You may have seen photos online of guinea pigs wearing leashes and collars – but can guinea pigs wear leashes and collars in reality?
No, it’s not safe to put leashes and collars on guinea pigs. Wearing leashes and collars can put a lot of strain on their neck and back, which can lead to serious health problems. Plus, guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures and can easily get scared or stressed out by anything that is put on them.
But, before we dive into the risks involved with can guinea pigs wear leashes and collars (and believe you me, there’s some serious risks involved), let’s first talk about…
Why Do People Consider Putting Leashes and Collars On Guinea Pigs?
It’s a natural question to ask – why would anyone want to put leashes and collars on guinea pigs in the first place?
One of the main reasons people consider doing this is because they want to take their guinea pig outside for a walk. Walking your fur baby sounds like a fun idea, so the first thing that pops into your head is to put a leash and collar on them and take them for a walk around the block.
But, there’s better (and safer) ways to take your guinea pig outside without sliding a leash and collar around their neck. I’ll talk about that later on in the article.
Another reason people put leashes and collars on guinea pigs is because they want to take them to public places, like the park or the beach. Again, this may sound like a fun idea – but using a leash and collar is not the best way to do it.
And finally, some people put leashes and collars on guinea pigs simply because they think it looks cute. There’s no denying that a guinea pig in a collar and leash can look pretty darn adorable.
But, as you’ll see in the next section, the risks far outweigh the benefits when it comes to can guinea pigs wear leashes and collars.
So, now that we’ve talked about why people put leashes and collars on guinea pigs, let’s dive into…
5 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Shouldn’t Wear Collars
Guinea pigs are not allowed to wear collars, no matter how cute they look. Because of their delicate bones and internal organs, guinea pig collars and leashes (yes, even if it’s a stretchy leash) can be harmful to your little, furry friend.
Some of the reasons why it’s not good for your piggy to wear a collar include:
1. Broken Bones & Internal Injuries
One of the biggest dangers of using collars and leashes on guinea pigs is that they can lead to broken bones and internal injuries.
This is because guinea pigs have very fragile necks, bones, and their spinal cord isn’t as flexible as say…a hamsters (and yet another reason why piggies don’t need exercise wheels).
And since you’re so much bigger and stronger than your fur babies, it’s easy for you to accidentally pull too hard on the leash and cause them serious harm.
In fact, even a light tug can cause your guinea pig pain and discomfort.
Now you might be thinking: “Hey, I’ll be extra careful. I’d never hurt my guinea pig on purpose.”
I’m sure that’s true (I know you’re not some sort of monster). But, even the best intentions can’t always prevent accidents from happening.
For example, your guinea pig might get spooked by something (like loud noises) and try to run away. If they’re on a leash, they can easily get tangled up and hurt themselves in the process.
The bottom line is that it’s a risk that’s just not worth taking.
So, if you want to avoid putting your guinea pig at risk for broken bones and internal injuries, it’s best to steer clear of collars (and leashes) altogether.
2. Stressful & Scary
Another reason why guinea pigs wearing leashes and collars isn’t a good idea is because it can be stressful and scary for your little friend.
This is especially true if they’re not used to wearing one. Just imagine how you would feel if someone put a collar around your neck and attached a leash to it.
You probably wouldn’t like it too much, right?
The same goes for your guinea pig. In fact, they can get so stressed out by the experience that it can even lead to health problems. (And yes, guinea pigs CAN die from stress)
Some of the ways that stress can manifest in your guinea pig include:
- Hiding more often than usual
- Loss of appetite
- Grinding their teeth (a sign of pain or discomfort)
- Pacing back and forth
- Shaking or trembling
So, if you want to keep your furry friend happy and healthy, it’s best to avoid using a leash and collar. There’s other ways to bring them with you on adventures (more on that later).
3. Might Escape
Another thing to consider is that, even if you’re being extra careful, there’s always a chance your guinea pig might escape.
Some cavies are VERY good at squirming out of their collars (and leashes). So, if they get scared or spooked by something (and let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to scare a guinea pig), they can easily slip out of their collar and run away.
And those little stinkers won’t think twice about leaving you in the dust after they’re free of their leash and collar.
So, once your cavies are loose, it can be very difficult (and darn near impossible) to catch them. They’re super fast, little critters and can easily hide from you. Or end up stuck somewhere where you can’t reach them (I’m looking at you, piggies who like to hide under furniture!).
All of this is to say that, if you’re worried about your fur babies escaping, it’s best to avoid using a leash and collar altogether.
So, if you want to avoid the hassle (and heartache) of trying to track down your runaway furry friend, it’s best not to put them in a situation where they can escape in the first place.
(Cuz no one is trying to have a mental breakdown over a lost fur baby, am I right?)
4. Hair Loss & Skin Abrasion
Another downside to leashes and collars is that they can cause hair loss and skin abrasion.
This is because, as your cavy moves around, the leash (and collar) can rub against their skin and fur, causing irritation.
In some cases, this can even lead to bald spots or open wounds.
Think your piggie doesn’t mind?
Well, think again.
Guinea pigs are very sensitive creatures and can get easily agitated by something as simple as a leash or collar rubbing against their skin.
So, if you want to avoid causing your furry friend any discomfort, it’s best not to put them in a situation where they can get hurt.
5. Choke To Death
Now, this is the scariest part.
Your guinea pig can actually choke to death if their collar is too tight.
You see, cavies have very delicate necks and can easily be injured by something as simple as a leash or collar.
In fact, a too tight collar can actually cut off your guinea pig’s air supply, causing them to choke to death.
You might be thinking, “Well, I’ll just make sure the collar is loose enough so it doesn’t choke them.”
But here’s the thing.
Some cavies are very good at wiggling out of their collars (and leashes). So, if you loosen the collar (so they don’t choke), there’s always a chance that you make it so loose that they can wiggle out of it. Next thing you know, they’re running away like a little furry escape artist.
And we all know how fast those little critters can run.
But, it doesn’t end there.
Even if the collar isn’t too tight, there’s always a chance that your fur baby might get caught in their leash and choke themselves to death.
Can Guinea Pigs Wear Leashes?
No, guinea pigs shouldn’t wear leashes. Their bones are fragile, they can easily escape from them, or they can choke themselves to death.
So, if you’re looking for a way to keep your guinea pig safe, it’s best to avoid using a leash or collar altogether.
Can Guinea Pigs Wear Harnesses?
No, guinea pigs really shouldn’t wear harnesses. Harnesses might not be as dangerous as leashes and collars, but they come with the same sort of risks.
For example, harnesses can rub against your guinea pig’s skin and fur, causing hair loss and irritation and a ton of anxiety for your little friends.
And, if the harness is too tight, it can actually cut off your guinea pig’s air supply, causing them to choke to death.
Too loose? Get ready to put your running shoes on because here’s a good chance your piggies will make a break for it if they’re able to wiggle out of their harness.
So, if you’re looking for a way to keep your fur babies safe, it’s best to avoid using a harness as well.
And yes, that includes a mesh harness, a vest harness, a nylon harness, an adjustable vest, a specially patented guinea pig harness…all kinds of harnesses.
Hear me and hear me well, my good piggie parent…
Avoid. Them. All.
Can You Take Guinea Pigs Out For A Walk?
No, you shouldn’t take your guinea pigs out for a walk – ever. Your cavies could get attacked by a predator, run into the street and get hit by a car, or escape from their leash and run away.
Plus, the sights and smells of the outdoors can be really overwhelming for your fur babies. All of the new sights and smells can cause a lot of stress for your little friends, which can lead to health problems down the road.
So, if you’re looking for a way to bond with your piggies, it’s best to do so indoors where they feel safe and comfortable and you have full control over their environment.
There’s plenty of ways to bond with your guinea pigs indoors, like chatting with them, handfeeding them, or just spending time together in the same room.
If you want your piggies to enjoy some outdoor times, it’s best to do so in a secure, enclosed area where they can’t run away or get attacked (like an outdoor run).
How To Safely Take Your Guinea Pigs Out For A Walk
The only way to safely take your guinea pigs out for a walk is to hold your guinea pig while you walk around with them. But, never treat your cavy like a dog and let them walk on a leash with a collar. Not only is it dangerous for your guinea pig, but it’s also really stressful for them.
So, if you want to take your cavies out for a “walk” (which I don’t actually recommend), make sure to hold them the whole time – preferably in a guinea pig sling like this one.
Walking around with your piggie in your bare hands is a bit risky, so you definitely don’t want to try it outside where things are even more dangerous.
Here’s a few other tips for making the experience safer and less overwhelming for your piggie.
- If at all possible, make sure the area you’re walking in is secure and enclosed.
- Avoid busy areas with a lot of people, cars (avoid those nasty pollutants) or pets. Loud noises and predators can be really scary for piggies.
- Carry them close to your body in a way that’s comfy for both of you. Use a sling, but ALWAYS keep your hands on your piggie to make sure your little friend is safe and won’t “blind jump” to the ground and get hurt.
- Only walk with one piggie at a time. That’s more than enough for you to handle and it’ll be less overwhelming for your piggie.
- Be careful of slippery or wet surfaces outside.
- And finally, keep the walk short – around 15 minutes is more than enough time for your guinea pig. Any longer and they’ll start to get overwhelmed and stressed out.
How To Safely Take Your Guinea Pigs Out Of The House
How to safely take your guinea pigs out of the house depends on where you plan on taking them. Generally speaking, there’s two areas you need to consider: your backyard and the outdoors at large (say to the vet or maybe on a road trip). Let’s take a look at both of these scenarios.
In Your Backyard
If you want to take your cavies out into your backyard, the best way to do it is in an enclosed pen or run. This will ensure that your piggies can’t escape and that predators can’t get to them.
You can either buy a pre-made enclosure or build your own. Just make sure that it’s big enough for your guinea pigs to move around in, has hiding spots, is predator-proof, and is made of safe materials.
Remember that piggies can easily overheat, so you want to avoid having them outside like this if the temperature is too hot or if it’s too cold and there’s no shelter from the elements.
Outdoors At Large
If you want to take your little friends outside of your home (like to the vet), the best way to do so is in a carrier. A carrier will protect your piggies from predators and other dangers, and it will also keep them from escaping.
When choosing a carrier, make sure that it’s large enough for your little friends to move around in, but not so large that you can’t transport it comfortably (I mean, unless you have a car big enough to fit a guinea pig mansion, then by all means go for it).
It’s also important to choose a carrier that has plenty of ventilation so your piggies can breathe easily. And finally, make sure the carrier is escape-proof. You don’t want your piggie getting loose in an unfamiliar place.
How To Safely Travel With Your Guinea Pig
When traveling, most guinea pigs feel safer if they are in a more limited space. This means they should travel in a carrier The carrier should be large enough for them to be comfortable (about 12 inches wide x 19 inches long x 12 inches high for two of them) but not so large that they’ll slide around inside the carrier and hurt themselves.
Don’t be tempted to use a cardboard box or a laundry basket or any other type of container that isn’t specifically made for transporting small animals. These can be dangerous because your guinea pig can easily hurt themselves or escape.
Here’s a selection of three affordable guinea pig carriers that’ll be great for your little friends.
As always, make sure the carrier has plenty of ventilation so your piggie can breathe easily.
When traveling with your cavy, make sure you do the following to make the trip easier for you and your piggies:
- Make sure to visit your cavies’ vet before you travel with them to make sure they’re healthy enough for the trip.
- Choose an appropriate carrier (no cardboard boxes or other cheats, remember?)
- Provide enough food and water (and hay) to sustain them for the entire journey.
- Try to keep your pigs in an environment where the temperature is not too hot or too cold. This will help them stay healthy during the trip.
- Keep the trip as short as possible. Longer trips can be stressful for your guinea pigs.
No, guinea pigs shouldn’t wear leashes or collars. As you can see, there are a lot of risks involved in putting leashes and collars on guinea pigs. It’s simply not worth it to put your piggie friend in danger like that.
Guinea pigs should never wear collars or leashes since they’re dangerous to piggies and cause bdamage to their internal organs or their fragile bones. Collars also cause them anxiety and provide a choking threat.
Always keep in mind that cavies are nervous creatures, and their bone structures aren’t strong enough for them to be stressed; you may end up losing them if (or when) they escape.
Remember that your fur babies aren’t dogs. They don’t need to be walked , and they definitely don’t need to wear leashes or collars. So please, for the sake of your guinea pigs, keep them away from anything that can hurt them. Their safety is in your hands.
Thanks for reading!