Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Guinea Pigs > Are Guinea Pigs Affectionate? How to Tell If Your Guinea Pig Loves You

Are Guinea Pigs Affectionate? How to Tell If Your Guinea Pig Loves You

Apple Tree Branches by the Toronto Humane Society

Guinea pigs are famous for being rather shy but, if you give them enough time to trust you, they should warm up to you and enjoy interacting with you. So, yes; guinea pigs can also be very affectionate family companions in the right environment and show their love in a variety of ways.

Ready to find out if you’re the apple of your guinea pig’s eye? Let’s get stuck in.


Gaining a Guinea Pig’s Trust

When you first bring them home, it is unlikely that your guinea pig will show you affection right away, simply because they’ll be feeling too nervous and afraid. This is normal, so don’t be disheartened—you’re going to need to give things some time.

It’s important to remember that, in the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals, and even domesticated guinea pigs have their survival instincts intact. For this reason, guinea pigs are naturally timid animals, and their trust must be earned with patience and kindness.

Here are some tips for building that all-important bond of trust with your guinea pig:
  • Sit quietly next to your guinea pig’s enclosure. Read a book, watch TV, or whatever else you want. This allows your guinea pig to get used to you being around while giving them space.
  • Talk to your guinea pig in a soft but hitch-pitched voice.
  • Give your guinea pig food from your hand. If they won’t come to your hand, you can try putting the food down near them for them to come and collect. Gradually place the treats closer and closer to you.
  • When your guinea pig is ready to come out of their enclosure, sit on the floor and just let them sniff around you and, if they’re feeling brave, climb onto your lap.
  • Avoid sudden movements around your guinea pig.


How to Tell If Your Guinea Pig Loves You

If your guinea pig loves and trusts you, they’re sure to let you know about it. That said, reading guinea pig’s cues isn’t as straightforward as it is with cats and dogs, so here are some signs to look for:

1. Nibbling

A guinea pig that nibbles you but doesn’t bite is either curious about you (wondering if your finger is a crunchy carrot stick, for instance), trying to get your attention, or showing you affection. This is a common grooming behavior among guinea pigs; they do it to bond and help one another stay clean, so consider yourself honored if you find yourself the recipient of some nibbles.

2. Kisses

When guinea pigs lick, it’s usually to bond with and groom other guinea pigs. If you catch your guinea pig licking your hand, it’s a sure sign that they’re fond of you.

young boy playing with guinea pig
Image By: mgventer10, Pixabay

3. Confidence

Since guinea pigs are so shy by nature, you can consider yourself truly “chosen” if your piggy feels comfortable enough to approach you and climb onto your lap. This means you’ve done a great job of earning their trust. A guinea pig that trusts you will also be happy to let you stroke them and even groom them with tools in some cases.

4. Popcorning

When a guinea pig has those little spurts of popping up and down excitedly, this is what’s known as “popcorning”. Popcorning is something guinea pigs do when they’re happy or excited, so doing this in front of you is a good sign.

Albino guinea pig with red eyes
Image By: Irina Timoshenko, Shutterstock

5. Vocalizing

A “chut” is a bunch of short, clucking sounds your guinea pig makes when they’re feeling happy or adventurous. Happy guinea pigs also sometimes emit a “bubbling” sound, which is a bit like a purr, when they’re enjoying a snooze or a petting session. “Wheeking” is a sound guinea pigs make when they’re looking forward to some food or being let out of their enclosure to explore.


Final Thoughts

So, guinea pigs can be very loving and make no secret of their feelings for you. If you’ve recently brought a guinea pig home and they’re nervous, note that it can take quite a while for these animals to feel comfortable and confident in your presence.

Be patient with your cavy and remember that the way to their heart is a combination of tasty treats and gentleness—if you have these in abundance, you can’t go wrong.

Featured Image Credit: the Toronto Humane Society

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets