If you’re like many homes, you probably have pets. Pets are a wonderful addition to the family, whether they walk, hop, swim, or slither, and enrich your life. However, if you already have other pets, you may have questions about getting guinea pigs.
Understanding Guinea Pigs and Other Pets
There are three big considerations when discussing guinea pigs and other pets. The top consideration is whether you can deliver the safety necessary for all pets. After all, no one wants to have one pet hurt another.
Another consideration with guinea pigs and other pets is the stress level for the pets involved. While you may be able to deliver the safety factor, it may still be stressful for the guinea pigs if your other pets are constantly trying to get in their enclosure, for example.
The third factor is family time. Guinea pigs are social animals, and that includes with your family. You may want to reconsider your decision if you cannot give all the pets in the situation enough safe, quality time interacting with your family.
A Word on Guinea Pigs and Children
While children are not pets, they are often the family’s focus. Guinea pigs should not be left unsupervised with children until the child is old enough to understand consequences, which is usually somewhere around the pre-teen years.
If you have young children, ensuring your guinea pigs are safe, secure, and cannot be picked up unless you are present is vital. Childproofing an enclosure is possible and should be considered before bringing a guinea pig into the home since guinea pigs do best living in areas like the living room.
Other Guinea Pigs
Generally, we recommend keeping a pair or trio of guinea pigs since guinea pigs evolved to be social creatures. These other guinea pigs do not necessarily have to share the cage, but they should be nearby or perhaps share a cage wall.
Many people successfully keep guinea pigs and other pets. However, it is important to maintain the safety, low-stress level, and adequate socialization time mentioned previously for all pets in the situation.
Guinea Pigs and Dogs
Dogs are probably one of the more common “other pets” in situations with guinea pigs. Depending on the dog’s size, keeping the two types of animals apart may be easy or challenging.
Many dogs find guinea pigs fascinating. Unfortunately, the guinea pig does not feel the same and tends to perceive the dog as a predator trying to eat it when the dog bops its cage. Shelters and large cage spaces are excellent options to lower the stress level for your guinea pigs, but training the dog not to interact with the cage is better.
Guinea Pigs and Cats
Cats tend to be on one end of an extreme spectrum as the other pet with guinea pigs. Cats may show much interest and constantly try to get in your guinea pig cage or ignore it completely.
With cats, it’s important to provide your guinea pig with a large “safe zone” since the cat can jump onto all areas of the cage exterior. You may also want to ensure that nothing is nearby to attract the cat, such as shelves to climb.
Guinea Pigs and Ferrets
Guinea pigs and ferrets cannot live in the same cage space, but you can keep them in the same household. Ferrets have different habits and do not speak each other’s “language,” so separation is healthy for everyone.
Additionally, ferrets are carnivores. You do not want any unfortunate incidents, so keeping the ferret away from the guinea pigs is vital. While it may seem fine initially, the situation could become an issue in the blink of an eye.
Guinea Pigs and Chinchillas
Chinchillas are growing in popularity as pets, partially because they are fastidious. Like guinea pigs, they are also native to the Andes Mountains. However, guinea pigs and chinchillas should not share an enclosure.
Guinea pigs and chinchillas have differing nutritional needs, even though they are both herbivores. Additionally, being of different species, the “language” gap can cause fights that could injure your pets.
Guinea Pigs and Rabbits
Rabbits and guinea pigs can be kept in the same house but should never be alone together. While both herbivores, they do not communicate similarly, which can lead to problems. Additionally, rabbits and guinea pigs have different nutritional needs.
Rabbits can also accidentally injure guinea pigs. Their back legs are powerful enough to break the bones of the small guinea pigs, even without meaning to. For the safety of all pets, it is best to keep the two species separate.
Guinea Pigs and Gerbils
Guinea pigs and gerbils may both be herbivores, but their needs could not be more different. It’s best to house guinea pigs and gerbils in separate spaces, though you can keep them in the same room if you like.
Unfortunately, since they are different species, guinea pigs and gerbils tend to see each other as competition. Both species scent mark and can become aggressive over territory, leading to injuries and potentially expensive vet bills.
Guinea Pigs and Mice
Mice and guinea pigs should also not be kept in the same enclosure. While mice are smaller than guinea pigs, both species can still injure the other, particularly since both can perceive resource scarcity as a reason to fight.
Additionally, mice can transmit certain diseases and infections to guinea pigs. While ideally you would have disease-free pets, sometimes there’s no way to prevent the spread of these diseases in close spaces.
Guinea Pigs and Hamsters
You can have guinea pigs and hamsters as pets in the same home, but they should not share a cage. The two species have different needs and are likely to fight, even if you provide abundant resources and space.
One of the big sticking points is the entirely different lifestyle of hamsters. Guinea pigs are diurnal, which means they are active during the day. Meanwhile, hamsters tend to be more nocturnal, meaning they are active at night.
Guinea Pigs and Reptiles
Guinea pigs and reptiles should only be kept in the same house with extreme precautions. The reptiles will see the guinea pigs as food, and many conventional cage arrangements are insufficient to deter a snake or lizard.
Guinea Pigs and Fish
Guinea pigs and fish can be kept safely in the same home, though you should ensure that the fish tank is located far enough away from the guinea pigs that the moisture does not affect their bedding. After all, dry bedding is necessary for healthy guinea pigs.
Guinea Pigs and Birds
Guinea pigs and birds can be tricky to keep in the same home, though a lot of it depends on the birds involved. You want to ensure the bird cannot access your guinea pigs under any circumstances, as the bird may injure it.
Guinea Pigs and Farm Animals
Due to their small size, Guinea pigs should not be kept with farm animals. Even poultry, which are closer to a guinea pig’s size, may injure them unintentionally or deliberately. Additionally, farm animals carry many diseases which guinea pigs have no defense against.