How To Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Happy (9 Signs To Watch For)

Guinea Pig comforts the little master of body language. You can laugh the whole time your little one explores, watching all their funny antics. But guinea pigs may not always be so happy. How can you be sure your little friend is enjoying their life?

Watching behavior is very important because it gives you all the clues you need. If you’ve recently noticed a major change in the way they act, you may be wondering if something might be wrong. Or maybe you just want to know that you are a good owner. Either way, let’s talk about guinea pig happiness.


Healthy Guinea Pig Behavior

Guinea Pigs are small, bright-eyed, adventurous creatures with a friendly nature. However, they may take a few minutes to warm up at first. These small prey animals tend to be too focused on everything around them. It’s permanently embedded in their DNA, because these people are easy targets in the wild.

Once they find out who you really are, they’ll start to get curious. These rodents can be beloved family pets who enjoy hanging out with you outside of the cage by interacting and socializing frequently.

guinea pig up close

Things To Do Happy Guinea Pigs

So how can you tell if your guinea pig is happy? There’s plenty of action and vocalization to let you know how your pig is feeling. Let’s explore each one.

1. Popcorn

If you take your little one out to play, you may see them popping up in the air like little corn kernels—hence the cute nickname “popcorning.”

It’s not uncommon to see guinea pig popcorn get excited when they get a treat. This action is one of pure joy and happiness. So if your little pig appears in the air, you’re doing something right.

2. snoring

If you’re cuddling with your guinea pig—or rubbing your chin a lot—you may hear a light snoring. This noise means they love whatever you do, so don’t stop!

Snoring is a sure sign that your little one is enjoying your company. It’s part of their love language, and if you’re lucky enough to hear it—they are indeed a happy boy or girl.

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3. socialize

If your pig comes out of his cage and wants to interact with you while exploring, this is a very good sign that you have made a friend. They feel comfortable enough to leave the ways of their prey animal, trusting that you mean no harm.

They will also play with other guinea pigs as well. They like to roam freely, chasing their friends in a controlled environment. If they’re interacting and playing—whether it’s with you or their peers—it’s a perfect indicator that they love their life.

Guinea Pig_Mateusz Sienkiewicz_Shutterstock

4. Squealing

You may be too familiar with this sound. If they hear your voice or the rattling of a bag of food—suddenly, there’s a squeak. They are very excited because they will get something delicious to eat.

Guinea Pigs use vocalizations to send you messages. Even if they don’t speak your language, hearing an exhilarating scream can speak loud and clear.

guinea pig squeak

5. No Hiding

If you approach the cage, some of the guinea pigs may hide in their huts in fear. However, if they curiously climb to the edge of the cage, this means they are very comfortable with you.

These little critters know that you mean no harm, which is huge for a small animal that gets scared easily. Consider this a real honour.

guinea pigs in their cages

6. Rubbing Nose

You may find that when you pick up your little pigs, their noses wag against you. This guinea kiss is the best.

Rubbing the nose is a very friendly gesture that pigs use towards one another. So if they use it with you—feel special! This means they consider you part of their family, or herdin guinea pig terms.

7. mingle

Cozy guinea pigs will hug you to pieces. They want to lean against your shirt or be comfortable in your arm. If your guinea pig is tense, agitated, or restless, they may not enjoy handling that much.

Hugging, or even closing their eyes, in your presence means they are completely comfortable. That’s a sign of a very content pig.

female cuddling with guinea pig

8. Self care

If your guinea pig starts to dress you or his friends, this is a sign that he is satisfied and ready to show affection. This action occurs when the guinea is relaxed, so you’ll never find a pig nervous about making time for a grooming session.

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If your guinea pig is licking you, they might as well just enjoy the salt on your skin.

guinea pig licking the girl's arm

9. Played

Happy guinea pigs will happily get involved in the game. They may want you to chase them across the floor or play hide and seek. They have great personalities and are active when they feel comfortable.

You will be very happy to see your little pigs exploring their home or private maze.


Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Not So Happy

Of course, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes our pets are not as happy as we would like them to be. But all that really means is that we have to learn what went wrong and work to fix it. All guinea pigs have different personalities that require special handling and care.

Chirping, Hissing or Strutting

Often territorial behavior, guinea picks don’t mind being shown when they’re upset. If you interrupt them when they’re not in the mood, they may warn you not to—your best bet is to listen.

guinea pigs eat basil

Biting, Biting, or Hitting

If your guinea is rough or cruel, they don’t like what’s going on. Usually, this happens when they are trying to assert their dominance and can happen very quickly with males at sexual maturity.

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Why Is My Guinea Pig Unhappy?

If you read and notice that your pig is exhibiting more negative behavior than positive, you may want to know why. There are several environmental factors that influence your pet’s behavior.

No Guinea Pig Playmates

Guinea pigs are social creatures, and they can become very depressed when they are alone. It may seem like human company is enough—but as you may relate, it’s not the same as bonding with your own kind. Your guinea pig should always have at least one playmate of the same gender.

guinea pig in toy tunnel

Wrong diet

If your little one is not getting all the proper nutrition, it can lead to all sorts of unwanted health problems, including depression.

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A proper guinea pig diet includes:

  • Commercial pellet food

  • Vitamin C

  • Straw

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables

Like humans, guinea pigs don’t produce their own vitamin C, so they must take it from their diet. Buying foods rich in vitamin C is very important. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to vitamin C deficiency or scurvy.

Fear of Owner

Since guinea pigs are prey animals, they can be very sensitive to their environment. If there is overstimulation going on, it might cause them to fear you.

Restless behavior may also result from a lack of interaction. It’s important to bond with your guinea pig on a regular basis so that they feel safe and social.

guinea pig in a cage_aurelie le moigne_shutterstock

Not Enough Exercising

How often do you bring out the pigs to play and hang out? If you’ve been falling behind lately, they’re probably on their way down—or developing a restless attitude. Constant interaction is essential to establishing and strengthening your bond.

On average, your piggy needs at least an hour of time to explore, play, and interact every day.


Final Thoughts

If your guinea pig has bright eyes and a bushy tail, they are most likely happy with their life. It’s possible for guinea pigs to exhibit territorial or aggressive behavior, especially with same-sex partners. But this should be an introductory level and exit level behavior over time.

Make sure your guinea is well fed, lives in a clean environment, and gets out to exercise every day. An active lifestyle equals a happy pig.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay