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How to Hold a Guinea Pig Correctly (with Pictures & Videos)

Kristin Hitchcock

June 30, 2021

Adopting a new guinea pig is an exciting time. These tiny creatures are adorable and brimming with personality. Most new guinea pig owners are excited about holding and cuddling their new pet. However, this can be a bit more complicated than you may first consider. After all, guinea pigs are relatively small and can run surprisingly quickly.

It is essential to hold them correctly to avoid potential injuries or an escaped guinea pig. In this article, we’ll help you figure out how to hold your guinea pig and reduce the risk of injury.divider-guineapig

1. Don’t Try to Hold Your Guinea Pig at First

While you may be excited right after adopting your guinea pig, you should give them some space for a few days after adoption. Many get stressed by all the new sounds and smells of being relocated. It is best to give them lots of space and interact with them very little for the first few days. Stress can be quite damaging to guinea pigs, so you should aim to keep them as comfortable as possible.


2. Introduce Yourself

child-guinea pig-pixabay

After a few days, you can begin to get your guinea pig acquainted with you. You shouldn’t necessarily take them out of their cage at this point. But you can begin putting your hand in their cage and potentially hand-feeding them. Petting is recommended once your pet seems to be comfortable in your presence.


3. Pick Up Your Guinea Pig

Your guinea pig will likely try to avoid getting picked up. Luckily, they are in a cage, so it is pretty easy to trap them in the corner and scoop them up. You can also use objects in the cage to get the guinea pig to stand still long enough to pick him up. If there are any tubes in the cage, these are extremely useful. The rodent’s house can also help corner them.

Please pick up your guinea pig by sliding a hand under its stomach and lifting it.


4. Hold Your Guinea Pig with Two Hands

Veterninary nurse holding Guinea Pig
Image Credit: Mark William Penny, Shutterstock

After lifting the guinea pig out of the cage, hold them with two hands near your chest. This will make them feel most secure, and your chest will be under them to prevent potential jumps. Your second hand should go near their rump to make them feel more secure. This keeps the guinea pig more stable and prevents them from feeling like they’re falling.

You should have a solid grip on your pet, but don’t squeeze so hard that you hurt them. You don’t want them to jump out of your hands. You should sit down while holding your guinea pig to prevent high drops. Your movement may also scare them at first, which can cause them to attempt a jump.


5. Provide Treats

You should provide your guinea pigs a few treats while you’re holding them. This makes them associate being held with good things, which will cause them to be a bit more accepting of the process. Be sure to feed only safe foods.


6. Return the Guinea Pig Safely to Their Cage

guinea pig wrapped in towel
Image Credit: Evgeny Gorodetsky, Shutterstock

Once the holding session is done, you should firmly hold your guinea pig when you put them back in their cage. Some guinea pigs get a bit too excited to return and may jump when they see their cage. However, this can cause injuries and similar problems, so you need to hold them firmly.

Use two hands to place your pet gently back into the cage. You can turn the guinea pig around and put them in bottom-first to reduce the chance of jumps at the last second.


7. Keep the Session Short

You should keep the session short, especially at first. You don’t want to stress out your guinea pig, as it can discourage them from wanting to be held again. You should hold them frequently, however. Daily sessions will allow them to warm up to you over time.


8. Supervise Children

guinea pig licking girl's arm
Image Credit: Evgeniy pavlovski, Shutterstock

You should always supervise children when they are holding guinea pigs. Children don’t always know how to hold guinea pigs properly, which can cause serious injuries. Children should always sit while holding the guinea pig. They shouldn’t be allowed to carry the animal from room to room, as this can cause more severe injuries.

Guinea pigs may become sensitive when handled by children, as they tend to be a bit rougher and excitable. Limiting their exposure is essential to reduce their stress levels. You may want to keep their sessions with children specifically short to prevent increased stress levels.

Looking for more guinea pig care guides? Try:


Featured Image Credit: Shschus, Shutterstock

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!