Can guinea pigs have play dates? Well, guinea pigs like to establish dominance so they don’t have play dates. Every time you put your pigs with new pigs, the dominant one will want to establish dominance, ending in fights or a piggy hurt.
Plus, this is a stressful situation, and sometimes your guinea pig might be exposed to catching some possible disease from the other pigs.
So, in other words, guinea pigs don’t do playdates and you should only let a pig meet another guinea pig when you are introducing both of them to be caged.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Play Dates?
As earlier stated guinea pigs can’t have playdates because of their dominant nature, If you have one guinea pig and are looking to expand your population, make sure you think carefully before choosing a companion animal.
Female guinea pigs do well with other females, but it’s not recommended to have two males in the same habitat unless they have been together from a young age.
Otherwise, they are likely to fight for dominance and could cause severe injuries to each other.
Housing guinea pigs of the opposite gender together is highly not recommended because of the significant risks posed to the female guinea pig.
But we advise that guinea pigs live with a companion but not to have play dates so as to have an adequate amount of social interaction and playtime.
However, if you decide to get your guinea pig a companion animal, it is still necessary to handle your pets regularly.
Guinea pigs are very social creatures that generally live in herds of two to five. They survive more on social interaction and do best with other guinea pigs to play with and talk to.
Squeaking noises, communicating their happiness and excitement are a typical examples of things guinea pigs that live together can do.
Having a female guinea pig who is above eight months can be fatal if she has not been bred successfully before.
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Housing Needs of Multiple Guinea Pigs
While many old sources that are no longer recommended advised the use of around 2 square feet cage per guinea pig, this is rarely enough room for a guinea pig to sleep, eat, play, explore and use the bathroom with reasonable space for each activity.
It’s now universally accepted to have a minimum of 7.5 square feet for an individual guinea pig. At least you can have two guinea pigs housed or living together in a cage this size, but something around 10.5 square feet or larger is even better for a pair.
If you have a much herd of three to four guinea pigs, 13 square feet is accepted. Because it will provide the entire herd plenty of room to meet all their needs.
Feeding and Watering Needs for Multiple Guinea Gigs
When you have two or more guinea pigs being harbored together in the same environment, it’s critical that you make sure they always have fresh water and stimulating chew toys.
The quantity of water a guinea pig consumes can vary greatly depending on its diet, so make sure you have enough water bottles so that each guinea pig can drink close to 500ml of water per day if they wish.
Check and put another water every day, so they always have a fresh, clean supply. Feeding guinea pigs separately or having multiple feeding dishes is not generally necessary,
But if your guinea pigs fight over food, considering feeding them in different parts of the cage, where each guinea pig can have access to its food.
How To Bring Two Guinea Pigs Together
Guinea pigs are social animals. When they are in their natural habitat in the wild, guinea pigs exist in herds.
Most domesticated guinea pigs find it more okay to be around other animals, and adopting another guinea pig can have a positive change in your pet’s life; however, guinea pigs are territorial, and any significant change should be made gradually to assure things go smoothly.
Take correct measures and follow specific protocol when introducing a guinea pig to a new companion
Understanding the Role of Sex
Determine The Sex of Your Guinea Pigs
Sex creates a lot of impacts when it comes to how guinea pigs interact with one another. Before you introduce them to others, you must determine they are male or female.
People that work at pet shops often make mistakes, and if you’re buying a guinea pig from a pet store, the chance of error is even higher.
You should examine your guinea pig on the floor or a shallow table. By so doing, if they try to get away, they will not injure themselves falling. Handle your guinea pig calmly, but keep a firm hold around their chest and shoulders. Separate their back legs to examine their genitals.
The distance between the genitals and anus is more significant in males than females.
The sex organ or genital opening of male guinea pigs is shaped like a circular dot, while the genital opening of females forms a Y-shape.
For a decisive test, feel just above the genitals. When it comes to a female, this area will be soft, but in a male, you will feel a bone.
Try hard to push in and up (towards the guinea pig’s head) from this point. For a male guinea pig, this will make the penis come out, whereas you will see no change in a female.
Read Also: How to Know When Guinea Pigs is Happy
Know Which Combinations Work Best
Specific pairs or cliques work better than others when it comes to guinea pigs. Younger pigs are easier to introduce. They begin on a more or less blank slate and then grow and change together.
If you already have a guinea pig that is older, getting a baby of the same sex is the right choice. Because an adult guinea pig will not feel as threatened by a baby, and its dominance will not be challenged.
It is highly recommended to sterilize male guinea pigs before introducing them to females; however, sterilized or not, never place more than one male in a group with females. They will fight over the female’s attention.
Females guinea pigs that are matured or grown tend to get along more readily than adult males.
You have to understand that if you house two average (not fixed) guinea pigs of different sex (one male and one female) together, you will end up with babies. Pregnancy is highly risky for both moms and babies (1/4 of sows die due to having babies), so avoid this at all costs.
Make provisions for special accommodations if you have two adult males.
Guinea pigs are very territorial, especially the male, and if you’re introducing two adult males, take certain precautions.
A cage that has enough space is key to males living in harmony. Provide them with their area to hide, eat, play, and sleep — provide two of everything. Make sure that hiding houses have two entrances so that one guinea pig cannot trap the other.
How to Introduce New Guinea Pigs
Quarantine the New Guinea Pig
Ensure to keep your guinea pigs separate from one another in a different room for the first two to three weeks. You have to take the new guinea to be checked out by a vet during this time to ensure they are healthy. Do not allow them to have physical contact until this period is up.
Placing the new guinea pig directly in the cage with a new one can cause undue stress as they must be eased into a new environment, and their presence may cause the current pig to become territorial.
In addition to the emotional concerns, many guinea pig illnesses, which are easily spread at pet and department stores, can incubate for long periods.
As a pet owner, you have to be sure the new guinea pig shows no indications of sickness before introducing them to your old guinea.
Put the guinea pigs in separate cages next to each other. Adjust the cages in such a way that the guinea pigs cannot be able to see each other but can smell and hear one another.
Introduce Them On a Neutral Ground
Once at least a two to three-week quarantine period has passed, it’s time to introduce the guinea pigs. Note that, you do not have to put the new guinea pig in the cage right away as it’s best to raise them on neutral ground, so neither guinea pig feels their territory is being threatened.
Look for a new habitat where neither of the guinea pig has been before, but that is a secluded and quiet place where both guinea pigs will feel safe. The best place or a better option for this can be on the floor of a closed-off and small room, such as a bathroom.
Put veggies, treats, and hay in the center of the area to distract the guinea pigs from fighting as they get accustomed to one another’s presence.
In case the guinea pigs get physically aggressive, you should have old towels on hand. You can use towels to withheld the guinea pigs while avoiding getting scratched yourself.
If it goes well, and the guinea pigs have not fought for over two hours, you will be able to introduce them to the same cage.
Be sure that the cage of your guinea pig has been thoroughly washed and all the toys re-arranged to make it seem like a new cage.
Take necessary precautions before putting the guinea pigs in a cage together
After introducing the guinea pigs, there are few basic steps you as a guinea pig owner can take to smoothen the transition before placing them in the same cage.
Make adjustments to the cage. Guinea pigs are always territorial, so be sure your cage has enough space. As a general rule, a cage between the range of 7.5 and 10.5 square feet is recommended for two guinea pigs.
More room is sought out for, and if you’re housing three or more guinea pigs, aim for at least 13 square feet.
Rearrange and effectively clean the cage so it will smell new and feel more like neutral territory for both guinea pigs.
Gently rub hay from the old cage on the new guinea pig, so he smells more like the rest of the herd.
Knowing When to Intervene
Why trying to make multiple guinea pigs stay together, you should also understand when they’re trying to harm each other and when to intervene in such cases.
Recognize Aggressive Body Language
The very first few weeks of guinea pig cohabitation can be rough, and you should expect some tension between your pets. As a pet owner, you have to observant of what the signs of aggression are and what body language is a signal for you to intervene.
Mounting or jumping over one another can lead to aggression if one guinea pig resists or retaliates. Make sure to monitor this kind of behavior, but do not do anything unless it leads to fighting.
Squealing, chasing, and teeth chattering are common in the first few weeks. Guinea pigs may also smoothly nip one another if annoyed, and such behaviors are necessary to establish boundaries between the guinea pigs.
The only time you are advised to do anything is if the guinea pigs are biting hard enough to inflict wounds.
If one guinea pig is constantly chattering his teeth, this is a sign of aggression that could grow serious. Observe, but do not separate unless blood is drawn.
When the hair is Raised, especially around the neck, and feet stamping are signs, guinea pigs are preparing to fight. This can occur but watch carefully. Do not separate unless blood is drawn.
Humping Each Other is Perfectly Normal
Again, do not separate unless blood is drawn. Two male or two female guinea pigs humping each other is not an intended sexual interaction; it’s their method of establishing dominance. Mounting each other does not necessarily mean your guinea pig is a boar or mating.
Recognize Normal Interaction
Not all body language is a bad sign. There are some exhibited behaviors that are normal, especially early on, and you should be able to recognize these gestures, so you do not intervene unnecessarily.
Bottom sniffing and nudging is a guinea pig’s way of greeting a new companion. This is normal and non-threatening behavior.
The guinea pigs may also want to establish their territory by dragging their bottoms across the ground or raising their heads on occasion to express dominance, behaviors that are normal during the first few weeks.
Guinea pigs sometimes engage in a behavior called rumble strutting. This behavior can be noticed when they walk with their hips swaying and their fur puffed out while making a rumbling sound.
This is used to express dominance, and unless it’s followed up by aggressive gestures, it’s usually a normal part of establishing the pecking order.
Don’t be afraid of squealing sounds. It is true that guinea pigs can make some kind of unpleasant noises that may sound like a pain, it is just their way of saying that they submit to the more dominant pig.
Break Up Fights When Necessary
If fights between your guinea pigs get out of hand and start to get bloody, you need to intervene. You have to know how to do so safely to reduce harm for yourself and your pets.
Act quickly. Guinea pig’s teeth are sharp and are capable of inflicting severe harm on one another. If you notice aggressive fighting, separate them immediately. Guinea pigs can inflict permanent injury and disabilities to one another if left unchecked.
Do not intervene with your bare hands. An irate guinea pig can inflict injuries to you that are serious enough to need medical attention. Cover the guinea pigs with an old towel or rag or use heavy gloves while separating them.
Separate the guinea pigs after the fight. Separate them by keeping your guinea pigs in separate cages but in the same room so that they can see, smell, hear, and talk to each other.
Make sure to handle them or hold on to them with gloves or a towel for a few hours after the fight, as they can remain skittish and aggressive for a while after a confrontation.
Reintroduce them slowly, bringing them together on a neutral ground with lots of treats and food as distractions. Which is dependent on the severity of the fight, wait a few hours to a few days. Wear your protective gear on standby in case the fight resumes.
Don’t feel worried if they don’t get along
Some guinea pigs may not get along, even after you follow the proper procedure introducing them. You need to be prepared for this. It’s a huge risk when introducing a new guinea pig to your pack.
Do not be disturbed as if this is your fault. Nature just works this way, and guinea pigs have varying personalities. Some may be aggressive and more independent and, therefore, harder to introduce to a companion.
Even when you do everything right, guinea pigs are sometimes entirely not compatible with one another.
If the first introduction leads to an excess of fighting, you can restart the introduction process, beginning again with the quarantine period. This gives them time to ease off and forget any previous hostilities.
When your guinea pigs are still fighting each other and not getting along, you can always keep them in separate cages where they can smell, see, and hear one another but cannot physically interact.
Guinea pigs get the better things of some social interaction but without the stress of a hostile environment.
Read Also: How to Spoil Your Guinea Pig
Due to the nature of guinea pigs, it is not advisable for guinea pigs to have play dates; they are animals that always want their space, especially the male ones.
They always want to establish dominance and be in charge of a territory; when this happens, it often leads to fights, and they end up hurting themselves.
They can also be exposed to different kinds of infections and the rest, so can guinea pigs have a play date is a simple no answer.