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Can Guinea Pigs Be Emotional Support Animals? How Can They Help?

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: April 27, 2022

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are domestic animals or domesticated pets, pet companions that provide emotional support to people who need help to reduce stress, the feeling of solitude, and fear in their owners.

Guinea pigs can be emotional support animals all animals can. But having a guinea pig as an emotional support companion comes with many benefits. Besides, they are social, friendly, and affectionate, which are excellent traits that qualify guinea pigs for this important role in a person’s life.

Guinea pigs can help individuals feel less alone and isolated. These small pets, guinea pigs, can help people with any mental health disabilities.

Research has shown that spending time with a pet has positive effects on mental health, depression, and anxiety. In one study, participants who spent just 10 minutes with a dog showed lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, compared to those who didn’t interact with a dog.

Which Animals Can Be Emotional Support Animals?

There is no one specific type of animal that can be classified as an emotional support animal. Any pet that provides comfort and companionship can serve this purpose. However, some of the most common types of ESAs include dogs and cats, rabbits, birds, and other animals, some of which may surprise you.

To qualify for an emotional support animal, one has to have a prescription from a licensed mental health professional stating that the animal is necessary for their mental health. A service animal is trained to perform specific tasks for its owner. However, an emotional support animal doesn’t require any special training.

Emotional support animals are also therapy animals. Their only job is to be by your side and make your days better.

a girl and a guinea pig touching noses

Why Do People Need Emotional Support Animals?

What is the role of an emotional support animal? There are many reasons why most people might choose to use an emotional support guinea pig. For some, having a furry friend by their side can help to provide companionship and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation. For others, an emotional support animal may offer comfort and support during times of stress or anxiety.

A child may require an emotional support guinea pig for a variety of reasons such as autism, Down’s syndrome, cancer, divorcing parents, disabilities, etc. Guinea Pigs are important to a person’s emotional stability.

If you’re considering getting an emotional support animal, it’s important to choose an animal that’s right for you. Once you have your emotional support animal, make sure both you and your pet are comfortable and happy by spending enough time together cuddling.

Do Animals Need Emotional Support Companions?

While it’s impossible to know definitively what another creature is feeling, there are some behaviors and expressions that suggest that animals may experience a range of emotions similar to our own

Some people believe that animals are more like instinct-driven machines that don’t experience emotions in the same way humans do. But research confirms that animals feel a wide range of emotions, including love, happiness, sadness, and fear

Animals Have Feelings

For example, studies have shown that dogs and other social animals form strong bonds with their owners and other members of their pack. These bonds are similar to the emotional attachments humans form with their loved ones. Thus, it shouldn’t surprise you that New Zealand recognizes animals as sentient beings, which takes the Animal Welfare Act one step forward compared to all other countries in the world.

Dogs and cats often seem to express happiness, sadness, fear, anger, and love. They also engage in social behaviors such as bonding with others, playing, and grooming. These behaviors suggest that animals experience a range of emotions.

Animals also show signs of stress and anxiety when they’re separated from their owners or placed in unfamiliar environments. This suggests that they may experience similar emotions to humans when in stressful situations.

Why Are Guinea Pigs Great Emotional Support Animals?

Guinea pigs are social, friendly, and affectionate. They enjoy being carried, fed, brushed and played with.  Guinea pigs can also help by providing stability and structure (feeding time, cleaning, etc.).
The possibilities for how guinea pigs can assist are limitless and can be tailored to the type of emotional support required.

Guinea pigs make great at-home emotional support animals for several reasons:

  • They are typically healthy and live 5-7 years on average
  • They are fairly easy to house and care for
  • Guinea pigs have unique personalities
  • They make funny noises when you pet them
  • Guinea pigs are friendly and playful
  • They are not destructive
  • Guinea pigs recognize and greet their owners

Animals improve people’s relationships and social skills by providing unconditional love and assisting them in connecting with the outside world.

Emotional support guinea pigs also assist people in many ways. They help one maintain emotional control throughout the day. Petting a guinea pig can help with stress relief and contribute to a good mood, stable blood pressure, and the production of hormones that promote happiness.

Spending time with your guinea pig will make you happier, less stressed and lonely, and make you feel safe and loved. ESAs will also help their owners’ anxiety on planes by distracting them from their fear and comforting them.

How To Make a Guinea Pig an Emotional Support Animal?

Socialize your emotional support animal from a young age so they are comfortable around most people and other animals, without getting stressed over loud noises and crowds. 

Keep up with regular vet appointments and make sure your emotional support animal is up-to-date on all their vaccinations. 

Emotional support animals help to alleviate anxiety by providing comfort and companionship, which brings many psychosocial advantages. 

  • Induce a state of relaxation
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Increase social participation
  • Reduce stress
  • Relieve depression
  • Normalize blood pressure and heart rate

How To Register a Guinea Pig As an Emotional Support Animal? 

The first step in creating an ESA guinea pig is to consult with a licensed mental health professional. They will determine whether you have a mental health disability that would benefit from an emotional support animal. You will receive an ESA letter once they have determined that you are eligible.

Emotional support animals must meet a few criteria. An ESA must be a domesticated animal and not a danger to people or property. Because guinea pigs aren’t destructive or aggressive, you will meet this requirement.

Second, a therapist has to determine whether your guinea pig can help relieve the symptoms associated with your mental health disability. They will decide whether you should have an emotional support animal.

Your emotional support animal is there to help with your symptoms, but continue working on your treatment with a therapist. In other words, your emotional support guinea pig is not a cure for a condition, but it is a part of your wellbeing.

How Does an ESA Letter Help Me and My Pet Guinea Pig?

If you have a valid ESA letter and your emotional companion doesn’t pose a threat to other passengers, you can fly with your pet. All that is required is basic good behavior and a pet carrier. Likewise, you are free from paying pet fees.

Be careful! Rodents are not permitted as emotional support animals on some airlines, so choose an airline that is friendly to your ESA guinea pig.

Check with the airline ahead of time. Some airlines prohibit the transport of guinea pigs in the cargo or luggage areas. Because these animals are sensitive to noise and temperature changes, this is just a very bad idea.

If you live in a building with a no-pets policy, your ESA letter can be useful. Having an ESA letter allows you to live with your guinea pig in pet-free housing if you have a valid emotional support animal letter. You will not be required to pay any additional pet fees or deposits.

Check the ESA Registration of America website to register your emotional support pet guinea pig. Also, learn all you need to know about therapy animals.

Final Thoughts

Any animal that provides comfort and companionship can be an ESA, though the most common ones are dogs, cats, rabbits, and other animals.

Service animals and emotional support animals are not the same. Service animals perform specific tasks for their owners and provide assistance, but emotional support animals are there for you just to make your days brighter.

Having a guinea pig as an emotional support companion comes with benefits, such as having a social, friendly, and affectionate furry friend that you can take anywhere with you because guinea pigs are easy to take care of.

To register your guinea pig as an ESA and get an ESA letter, first, consult with a licensed mental health professional. They will decide whether your pet can provide comfort and alleviate your symptoms.

Your guinea pig will help you with your good mood and provide comfort in your times of need.


Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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