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Why Is My Guinea Pig Not Playing?

Why Is My Guinea Pig Not Playing?

Playing with your guinea pig will always strengthen your bond with them. Guinea pigs always enjoy playing, but if your guinea pig is not playing with their toys anymore, that means there is something wrong with them, and we must investigate it immediately.

If your guinea pig is not playing, then a poor toy selection or rotation might be the primary cause. Guinea pigs are finicky, and they get bored quickly. Keeping a constant rotation of toys to keep them engaged is crucial. If your guinea pig is in pain, they’ll not enjoy playing either.

Your guinea pig may lose interest in playing if they are in shortage with their toys.

Guinea pigs are very selective, and they also get bored very soon. So keeping that in mind, you must remember to change their toy supply regularly.

It would help if you also kept an eye on their health conditions. If they are ill, they will be interested in playing. As guinea pigs are prey animals, they are very good at hiding their pain.

Naturally, your guinea pigs start becoming less energetic as they start growing older.

With the downfall of the energy level, guinea pigs become less interested in performing any active activity.

You should always consult a vet when you notice any changes in your guinea pig’s behavior as it can also lead to some health issues.

Why is my guinea pig not playing anymore?


Guinea pigs lose their interest in playing with their growing age. They will turn out to be less active as time moves on.

But it is a gradual process and not an overnight thing. If you notice a sudden change in your guinea pig’s behavior, there is something wrong with them, which you should investigate.

It could be a mental or physical reason for their sudden change in behavior. If you find your guinea pig not moving around, but is healthy, it is likely to be a physical illness.

If they are ignoring all types of contact, then they could be going through an emotional phase.

Some common reasons for a guinea pig not wanting to play include:

  • Boredom: It may be possible that your guinea pigs get bored very soon with the toys in their cage. When they get bored with their toys, you should replace their toys with the new one.
  • Frightening: When two guinea pigs share a common cage, the dominant one will try to claim the toys, which will take away the enjoyment of the other.
  • Stress: When your guinea pigs are not comfortable with their present surroundings, they might get stressed. And guinea pigs are not good at handling stress in themselves.
  • Physical Illness: With their growing age, your guinea pigs can become less energetic, and their muscles also deteriorate. Your guinea pig can suffer through arthritis in the rear legs or any other health issues.
  • Other sicknesses: If your guinea pig is going through any other health issues, it affects every aspect of life. Depression could be a major problem as well.

A guinea pig avoiding to play doesn’t conclude that they cannot come back to their natural behavior. Once you are successful in detecting the problem with your guinea pig, you can help them return to their natural behavior.

How do guinea pigs like to play?

Guinea pigs are fond of playing, but they are particular as well. If you want them to enjoy certain games, you will need to act in the following manner:

  • Make their own decision: You should not force your guinea pigs into their playtime against their wish. If they would need playtime, they will come and play with you. So instead of forcing them for your want, you should wait for their call.
  • Gain attention and interaction: Guinea pigs always want to get social care, so we will advise you to be involved in their playtime whenever possible. It will also help in improving the experience of your guinea pigs.
  • Enjoy playing on the ground: As guinea pigs are prey animals, they are much more comfortable on the ground than being held up. So try to keep all their playing activities on the ground itself.
  • Enjoy tearing things: Guinea pigs enjoy tearing things instead of creating, so if you can provide them something like cardboard, they can enjoy hours with that as they like to tear things apart with their paws and teeth.
  • Guinea pigs also enjoy noise: From the word ‘noise,’ we don’t mean loud noises as they can get scared by loud, sudden sounds. But they like to enjoy noisy toys, especially with the ones they can play around.
  • Need exercise: Guinea pigs become less energetic with their growing age, so they need proper exercise to maintain their health and avoid certain types of health issues.
  • Need intellectual stimulation: Guinea pigs are not intelligent than humans, but that does not mean that they are stupid. They always accept the chance to bend their cerebral muscles.

If you follow these steps, your guinea pigs will always enjoy their playtime.

Do guinea pigs play with humans?

Provide more floortime

Yes, Guinea pigs are very fond of social attention. They will enjoy playing with you if you have a healthy bond with them.

But in case if you don’t have a good bond with your guinea pigs, they will be uncomfortable in your presence.

Once you are successful in making a bond with your guinea pig, they will start enjoying your presence, and you can also involve yourself in their playtime.

We will advise you not to play with your guinea pig until and unless you share a good bond with your guinea pigs. They must enjoy the time around you and should not be in constant stress.

Once you develop a good relation with your guinea pig, they will start enjoying your company, and then you are free to play with them.

How often should I play with my guinea pig?

You can play every day with your guinea pigs if you share a good bond with them. But you must remember not to play against their will.

If they are in no mood to have playtime, then kindly do not force them as it might upset them.

Guinea pigs always like to make their own decision as they do not want to be forced.

If you try to force them for playtime, then there are chances that they might be upset form you, which can also affect your bonding with your guinea pigs.

What games can you play with your guinea pig?

You should know what your guinea pigs enjoy playing.

Let us learn about some fun games you can play with your guinea pig:

  • Play fetch: You can play this game by rolling a small ball to your guinea pigs. They will most probably pass it back to you.
  • Conceal treats in your guinea pigs cage: Guinea pigs always be on the lookout for rewards. They enjoy digging and searching for food. So you can hide fresh fruits and veggies in their hay. But you must surely remove all the uneaten food before it turns moldy.
  • Develop a barrier course: If your guinea pigs can move freely, you can put barriers in their path, which will be an adventure for them to cross. They will enjoy figuring out how to pass them. For this activity, there is no need to purchase any expensive toys. Any safe household items can do well.
  • Read to your guinea pigs: Guinea pigs always soft and rhythmic human sounds. So if you are going through a book or newspapers, try to read it aloud so that your guinea pig can understand that you are addressing them.
  • Clash, small noisy toys: If your guinea pigs discover a noise, they will have the curiosity to find out the source of the sound. If the toy is small in size for them to toss around, they will try to interact with it.
  • Make tunnels: You can purchase or make a tunnel for using safe household items for your guinea pigs as they will love running through it.
  • Let your guinea pig chase you: Some guinea pigs like being chased, but many guinea pigs who do not take it as a game as they get scared. Most of the guinea pigs even like chasing, though. Go a few steps back, and call your piggie. If they come running after you, that means they enjoy chasing. You can play this very often with your guinea pigs.
  • Place yourself on the ground: You can place yourself on the ground and permit your guinea pig to use you as a jungle gym. You will be amazed to know how long this can entertain them.

There are many other games you can play with your guinea pigs to keep them fit and healthy.

Just remember to follow all the rules for playing with your guinea pigs. Try not to wrestle, and do not handle them in a wrong manner.

How do I know if my guinea pigs want to play?

Guinea pigs understand their own minds, and they will let you know when they want to play. Some actions they do when they want to play are as follows:

  • Running around your feet: If you find your guinea pigs running around your feet, it means that they are glad to see you and want to play with you. You can then get involved in their playtime.
  • Pulling your sleeve or trouser leg: This is very similar to the child who wants you to pay attention to them. Guinea pigs, by doing this, indicate you to play with them.
  • Biting: You can believe that this is your guinea pig’s misbehavior, but on the truth is that they do it when they are very excited and want to gain your attention.
  • Rolling toys around: If your guinea pigs are playing with their toys, that means they are in a happy mood. At that time, they are more likely to enjoy playtime with you. That can also be an excellent time for strengthening your bond with your guinea pigs.
  • Engaging themselves with household items: If your guinea pigs find nothing to play with during their floortime, they will find any other household items and start playing with that to keep themselves busy. At this time you can offer them playtime with you.

You must know that guinea pigs are more active in the morning and during the dusk. As at these times, they wake up in an active mode and are most likely to play.

Never force your guinea pig to play against their will as they might not understand this behavior of yours and can take you as a predator. It can also cause stress and can affect your bond with your guinea pigs.

How do I know if my guinea pigs have finished playing?

How do I know if my guinea pig is sleeping?

Guinea pigs will not hesitate to tell you that they are finished playing, and now they want something else.

Let us go through some of the guinea pigs behavior that tells us that their playtime is over:

  • Laying down: When your guinea pigs are done playing, they will start laying down. When they show such indications, even you should then not force them to play.
  • Grunting: If you notice your guinea pigs grunting, that indicates that they are done with their playing. When you see this behavior in them, you should immediately leave them and alone instead of forcing them to play.
  • Moving towards their cage: When your guinea pig starts moving towards their cage, that means now they are tired, and they want a nap. We will advise you to let them go instead of forcing them to play.

From the above explanation, we can conclude that we should not force our guinea pigs to play more when they start showing signs to stop.

Kindly let them end their playtime when they want to as they do not have as much energy as humans, so they cannot play for a longer.

Guinea pig not playing with its toys

Toys are an essential part of their guinea pig’s life. They remain delighted with their toys as it helps them to keep their teeth and claws healthy.

If you fail to fill your guinea pigs cage with toys, you are creating a problem for yourself.

When guinea pigs wake up in the morning, they are full of energy and likely to play. And if they have got nothing to entertain themselves, they will turn into noisy and boisterous.

You may also discover your guinea pig losing all interest in their toys, though.

We have some possible explanations regarding this context. Come, let’s go through that:

  • It is possible that your guinea pigs had the same toys for a longer time, and they have lost interest in playing with that.
    • So we would advise you to replace our guinea pig’s old toys with the new ones often.
    • That will also show your love against them, which they might admire by licking you.
  • The toys you provided, are boring for your guinea pigs and they are not according to your guinea pig’s preference.
  • Your guinea pig’s other cage mate is of dominating nature, they are not allowing your guinea pig to play by bullying them.
  • If your guinea pig has no interest in playing alone anymore, they now need a company which could be another guinea pig or human interaction.
  • Your guinea pig may have injured themselves while playing with their toys, and now they are scared of that particular toy.
  • If your guinea pig is going through stress and anxiety, it will profoundly affect our guinea pig’s lifestyle.
    • You must know the reason for their fear and try to cure that as soon as possible to bring your guinea pig back to its natural behavior.

Signs of boredom in guinea pig

Boredom is not good from our guinea pigs, as if they are bored, they will do all unsuitable and unsafe activities.

Let us go through the behavior your guinea pig will adopt once they are bored:

  1. Destructive Behavior: Once your guinea pigs get bored, they will adopt destructive behavior and start biting their cage. That could include the wire or the woods of the cage. By doing this, they can even hurt themselves.
  2. Overeating: When your guinea pigs get bored and have nothing to do, they will prefer eating. That will result in weight gain and health issues. But, the right side is that the guinea pigs cannot overeat hay.
  3. Immoderate Grooming: This is the most significant symptom. Your guinea pig will begin to pull down their fur in clusters.

You cannot just provide toys to your guinea pig and sit back.

It would help if you noticed whether your guinea pig is enjoying playing with those toys or not.

And if they are not enjoying, you should replace the old toys with the new ones considering your guinea pig’s preference.

Buying expensive soft toys from the market is not required.

You can make them new toys with household items like cardboard tubes and boxes. Just make sure that whatever you make is safe, and chewable for our guinea pigs.

My guinea pig is not running around

As soon as your guinea pigs grow older, they are less likely to run around as they don’t have that physical strength as they used to have when they were young. 

But as it is a gradual process, it takes time. It cannot be done overnight.

If your guinea pig suddenly stops running, check whether they have injured themselves. If you cannot detect anything by yourself, that doesn’t mean that nothing happened. X rays and Scans must be taken into consideration. 

Some elderly guinea pigs can be prone to arthritis. Following are the symptoms of arthritis: 

My guinea pig won’t come out

If your guinea pig is not coming out of their cage, it means that they are uncomfortable or scared.

You will need to make them satisfied that there is nothing outside that can hurt them.

You can do this only if you have a great bonding with your guinea pig. Otherwise, they will not trust you and will consider you as their predator.

It will then become more difficult to convince them to come out of their cage.

You can place a cardboard box in front of their open cage. That can help the guinea pig to move from one place to another.

By doing this, they can also regain their confidence, which is a good sign. But if even this technique fails, then the issue is more likely to be medical.

You should then consult an experienced vet who can help your guinea pig to come back to their natural behavior with all proper medications.

Lastly, we would like to advise you to take care of your guinea pig as they are delicate.

Always try to give them a hygienic environment, which will prevent them from many diseases and will also improve their lifestyle. In addition to this, always shower them with all love and care.

Sources: A water-maze test of learning ability for guinea-pigsBrain and body growth of guinea-pigsCare of Guinea Pigs, Petsaver guinea pig guide, Guinea pig care.

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