guinea pig can be highly rewarding; these little creatures typically enjoy being held and petted. That’s why they make for such great family pets.

How Often Should You Hold a Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs can typically enjoy being held for 10-15 minutes. However, not every guinea pig is a fan of this activity – some may only tolerate it for a few minutes. It’s important to be mindful of your pet’s preference when interacting with them.

Once your guinea pig is ready to be held, you should hold them every day for at least 15 minutes. This will help your guinea pig get used to you and feel comfortable in your presence. It is also a good opportunity for you to bond with your new guinea pig.

In some cases, it is best to avoid handling your guinea pigs; for instance,

  • Delivered babies of their own.
  • If they have recently been born.
  • Returned from the vet’s office or are ill.

It’s especially essential to treat carefully those who aren’t feeling well – give them a few weeks before you hold them, and be sure to consult your vet on when it’s okay to start doing so again.

Tips To Hold Your Guinea Pig Safely

Here are some tips for holding your guinea pig safely:

Don’t try to hold your guinea pig at first: It’s important to take it slow and let your guinea pig get used to you before trying to hold them. Spend some time talking to them and offering them treats so they can get comfortable with your presence.

Introduce yourself: Before picking up your guinea pig, make sure they know you’re there. Talk to them in a calm voice and offer them a treat, so they associate you with positive experiences.

Pick up your guinea pig: When picking up your guinea pig, use two hands and support their body. Place one hand beneath their chest and the other supporting the hind legs.

Hold your guinea pig with two hands: Always use two hands when holding your guinea pig to provide them with enough support and prevent them from jumping out of your hands.

Provide treats: Offering treats while holding your guinea pig can make the experience more enjoyable for them and help them feel more comfortable.

Return the guinea pig safely to their cage: When returning your guinea pig to their cage, hold them firmly with both hands as they may want to jump. Wait until they stop struggling before releasing them from your hand.

Keep the session short: Guinea pigs typically like being held for about 10-15 minutes at a time, so it’s important not to hold them for too long.

Supervise children when they hold a guinea pig: If children are holding a guinea pig, make sure to supervise them closely and teach them how to handle the animal gently and safely.

Remember that every guinea pig is different, and some may not enjoy being held as much as others.

Which Guinea Pig Breed Likes to be Held the Most?

It’s difficult to say which specific breed of guinea pig likes to be held the most as it can vary from individual to individual. 

However, some breeds that are known for being calm and friendly include the Silkie and Teddy guinea pigs. These breeds may be more tolerant of handling and may even enjoy cuddling with their owners. 

Teddy guinea pigs, usually weighing between 1.5 to 3 pounds when grown up, are an ideal choice for children or first-time owners with their gentle and friendly personalities that enjoy cuddling.

Their fur is short and requires minimal grooming while being prone to dryness, so frequent bathing should be avoided as much as possible. If you’re looking for a small companion animal that offers love in return, the Teddy guinea pig may just fit your criteria perfectly.

It’s important to remember that every guinea pig has its own personality and preferences when it comes to being held.

Are Guinea Pigs Safe to Hold?

Yes, guinea pigs are generally safe to hold. However, it’s important to handle them gently and with care to ensure their safety and comfort. 

Guinea pigs are renowned for their sweet temperaments, making them one of the friendliest small mammals to interact with.

But it is important to remember that if handled incorrectly or roughly, they may bite out in self-defense – be sure to pick up your guinea pig by firmly but gently grasping underneath its trunk while supporting its back legs using another hand.

Do Skinny Guinea Pigs Like To Be Held?

skinny guinea pig

Yes, Skinny guinea pigs can like to be held just like other guinea pig breeds. However, it’s important to handle them with gentle care as they can be more docile but also more skittish.

The Skinny pig, a unique guinea pig strain, is easily recognizable. Its feet, muzzle, and legs are covered in hair – standing out against its bald body.

Skinny guinea pigs can be just as loving, if not more, than those that are a bit heavier. These little ones may appear to be calmer, but they tend to also become easily startled. 

When you introduce them into their environment for the first time, it is important to give them space and allow them the opportunity to get comfortable with all of your surroundings before attempting any type of petting.

As a rule of thumb, start off with their head or chin as they are generally less resistant there than on the underside or feet. See how your skinny pig responds – let them guide you in what kind of physical contact they appreciate most.

For a guinea pig to purr is an indication that you are doing the correct thing. However, when hearing teeth chattering or observing it, this implies a lack of trust and should be addressed with caution- particularly for skinny, hairless related breeds who require higher levels of warmth in their environment.

Precautions When Holding or Petting Your Guinea Pig

One of the greatest gifts that come with owning a pet is having them in your arms and cuddling them. Although some pets enjoy being held more than others, it’s important to always read your guinea pig’s body language before proceeding; after all, not every animal has an affinity for this kind of contact!

  • When handling your guinea pig, make sure to keep them upright with both feet firmly planted on the ground so as not to hurt their backs.
  • If they’re startled, it is important that you don’t hold them too high – for there’s a chance they might jump out of your hands.
  • For the safety of your piggies, always keep them close to the ground and secure in your arms. Piggies have a tendency to jump when frightened, which could cause serious harm if they are placed high off the ground.
  • Due to their joyous nature, “popcorning,” piggies may unintentionally climb too high with excitement and tumble down. So, stay safe and keep them low.
  • Keeping them close to your heart with both hands will make them feel safe and secure while also granting you the ability to quickly grab onto them if they attempt a daring leap.
  • Always treat your guinea pig with gentle care. Remember that their spines are fragile and should only be petted if they appear to enjoy it.
  • If you notice them springing away, chattering, or even baring their teeth, it means that your cavy is not a fan of what you’re doing and won’t benefit from the experience.
  • To ensure their safety, always supervise children when they are around cavies. Young kids may not be aware of their own strength and might unintentionally harm the cavy by petting it too hard or dropping them accidentally.

Wrapping Up

Guinea pigs enjoy being held as long as it’s done right – gently and with respect. Some guinea pigs may enjoy being held and cuddled, while others may not. It’s important to handle them gently and with care to ensure their safety and comfort. Remember that every guinea pig has its own personality and preferences when it comes to being held. It’s always a good idea to observe your guinea pig’s behavior and body language when holding them to determine if they are comfortable or not.

Have you had any experiences with holding or petting your guinea pigs? Do you have any tips that have helped make the experience more enjoyable for both of you? Let us know in the comments!

Mohsin Iqbal

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal, a licensed veterinarian holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, is a respected member of the Pakistan Veterinary Medical Association and a well-established figure in the world of animal advocacy. His professional experiences are diverse, including working in various settings like private practices such as My Pet’s Clinic, public institutions like Civil Veterinary Hospital, shelters, rescues, and the Bahawalpur Zoo. Treating a wide range of animals, from common pets to exotic species, has enriched his expertise in numerous facets of pet care, including nutrition, exercise, behavior, training, and preventative care—an area he is particularly passionate about. As an ardent proponent of preventative care, Dr. Iqbal's writing focuses on the importance of vaccinations, routine check-ups, and early health problem detection. His dedication to educating others steered him toward a successful career. Over the past two years, his insightful pieces have been published in national and international magazines and featured regularly on online pet care platforms. Beyond his professional life, Dr. Iqbal is the president of the Animal Rescue Organization Pakistan, demonstrating his commitment to animal welfare through the rescue and rehabilitation of animals in need. His belief in the power of knowledge shines through his engaging content, empowering pet owners to nurture a deep, enduring bond with their animal companions. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Mohsin Iqbal to our team of content writers, eagerly anticipating his contributions that will foster a well-informed pet-owning community.

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