Our previous blog post talked about 4 signs your guinea pig is happy(be sure to read it before or after this one), so today we’ll be talking about signs your guinea pig is unhappy. The main way you can sense unhappiness in your guinea pig is through body language, sounds, and health. Although some of these signs may just signal temporary unhappiness and are no cause for worry, be sure to watch out if one of them happens frequently and extends for long periods of time. Again, all guinea pigs are different so not all of these will apply to your guinea pig. They may only show a few or none at all!
Guinea pigs make a variety of sounds and they each mean something different. Teeth chattering, hissing, growling, and whining are all some sounds that your guinea pig may make when they are in discomfort or unhappy with another piggie. Teeth chattering is one of the more common sounds that you can distinguish between the others. It may be accompanied by showing off teeth as an aggressive “back off”. To remedy this, have enough treats nearby to hand out to everyone as a small distraction to break up the fight so that they may all be friends again afterwards.
2. Body Language
Sometimes guinea pigs do a little “dance” called rumble strutting. You may have seen this when your guinea pig looks like he/she is almost vibrating in both the sound they make and in their body language around another piggie. Rumble strutting is known to be a mating dance, but can also be seen as an act of dominance. And it doesn’t just happen between a male and female, but can happen with any paired piggie! Another body language to recognize is the raising of a piggie's head and front legs and fluffing out their fur. For example, has your guinea pig ever fluffed up his/her fur while eating delicious veggies next to a companion? It means that they are trying to look aggressive and bigger so that no one will come close and steal their food.
One of the more obvious ways to tell that your guinea pig is unhappy is disinterest in everything, even veggies! If your guinea pig used to love playtime, but all of a sudden doesn’t want to participate, then they may be depressed or have an underlying health problem. If this symptom lasts for more than a day, there is a problem. To be safe, always bring them to the vet to get checked up. The sooner you recognize the problem and get checked, the better it will be for your piggie in the long run.
In the end, we have to remember that most of these unhappy signs are all natural behaviors that guinea pigs make on a regular basis. Most of which aren’t a cause for concern, everyone gets the blues once in a while! Just remember that if these signs happen too frequently, pay close attention to see if there is something wrong with your piggie and their health. The most important way to keep your piggy comfortable and healthy is by just providing them with what they need. A clean home with washed liners, nutritious veggies, and lots of love from you!