If you have a guinea pig and thinking about getting a dog or vice versa, you may be wondering do guinea pigs and dogs get along? Or will my crazy dog eat the guinea pig :)? This is definitely a valid concern; this article will dive into whether it is possible for guinea pigs and dogs to coexist.
Can Guinea Pigs and Dogs Get Along?
Yes, guinea pigs and dogs can get along, but it mostly depends on the dog. Some dogs are more likely to get along with a guinea pig or any other small animal than others. You will need to assess your individual dog to know for sure.
Reasons Why a Dog and Guinea Pig may not Get Along
The dog has a strong prey drive
Dogs with strong prey drives are less likely to get along with guinea pigs, but it is possible. A strong-drive dog will need more training to be able to safely co-exist with a cavy.
Dogs with strong prey drives will likely want to chase and may even bark at a guinea pig. This is nothing to be alarmed about, it is just their instinct. You will have to teach your dog that the guinea pig is not to be chased or pounced on. Patience will be the key!
The dog is rough
Another potential problem is if you have a dog that is NOT gentle. Guinea pigs are sensitive and shouldn’t be exposed to a rough dog’s playtime. If your dog is rough, never leave your guinea pig and dog alone together, especially if your cavy is out of their cage.
The guinea pig is easily frightened by a dog
Guinea pigs are prone to be stressed, and too much stress is not good for them, it can be fatal. So, even if your dog is calm and gentle, your guinea pig may be easily frightened by being around a dog of any size.
Watch how your guinea pig reacts to your dog and look for signs of stress. If being around a dog is too much for them, you may have to keep your dog and guinea separate.
The dog is loud
Does your dog make a lot of noise? My dog sure does. Guinea pigs aren’t fond of loud noises; accordingly, a loud barking noisy dog may be too much for some guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs prefer a quiet environment. Occasional barking shouldn’t be the end of the world, but if your dog is prone to make noise all day long, a guinea pig may not be happy in that environment.
Tips for Helping a Dog and Guinea Pig Get Along
Never leave a dog unsupervised with a guinea pig
Even a well-behaved dog is prone to occasional slip-ups. To play it safe never leave your uncaged guinea pig alone with a loose dog. They may get along fine while you are around, but the dog could get different ideas about how to play with the guinea pig when you disappear.
Introduce the dog and guinea pig properly and watch for reactions
Just like with any other new pet, a dog and guinea pig will need to be introduced properly. Keep the guinea pig in the cage, and let your dog come up and investigate. If the dog responds calmly or doesn’t even care about the guinea pig this is a good sign.
On the other hand, if your dog barks, jumps, and tries to paw at the cage, it doesn’t mean they can’t co-exist, but it does mean you will have to watch your dog more closely around the guinea pig.
Train the dog
With training all things are possible. Well almost! You can teach most dogs to get along with a guinea pig but there may be some dogs that will never do well with one.
Teach your dog to be gentle and to leave it. Once they learn the guinea pig is off-limits, they should know their boundaries.
Keep their interact brief
Don’t push your luck. If your dog and guinea get along well, great. But keep their interaction to short bursts of time, especially when your guinea pig is uncaged. This will increase the likelihood that they will continue to get along and no issues will arise.
Can guinea pigs and dogs get along? Definitely, but every dog is different so knowing your dog is the most important thing.
I previously had a rottweiler and two guinea pigs and they got along wonderfully. My rottweiler was calm and didn’t pay the guinea pigs much attention. However, my current dog may not be the best guinea pig sibling as she has a strong prey drive and is not gentle at all.
Follow the tips above and you should be able to create an environment where both your dog and your guinea pig can coexist together in relative harmony.