Handling

Guinea pigs are the most delightful pets and they will really love to be with you and be held with you if they are not frightened.

The first thing is to know how to hold your guinea pig, and in order to do this, you need to consider the guinea pig first in this equation.

All guinea pigs are not the same. They have different behaviours and temperaments and also come from different backgrounds. In order to really get to be friendly with your guinea pig, you need to urn their trust. This will take time but understanding a few basics will help enormously.

Firstly guinea pigs are prey animals and they are frightened easily. So they do not want to hear loud noises, shrieks of delight, screams of play etc. They like you to be calm when you are approaching them so that they understand you are a friend and not going to hurt them.  This is also why they need a hidey – so that they have somewhere to run if they are frightened and feel they need to get away.

When guinea pigs are not frightened they will come out and to you for food and interact more openly when they know your feeding and day routine.

The best way to hold a guinea pig initially is on your lap and using a cuddle cup. These are fabulous round shaped open sided bags that will enable the guinea pig to feel more secure, and for you also to relax a little more.

Cuddle cups are a wonderful way for guineapigs to feel settled and for you to be able to pat and feed them while you are holding them.

Guinea pigs do not like to have their legs unsupported – they like all their legs on the ground! So if you are lifting them and holding them make sure they are supported well like in the photo below.

Never drop a guinea pig – make sure that you completely put them back on the floor of their cage before letting go. If they fall they can break limbs very easily.

If small children at to hold a guinea pig, it is important that they are supervised and I would recommend that they sit on the floor. So they are close to the ground in the case of a guinea pig moving off their lap guickly.  Again having a cuddle cup is a great way to keep the guinea pig safe and teach children to be careful and gentle in the handling process.

Always feed your guinea pig a treat at the time you hold them. This could be a simple as some blades of nice grass or small piece of carrot/herbs etc. The idea being that your guinea pig will enjoy the experience, and will relate being picked up and held with also being rewarded with a treat. They will come to look forward to the experience.

Warning – hint!

If your guinea pig starts to move about and not remain settled, most likely they want to go to the toilet! This is a sign to put them back in their cage for a while. If you watch your guinea pigs body language in this way, you will never end up with a wet patch on your legs to deal with.

Watch the following video to see how to pick up a guinea pig safely: