You love your piggies but do they love you back? Here’s how you know if you and your fur babies share an unbreakable bond.
Cleaning up after your piggies, no matter how many times they poop: that’s true love! As piggy parents, we know you’d do anything for your guinea pigs, and we try to show them how much we love them, each and every day. But, do your guinea pigs love you back? Their skittish nature can sometimes make that hard to tell.
The signs may not be obvious but as social animals, guinea pigs CAN show affection too!
They obviously won’t be sending you soppy texts or Valentine’s Day cards. But here are NINE tell-tale signs that your piggy loves you.
Guinea pig Love Sign #1: Your guinea pig gives you kisses
Guinea pig licks, also referred to as guinea pig kisses, are just one of the ways your guinea pigs can show you they like you.
When a guinea pig licks you, it is a good sign that your piggy is feeling comfortable and safe with you! Want to know more about guinea pig kisses? Read our article ‘All about guinea pig kisses: should you kiss your small pet?’.
Guinea pig Love Sign #2: Your guinea pig likes to eat from your hand
Guinea pigs like to dine in private. You may spot your little gourmand dragging a huge chunk of lettuce into a hidey to enjoy an uninterrupted snack. But if they trust you and feel comfortable with you, they’ll have no qualms about trotting up to you and taking a tasty morsel from your hands.
Did you know that guinea pigs feel safer when they’re higher up? For this reason, C&C cages on stands are great for easing the hand taming process.
It takes time to hand tame your guinea pigs but it’s so worth doing. As we explain in our guinea pig bonding article, regularly hand feeding your piggy will teach them that you’re the bearer of tasty treats. Feeding them during cuddle time as they cosy up in a snuggle sack on your lap is also a great bonding tactic.
Guinea pig Love Sign #3: Your guinea pig nibbles but does not bite you
Generally speaking, guinea pigs are lovers not fighters and won’t actively seek to bite a human. As we’ve already mentioned, they’re more likely to run for cover when they feel threatened, rather than attack. However, accidents do happen, even with the best intentions. For instance, they may excitedly mistake your finger for a piece of carrot when you’re hand feeding them as they relax on a fleece liner during floor time.
Guinea pig teeth are sharp so even accidental bites can hurt! However, they do show affection - to each other and to humans - by giving gentle nibbles with those little teeth so if this happens, rest assured that they feel safe and content with you.
Guinea pig Love Sign #4: Your guinea pig talks to you
Piggies are talkative little creatures and they have a very varied vocabulary featuring lots of different noises. Not convinced? Take a look at our advice on the top 12 guinea pig sounds and their meaning.
When guinea pigs are scared, they usually hide and freeze in silence to avoid being spotted by potential predators. So if your piggy makes happy little noises when you hold them, it’s a sign that they feel relaxed in your company.
You may also hear them wheeking when you approach their c and c cage, particularly if you happen to be rustling a tantalizing food packet. After all, the quickest way to a guinea pig’s heart is through that tiny but bottomless stomach! On the flip-side, it’s useful to be able to recognise your guinea pig’s ‘leave me alone’ noises, which we outline in our ‘guinea pig noises’ blog piece.
Guinea pig Love Sign #5: Your guinea pig popcorns for you
Body language can tell you so much about how someone feels about you and guinea pigs are no exception to this rule. Guinea pigs may have a reputation as being shy, retiring creatures but when they’re happy about something, they’re not afraid to show it!
Popcorning is a term specifically used for guinea pigs. So, how does one describe this unique piggy move? Well, it’s when they suddenly and unexpectedly leap up from a standing position - rather like a piece of popping corn. Sometimes, they even change direction in mid-air as well as emitting an excited wheeking sound.
As a piggy parent, it’s a joy to behold a popcorning guinea pig. If you see your piggy breaking out its signature happy dance when you appear beside their cage then you know that you’re doing something right.
Guinea pig Love Sign #6: Your guinea pig follows you around during floortime
Every guinea pig needs daily floor time out of their cage to banish boredom and provide exercise. Once your piggy has been enjoying regular floor time and has gained confidence being out of their cage, you may notice them following you as you move around in your home.
As we’ve already mentioned guinea pigs generally hide when they feel threatened or unsafe so if they do the exact opposite of this and run towards you and follow you around during floor time, it means that they truly are your biggest fan. Just be careful not to trip over them!
Guinea pig Love Sign #7: Your guinea pig lets you groom them
Guinea pigs - especially long-haired varieties - benefit from regular grooming. This can include bathing, shampooing, blow drying and combing your guinea pig’s fur, along with <gulp> trimming their toenails.
Bathing and nail cutting can be stressful for guinea pigs so it’s important not to overdo it. However, brushing your guinea pig’s fur can be really soothing for both them and you. If your guinea pig sits calmly on a pee pad on your lap and allows you to gently brush or comb their fur then it’s pretty certain that they feel happy in your company. Don’t forget some tasty treats to reward them with - they’ll love you even more for it.
Guinea pig Love Sign #8: Your guinea pig climbs over you
Get closer to your guinea pigs during floor time by lying or sitting down quietly on a fleece liner as they scamper around on it. As always it helps if you have some healthy snacks in your lap or on your hand to encourage your piggies to come and investigate.
If your guinea pigs feel safe, they’ll have no fear of eventually trotting over to you for a little sniff and they may even clamber all over you too! It can take a while to gain your guinea pig’s trust during floor time - don’t expect it to happen the first time by any means. But by being calm and gentle, and letting them come to you rather than forcing anything, you can enjoy floor time as much as they do.
Guinea pig Love Sign #9: Your guinea pig takes a nap near you
Guinea pigs rarely close their eyes - it’s a defensive instinct after all - so, when do they actually find time to sleep? Guinea pigs actually can sleep with their eyes open and sleep during quick naps. These snooze sessions tend to last roughly 5 minutes: jealous yet? That’s why many piggy parents find it tricky to see if their piggy is snoozing some z’s or just sitting contently.
So, how can guinea pigs show their love through naps?
One sign that indicates your piggy is comfortable is when you find your piggy closing their eyes, despite being around you. This is especially true if your piggy is cuddling you on your lap on a fleece pee pad or cuddle cup. If they close their eyes while resting with you or even during head pats and scratches, they are very likely enjoying your attention!
Guinea pigs tend to only close their eyes when they feel safe and relaxed! Who knew sleeping guinea pigs could show so much love?
Once your guinea pig becomes comfortable around you, they can be incredibly loving and affectionate. Some guinea pigs can take longer to warm up to their piggy parents but, by watching out for these 9 key signs, you’ll find out in no time that your guinea pig loves you back!
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