Guinea pigs are prey animals, and they are always anxious and nervous. They can freak out pretty quickly, and thus their owners need to calm them down. But what is the right way to do it? How to calm down a stressed guinea pig?
Reach out to your guinea pigs and start with some verbal reassurance. Try to whisper softly and wait for your guinea pigs to approach you; once they do so, pet them gently while still talking to them. You can also hand-feed some treats and offer some floor time to them.
If there is something around them that is making them stressed out, try to eliminate the same.
A loud noise around them, other pets in your house, etc. could be some of the significant causes of stress in your guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are anxious and nervous by nature, so you need to make sure that you provide them with a stress-free living environment.
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Are guinea pigs easily stressed
Yes, guinea pigs can get stressed out pretty quickly. Being prey animals they are always looking out for predators that can harm them.
Any additional stress in the form of loud noises or other environmental factors can be detrimental to their health.
Your guinea pigs might be feisty and bossy among their cage mates, but they are not prepared for predators and other animals.
They are reliant on their owners to keep them safe and protected. While guinea pigs feel more secure when housed inside, a guinea pig housed outside is more stressed out at all times.
If you leave your guinea pigs under tremendous stress for a more extended period, they may suffer from a severe health issue.
Sudden shocks can also lead to cardiac arrest in guinea pigs. Thus, make sure you try to keep them calm and stress-free.
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Why is my guinea pig stressed
There can be a lot of environmental and other factors that can cause stress in guinea pigs. Some of the common factors include:
- Loud noises: Sudden and loud noises can quickly stress out the guinea pigs as they have a good sense of hearing. Noises like loud music, sudden sounds of thunderstorms, etc. are some common examples.
- Predators: Guinea pigs are prey animals, and the only defense they have is running away from the threat and calling for help. If your guinea pig is housed outside, then there can be a lot of predators like neighbors cat, birds, etc. that can stress out your guinea pigs. Even indoors, your other pets like cats or dogs can stress them out.
- Lack of space: Guinea pigs need a large enough cage for living a happy and healthy life. If their cage is too small, they cannot play and exercise, and they will become stressed out. Follow our article on How bog should a guinea pig cage be for more info.
- Travel: Guinea pigs don’t like new environments as they feel secure in a familiar living space. If you have to travel with your guinea pigs, then it is going to be a stressful journey for them. You can learn more about it from our article: Can we fly with our guinea pigs.
- Change of routine: Guinea pigs love to explore, but they do feel relief following a routine. Having a fixed routine of floor time and feeding will keep them calm and happy. A sudden change can stress them out.
- Excessive handling: Guinea pigs love to play with their owners; however, they don’t prefer excessive handling. If you try to carry your guinea pigs for longer durations or cuddle them all the time, then they may not be good with it. Some guinea pigs don’t enjoy being petted and can get severely stressed.
- Temperature fluctuations: Guinea pigs need to be housed in a stable temperature between 20°C-24°C. Sudden changes in temperature or extreme heat can make them uncomfortable and stressed out.
- Boredom: Guinea pigs are smart pets. We need to provide them with toys and stuff to keep them entertained. Make sure your guinea pig has something to do, or they can get stressed or even depressed due to boredom.
- Health issues: Guinea pigs can suffer from health issues and pain, which they’ll try to hide. These health problems can lead to severe stress in guinea pigs. It can also be life-threatening in some instances.
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How do I know if my guinea pig is stressed?
Stressed symptoms can easily be identified in guinea pigs if you monitor their behavior closely. Some of the common symptoms to look out for are:
- Hiding a lot: A stressed-out guinea pig will hide a lot and will not come out until they feel relaxed and secure. If you notice your guinea pig is hiding at a single spot for an extended period, then it inevitably means they are frightened.
- Not eating or drinking: If you notice your guinea pig is not eating as par to their daily diet or not drinking enough water, then it could mean they are stressed out. A health issue can be a significant reason for such a kind of stress.
- Breathing fast: Guinea pigs do tend to breath fast and heavy when they are frightened or stressed out. Make sure you comfort them when you see them gasping for air.
- Screaming: Fear can be one of the significant causes of stress in guinea pigs. If your guinea pig is frightened for its life or they are in some physiological distress, then they will be screaming out loud.
- Digestive problems: Guinea pigs who are stressed out are likely to suffer from health issues like diarrhea, constipation, etc. A higher anxiety level will make stool passing difficult and also create a blockage in some instances.
- Other signs: Some other signs of anxiety and stress includes irritation and more aggressive displays of behavior, such as head tossing, rumbling, or teeth-chattering.
How to calm down a stressed guinea pig
Guinea pigs need to be calmed down when they are extremely stressed.
Never let our guinea pigs on their own because even if they can calm themselves down, there will be some knockdown effect.
Your Guinea pig is likely to suffer from some mild health issues as well. Whenever you notice that your guinea pig is freaking out, reach out to them and sit beside their enclosure.
Try to reassure them with some common phrases like It’s okay; Your mommy is here, etc.
Over time, your guinea pigs will learn that these phrases are simple reassurance, and you are there for them.
Never try to expose them to something that raises their stress level; in fact, it would be great if you could eliminate everything that can lead to stress in your guinea pigs.
Once your guinea pig starts calming down and moves towards you, then you can pet them gently and keep reassuring them for some time.
Singing a song, getting them a piece of treat, etc. could be an excellent way to keep your guinea pigs calm and getting them back into their comfort zone.
Guinea pig love to live in the moment, so if you could make them happy by any means, then they might get back to their old state.
My guinea pig is stressed due to loud noises
Loud noises are always spooky for our guinea pigs, and sometimes they are beyond our control.
If you live in an urban area, there may be a lot of noise around your home. These noises include car horns, firecrackers, lightning, loud music, etc.
While some of these noises are in our control, others aren’t. So what should we do?
If possible, try to allocate a separate room to your guinea pigs. The room should be in that corner of your home where these noises are at a minimum level.
You should avoid placing the television and music system around your guinea pigs.
If you have children living with you, then ask them not to make loud noises or to shout around the guinea pig living area.
All these noises can stress out your guinea pigs, and it is best to keep them at minimum levels.
You should also consider adding some fleece hideouts for your guinea pigs so they can sneak in whenever they feel frightened.
My guinea pig is stressed since I got a new pet
Guinea pigs are social animals, but that doesn’t mean they can live with any other pets.
You can always house a small group of guinea pigs together, considering you provide them with enough space.
However, other pets like dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. might not be an excellent match for your guinea pigs.
Yes, many owners own a cat and guinea pigs or dogs and guinea pigs, but these don’t work out all the time.
Bigger pets like cats and dogs can instinctively chase your guinea pigs, causing them extreme stress and anxiety.
You can slowly introduce these pets to each other; however, you should never leave them alone when they are playing together.
You never know what can go wrong between them.
Also, make sure that your cats or dogs don’t have access to the living space of your guinea pigs.
The sudden entry of these pets into their space can sometimes frighten your guinea pigs.
My guinea pig is stressed due to a heatwave
Guinea pigs need a stable living environment. They cannot tolerate temperatures above 24°C; thus, a sudden rise in temperature in your area or a heatwave could be a trouble for your guinea pigs.
High temperatures make them irritated, aggressive, and anxious as well. Try to keep the enclosure of your guinea pig’s cold.
If you are housing them outside, consider bringing them inside.
Move the cage into the central part of your house as these areas will be colder as compared to others.
Block direct sunlight with blinds and ensure proper ventilation in the area.
Refilling their water bottle with tap water frequently, adding some cold compress in the cage, and adding an extra air blower or fan with a damp cloth in the front can create a breeze of fresh air that helps them survive through the heatwave.
You should make sure that the fan is not directly pointed towards guinea pigs for a more extended period, as it can also stress them out.
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My guinea pig is stressed after moving in
When you get a new guinea pig or move your guinea pig from one place to another, then they are likely to be stressed out.
A new environment often makes our guinea pig feel vulnerable; thus, you need to comfort them by talking to them and providing them with some hiding spaces and proper diet.
Let your guinea pig explore the new territory for a few days, so they get used to it and feel more relaxed and secure.
Avoid making noise around your guinea pig and try to provide them with a pleasant living environment so that they can settle into the new space pretty quickly.
What does a stressed guinea pig sound like
Guinea pigs make a wide range of noise, and understanding the exact meaning of every sound can be difficult for some owners.
Here are some common noises that a stressed-out guinea pig is likely to make:
- A high pitched purr noise
- Hissing accompanied by teeth chattering
- Growling and
- Shrieking (A loud pitch scream)
Can stress kill guinea pigs
Yes, stress can sometimes be life-threatening for your guinea pigs.
If your guinea pig is extremely stressed out, then they might suffer from serious health issues, including a cardiac arrest.
Thus, make sure you keep them calm and relaxed whenever you feel like they are freaking out.