Bonding Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are social animals that need the company of their own cavy-kind. As a guinea pig ‘pet parent’ there may be a time when you are left with a single guinea pig and you need to bond them with a new friend/friends.

It is, of course, important that a new guinea pig gets along with your existing piggy (or piggies) although not all guinea pigs will see eye to eye (or whisker to whisker!). Guinea pigs need companionship, so the pros of attempting to bond far outweigh the cons of piggies not getting on with each other. Just be prepared to let go of the first match and have another go if the first piggy-date doesn’t go to plan!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Reaching out for help or advice is a good thing! A rescue centre can help with bonding guinea pigs, so if you have one near to you,that’s a great place to start. They can advise you if they have a suitable piggy available and even arrange and supervise the ‘play dates’.

Helpful hints when bonding guinea pigs at home

Is it a perfect match or a rotten blind date?!

Hopefully, you will see signs of friendly behaviour, or maybe a little dominance from one of the guinea pigs who fancies itself as the leader. If this goes unchallenged then they will most likely settle into who will be the ‘boss’ and who doesn’t really care!

Sometimes, there will be a clash of personalities and things won’t be so easy. It doesn’t mean it’s a write off, but you will have to monitor things carefully, to see if it settles down or not.

Signs of dominant behaviour:

Rumblestrutting (wiggling their bottom and making a rumbling noise);

The ‘who can lift their chin the highest’ game;

Chattering teeth;

Showing their teeth;

Chasing;

Nipping or biting.

None of these behaviours are ideal! However, some dominance behaviours will only be mild and if the other guinea pig doesn’t rise to it, things will settle.

New best friends!

If introductions go well in a neutral space, do ensure you keep an eye on the pair (or group) that are bonding as they are returned to their usual enclosure (as this may then provoke a territory battle).

To minimise issues on the return to the cage or hutch:

Ensure fresh and clean bedding throughout;

Provide enough beds / hideys / food to avoid arguments;

Avoid pinch points or areas they can be cornered;

The more space your piggies have, the better it will be.

Well-being

time to bond | let's make friends!

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