There is no better feeling in the world than knowing you have a happy guinea pig. Its conformation that all the love, attention and care you show your guinea pig is paying off. I believe every guinea pig owner’s first priority is to strive to have a healthy and happy guinea pig.
If you’re a new guinea pig owner, it can feel very overwhelming in the beginning. Uncertainly creeps in and it can be tough working out what your guinea pigs signs and body language means.
That’s why we have put together the top ten signs that you have a happy guinea pig! Its important to remember that all guinea pigs are different and your guinea pig may not show the same signs as someone elses guinea pig. Your guinea pig doesn’t have to be showing ten out of ten of this checklist. One or two shows they are perfectly happy and healthy!
There is nothing more amazing than seeing your guinea pig literally jump for joy due to sheer happiness! Popcorning is the guinea pig dance move of happiness! It is when a guinea pig runs, jumps into the air and then does it again.
It is is normally more common in younger guinea pigs. Older piggies have still been known to perform the odd popcorn however it is less noticeable. The jumps are less high and the running is slower.
Guinea pigs have many reasons to popcorn – Their favorite hay, getting fed pellets and even socialising. We have found that if a guinea pig is in a cage that is too small then they are unable to popcorn. Happy guinea pigs require plenty of space in order to popcorn. Ours when they were younger popcorned in their cage. They are older now and popcorn when they are running free during indoor playtime.
The most common of guinea pig sounds! Its hard to miss this amazing sound. Happy guinea pigs will wheek at even the mere chance of food – plastic rustling, the fridge opening and even the sight of their favorite hay.
Did you know that wild cavies do not wheek in the wild? Our domestic piggies have created this special sound just for us humans. Its their way of gently encouraging us to feed them and often works. Its hard to resist a wheeking piggie! Ours often wheek as we walk up the stairs in the hope of a little treat. We feed our happy guinea pigs chunks of cucumber and the occasional strawberry as their treats.
The most frustrating thing when you first bring your guinea pig home is their frequent hiding. Its nothing personal they are just made that way! Being prey animals they are the natural instinct to hide when they sense danger or are unsure of their surroundings. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your little guinea pig emerging out of their hidey hole and exploring the world!
The next step from this is when during indoor playtime, they start coming over to you to explore. Our happy guinea pigs will even sit on our feet and play with our socks! You will find your guinea pig will approach you more and more as they gain confidence in their surroundings. Some guinea pigs will never fully approach you and will maintain a safe distance away. They may frequently run back to the nearest tunnel or shelter as well. That’s normal and natural behavior.
4. Signs of good health
A happy guinea pig is a healthy guinea pig! Happiness and healthiness go hand in hand for our little piggie friends. Ensuring your guinea pigs health is vital to a happy guinea pig. The best to perform a health check (Check out our guide to learn how) is during laptime.
The signs of a happy and healthy guinea pig are:
- Energetic and not lethargic or limping.
- Their normal appetite and enthusiasm for food.
- Clear nose, dry eyes and the body free from sores / bumps
- Lots of their usual vocal and physical signs.
If you think your guinea pig is unwell, then its best to consult a vet immediately.
5. Chilling out
A happy guinea pig can often be sign stretched out and lying down. We have special guinea pig fleece and our guinea pigs love to lay down on it. Chocolate often wraps herself up in it and has a little nap.
Guinea pigs can take a while to get to the “stretching out” point. They usually start with standing still and rather stiff. Next they move onto resting their head nearer to the ground. Finally comes the chill out! Our guinea pig orange isn’t a big fan of lying down but Chocolate adores it.
A happy guinea pig likes to share the happiness in the form of some licking. Similaraly to a cat, happy guinea pigs will show their happiness by licking your hand.
There is some thought that this behavior is due to guinea pigs liking the salty taste of human skin but we like to think of the licks as kisses! Plus unhappy guinea pigs have not been known to lick their owners.
Another cat likeness. A happy guinea pig will purr whilst enjoying laptime! A purring guinea pig indicates they are relaxed, calm and comfortable.
Its useful to beware that there are two different types of purring sounds that guinea pigs make. A low and deep grumble is the happy purr. It will be obvious as your guinea pig will exhibit other types of happy behavior (such as a relaxed posture or lying down)
A high pitch purr indicates something is wrong.
8.A big burst of energy.
Have you ever noticed your guinea pig suddently run around a space as fast as possible? Yes this is the sign of a happy guinea pig. Similarily to hamsters, guinea pigs do get a build up of energy. Wheels are unsafe for guinea pigs and a happy guinea pig will delight in running around at high speed. Our guinea pigs have a whole room to themselves and often chase and play with each other during this energy burst.
9.The stretch and yawn.
This is fairly uncommon behavior. We thought for the longest time that yawning was associated with aggressive behavior. Luckily after a serious amount of research we learned that if the yawn is accompanied with a stretch then it means to opposite. Both our guinea pigs stretch and yawn during lap time. They are obviously happy guinea pigs and want to show us.
A fairly rare sound made by guinea pigs. The name reflects the sound that is made by your piggie. Chutting mainly occurs during laptime and is thought to be a behavior reserved for those under two years.
Our happy guinea pigs only chut when they are out of their cage and exploring their room.