Do Guinea Pigs Like to Be Kissed? [Not What You Think]

You’re not alone in wondering if guinea pigs like to be kissed.  It’s something that I’ve been wondering for a while, too.  So, I decided to research it and write a helpful post to shed some light on the topic.

Typically, guinea pigs like being kissed if they’ve formed a bond with a person doing the kissing. It also depends on the personality of the individual guinea pig. Some enjoy swapping kisses (or licks) as a display of affection. Others don’t.

As it turns out that there are a few important things that you need to know about smooching with your piggie pal before going all in.  Wanna learn more?  Just keep reading…

How Do I Know if My Guinea Pig Likes Kisses?

do guinea pigs like to be kissed

In their own way, kissing is one of the ways that guinea pigs show affection to their owners and to their guinea pig buddies.

But, each individual cavy has their own affection preferences.  

If you’ve developed a relationship with your cavy, the most straightforward way is to go ahead and gently try it

Your guinea pig will let you know if your affection is accepted right away.  If your cavy shrieks or squirms or tries to get away, then you know that your cavy isn’t feeling the love.

Four main reasons why guinea pigs may not enjoy being kissed include:

  • If they feel sick or unwell, which is why scheduling proper veterinarian visits are so important.
  • They feel uncomfortable around you.
  • They feel uncomfortable in their environment.
  • Their personality. Some cavies prefer to show affection in other ways.
Why doesn’t my guinea pig want to be kissed? by A Shepherd

How Can I Get My Guinea Pig to Enjoy Being Kissed (Or At Least Enjoy More Snuggles)?

To encourage your Guinea pig to like being kissed, you’ll have to bond with your pet before you attempt any kissing. 

Guinea pigs are nervous in new environments. 

And why wouldn’t they be? 

They’re prey animals.

This means they’re basically furry, scurrying hamburgers to every predator in a ten-mile radius.  

Cavies aren’t likely to be very affectionate at first.  They’re too busy worried about what might be trying to kill them.

Guinea pigs don’t understand that you don’t mean them any harm at first. They’re going to be very nervous and scared when you first bring them home. Try not to take it personally.

Bonding could take days, weeks, or months. But, the process will go a lot faster if you:

  • Give your guinea pig daily outside-the-cage playtime (floor time), but prepare for accidents and make sure they can’t escape.
  • Provide a peaceful and relaxing environment for your little friend so that she doesn’t get stressed out and tense.
  • Pay close attention to your cavy (especially to which foods she enjoys, where and how she likes to be petted) because this will help you respond to her needs better.
  • Give daily outside-the-cage playtime (just prepare for accidents and make sure they can’t escape) for your guinea pig to have fun.
  • Spend a lot of time talking to your guinea pig in a soothing tone, so your voice is recognized and eventually welcomed.

I know you’re probably thinking…

I’ll be old as Stongehenge before this process works.

But, be patient.

Your care and hard work will pay off in the end.  When your cavy is cheerful and secure around you, you’ll have a better idea of how your cavy prefers to show her love (whether it be through kissing or another way).  

Plus, you’ll both have more opportunities to display affection for each other.

Warning: Kissing Your Cavy Can Be a Little Risky

There are some things you should know before diving into smooch city with your guinea pig.

Here’s why:

Your guinea pig might get you sick. Guinea pigs can sometimes carry germs like salmonella that can make humans sick. That’s probably why the CDC suggests that you avoid kissing your cavy altogether and that you avoid snuggling your guinea pig too closely to your face.

You might get your guinea pig sick. Certain types of colds humans catch can be passed to guinea pigs. And when you’re sick, there’s usually no way to know if the cold you have is the type that might hurt your guinea pig.

A girl kissing a guinea pig

So, it’s a good idea to avoid handling your piggy buddies too closely when you’re unwell. 

Is this something to freak out about?

Not necessarily.

There are tons of guinea pigs that happily give and receive kisses from their owners with no negative effects – not to the guinea pigs or to their families.

But, it’s always a good idea to have all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself. When in doubt, just give your veterinarian a call. 

Don’t Wanna Smooch? Here are 4 Easy Ways to Show Your Guinea Pigs Some Love

No worries if you’d like to pump the breaks on kissing your guinea pig. Or if your cavy is the type who’d prefer to not to pucker up.

A little boy hugging and kissing a guinea pig

There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy and interact with your little friend. #allthelove

  • Vedge out together. Plop a puppy pad on your couch or your lap (in case of accidents) and snuggle while binge-watching Netflix .
  • Create an obstacle course of cardboard and tunnels and watch the cavy hijinks begin.
  • Hand-feed your cavy their favorite herbs or vegetables.  Or when you’re having floor time play with your cavy, hide some veggie treats in loosely closed paper bags and let your friend find them.  Your cavy will be delighted and you will be, too. 
  • Have a little massage session with your cavy.  Most of them enjoy being slowly petted on their heads (front to back), behind the ears, stroked on their back.

Besides Kissing, What Are Some Other Ways That Guinea Pigs Show Their Affection?

There’s no reason to limit shows of affection to just kissing. Guinea pigs show their love, happiness, and delight in lots of different ways.

  • Popcorning: Your guinea pig leaps, squeals, jumps, and bucks in the air when particularly happy.
  • Nuzzling: Happy guinea pigs will rub their heads against your hand or body.
  • Side kicking: After a bond is formed you’ll notice that your piggy buddy follows you around (even without the promise of a treat).
  • Purring: After a while, when you’ve been holding and petting your guinea pig, they’ll get very relaxed and start making a sound that a cross between a cat’s purr and a pigeon’s coo.

Do guinea pigs like to cuddle?

Usually, guinea pigs like to cuddle.  But, it depends on the personality of the cavy.  Some will cuddle for short periods of time.  Others are more independent and don’t want to be picked up at all.

Do guinea pigs recognize their owners?

Guinea pigs recognize their owners after they’ve been around them for several weeks or month.  It’s not unusual for guinea pigs to follow their owners around the house when a bond has been established between the two of them.

How much attention does a guinea pig need?

Guinea pigs need to be checked on and removed from their cage at least once a day.  Lap time should happen for 10 to 15 minutes a day-if your piggie pal allows it. This is the time for you to take care of their basic needs (food, water, a clean cage) and gives your guinea pigs a chance for exercise and some bonding time with you.   Floor time (indoor play out of their enclosure) should happen 45 minutes to an hour a day.  

Important Things to Remember About Guinea Pigs and Kissing

Thanks to this article, you now know the following:

  1. the ins and outs of whether guinea pigs like kissing
  2. how to figure out if your little friend will accept kisses
  3. how to bond with your pet to increase the odds of it happening.

Let’s recap the main points what we covered:

  • Lots of cavies enjoy a smooch every now and then, but ultimately it depends on the personality of your guinea pig.
  • How willing a guinea pig is to give or receive a kiss depends on how comfortable they feel around you and in their environment. This includes their cage and your overall home.  If your piggie is feeling sick or cranky in the moment, and their personality also plays a role.
  • It’s important to bond with your cavy first before attempting any kissing, so that friends is more comfortable giving and receiving kisses.
  • Place a quick phone call to your veterinarian to see if she recommends that you kiss your guinea pig and do what’s right for you.
  • There are lot of ways for you to show your piggie buddy love and affection other than kissing.
  • Some cavies prefer to show affection and happiness in other ways like popcorning, purring, nuzzling, and following you around.

Now over to you.

How do you show affection to your guinea pigs? How do they let you know they care about you?

Let me know in the comments below.

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV) Disease Fact Sheet. (2008, April). Wisconsin Department of Health Services | Protecting and promoting the health and safety of the people of Wisconsin. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p4/p42182.pdf

Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to pet Guinea pigs | Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to pet Guinea pigs | March 2018 | Salmonella | CDC. (2019, March 6). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/guinea-pigs-03-18/index.html

Pet rodents. (2018, October 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/small-mammals/petrodents.html

Pocket pet safety. (n.d.). Maricopa County, AZ | Official Website. https://www.maricopa.gov/2670/Pocket-Pets

Where do Guinea pigs like to be petted? (2019, February 26). Lafeber Co. – Small Mammals. https://lafeber.com/mammals/guinea-pigs-like-petted/

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