All animals have emotions they express in different ways, so how do you know if a guinea pig is happy?
Understanding the feelings of your pet is important.
You have much to learn about guinea pigs if you’re a new guinea pig owner.
In the beginning, when you are just starting to know your little new friend, dubiety creeps in and it can be a tough time to understand your guinea pig’s sounds and body language.
It is important to keep in mind that not all guinea pigs are the same and that your guinea pig may not behave in the same way as a guinea pig of your friend.
A happy and healthy guinea pig is your reward for all the time, love, care, and attention you dedicate to your little pet.
Guinea pigs are adorable tiny creatures that, when feeling sad, express depression-like symptoms, including inactivity and loss of appetite.
Their charming capers and noises all have a distinct meaning.
So let’s see how to understand your pet’s behavior and distinguish all the sounds it makes.
Table of Contents
How to Know If Your Guinea Pig Is Happy?
First, provide your guinea pig with comfort.
You may spend all your initial days together staring at your pet without understanding whether your guinea pig is happy.
It’s very simple!
A healthy diet, good hygiene, comfort space, etc. are the most important if you care about your pet’s physical wellbeing.
However, the time you dedicate to bond with your pet, cuddling with it, talking to it, and showing affection is as equally important as keeping its habitat clean.
Your pet will clearly show how it feels, just pay attention to its regular activities, sounds it makes, and (at least occasional) popcorning.
Your Guinea Pig is Active
The activeness of guinea pigs depends on their happiness.
If your guinea pig is active, then it’s clear that your pet is brisk and happy.
And, if it greets you with a look or a lick or gets excited and runs around, it also means your guinea pig has lots of energy.
On the other hand, if it shows signs of sluggishness, you will see that it feels depressed.
However, while it’s okay if your pet is calm and withdraws for just a short time, it is not a good sign if it becomes slow and indolent.
Not only your pet might be unhappy but also sick.
Guinea pigs do a thing called “popcorning.”
When healthy, excited, and happy, they randomly jump up in the air a few times.
It’s seen more often in younger guinea pigs as they weigh less so their jumps are higher and obvious.
So, what makes a guinea pig popcorning?
A variety of things makes them do this hopping activity.
They might anticipate veggies or just show their delight with a fresh and clean cage.
Whatever the reason may be, popcorning is interesting for the viewers and a pure delight to see.
Guinea pigs are sensible and very social creatures.
Just as people do, they look for a company and are willing to interact when they are brisk and healthy.
This is an obvious and prominent sign to understand how your guinea pig feels at a moment.
If your guinea pig approaches you or shows a clear desire to socialize with other piggies in the cage, it’s great.
However, let’s be clear.
Bonding with you or socializing with other piggies never happens overnight.
A guinea pig needs some time to build trust and it may take longer than you’d expect.
Sometimes, it takes a few weeks before your new pet decides it likes you enough to show it to you.
For that to happen, you have to create a safe environment and comfort for your pet and spend time with it before it approaches you on its own.
Wheeking is a common sound a guinea piggie makes.
They usually make this sound when you’re opening a bag of chips or chopping veggies.
This particular sound shows their excitement and anticipation.
Anyway, is there anyone out there who doesn’t get excited when about to get a tasty bite of a favorite treat?
They also make this wheeking sound when they are excited or expecting something that makes them super happy (apart from food).
Take this alert, as sometimes your pet piggie will make this sound to get your attention!
A happy and feeling-good guinea pig can stretch and lie down.
There are special guinea pig fleeces available at many online stores for your pet.
Most guinea pigs love to lay down on fleeces to relax.
Sometimes they wrap themself up in it to have a little nap.
As said, not all guinea pigs are the same.
While some can take a while to get to the “stretching out” point, others will stand still and stiff before moving to the resting position.
Also, some guinea pigs will relax by rolling around, which is their idea of rest.
Energetic Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs can suddenly run around as fast as possible in their limited space.
This behavior is an obvious sign of happiness in your piggie pet.
This energy build-up is also the reason why wheels are unsafe for guinea pigs.
When in full energy they want to expend, your pet might hurt itself running at such high speeds.
If you own more than one guinea pig, you will see that they love to chase and play with each other.
A happy guinea pig always likes to share happiness with its mates or its owner.
Just like dogs, happy guinea pigs will show their comfort and happiness by licking their owner’s hand.
One of the reasons for licking, as experts believe, is that guinea pigs are collecting salt from human skin.
However, as unhealthy guinea pigs never lick the hand of their owner, licking can still be a sign of pure affection and delight when it sees you!
Similar to cats, a happy guinea pig will purr when enjoying their lap time with their owners!
The purring behavior of guinea pigs shows they are calm, relaxed, and comfortable.
Guinea pigs make different types of purring sounds.
A low and deep grumble sound is the happy purr of a guinea pig.
The Chutting Sound of Guinea Pig
The chutting sound a guinea pig makes is similar to a frog’s croak, but it’s a bit softer.
Most likely your pet will produce this sound during lap time.
Usually, only young guinea pigs will make such chutting sounds; it is fairly uncommon among adult pets.
Stretch and yawn
Stretching and yawning are fairly uncommon behaviors of guinea pigs.
Before, people assumed that yawning was aggressive behavior, but research has shown that the yawning of a guinea pig, accompanied by a stretch, implies that is the pet is happy.
Both stretching and yawning will mostly take place during lap time.
How To Make A Guinea Pig Happy?
There are a few basic needs that make your guinea pig happy – a warm, clean and comfortable home, a balanced diet, clean water, a safe space to roll and run around, good health, and companions in their space.
There are numerous ways to make a guinea pig happy.
A Healthy Balanced Diet
Feeding your guinea pig with a healthy and balanced diet is the first recommended thing to make your guinea pig happy.
Besides, a healthy and balanced diet boosts your pet’s immune system.
The diet of guinea pigs should include a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C is very important for guinea pigs, which is the reason why your pet needs fresh fruits and vegetables and, in some instances, artificial C vitamin boosters.
Feed your Guinea piggie with fresh food and dry food, clean water, and hay.
The best and healthiest balance you will achieve is by providing your pet with clean hay, nutritious servings of guinea pig pellets, clean water, and small portions of fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you are still unsure how to achieve the best and most nutritious balance, consult with a vet.
Quality Time Together
Spend some quality time to create a lovely bond with your pet.
Guinea pigs are social animals; just as much as they enjoy your company, they love the company of their conspecifics.
If you’re a single pet owner, it’s your responsibility to spend each day cuddling with your pet, which will make your pet very happy and comfortable.
Between 20 and 30 minutes of affection is enough to make your pet happy and ensure your guinea pig’s health and physical condition.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
Offer your guinea pigs physical and mental stimulation.
Physical and mental exercises are important for them because they are naturally active animals.
You can purchase toys and playgrounds designed for guinea pigs.
A Warm, Clean Home
Guinea pigs are happy only when they’re in a good and clean environment.
They always look for a sturdy, secure home with clean bedding and space to roll and run.
If you’re planning to adopt guinea pigs, the first thing you have to do is to create a clean and comfortable home for them.
Search for a spacious hutch with a play area and think about the place where you are going to place it.
The best place for your pet’s habitat is a quiet area free from draughts, humidity, and chemicals.
Besides, your pet should have enough safe space to run, roll and play.
Or, if already you’ve brought a traditional wooden hutch, it’s best to buy a guinea pig run and allow your pet to run around at least twice a day, in the morning and evening.
If you have a separate guinea pig run, make sure it’s sheltered.
There, also provide them with food and water.
You can also decorate your pet piggie’s home with toys they will enjoy.
Good Health – Good Mood
Take your guinea pigs for regular health checks and apply anti-parasite shampoos.
Keep an eye on your guinea pigs and their space, and if you see anything wrong or out of normal, react quickly.
Guinea pigs are prey creatures in the wild and so they hide their health problems.
So, whenever you notice any issues or abnormal things in your pet take action without any delay.
Living in herds, guinea pigs crave to stay with their companions.
Even if you spend a lot of time and show them plenty of affection, they will still search for a companion of the same species.
Unfortunately, other species aren’t a good substitute, as two different species don’t have the same way of communication.
So, it’s better to adopt at least two or more guinea pigs to make their life more enjoyable.
That won’t double or triple the costs of your pet’s maintenance, as a big enough shelter can accommodate more than one piggy.
Besides, make sure that all guinea pigs in the same habitat are of the same gender.
Additionally, if you own an adult guinea pig, it might be a good idea to get a younger guinea pig of the same gender, as your older pet is less likely to perceive a new housemate as a threat.
How Do You Know if A Guinea Pig is Unhappy?
First, understand all behavioral patterns of your pet piggie.
Knowing what makes your guinea pig happy is important but knowing what makes your guinea pig unhappy is equally important so you can take all the needed remedial actions to bring your pet back to its normal condition.
Here are some types of vocal and physical communication of a guinea pig when it’s unhappy.
When guinea pigs are in a bad mood they show aggressive behaviors.
If you notice them standing on their hind legs hissing or chattering, you will know they are in a bad mood or something is going on.
Sometimes, fluffing out their coat, and bearing their teeth can be another sign of aggressiveness among guinea pigs, as well as moving on their hind legs, but from side to side.
Freezing or Fidgeting
This is an obvious sign that shows they are either uncomfortable, afraid of something, or anxious.
Depression or Stress
Just like all other animals, your guinea pigs can be depressed and unhappy.
Signs that indicate depression include reclusiveness, irritability, and lack of energy.
Your guinea pig may even show a loss of appetite, and just not be as its usual self.
When a guinea pig tosses its head, it is a common sign that shows that your pet wants you to leave it alone.
Be considerate and postpone your cuddling for a while, when your pet gets into a better mood.
How to make a guinea happy is not a big or tough task to achieve.
Be a good and kind companion to your pet and prepare everything it needs.
The most important thing is to always clean their space, feed them a fresh diet, and show them the care and affection they deserve!
As your pet has a clear way to communicate with you using different sounds and body language, knowing their signals and sounds is the best way to understand how they’re feeling and what they need.
You will learn to understand if they are happy, or healthy, or need care.
If you invest sufficient effort and time to make your guinea pig feel comfortable and happy, it will also shower you with love just to make you happy!
Guinea pigs are small rodents but they are capable of expressing their emotions more than many other animals.