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Home > Guinea Pigs > Can Guinea Pigs Sense Human Emotions? What Science Says

Can Guinea Pigs Sense Human Emotions? What Science Says

hand holding guinea pig wrapped on towel

When it comes to getting a companion animal, a guinea pig may not be the first animal that comes to mind. Usually, you may think of a cat, dog, or even a horse, but did you know that guinea pigs are social animals? These little guys do best with another guinea pig, but they can certainly provide companionship for humans. Given this information, do you wonder if guinea pigs sense human emotions? Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, can sense human emotion, especially if you have formed a bond with your Guinea pig.

In this article, we’ll explore the guinea pig and what type of emotions they can sense. Read on to learn more about these little social animals.

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Do Guinea Pigs Sense Human Emotions?

Yes! Guinea pigs are smart, sociable, and affectionate animals that have the capability to pick up on your emotions. In the wild, guinea pigs live in herds and can pick up on each other’s emotions. Since they can pick up on each other’s emotions, the domesticated Guinea pig can pick up on yours, and they love to spend time with you as long as they trust you.

Guinea pigs that are well-socialized can sometimes be used as emotional support animals. These animals provide comfort for people with certain medical conditions, physical disabilities, mental challenges, and anxiety. That said, they definitely have the ability to pick up on your emotions, but they usually pick up on emotions only if you’ve bonded with your Guinea pig. As we’ve stated, wild guinea pigs naturally pick up on their herd’s emotions, and if you’re domesticated Guinea pig considers you part of its herd, it will be more sensitive to your emotions.

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

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sense Emotions Better if You’re Bonded?

When you’re bonded with your Guinea pig, it will understand your normal moods and demeanor—that’s how they know something is “off” compared to your normal emotional state. Your Guinea pig will recognize your normal voice tone, and if it’s off, they will sense the mood change.

How Do I Form a Bond with My Guinea Pig?

Forming a bond with your Guinea pig will not come easily, and it will take time and devotion on your part. One way to form a bond is by spending quality time with your Guinea. The more time you spend with your Guinea pig, the more it will consider you a friend or leader. Another way to form a bond is to hand-feed your Guinea pig. Guinea pigs look at food as a reward, and they will look at it as a positive act. Don’t force it, however. If it seems nervous but looks like it wants to try it, gently toss the food into the cage. Persistence is key, so keep trying until your Guinea feels safe and comfortable.

Lying down with your Guinea pig is another excellent way to form a bond. Lay a blanket on the bed or floor and allow your Guinea to roam and investigate. As they get more and more comfortable, they may even sniff you or even crawl on you. It’s good to let your Guinea out of its cage at least once a day to explore and stretch its legs.

Lastly, talk to your Guinea! Guinea pigs are social and intelligent and will eventually get familiar with your voice. Ensure you speak in a calm and soothing tone to develop trust. And most importantly, be patient.

Image By: enchanted_fairy, Shutterstock

Tips for Keeping Your Guinea Pig Safe

If you’re thinking of getting a guinea pig, consider if you have the means to have at least two. Guinea pigs do better with a friend and can get depressed if left alone for long periods. Aim for the same gender if both Guinea pigs are still intact to prevent accidental babies; otherwise, you can pair a male and a female.

Always feed your Guinea pig appropriate foods, such as Timothy grass, meadow, oat, or brome hay, and always provide fresh drinking water 24/7. Keep your Guinea pig out of harm’s way if you have other pets in the home and keep the cage clean at all times.

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Guinea pigs are intelligent little rodents that are quite the popular pet. They are sociable and clever enough to sense human emotions, but they will be more apt to sense your emotions if you’ve formed a bond with them. Always talk to your Guinea pig in a calm and soothing voice, and ensure you spend quality time. Let your Guinea pig out at least once a day for exploring and exercise and feed them the appropriate diet.

Avoid yelling or slamming objects near your Guinea pig, as this will make it afraid of you, and anger is a human emotion you don’t want your Guinea pig to sense.


Featured Image Credit: Pogodina Natalia, Shutterstock

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