New guinea pigs can bond with each other within just one day or over several months. Their age, gender, and how you introduce them will influence how quickly bonding occurs. Older guinea pigs bond with younger ones much faster.[toc]
The speed at which guinea pigs can bond varies based on how fast they feel safe. They can bond as quickly as one day if you’re lucky.
There are a few things you can do to help your guinea pigs bond faster. Keep your expectations low. Your guinea pigs are not going to be best friends overnight!
How Can I Make My Guinea Pigs Bond Faster?
To make your guinea pigs bond faster, set yourself up for success.
When you are thinking about getting a second guinea pig, make sure it is the same gender that you already have. If you want to get two guinea pigs at once, make sure they are both males or females.
If you want two guinea pigs to bond faster, pair an older guinea pig with a younger guinea pig (of the same gender). This way, the older guinea pig will quickly be the dominant one, and the younger guinea pig will not have a problem with it.
Another important factor is the size of their cage. It needs to be big enough so they do not feel territorial with each other. A pair of males each need at least 10.5 square feet of space.
Although cage size, gender, and age are important factors in the bonding process, the most important way to make your guinea pigs bond faster is by properly introducing them.
How Do I Introduce My Guinea Pigs?
When introducing guinea pigs, patience is key. Do not rush through this process.
When you bring a new guinea pig home, it’s important to keep an eye on it. Always wash your hands before handling another guinea pig, as it might have mites, fleas, or another disease from where you got it.
The first thing you need to do is let the guinea pigs see each other for a few minutes each day from two separate cages. If possible, put them in different rooms, then bring both cages to neutral territory for a few minutes each day. This should be done for 2-3 weeks.
Once the initial 2-3 weeks have passed, keep them in separate cages but let them be in the same room or near each other.
Having seen each other in their own space, the next step is to introduce them. You can do this in several ways. If you have another person with you, let them hold one guinea pig while you hold the other. Put a towel between the two of you and release the guinea pigs at opposite ends of the towel. Keep an eye on them, but let them meet each other slowly on their own terms.
If you do not have another person to help you out, another way to introduce them is by putting both guinea pigs on your lap at once. Because the guinea pigs know you, they will feel more comfortable around each other if you are there. Again, do not force them toward each other, but let them come to each other on their own.
Let the guinea pigs stay in this neutral place until they lay side by side. Once they have laid side by side, put them in a new cage together. Ideally, this would be a cage that neither of them has been in before. If that is not possible, clean the old cage thoroughly so no smells remain from the guinea pig that lived there before.
How Do I Know My Guinea Pigs Are Getting Along?
You’ll know your guinea pigs are getting along during bonding if they show behaviors like humping, chasing, and teeth chattering. This is normal. You may want to intervene, but it’s normal for one of your guinea pigs to establish dominance, so leave them alone. These are all good signs.
Once your guinea pigs are living together, they will do daily activities together. They might begin sleeping together, eating meals together, and grooming each other. Guinea pigs are social animals, so it will be natural to do these things together. Plus, it’s pretty cute!
What Do I Do If My Guinea Pigs Fight?
The thought of your guinea pigs fighting can be discouraging after doing all that work bonding, but you might have introduced them too soon. If you see them pull each other’s hair or, even worse, draw blood, you need to separate them immediately.
It’s really important to take the bonding process slowly. You want them to avoid drawing blood at all costs because guinea pigs can hold grudges. If they draw blood with each other too many times, they may never get along. If they draw blood, take the bonding process much slower next time around.
While it’s rare, some guinea pigs just won’t get along. If you keep trying to bond them with no success, it’s better to keep them in separate cages.
Long Story Short: It Takes Time
It is understandable to want your guinea pigs to bond quickly, but the process takes time. Don’t be surprised if the bonding process takes a couple of weeks, or even months, to happen. However, once they are bonded, your guinea pigs will be much happier because they are social creatures. Your guinea pig wants friends, and by bonding them together, you increase their quality of life.
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