Every guinea pig needs a companion of their own kind
Guinea pigs like people are social animals by nature. Guinea pigs are herd animals and in the wild they are found in social groups. Guinea pigs need a companion of their own kind as well as their human companion. Their are many important things a guinea pig deserves in their life that a human cannot fill. Some say that they believe their guinea pig will bond with them more if they only have one. In some cases people may believe this to be true although the personality of each individual guinea pig does differ some guinea pigs are more people friendly than others and your guinea pig will bond with you the same whether on their own or not. ACS Founder Jessica states that ' Over the past 15+ years 100's of guinea pigs have come into my life I can definitely say without a doubt that I have seen more negative results from guinea pigs being kept on their own than positive. When guinea pigs that have been kept on their own, or are surrendered to the ACS Brisbane Shelter, when they are introduced to other guinea pigs for the first time in their life it is a very emotional moment for me to see how much happier they soon become. They say that what you don't know you're missing won't affect you but I think every guinea pig deserves a companion of it's own kind, if you look at the history of the guinea pig they are social with their own kind by nature and would never be found isolating themselves on their own. It is definitely not in their best interest to house them on their own '.
A guinea pig living alone can develop behavioral, psychological and health problems which can include...
Behavioural / Psychological
- Loneliness ( especially if person/s of the household are at work during the day )
- Boredom resulting in behavioural problems such as cage wire/wood chewing, squeeking and wanting human attention and food constantly, roaming around the cage in circles.
- Excessive weight from constantly eating and wanting more food
- Impaction or other conditions related to lack of movement and exercise and/or also due to a smaller enclosure
Advantages of a companion
Behavioural / Psychological
- Personality Boom! A guinea pig who has a companion will generally be more social, affectionate and happy. They will talk and have conversations in ' piggy language ' with their companion guinea pig and if the guinea pigs are really happy they will run around and ' popcorn ' which is a state of exitement they can get into by leaping sideways and scampering round the cage quickly. Socially a guinea pig with a companion will also tend to follow their friend as they roam around their enclosure and sometimes both guinea pigs will groom each other affectionately.
- Less boredom resulting in less chewing of the cage, less craving for human attention and food.
- Food Enjoyment. At dinner time two or more guinea pigs love to enjoy their meal together and will sometimes argue over who gets what piece of food just for the sake of it. Nevertheless when in competition with another guinea pig the platter will generally be licked clean!
- Stress. A guinea pig being able to socialise with another guinea pig/s as they would in the wild generally grow to be less easily stressed.
- More activity and social roaming around which means in the long run your guinea pig should be in better physical health.
- Two or more guinea pigs will require a larger enclosure than a guinea pig being kept on their own. This will result in more space for your guinea pig to roam and explore which will improve their physical health and reduce the chances of your guinea pig becoming overweight and lazy.
I don't want to breed but I have a male guinea pig won't male guinea pigs fight if put together?
The above question is a common myth and many male guinea pigs will pair up with another male quite happily. To read more about pairing male guinea pigs please CLICK HERE.
(c) Copyright 2006, Australian Cavy Sanctuary. All rights reserved.