When a guinea pig twitches when being pet, it’s usually a sign of discomfort. They might not like the way you are petting them, or they might not be in the mood to be touched. It’s important to understand your piggie’s likes and dislikes when it comes to being touched.
What You'll Learn
Guinea pigs are cute and curious creatures that make great companions. You want to make sure you keep your guinea pig happy and healthy and build a close relationship with your furry friend!
Guinea pigs often twitch or jump unexpectedly when they’re excited. This is normal behavior. So how can you tell if your guinea pig is twitching when being pet because they’re uncomfortable?
Twitching, quivering, or shaking when being pet could be a sign that something is wrong.
Why Does my Guinea Pig Twitch When I Pet Them?
If your guinea pig is consistently twitching when you pet them, it probably means they are uncomfortable or in pain.
Most likely, they just don’t like how you are petting them. For example, your piggie might not like being pet on their stomach, but they like being pet on their back or between their ears. Or, you could be too rough when petting them and your piggie prefers more gentle stroking.
Or perhaps your guinea pig is not in the mood to be pet. Just like people, guinea pigs have different moods and personalities. Sometimes they might want socialization, and other times they want to be alone or sleep. Some guinea pigs are more social and enjoy being pet, while some prefer not to be touched.
In rarer cases, twitching while being pet may be a sign your guinea pig is suffering from an illness or parasites. If this is the case, they will likely require treatment. Rule this out before trying to adjust the way you pet your guinea pig.
How to Properly Pet Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs should always be handled with care and caution. They are small and vulnerable animals. You want to respect their boundaries to build a loving and trusting relationship.
Always make sure your guinea pig is aware you are there and going to pet them. You don’t want to sneak up on your furry friend or you might startle them!
Start by moving your hand slowly and openly toward your guinea pig. If he doesn’t run away or hide, you can pet them.
Only pet your guinea pig in a place they feel safe and comfortable. This might be in their cage, on the floor, or in your lap. Make sure you aren’t petting them on a surface they could fall off of. Guinea pig movements are often quick and unpredictable. You don’t want to risk them getting hurt.
Use slow, gentle strokes when petting your guinea pig. You might even want to use just one or two fingers to ensure you aren’t using too much pressure. Stroke your furry friend in the same direction that their hair grows.
Most guinea pigs like to be petted on the top of their head, between their ears, and under their chin. They don’t like to be touched on their stomach, face, or feet.
The back is an area that depends on your individual guinea pig. Watch for cues that your guinea pig is enjoying your petting to get to know the spots they like and dislike.
How to Tell if Your Guinea Pig Enjoys Being Pet
Guinea pigs are very expressive creatures. It’s important to observe your guinea pig’s behavior to get to know their likes, dislikes, and personality. Your guinea pig’s body language when they are being petted is their way of communicating with you. They will let you know in their own way when they are uncomfortable.
If your guinea pig stays still and calm when you pet them, they are enjoying your company and affection! A happy guinea pig is friendly, relaxed, and mild-tempered.
Guinea pigs are also very vocal, meaning they use many different noises to express themselves. Happy guinea pig noises include whistling, long deep purring, and chirping. They might even rub you with their nose or lick you to show affection.
Signs other than twitching that tell you your guinea pig is unhappy when being petted are hissing, biting, chattering, or baring their teeth, hair standing up straight, or throwing their head up in the air.
If your guinea pig walks away from being pet or shows any of these signs, it’s a sign to stop petting them and leave them alone. Never chase or force a guinea pig to be pet, or they could develop fear and anxiety surrounding petting.
Is My Guinea Pig Sick?
If your guinea pig is twitching when you pet them, be sure to check them for signs of illness or infection before assuming they just didn’t like the way they were being petted. In rare cases, this could be a warning they are in pain.
If you notice changes in your guinea pig’s behavior when you pet them, this could indicate that something more serious is going on. For example, if they always like to be scratched between the ears and suddenly show signs of discomfort being petted there, they could have an underlying illness.
The most common illness that could result in your guinea pig twitching when being pet is skin diseases caused by a skin infection, parasite, or fungus.
These are relatively harmless but can make a guinea pig’s skin sore and itchy and require treatment. Other signs to look out for include hair loss and bald spots, scratching with their teeth and nails, skin irritation, and cuts or sores.
Less common illnesses that could affect your guinea pig when you pet them include tumors or abscesses, gastrointestinal problems, or urinary tract problems. If you think your guinea pig might be sick, take them to a veterinarian to be examined.
Get to know your furry friend. The better you understand their behaviors, the better your relationship will be and the easier it is to know if something is wrong.
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