Guinea pigs make great family pets and make perfect beginner animals for children trying to learn how to care for them to take on greater responsibilities. Adding a second guinea pig can help prevent your pet from feeling lonely, and it can also help him get more exercise, which can lead to a longer and happier life than he might experience on his own. However, many people may be unsure about the best way to introduce a second animal to the environment and have many questions about safety. If you’re thinking about adding a second guinea pig to your habitat, keep reading as we give you a step-by-step plan for getting two guinea pigs to live together peacefully in the same cage.
Best Guinea Pig Match
The opposite sex
The first thing to consider when thinking about adding a second guinea pig to your cage is the gender of the new pet. We recommend getting the same sex as your guinea pig. Guinea pigs reproduce quickly and can have up to seven babies in each litter, so while that may sound like fun, it can get out of hand, and you’ll have more babies than you can manage. You can spay or neuter your guinea pig, but it can be very expensive, and you’ll need to keep the two separate for several weeks to heal.
Having one guinea pig much older than the other will help the two get along better. The older pet will naturally be the dominant one without any fights or fights.
It’s hard to tell a guinea pig’s personality without letting it stay in the cage for a few weeks, but two dominant males or females will have a hard time living together. Two submissives, or one submissive and one dominant, are required for both animals to live together.
Preparing the Company
As we mentioned earlier, sex is an important part of determining which pet is right for you, so the first thing you should do is determine its gender. Male guinea pig genitals appear circular with a slight protrusion. The female genitalia will be a flat y-shaped hole.
Before you buy a second guinea pig, we recommend making sure the cage you have is large enough to accommodate it. The cage for two guinea pigs must be at least 10.5 square feet.
Introducing the Guinea Pig
The first time you buy a second guinea pig, you’ll need to quarantine them so they can get used to each other’s scent. Some cages allow you to place a bulkhead that divides the cage in half. If not, you’ll need to buy an inexpensive temporary cage that you can keep tightly closed.
The closer they are to each other, the better they will smell each other and become familiar with it. You can also try swapping toys, bedding, and even food back and forth to give their surroundings the right scent. Watch how they both react when they detect that they are not alone to see if there is any potential for hostility.
After a few days of quarantine have passed, your pet is ready to meet. In most cases, the pets will get along right away, and it will be like they have always lived together. In the rare case that you have two dominant personalities that don’t match, there are still a few things you can try before you have to try to get the new pet back.
If the two guinea pigs don’t seem to get along quickly, you can try a game of Discovery. You are playing this game outside of a cage, so you will need a safe space and a partner. Use some freshly washed towels to create paths. Release one pig at one end while your friend releases the other at the other end. Try to keep them on a towel but give them 15–30 minutes to find each other. Once they find each other, they will likely begin a ritual to establish dominance. It would be best if you let this ritual play out unless they started fighting with each other. Once a dominant pig is established, the two animals will usually hang out from then on.
If the battle between two guinea pigs gets too rough, you can throw a towel over them to break them up. Quarantine them for a few more days and try again.
If your guinea pigs continue to be aggressive towards each other, you can try a game of Discovery, but when they get into a fight, put them in a warm tub and let them frolic in the water for a few minutes. The excitement of the water would often make them forget what they were fighting about, and they would both spend a few minutes having fun. Remove from water, dry, and place back on the same towel. In most cases, this will help relieve tension, and the two animals will begin to get along.
When to Give Up
If you’ve tried the Discovery game a few times without success, you might want to consider trying a different guinea pig as a companion for your pet. Trying to push the problem further will only cause stress for you and the guinea pig. You have to notice that they don’t fight all the time, and they will never be happy with an intruder in their place.
It’s not that hard to introduce guinea pigs to each other unless they’re both dominant personalities who don’t want to be submissive. In that case, you’ll need to try another guinea pig that might do just fine being a pushover. Guinea Pigs often get along well and are usually excited to see each other after a short quarantine. We only needed towels a few times and a warm shower only once.
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and finding the answers you need. If we’ve helped you find a friend for your pet, please share this guide to getting to know your guinea pigs on Facebook and Twitter.
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- 10 Guinea Pig Myths & Misconceptions
- 21 Interesting & Fun Guinea Pig Facts You Never Knew
Featured Image Credit: Olena Kurashova, Shutterstock