Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Held?

Do you know guinea pigs are extroverted animals? And they like interacting with humans, for instance, through playing, stroking, and petting.

Despite that, they will run away from you if they feel insecure, uncomfortable, and threatened, especially when you are not affectionately attached to them or when you are still new to them.  

In this article, you will get the answer and learn if piggy’s like to be held and, if yes, how to go about it. 

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Held?

Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Held?

Yes, guinea pigs like to be held. It is their natural behavior to be sportive and easy to manage and handle. So it’s possible as long as they feel at ease and convinced in your arms. 

When you have built the trust, they’ll bond with you. However, it takes time and patience to build a mutual relationship with your pet.

If you’re keen enough, you will know when your guinea pig is excited about being held and when it doesn’t appreciate handling. I mean, who understands your bet better than you?

How Do You Know If Your Guinea Pig Likes to Be Held?

How Do You Know If Your Guinea Pig Likes to Be Held?

Guinea pigs have the instinct of feelings and emotions; as a result, when they are emotionally attached, you will see signs such as recognizing and responding to your voice.

Other signs are: – like to be hand fed, goes with you everywhere, is more playful around you, nibbles you softly, and is calm when you hold it.

If you’re relaxing on your couch and then your cavy plays around and climbs on you, it’s a sign the pig enjoys your company and needs to be petted.

Signs Guinea Pig Doesn’t Like to Be Held

Sometimes, your guinea pig wants to be lonely, maybe due to underlying health or other issues. As a result, it shows signs such as freezing, keeping eyes wide open, and not making the popcorn sound.

Likewise, if you notice your cavy running away from your presence and act aggressively when you try to pick it up, you better leave it alone.

In addition, it will squirm a lot, make squeal noises often when touched, hide, and be shy and fidget. Another sign of an upset guinea pig is teeth chattering.

Your piggy will make an aggressive vocalization and expose its teeth. It seems like it’s yawning.

Why Your Guinea Pig Doesn’t Like to Be Held

In nature, some guinea pigs are apprehensive and do not like to be grasped and that is wholly common, so it should not worry you. 

Some cavy will tolerate it while others will dislike it. As a result, you will be frustrated if your friend does not want you to hold him/her. 

Therefore, you will look intently at why and how it is so, as I am about to discuss thereafter.

Handle Guinea Pig Incorrectly

Poor handling will scare your piggy and make it feel threatened. For example, cavies feel discomfort when their feet hang in the air since they associate it with predators like birds that capture them. 

They will often make squeal noises when you abruptly seize and grasp it out of the cage without giving it support in their hindquarters. 

To correct this, if you have kids, get them a small snuggle sack for carrying your cavy safely. But for you, you will put one hand under its chest and abdomen whilst the other supports its hindquarters and weight.

You Hurt Them When Handling

You Hurt Them When Handling

Holding your piggy too tight and squeezing it will hurt it and prevent it from breathing normally. You might injure its rotund belly as well. 

Similarly, some piggies like Abyssinians have sensitive skin, which makes them hurt when grasped since they have curled hair into many directions so when you hold it, they will go into many directions.  

As a result, it will have rapid breathing, be violent, squealing, and squirming while trying to escape and runoff. 

It is advisable to put one hand underneath the belly and slowly cup it while providing spinal support by holding your pet’s rear end. 

Lastly, lift your cavy above the ground, then gently turn it and grip it to your chest, keeping one hand on its back and the other supporting the belly and hindquarters. 

It Simply Doesn’t Like It, and You’re Not Bond Enough

“Guinea pig is new.” And it hasn’t had enough time to adapt and get close. Don’t be annoyed that you haven’t bonded with your piggy; it needs time to know you well.

“Your cavy may not be affectionate with you if you mistreat it, poor practice husbandry, e.g., dirty cages, noises, and an unbalanced diet.

As a result, it will ceaselessly struggle to get away and fidget while you attempt to cup it. To puzzle this, try by holding your cavy against the upper body, with one arm beneath it, and providing full support for its body.

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While the other hand is slowly securing it and ensuring it can’t get away. Additionally, try to hand-feed your cavy on rich, balanced diets, reduce noises as well as put other factors off as aforementioned. 

You can also practice a few times inanimate like a cuddle toy before grasping your amigo for the first time. 

Your Guinea Pig Is Sick

When your piggy is unwell, it will typically try and hide it at first, and its usual curiosity reduces. It will also refuse to be held. In general, the unhealthy do not like regular attention.

When you notice this, there could be many reasons, and it is necessary to take your cavy to professional vets, even if there are no visual clinical signs, but the vet will know what to examine. 

How often Should You Hold a Guinea Pig?

How often Should You Hold a Guinea Pig?

Is it for the first time you are interacting with your guinea pig? Then you can hold it as often as possible so that you build a strong bond with your amigo and win its trust. But be watchful and ensure the pig enjoys handling.

If not, let it have more time in the cage and hold it less often until it is comfortable around you for many hours.

Similarly, spending enough time with your cavy while kindly speaking and giving him treats will learn to trust you and show less fear.

However, to give your cavy a bathroom space, it is worthwhile to hold for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time when they are active. 

When Shouldn’t You Hold a Guinea Pig?

Some instances require you not to hold your pet thoroughly, e.g., when your guinea pig has just given birth or it is unwell. Also, don’t hold the newborn guinea pigs.

  • Newborn Guinea Pigs

When born, they are introduced to a new environment; as a result, they will need time to adjust to the new surroundings. 

That said, it will be necessary to avoid causing distress experiences and eliminate disturbances such as noise, lurking/looming, and cuddling for your newborn guinea pig.

  • Just Given Birth

After your pet has given birth, she will feel slightly vulnerable and overprotective towards her babies. So it’s necessary and reasonable to leave her alone undisturbed for about one month afterward, too. 

  • If there are Unwell

When your friend falls sick, you should give her ample time so that she recuperates until it shows active signs of being normal. 


Do guinea pigs like to be held and petted?

Yes. Because they’re social and sportive animals and enjoy human interaction. Although it is not a one-time event, you will have to learn how to handle them to build a strong bond.

How often should you hold a guinea pig?

It is advised you hold it for about 10 to 15 minutes unless it is for the first time and you want to build a strong bond; you can hold it as much as possible but at intervals when it’s active. 

Where do guinea pigs like to be touched?

Guinea pigs are picky on the spots they want to be touched, and each cavy has its preferences.

To get the difference, you should observe the body language of your piggy and pay attention to vocalizations for clues on how she feels when you touch certain parts.

Parts you can touch are: below the chin, stroking the head in between the ears, gentle scratch behind the back or ears, neck rub, or even belly. 

What do guinea pigs hate the most?

Guinea pigs mostly fear being chased or grabbed because they’re prey animals and associate that with predators like birds.

Likely, guinea pigs also dislike loud noises, dirty environment, being held for a long time, but to be touched, cold, processed foods which are sugary, fatty, and salty

How do I bond with my guinea pig?

To eminently bond with your guinea pig, here are the tips, ensure you spend sufficient time with it, hand feed your cavy, be habitual to speaking with your pig gently, handle it correctly, and create floor time sessions.

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To wind up, guinea pigs cherish spending quality time with their owners, so getting in touch with them is full of fun.

Guinea pigs can recognize you based on scent, voice or sound, and even sight hints. They can establish an answer to who they do not know and whom they know.

Nonetheless, at times some guinea pigs might not bond with you when it has underlying issues and refuses to be held; if it occurs, take it to your savvy for examination; perhaps you might be the cause for refusing to be held. 

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