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Home > Guinea Pigs > Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Held? How to Hold Them Safely

Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Held? How to Hold Them Safely

female cuddles with guinea pig

Do you want to snuggle with your guinea pig every day in pure bliss? Show it off to your friends, and boast about how much your guinea pig loves you? Of course you do. But there’s an art to holding a guinea pig. Otherwise, you risk dropping it on the floor, and nobody wants that.

Luckily, guinea pigs tolerate being held so long as they trust the person holding them. In this post, we’re breaking down the steps to holding a guinea pig properly. We’ll even cover how to hold a guinea pig to trim nails because, let’s face it, that’s a whole different ball game. Let’s get started.


Bond With Your Guinea Pig First

How positive are you that your guinea pig loves you and trusts you? It’s an important question because if your guinea pig fears you, you won’t have much luck holding it.

Guinea pigs are unlike cats and dogs. They don’t rub on your legs, jump in your lap, and obey commands to please you. Guinea pigs are prey animals that are scared easily, so they must feel safe in your presence.

Here are a few signs that your guinea pig trusts you:
  • Your pig doesn’t hide when you approach the cage or feed it
  • Your pig willingly sniffs your hand
  • Your pig licks your hand
  • Your pig allows you to pet him/her
  • Your pig “wheeks” when it sees you
  • Your pig sleeps around you

If your guinea pig does the opposite of any of these signs, it means you need to strengthen your relationship with your guinea pig before holding it.

hands holding guinea pig
Image By: Dmytro Vietrov, Shutterstock

How to Hold Your Guinea Pig Without Scaring It

So, you’ve established a solid relationship with your guinea pig. Great! It’s time to try picking up your pig.

Picking up a guinea pig is simple as long as you do so confidently. If you’re nervous, your pig will be able to tell, so relax and enjoy the process.

1. Observe Your Pig

Before picking it up, observe your pig and decide if it wants to be held. You don’t want to risk dropping it, so ensure your pig comfortably resides in your arms without squirming. If it tries to run away or bite you, walk away and try again later.

guinea pig in the arm
Image Credit: The Escape of Malee, Shutterstock

2. Check Your Surroundings

Ensure no loud noises or predatory animals like cats and dogs are nearby, as this could frighten them and make the experience bad for everyone involved.

3. Use Two Hands

Always use two hands when picking up your pig. Their legs may be short, but they’re quick and limber and will jump out of your arms if you’re not careful.

Using two hands also helps them feel safe and secure and not like being hoisted in the air. A good way to do this is by hooking your fingers around one of the front legs. It will give your pig a better sense of security and prevent it from squirming.

guinea pig
Image Credit: Lipatova Maryna, Shutterstock

4. Hold Your Guinea Pig While Sitting Down

You don’t have to do this every time, but it’s a good idea to sit down when holding your pig for the first time. Then, you don’t have to worry about dropping your pig from too high if it escapes from your hands.


Holding a Guinea Pig to Trim Nails

Holding your guinea pig to trim its nails is a little different because you have to position it to reach the toes. This isn’t easy, but it can be done with some practice.

To trim the nails, always hold your guinea pig firmly against your body while sitting down. Don’t hold your guinea pig too tight. Otherwise, you’ll scare or even hurt your pig.

The following video is a good representation of how to hold your pig when trimming its tiny toenails.

Time Out of the Cage

You can hold your guinea pig however much you want as long as its basic needs are met within the enclosure. Guinea pigs are social creatures, so frequent cuddle sessions greatly improve your pig’s well-being. Soon enough, your pig will happily accept a snuggle invitation.

How Do I Stop My Pig From Squirming?

When you first hold your guinea pig, it will squirm a bit, and that’s fine. Imagine if a 50-foot giant picked you up. You’d probably squirm, too.

Eventually, your guinea pig will stop squirming. That comes with building trust and perfecting your pig-holding technique—a firm but gentle grasp.



Holding a guinea pig really is a treat. If the guinea pig loves you, it will love being held as much as you love snuggling its potato-shaped body. These furry rodents are very social and want good companionship (and tasty treats).

Take your time, use both hands and sit down if you have to. Soon, you’ll become a guinea pig-holding expert!

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Featured Image Credit: Ocskay Mark, Shutterstock

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