Guinea pigs are smart little rodents. They recognize their owners and love to communicate with them through their body language and by making a variety of sounds like wheeking, squeaking, purring, chirping, et cetera.
While no one has doubts about the intelligence of guinea pigs, many question their emotional intelligence: Do guinea pigs have feelings? Can guinea pigs get sad/happy? Can guinea pigs be emotional support animals?
If you have been overwhelmed by these questions, continue reading. In this article, we are going to discuss all about guinea pig emotions.
So, Do Guinea Pigs Have Feelings?
Yes! Guinea pigs have feelings.
I mean. They are smart, sensitive, and capable of strong emotional connections with their owners and guinea buddies. Just like humans, guinea pigs can feel happy and excited and they show this through popcorning and pancaking. Conversely, they can also feel sad, stressed, lonely, and depressed, when they don’t get ample care, attention, and stimulation.
Okay, guinea pigs have feelings: they can feel sad and happy. But can they tell when their owners are having a bad day or a good day?
Well, I would say that guinea pigs are smart enough to sense the feelings of their owners. They can tell if their owners are feeling sad or happy.
Guinea pigs are highly social creatures and have natural traits that enable them to catch on to the feelings of their mates and dominant leader in the group, in the wild. Domesticated, guinea pigs probably consider their loving owners their leader, who provides for them.
This means that guinea pigs are tuned to read our emotions, moods, and body language, which makes them very effective at sensing our emotions and feelings.
Pet guinea pigs consider their owners as their providers, so they try their best to keep a track of their owners’ moods so that they could uplift them when they are having a bad day. Given that guinea pigs consider their owners as their providers they genuinely try to help them so that they keep providing for them.
Now that we know our guinea pigs can sense our feelings and make good guesses about our emotional state, let us discuss some common signs that show that our guinea pigs know when we are sad.
Signs Your Guinea Pigs Knows You Are Sad
Guinea pigs are social creatures and tend to keep tabs on their owners’ and mates’ emotional states. So, they would immediately sense if you are having a bad day. They would be able to tell that you are sad and would either wallow in sadness with you or try to uplift your spirits with their quirky behavior.
1. Sudden Mood Shift In Guinea Pigs
Sensing that their owners are sad, guinea pigs suddenly become sad themselves. They become anxious, worried, and quiet as if they were having a bad day as well. If you know your guinea pig well, you will be able to recognize the sudden mood and vibe shift in your guinea pig and tell that he is trying to empathize with you.
2. Guinea Pigs Become All Cuddles And Snuggles
Just like our human friends offer us compassionate hugs when we are having a bad day, our guinea pigs also become extra snuggly when they sense that we are sad and depressed. While some guinea pigs might run around their owners trying to get their attention, others might jump onto their shoulders and snuggle into their necks. They just want to be around to keep an eye on their owners and make sure that they don’t do anything stupid.
3. Guinea Starts Licking and Nibbling You.
Licking is the guinea pigs’ way of showing affection towards their loved ones. When guinea pigs love and care about their fellows, they tend to groom them with their licks. So, if your guinea pig is licking you, it would mean that he is trying to tell you that he cares for you and wants you not to feel bad. You can think of guinea pig licks as supportive hugs. On the other hand, a guinea pig might only be licking to lap up that saltiness of your skin.
As far as the soft nibbles are concerned, they are the guinea pig’s way of kissing. Yes, those soft nibbles and smooches are guinea pig kissing. You don’t want to confuse these soft nibbles with guinea pig biting, where these soft nibbles are guinea pigs’ way of saying “come here give mama a hug, it’s gonna be alright,” guinea pig bites mean “back off! I have to take a leek, or poop, or let me explore the floor.”
Can They Tell When We Are Happy?
Well. Yes, guinea pigs can tell when their owners are happy. They like keeping tabs on your vibe to know your mood and act accordingly.
If you are happy, your guinea pigs would sense the positive energy and would get all hyped up and excited. Depending on your guinea pig’s personality and relationship with you, he might either come jump on your shoulder or just jump and twist like crazy in the cage.
Guinea pigs might also get a bit noisy by making joyous sounds.
Now let us find out if our Guinea pigs are also capable of getting happy.
Do Guinea Pigs Get Happy?
Yes, Guinea pigs can get happy. If you have been a guinea pig owner for a while you will be able to tell how happy and excited your guinea pigs get when you offer them treats or get them out of their cage for floor time.
Here are the five most common guinea pigs’ ways of expressing their contentment and happiness:
- Active guinea pigs are happy guinea pigs.
- Guinea pig popcorning, jumping and twisting around, out of excitement.
- Happy guinea pigs love interacting with humans and other piggies.
- Guinea pigs wheek to express that they are happy or excited about something.
- Guinea pig licking you, or rubbing the nose, or softly nibbling you.
Now that we know guinea pigs are quite capable of getting happy, let us discover if they also experience sadness.
Do Guinea Pigs Get Sad?
Not only sad, but guinea pigs could also get depressed when they are left alone and neglected. Guinea pigs are social creatures. So, when they are left alone for a long time, they develop anxiety, and become more fearful and skittish, making them prone to depression and stress.
When guinea pigs are sad there would be a significant drop in their appetite, activity, and social interactions. Just like human beings, sad guinea pigs tend to hide all the time and become irritable. You might also hear them chatter their teeth and overgroom themselves.
Signs Your Guinea Pig Is Depressed or Sad · Drop in appetite · Decreased activity · Decreased social interaction · Increased hiding · Irritable · Disinterest in toys and even treats · Teeth chattering · Excessive grooming
Now that we have learned about guinea pigs’ emotional intelligence, let us answer the final question:
Can Guinea Pigs Be Emotional Support Animals?
Well, what do you think?
Guinea pigs are easygoing, smart, and emotionally intelligent creatures. They make one of the most effective at-home emotional support animals as they are capable of sensing the emotions of their owners and acting accordingly.
Besides that, what makes guinea pigs a great ESA choice is their small size, hardy, and easygoing nature. They are easy to house and have a healthy lifespan of about five to seven years.
After the initial adjustment period, guinea pigs develop strong bonds with their owners. They love to interact with them, talk to them, and uplift their owners’ spirits if they were having a bad day.
That was all about guinea pigs’ emotional intelligence and feelings. Hope you liked this video. If you are nodding your head in yes, give this video a thumbs up, share it with your friends, and subscribe to our channel. And we will see you soon with another video.
Do Guinea Pigs Feel Love?
Well, While keeping a pet guinea pig may seem like one-sided love at first, if you have been a guinea parent for a long time you will know that it is not the case.
Yes, our guinea pigs can feel love and also love us back. It is just that guinea pigs show affection and love for their owners in different ways. For instance, licking and snuggling is their way of hugging, and soft nibbles are guinea pig kisses.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and we, humans, probably look like big scary predators to them. Many humans in various countries still consider guinea pigs a delicacy. So, no wonder guinea pigs might think of their human owners as predators.
The point is it takes a lot of courage for guinea pigs to even come close to us or eat from our hands and let us pet them. If your guinea pig is tolerating handling sessions, know that your guinea pig trusts you and loves you from the core of his heart for taking good care of him.
Do Guinea Pigs Trust Us?
Yes, guinea pigs trust their owners.
In the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals, they are always on “high alert” as they are always vulnerable to predators. We, humans, probably look like big scary predators to our guinea pigs. So, know that it takes a lot of courage and trust for our guinea pigs to eat from our hands or keep doing what they were doing when you come close to their cage.
Signs that Show that Your Guinea Pig Trusts You
- Your guinea pig stops running away from you.
- Your guinea pig accepts treats from your hand.
- Instead of biting, the guinea pig softly nibbles you.
- Guinea pigs climb on you during handling sessions.
- Guinea pig talks and interacts with you.
- Guinea pig welcomes you with wheeks on your arrival.
Do Guinea Pigs Get Jealous?
Yes, guinea pigs can get jealous! Not only with their guinea buddies but even with humans.
If your guinea pigs think that you are not offering them due attention and it is being stolen by some other guinea pig or human, they will get jealous.
If you are using your mobile phone, during the guinea pig petting sessions, they will get right up in your face, tug on your shirt, and might even nip you to get your attention.
If you have a pair of guinea pigs and you take one out for the floor time or handling session, you will notice that the other one will start whining and chattering his teeth to get your attention and to tell you that it is not fair of you to leave him behind.
Do Guinea Pigs Recognize Their Owners?
Yes, guinea pigs recognize their owners. Since guinea pigs are nearsighted, they might not recognize your face. However, they will recognize you by your scent or tone of your voice as they have a strong sense of smell and hearing.
Do Guinea Pigs Get Emotionally Attached to Their Owners?
Not only recognize but guinea pigs love interacting with their owners after the initial adjustment period. If you are giving your guinea pigs ample attention and taking good care of them, they will develop a strong bond with you. They will be always looking for you to get back home from work: they might welcome you with their wheeks and purring. They will love to enjoy their handling sessions and might shower you with licks and soft nibbles (that’s how guinea pigs show affection).
Do Guinea Pigs Miss Their Owners?
Once guinea pigs have developed a strong bond with you, they are definitely going to miss you if they don’t see you for a long time. They would miss you; they would miss the routine, they would miss the handling sessions and the hand-feeding sessions. They would miss interacting with you.
However, if there is someone else to take good care of them, your guinea pigs will probably stop missing you after some time.
They have to move on. They move on, leaving your memories behind.
Do Guinea Pigs Have a Good Memory?
Guinea pigs have a great memory. Besides learning their names, guinea pigs can also learn a lot of tricks.
Guinea pigs can also remember their old owners.
If you are going away for college, don’t worry. When you come back, your guinea pig will remember you. The guinea pig might give you a cold shoulder at first for leaving him alone but he will recognize you and would soon be asking you to tell him all about your time apart.
Do Guinea Pigs Miss Their Guinea Pig Buddies?
Guinea pigs miss their guinea pig buddies, especially if it has been just two of them.
If you have been keeping a pair of guinea pigs for a long time and one of them dies or got separated for some other reason, the remaining guinea pig would be devastated by the loss.
Just like losing a buddy is upsetting and stressful for humans, losing a guinea pig buddy is heartbreaking for guinea pigs.
However, if you were to bring home another guinea pig for your remaining guinea pig, he would forget his old buddy as he bonds with the new fella. This may take a while though.