UniquePetsWiki is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Complete Guide for Guinea Pig Handling

Guinea pigs are adorable creatures with fascinating personalities that tempt you to carry them. One of the questions on the mind of most new guinea pig owners is how they can handle guinea pigs without causing them any stress.

Guinea pigs are social creatures, and they love being handled. It is best that you spend time with them to make them feel comfortable and safe around you.

However, you need to be extremely careful when handling them because they have fragile bones and internal organs.

We have helped highlight everything you need to know about guinea pig handling, from how often a guinea pig is handled to the best ways to handle them.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Handled?

Generally, guinea pigs love to be handled as long as they trust you. However, there are situations where your guinea pig may make a squeaking sound when handled.

This usually happens when a guinea pig is ill or is still getting used to a new environment.

You should avoid handling pregnant guinea pigs as this can easily stress them. Guinea pig pups should also not be handled as they need time to develop immunity.

This means you need to avoid handling them for about two weeks until they develop immunity.

Furthermore, a sow that just gave birth should also not be handled for about two weeks. This is to help avoid stressing them while they recover from the birthing process. Guinea pigs that recently got ill should also be given space to heal before handling it.

Your vet will help to determine when a sick guinea pig is safe to handle.

Step by Step for Guinea Pig Handling

As stated before, most guinea pigs love to be handled. Handling guinea pigs is a great way to spend time with a guinea pig to help them feel comfortable and safe around you.

However, you need to be extra careful when handling your guinea pig to help avoid injury or falls.

Here are some steps that you can take when handling a guinea pig.

Give Your Guinea Pigs Time to Adapt

Generally, guinea pigs are prey in nature, and they can be quite scared when you first try to handle them. This is why you will need to give your guinea pig some time to acclimatize to their environment before handling them.

You can make guinea pigs feel safe and comfortable with you by spending time with them by just talking and providing food without any contact with them. You should be gentle when talking with them to help avoid startling your guinea pig.

Pick Up a Guinea Pig for the First Time

Once your guinea pig is happy and relaxed, then you can pick them up. It is recommended that you try to handle them only when the guinea pig is comfortable and does not look stressed when you try to handle them.

The best way to handle a guinea pig is to use two hands to hold them.

  • Place a hand on your guinea pig’s chest and be careful not to squeeze their delicate rib cage.
  • Use the second hand to support their rear to help prevent it from running.
  • Allow your guinea pig’s leg to hang over your hand to help ensure they feel safe and supported.

Note: you should always wash your hand before and after handling a guinea pig to help minimize any harm to you or your pet.

Holding Properly

It is important that you know how to hold your guinea pig properly after picking it up to help make it feel safe and avoid injury.

Ensure that you use a hand to support their torso in place while you can move the other hand under their hind legs during handling. You should allow the guinea pig to hang over your hand instead of crunching any of its legs.

A great way to hold your guinea pig is to rest them against your chest while facing you to help make it feel secure. You can even use your free hand to pet or tickle your guinea pig.

Also read: Where Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Tickled?

Tips: Holding Guinea Pig For Injections

There are situations where you may need to hold your pet for injection. Here is a great way to hold a guinea pig for injections.

  • Gently encircle their forelimbs and neck using a hand.
  • Use the other hand to support the hind limbs to help prevent them from moving backward.
  • The vet can then give your piggy injection in the midsection.

Note: Most guinea pigs don’t really like injections and can protest by squeaking.

Happy little girl with a guinea pig
Happy little girl with a guinea pig

Keep Your Eye on the Guinea Pig’s Reaction

It is important that you should be on the lookout for any reaction from your guinea pig when handling it. This will help to determine when your guinea pig becomes uncomfortable and serve as a cue to put it down.

Guinea pigs are likely to squirm whenever they feel uncomfortable and will prefer if you put them down. Once you notice this, you should ensure that you don’t squeeze them to help avoid dropping them to the ground.

A great way to respond to this is to hold your guinea pig on a sofa or soft and comfortable place. This will help to put them down very quickly.

Another sign that you can be on the lookout for is when your guinea pig starts to lick your hand while wriggling. This also shows that it wants you to put them down.

On the other hand, you can determine that your guinea pig feels comfortable handling if its eyes are open, stretched out, or lay down on your hand.

Also read: 11 Guinea Pig Behaviors To Help You Understand More About Them

Placing Your Guinea Pig Back 

Generally, most guinea pigs love to be held for about twenty minutes. However, some may not like being handled for long, and some can even tolerate a little longer than that.

When you just start to handle a guinea pig, you should first start with just a minute and then gradually increase the handling time until it is about 20 minutes.

It is also important to be careful whenever you want to put your guinea pig back in their enclosure.

You need to ensure that you hold them securely when placing them back on the ground or their cage. It is best to hold them firmly and securely close to the floor before allowing them to go.

This will help to ensure that your guinea pig does not jump or fall off from a height.

YUEPET Guinea Pig Carrier Bag with Bed

YUEPET Guinea Pig Carrier Bag with Bed(Random Colors), Portable Breathable Rabbit Carrier Transparent Carrier Bag for Guinea Pig Bunny Chinchilla Small Animal Carrier
  • 👜【Product Size】: Guinea pig carrier size measured probably 13.7”* 8.6” * 8.6” with a matching soft bed ( random colors), suitable for rabbits, squirrels, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, and other similar sized small pets. Rabbit travel carrier suitable for pets under 3.2lbs, please measure the size of your pet before buying.
  • 👜【Product Transparent Design】: The fully transparent design allows your pet's vision to be more open, enjoy the sun and scenery at any time, and it is also convenient for you to interact with your pet. The pet can see you at any time, so as to avoid staying in a dark place causing anxiety, Afraid. Openings are designed on the top and sides, and mesh panels are added on the side, so that the air can flow freely; Let the small animal happily enjoy the breeze with you.
  • 👜【Light and Hard Material】: The small animal carrier use EVA material is lighter and will not be burdensome when you go out. The hard plastic shell will support well and won't squeeze your pet. An anti-skid pad is added at the bottom to prevent sliding. Bottom waterproof design can be placed on the ground or lawn, not easy to get dirty and easy to clean.
  • 👜【Suitable for All Occasions】: The weight of the bunny travel carrier is only 1.2lbs. the guinea pig carrier is light and convenient. It is suitable for daily travel. It can take your small pets out for a drive, camping, or take him to the pet shop to bathe and beautify, or take him to the hospital when he is sick.
  • 👜【Easy to Store & Carry】: Hand strap and adjustable cushion shoulder strap make travel easier,Portable design can be folded when you don't need it, saving space, and it can also be completely disassembled during cleaning. Take the mat out and place it in the washing machine for cleaning. The shell is directly rinse with water, convenient and quick.

Last update on 2022-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How often Should Guinea Pigs Be Handled?

Now that we know how to handle a guinea pig let’s dive into how often a guinea pig should be handled.

As stated before, guinea pigs enjoy being handled and petted, but it may take time before they get to trust and be comfortable with you. Furthermore, a guinea pig can become more comfortable handling it if trained from a young age.

This means you can hold a guinea pig as often as possible if your guinea pig is comfortable with you. However, you will need to be on the lookout for signs that your guinea pig is not stressed and is comfortable with handling.

Also read: Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Held?

Guinea Pig Harness and Leash

3 Pieces Guinea Pig Harness and Leash Soft Mesh Small Pet Harness with Bowknot Bell, No Pulling Comfort Padded Vest for Guinea Pigs, Ferret, Chinchilla, Rats (Blue, Yellow, Grey, S)
  • Quality material: small pet mesh harness uses quality nylon as its material, containing a soft texture and surface, suited for both hot and cold days, breathable feature poses less pressure on pet's body, so they will be active to wear the harness for a long time, presenting a comfortable and cozy wearing period
  • Size detailed information: the pet walking vest is in suitable size and fits well to small animals and prevents them escape in the public; The vest creates no unpleasant pulling feeling to your pet's neck, small animals like baby ferret, guinea pig, rats, iguana, hamster and more can use the harness well
  • Bell and bowknot decoration: a leash with a length of 4.4 feet is attached to the back of breathable puppy harness, pet owners can grasp it securely to control the pet's movement, meanwhile, the leash provides a suitable space for pets to walk around; The bowknot and bell on the top add more beauty to the vest, making your pets cute and adorable, the sound produced by bell can be clearly heard from a distance
  • Lightweight feature: nylon pet leash vest weighs lightly, if pet owners temporarily don't need to use the vest, they can place it into pocket or bag, while its quick release snaps can be quick to put on pet's body, convenient and useful
  • Good for safety: small animals mesh harness will offer a full protection on pet's chest and neck while wearing, ensuring their safety while walking outside, the harness also can prevent them from licking their wounds

Last update on 2022-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Summary

Guinea pigs are among the most popular and adorable pets in the world. The best thing is that they love human interaction, and they love to be handled and petted.

However, they have fragile bodies, and you need to be very careful when handling them to help avoid any injury.

About UniquePetsWiki

UniquePetsWiki is the preferred educational source on pets favored by experienced herptologists and new owners alike. With hundreds of articles on everything pertaining to pets including reptiles, squirrels, and other pets, our experienced team provides reliable and accurate content you can trust.

From proper husbandry and habitat guidance, to articles on health concerns, diet, and extensive care guides, UniquePetsWiki is here to educate everyone on all pets concerns.

Disclaimer

UniquePetsWiki is not a veterinary website, nor should any of the reptile health information on our site replace the advice of a certified veterinary professional. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, contact an experienced veterinarian immediately.

UniquePetsWiki is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.