So you already own a dog and want to get a pair of guinea pigs, or you already own a pair of guinea pigs and want to get a dog too. In either of the case, you might be wondering, will my guinea pigs be safe? Do guinea pigs get along with dogs? Don’t worry. I did some research and consulted a few experts, and here is what I found.
Yes, guinea pigs and dogs can get along with some careful planning. Experts recommend making their introduction smooth and stress-free so that they will be able to get along quite nicely. Training your dog to be friendly and calm with your guinea pigs plays a vital role in this as well.
The stereotype relationship between guinea pigs and dogs is that of prey and predator. However, with proper training and care, you can make sure your dogs behave properly with those furry little friends of yours.
The natural instinct of a predator may take over your dog anytime, so it is recommended to be very cautious while leaving them free together.
Guinea pigs being prey animals can get frightened quickly. It is recommended never to leave them around your dogs alone and always make sure you provide them enough hiding space so that they can feel secure and stressfree.
If you own a cat as well I suggest you read: Do guinea pigs get along with cats?
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Are guinea pigs good with dogs?
If you own a trained dog, then you should have no problem keeping your guinea pigs with the dog if your dog is untrained then they might attack your guinea pig and hurt them badly.
Guinea pigs can not harm your dog, but your dog is capable of damaging your guinea pigs. So it is necessary to make sure your dog is trained before you leave your guinea pigs with them.
Dogs have an Instinct of harming small rodents and animals. However, they can be trained to live peacefully with other animals.
Dogs that are prepared to herd animals are one of the types(trained) you want to keep.
You need to train your dogs to live peacefully with other animals.
Guinea pigs being prey animals cannot do anything to your dog, but your dogs can hurt your guinea pigs badly even if they do it unintentionally. So, it would be best if you were extra cautious whenever they are together.
Will dogs harm guinea pigs?
Yes, a dog can hurt a guinea pig. Unless your dog is brought up with your guinea pigs from a very early age, it will likely see them as prey and may hurt them anytime.
Your dogs need to be trained to live with other animals, including your guinea pigs, from an early age if you want them to get along.
It is doubtful that your dog will get to a guinea pig once it is old. It is a wise idea to introduce them at an early age rather than later.
To understand how you can get your dogs along with guinea pigs, you need to understand the behavior of dogs first as they are the driving force in this relationship.
So, let us begin by understanding the temperament of dogs, in general, to start with.
Understanding dog’s temperament
Dog’s temperament is generally a dog’s general behavior towards other human beings and animals. It can depend upon various factors, including the breed, behavior of the owner, and other environmental factors.
As you can see, the research by the American Temperament Test Society shows that breed is one of the significant factors determining the behavior of your dog.
While Labrador retriever remains on the top of the list with the best, calm, and friendly temperament, Chihuahua was the most aggressive one in the list.
So, choosing the right breed of dog is essential, especially if you plan to keep them along with other pets, including guinea pigs.
The owner’s behavior and training is yet another significant factor that determines the temperament of the guinea pigs.
Research claims that dogs are like kids; they learn from their owners and their living environment.
If you spend time with your dogs, treat them well, and teach them to leave peacefull and calm, then they will do so.
On the other hand, if you treat your dogs poorly, they will develop negative traits, including aggression and mischievousness.
So, now that you know if you train your dog from an early age and in the right way, then your guinea pigs and dogs can get along. Let us now learn how we can introduce our guinea pigs to a dog in the right way.
How do you introduce a guinea pig to a dog?
Introducing your guinea pigs to a dog can be stressful for you as well as your pets. If we don’t do it correctly for the first time, we risk messing their relationship up for long.
So, I would request everyone to keep reading and follow the steps carefully to make sure you introduce your guinea pigs to the dogs in the right way.
If you consider keeping both dogs and guinea pigs in your home, you might need to plan that from an early stage.
Research proves that you must get a young puppy of age 3-12 weeks and start socializing it with your family members and other pets, including guinea pigs.
It is quite natural for a puppy of that age to get along with other beings, so it is a wise move to leverage the same.
Your guinea pigs might feel frightened, and it is entirely natural, so you have to make sure they get along quite comfortably without much stress by setting the right ground.
Setting up a play area
Setting up a shared play area is extremely important for introducing your guinea pigs as well as letting them free for some floor time.
It is always a wise move to find a space in your house different from where you keep your dogs and guinea pigs typically. Setting the common play area in either the dog’s room or your guinea pig’s room might give them a feeling of invasion in their territory.
Although pet dogs are not as territorial as wild ones still it is a good idea to set up a common play area where they can enjoy some floortime, and you can keep a watch on them.
You can prepare your living room or your dining room for this purpose. Wherever you set it up to make sure you have made the room guinea pig proof and have added some hiding spaces for your guinea pigs in there so that they can hide if they feel stressed out.
Hiding spaces also help in protecting them by escaping from any threat if anything goes wrong in the heat of the moment.
Brief introduction to begin with
When first introducing your guinea pigs to the dog, you must keep the dog enclosed in some cage or carrier and let the guinea pigs explore the area around.
Doing so shall ensure they both get used to each other’s presence and smell. You can then reverse the same and keep the guinea pigs in the cage and let the dog explore.
This is the moment when you pay attention to your dog’s behavior towards your guinea pigs. Is the dog showing any sign of anger, aggressiveness, etc.?
Once you have made sure they both have adjusted to the presence of one another, you can move to the next step.
Please note: If at any moment you feel like your guinea pigs are getting stressed out, then it is wise to move them somewhere else for some time and try again. Also, make sure you repeat these sessions for at least a week before moving ahead.
Free play under the supervision
Once your guinea pigs and dogs get used to the presence of each other, you can move ahead and let them free in the common play area.
Be very careful during those first interaction moments, and make sure your guinea pigs are safe. If you find any unusual behavior, then separate your guinea pigs from the dog and try again later.
It is possible that your guinea pigs might get scared at the beginning, it is entirely reasonable, and the hiding space we talked about earlier will come in play during this phase.
They can always hide in there for a short escape and come out slowly as they feel right.
Please note: Never withdraw your attention from your guinea pigs and dogs even for a moment during the first few days. Dog’s instinct might change at any time, and they can be lethal for your guinea pigs. So, make sure you are there to separate them if things run haywire.
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How do I keep my dog away from my guinea pig?
Keeping your guinea pigs safe is extremely important, especially when you have dogs in your home.
Although your dogs might not be aggressive in nature but in your absence, things might go wrong and end up hurting your piggies.
So, taking precautions and keeping your dogs away from your piggies, especially when you are not around, is extremely important.
Here are a few ninja tips you can try to keep your guinea pigs safe from your dogs.
Get a sturdy cage
Getting a sturdy cage is an essential thing you need to do to make sure your guinea pigs are safe from your dogs.
A good cage can hold off on its own and protect your guinea pigs if, due to any reason, your dog tries to attack them.
However, most guinea pigs cage sold in the market is open-top, which might not work in your case.
You will need to get a fully secured pen that is covered from all sides, and the guinea dog has no way to reach to your guinea pigs.
In any case, make sure you get this right in the first place and get a sturdy and robust cage for your guinea pigs.
Place the cage above the ground
cage placement plays a vital role, especially if you have a dog in your house. Placing the cage on top of a table or raising the C&C cage by adding some grids at the bottom layer is a smart decision to make.
Adding a little height to the pen can get the cage out of the immediate reach of your dog, which adds a little bit to the security.
Placing your guinea pigs cage in a busy room can be a good idea, but make sure your dog doesn’t have unsupervised access to the room.
If it does, you might need to move your guinea pig somewhere else. Maybe, in your bedroom.
Recommended reading: Can I keep guinea pigs in my bedroom?
Provide a lot of hiding spaces
Adding some hiding spaces in your guinea pigs cage is a part of their basic setup. If you haven’t added any hiding spaces yet, it might be a good idea to start doing so.
Adding hiding space is yet another layer of protection you can add in your guinea pigs cage.
Yes, a sturdy cage can hold dogs on its own, but having a place to escape helps your guinea pigs feel secure, especially if your dog manages to sneak into your guinea pig’s room.
Keeping them in separate living spaces
It is imperative to house your dogs and guinea pigs in separate parts of your homes.
If your does has unsupervised access to all parts of your house, then you might need to lock your guinea pigs into a room where your dogs cannot reach them.
Keeping them separate, especially when you are not present to monitor them is crucial as your dog might end up hurting your guinea pigs.
Even if your dog is familiar with piggies, there can be some instances when things might go wrong, so always make sure you house them separately when you are not around.
Securing the cage before leaving
Always make sure you close the doors of your guinea pigs cage and adequately lock the room up where you have housed them before leaving your home.
You never want that your dogs sneak into your guinea pig’s room and scare the heck out of your piggies when you are not around to boss them.
Even if by mistake you leave the doors open, then the situation can get critical for your piggies when you come back, so make sure you get this basic thing right.
Always ensure the safety of your piggies before leaving your home.
Conclusion: Guinea pigs and dogs
So, can you own a dog and guinea pigs together? Do guinea pigs get along with dogs?
Yes, it is possible to make your guinea pigs get along with your dogs. However, it needs some careful planning on your part.
Always remember, there is a possibility that your guinea pigs might never get along with your dogs. Every guinea pigs and dogs carry their own personality, and all are different from one another.
So, never force them or push them to form a bond. If the relationship is formed naturally, it is fine else keep them separate.
If you follow the above steps and keep them separate, then you can still own a cat and guinea pigs without risking the life of any.
However, caution is always recommended when it comes to guinea pigs and dogs.
Why does my dog eat guinea pig poop?
Although it might sound gross, dogs coprophagia is quite a common thing. In lay-mans terms, dogs eat their own poop or the poop of other animals to absorb the unabsorbed nutrients present in it.
It doesn’t harm your dogs. It is entirely natural if your dogs eat the poop of your guinea pig, and it won’t hurt them so you can let them do their thing.
Did you know guinea pigs eat their own poop as well and it is healthy for them? You can learn more about it from our article!
Can dogs get sick from guinea pigs?
In general, your dogs can’t get sick from your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs don’t carry any bacteria in general, which can harm your dog, but it is wise to keep your guinea pigs away from dogs when they are sick.
Skin diseases like mites and worms can get transferred to your dogs with your guinea pig is suffering from the same.
You can learn more about guinea pig diseases from our guide:
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