One of the most important things we guinea pig owners want to know is if our guinea pig is happy. But, how do we really know this? Well, I decided to do some research on all the guinea pig behaviors that suggest a happy guinea pig, here’s what I found:
How do I know if my guinea pig is happy?
Like most pets, your guinea pigs overall health, and other factors determine its level of happiness. The following are a few behaviors that can tell if your guinea pig is happy:
- Staying active from time to time.
- Popcorning (hopping up in the air).
- Rubbing it’s nose against it’s guinea pig friends nose. (Cute right?)
- Loves to socialize whether with humans or other guinea pigs.
- High-pitched squeals.
- Deep, calm and relaxed purr (like a cat).
Guinea pigs are some of the most social and friendly animal pets. They love human company and they naturally depict really adoring poises and antics; this makes you truly part of their game.
One of the best things about this pet is that they are quite easy to maintain. A guinea pig can easily communicate with its owner, through specific vocal sounds, as well as definite body language. If you are keen and observant enough, you can easily recognize when they are happy and excited, or sad and gloomy.
You will easily know if they want to play or they just want to mate. They have a way of exhibiting certain behavior, actions and body postures that makes you take the necessary action.
In this post I’ll explain more in depth how you can know if your guinea pig is happy as well as if it’s unhappy. Read on to learn more.
How to Know If Your Guinea Pig Is Happy
Happy Guinea Pig Sound
Being an extremely social animal, it also means that your guinea pig has a way of passing crucial messages especially you when they are happy. Some of the common indications that the animal is happy is through clear vocal communication. An example of these vocals includes:
A High-Pitched Squeal
This sounds kind of whistling, which often comes out when the pet is either happy, and just wants to play, or they know its feeding time. Given that they love their food so much, whistling is its way of registering their anticipation of a sumptuous meal.
Sometimes it could be a way of their wanting your company, affection or to play. Most often when you are carrying some food in your hands, or you are opening the fridge, or cooking in the kitchen that kind of squeal becomes evident. It’s therefore up to you to decipher which is which, and according to the times for you have set for each activity.
A Deep, Calm and Relaxed Purr
This kind of sound comes out like that of a cat; its type of quiet grunt depicts contentment and comfort. With such, you also recognize that basic interactions are just as casual and relaxed in a very good way. Their posture is also one of calm, and friendliness.
Happy Guinea Pig Body Language
You can easily understand your pig by how they communicate using their body language. Here are some examples:
Hopping in the Air
This kind of jump is also known as popcorning. You can easily tell that your pet is happy and excited with the way they jump up and down. They do so quite repeatedly just like popcorns. It’s more of the norm in the very young, who is often quite playful. Even the older ones jump but with certain limitations; still, it’s a good indicator that they are happy and in their perfect form.
Rubbing of the Nose
If you have a pair of them, you can see that they occasionally rub their nose against each other; it is a sign of both friendliness and happiness. They can also lick you to show affection.
Guinea pigs are known for their friendly social tendencies, more, when in the company of other guinea pigs. They jump, play and runs around excitedly. They like to strut their stuff around and make their presence known.
How Do You Know if Your Guinea Pig is Unhappy?
It is important to understand all behavioral patterns of your guinea pig. Doing so allows you to know that they are not in their best form. You can then take remedial actions to bring them back to normal. Here are some types of vocal and physical communication of your pet.
You can recognize this kind of communication when they try and rise up while standing on their two hind legs. This could be accompanied by hissing or chattering sounds; you can also see that they are fluffing out their coat, and bearing their teeth. Another sign of aggressiveness is when they are still moving on their hind stiff legs, but from side to side.
Fidgeting or Freezing
This is normally an indication that they are either uncomfortable, anxious or afraid of something.
Depression or Stress
Just like any other animal, guineas pigs can also be unhappy and depressed. Signs of such conditions include irritability, reclusiveness, and a particular lack of energy. Your pet may even depict a loss of appetite, and just not be its usual-self at all.
Tossing of Their Head
Sometimes a guinea pig can be seen to toss their head in the air. It is a common sign that they do not want to be petted; instead, they just want to be left alone.
How Can You Make Your Guinea Pig Happy?
There a number of ways you can apply to ensure that your guinea pig remains as happy and comfortable as possible. These include:
Feed Them a Healthy Balanced Diet
The truth is that health matters in the overall happiness of your pet. Feeding them on the recommended guinea pig balanced diet can make them less predisposed to disease.
You can check out the best guinea pig foods like clean hay, plenty of clean water, and nutritious portions of guinea pig pellets. You can include small portions of fresh vegetables, lettuce and some fruits as well.
If you’re looking for premium high quality hay I recommend Timothy hay from the brand Kaytee and for pellets I recommend the Kaytee Forti diet pro. (Both of these links will send you to Amazon.com)
It is also good to consult with a vet to know the exact healthy portions that your pet should consume on a daily basis; so that it’s not too much, and neither is too little that they starve.
Spend Some Quality Bonding Time With Them
Being highly social animals, these pets need some level of company, whether human or other guinea pigs. If it’s a single pet, then you need to cuddle, and bond with it as often as possible. They so love it when you stroke and pet them. Basically, it’s a kind of reward to them, which makes them happy and relaxed. However, you should not overdo the bonding; a daily 20- 30 minutes of affection is more than enough.
These sessions are also a good opportunity to carefully check them out and see if they are in their perfect physical condition.
Offer them Physical and Mental Stimulation
Guinea pigs are naturally active animals. More often than not they need to release all pent up energy. It is useful to incorporate some physical and mental exercises in their daily routine. Otherwise, they can be prone to destructive behavior; or they can also be depressed.
Want more tips on how to make your guiena pigs happy? Then read this post where I cover a list of things that guinea pigs like the most.
What Noises Do Guinea Pigs When Unhappy?
Listen closely because your guinea pig might be trying to talk to you. These social animals have developed enough vocal skills to use them for methods of emotional communication.
Sometimes it’s a purr or vibration of happiness, but in this case, your guinea pig might be unhappy or disturbed. What’s wrong? Let’s find out the noises that could indicate that a guinea pig is upset:
- teeth chattering
Teeth chattering in our guinea pigs is a warning to back off for now. We treat it as our own personal time-out. We may have been crowding their space or giving too much attention at this time.
I can’t help it sometimes and my guinea pig boar is able to tell me when he’s not interested in being held. He commences teeth chattering and I put him down.
There could be other noise besides hissing or growling that you hear, but these are the overarching categories of sound that could branch off into unique sub-categories depending on the vocal cords of your cavies.
Whining is a sadder sound expressed when they are bored, lonely or wish for attention. This one brings us back together while the other noises mentioned above makes us back off.
Why Is My Guinea Pig Popcorning? Are They Happy or Sad?
This movement is cute, but it comes with risks. Guinea pigs are much heavier than kernels of corn and shouldn’t be popping up the way one of our favorite snacks do.
They have heavy bodies above those delicate limbs and too much jumping or hopping could lead to injury risks. Younger guinea pigs tend to perform this popcorning technique since they are more energetic and jumpy.
Usually popcorning is related to positive emotions such as these cavies being very excited to see you. You may have entered the room and they equate this with attention, love or some new food.
Popcorning for an excessively agitated guinea pig could mean they feel overcrowded or need some time to exercise. The physical movement you are seeing could be read positively or negatively depending on the situation, but it is usually out of excitement.
Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Relaxed
A relaxed guinea usually purrs so sweetly. The longer or deeper the purr that you are hearing, the more relaxed they are with their environment and the company they keep around them.
Maybe they really enjoy their cage partners or the humans in the house. The purring can be coupled with a vibration that feels great when these cavies are on our laps. This is one the best moments of caring for guinea pigs.
A relaxed, calm and comfortable guinea pig will:
- eat out of your hand
- approach you
- climb aboard your lap for some cuddle time
- enjoy being held
Be careful however when you hear the purr being more of a high pitched tone. This could mean that something is off and you should investigate further to see what’s up.
The answer to the question, how do i know if my guinea pig is happy, is quite obvious. It is because, by their very nature, these pets have clear ways of communicating. Whether by vocalization, or body language, you are able to know how they feel.
Understanding each message and signal they are passing is one of the best ways to meet their day to day needs. You can easily tell if they are happy, or need some happiness. Meanwhile, the health of your pet is a critical factor.
Day to day signs that your pet is in good form include a showing of clear and bright eyes and a dry nose. Combine these with a healthy appetite, calmness and general friendly behavior, you can be confident that your pet is, in fact, well and happy.
Behavioral patterns are a major telltale sign. You simply need to understand each of these patterns. If they are whistling and having a time of their lives, you definitely know that things are good in the animal kingdom.
But if your pet is somehow freezing, or hissing and showing some other uncharacteristic tendencies, its time to take action and help them out. Your immediate action is the only best way to helping them stay healthy, relaxed and happy.