Dogs and guinea pigs, can they live together? This is a most asked question by families who want both.
We all know that dogs are not only faithful but also friendly and affectionate. Our canine fellows are great pets. We see they can peacefully accommodate even with cats.
On the other hand, guinea pigs are also lovely pets, especially for children. These cute little rodents are very social and fun to play with.
Dogs have an instinct to hunt and chase small animals. This is what makes us think, can dogs adjust with guinea pigs?
Yes, dogs and guinea pigs can get along only if your dog is trained or you have a smaller dog as the guinea pig. Keeping dogs and guinea pigs together is like signing up for a challenging task. You need to train your dog not to chase or attack the guinea pig and letting both interact appropriately.
In this article, we will figure out how to make dogs and guinea pigs live in harmony with each other and much more!
Can Dogs Live with Guinea Pigs Peacefully?
No matter you are a newbie or a pet parent already. It is always very exciting to bring a new pet home. But it is equally difficult to introduce a pet to the home residents or different pet species.
If you want a peaceful home, it is very important to maintain a friendly relationship between your pets. And that requires effort!
You should keep in mind that there is a possibility that two different classes of animals might not manage to live together due to the difference in personalities and instincts.
Also check: Is Parsley good for your guinea pig?
5 Steps to Introduce Dogs and Guinea Pigs
Many households keep dogs and guinea pigs along, but it cannot happen in all cases. If you want to introduce dogs and guinea pigs, below are five key steps for a successful introduction.
1. Evaluate the Personality of Your Dog and Guinea Pig:
First of all, you need to evaluate the personality of your dog if you want to bring a guinea pig home. It is very important to keep your dog’s breed in mind because you cannot expect a lively bond from hunting dogs like Terriers.
Personality is the first and foremost factor. You need to have a calm dog who doesn’t get aggressive in the presence of other animals.
The age of your dog is the second thing. Young puppies under the age of 16 weeks are more likely to become friends with other animals as they are growing their social abilities. They do not have a hunting drive, so they will not attack the guinea pig.
2. Keep Guinea Pigs and Dogs Separately:
If you are welcoming a guinea pig into your home, it is advised to keep them separately for their safety and well-being. Moving into a new house is often stressful for animals. In this situation, the sight of a dog for these cute little creatures can make them fall sick.
Guinea pigs can also get disturbed by the change in food, water, environment, or bedding. You should give them their personalized space to make them feel comfortable and safe. Make sure that your dog knows its boundaries and cannot reach guinea pigs’ habitat.
3. Start With Sharing Scents:
Our pets are smart enough to smell scents of other animals. And that is a good thing for us. You can become a source of sharing scents between your dog and guinea pig.
Patting, praising, and giving treats to pets are comforting experiences for them. You can offer your dog’s blanket to the guinea pig and give some spinach as a snack.
If your guinea pig moves freely and feels comfortable with your dog’s scents, you can let it explore more for some time. If not, then do not pressurize.
You have to repeat the process with your canine fellow. Let your doggy smell the blanket. Pat him and give some treats so that he gets used to the praising behavior.
Sharing the scents first will make them familiar with each other before they actually meet.
4. Meeting With Barriers:
Introducing pets without barriers or control is a mistake that many people repeat. Once both of your pets seem comfortable with you, it is the time when you need to make a little change.
A barrier is a necessary precaution at the first meeting. You can start by letting both smell and hear each other with the closed door between them. Observe how they react.
An important thing to remember is you cannot force a little animal to like your big dog. If guinea pigs seem to be distressed or uneasy, you need to calm them. Put them in a secure place where they don’t feel in danger.
On the other hand, your canine fellow might get very excited to see a new friend. You should behavior train your dog so that he stays calm in the presence of other animals.
5. One-on-one Meeting:
This is when your efforts will pay off! You should still take precautions because you cannot predict how your dog or guinea pig will react.
Both animals should be held and must be in control. You can ask someone to help you with this, even if you have put a leash on the dog. Hold the guinea pig and go closer to your dog. See how he reacts.
If both the animals seem to be calm, you can keep going closer and let your dog sniff the piggy. If your guinea pig gets anxious and squirms away, or your dog gets too excited and starts growling, you should immediately stop the process.
You can try again later when both of the animals calm down. You need to keep the interactions controlled, short, and slow. Don’t rush. If you don’t see any improvement within a few weeks, you will have to admit that your dog cannot get along with the guinea pig.
However, if both get comfortable and seem calm in each other’s presence, that shows your doggy and piggy have now become face-to-face friends.
But you should always keep an on your pets. Increase their confidence and safety by giving them treats. And let them explore their surroundings.
How to Train Dogs to Live with Guinea Pigs?
Training your dog is very important, especially when it comes to co-existing with other small pet species. Make sure to introduce your pets properly, as described above.
Before introducing your dog to guinea pigs, behavioral training is also very important. Your dog should be obedient to your basic commands like “sit” and “stop”. If your dog gets aggressive or excited upon seeing smaller animals, do not let your dog free near guinea pigs.
It is advised to give both of your pets separate habitats and never leave them unattended near each other.
A well-behaved dog can also hurt the guinea pig accidentally out of excitement while playing. So, it is best to keep them under your supervision.
Dog Breeds Good with Guinea Pigs
Breeds who were tailored to guard and have low prey drive are best to get along with guinea pigs.
The following breeds are best to keep with non-dog pets;
- Mellow Terrier
- Great Pyrenees
- Border Collies
- German Shepherds
FAQs – Can Dogs Live with Guinea Pigs?
1. Can Dogs Kill Guinea Pigs?
Yes, dogs can kill a guinea pig. Dogs naturally have a hunting instinct and many dog breeds are trained to hunt small rodents. These breeds include;
- Pit bulls
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Jack Russel Terriers
2. Can Dogs Get Sick from Guinea Pigs?
It does not usually happen. However, a disease like Bordetella can pass from guinea pigs to dogs and vice versa. If any of your pet falls sick, you should keep them separated until they feel better.
They can also pass worms to each other. In such a case, you have to visit a Vet.
3. Are Guinea Pigs Safe Around Dogs?
Guinea pigs stay safe as long as you keep them in your observation. Even if your dog is well-mannered and friends with the guinea pig, he can accidentally hurt the little piggy.
Dogs are not aware of their strength and size. It might possible that a dog accidentally jumps on the piggy while playing. So, it is advised to keep their interactions supervised.
4. Why Does My Dog Lick My Guinea Pig?
Licking is a positive sign of welcoming the guinea pig. Animals lick to show warmth and fondness. It is normal pet behavior. Guinea pigs also lick. Just make sure that your dog is not trying to bite the guinea pig.
5. Why Does My Dog Eat Guinea Pig’s Poop?
You do not have to worry if it happened once or accidentally. However, if it has become a habit, you should take your dog to the Vet to examine your dog for infections, worms, or parasites.
Can dogs live with guinea pigs? Well, dogs and guinea pigs are not natural friends. Dogs have a hunting instinct for little rodents. Guinea pigs may seem stressed near dogs. And dogs may get too wild upon seeing guinea pigs.
If you want to keep both as pets, you should have a peaceful dog. Moreover, a proper introduction is advised. Keep the steps slow and interactions small.
After a successful introduction, always supervise guinea pigs when they are out of the cage. Avoid interactions if you notice any discomfort or chasing behavior from your dog.
Dogs can play roughly and accidents can happen even with a well-trained dog. You should always watch out for your pets to maintain a peaceful household.
If you think this is too much and you cannot give this much time, care, and attention to both, dog and the guinea pig that they deserve, then it’s not the best time to keep them along. Petting should be fun to do! Right?