Complete Guide for Guinea Pig Handling

Guinea pigs are adorable creatures with fascinating personalities that tempt you to carry them. One of the questions on the mind of most new guinea pig owners is how they can handle guinea pigs without causing them any stress.

Guinea pigs are social creatures, and they love being handled. It is best that you spend time with them to make them feel comfortable and safe around you.

However, you need to be extremely careful when handling them because they have fragile bones and internal organs.

We have helped highlight everything you need to know about guinea pig handling, from how often a guinea pig is handled to the best ways to handle them.

Do Guinea Pigs Like To Be Handled?

Generally, guinea pigs love to be handled as long as they trust you. However, there are situations where your guinea pig may make a squeaking sound when handled.

This usually happens when a guinea pig is ill or is still getting used to a new environment.

You should avoid handling pregnant guinea pigs as this can easily stress them. Guinea pig pups should also not be handled as they need time to develop immunity.

This means you need to avoid handling them for about two weeks until they develop immunity.

Furthermore, a sow that just gave birth should also not be handled for about two weeks. This is to help avoid stressing them while they recover from the birthing process. Guinea pigs that recently got ill should also be given space to heal before handling it.

Your vet will help to determine when a sick guinea pig is safe to handle.

Step by Step for Guinea Pig Handling

As stated before, most guinea pigs love to be handled. Handling guinea pigs is a great way to spend time with a guinea pig to help them feel comfortable and safe around you.

However, you need to be extra careful when handling your guinea pig to help avoid injury or falls.

Here are some steps that you can take when handling a guinea pig.

Give Your Guinea Pigs Time to Adapt

Generally, guinea pigs are prey in nature, and they can be quite scared when you first try to handle them. This is why you will need to give your guinea pig some time to acclimatize to their environment before handling them.

You can make guinea pigs feel safe and comfortable with you by spending time with them by just talking and providing food without any contact with them. You should be gentle when talking with them to help avoid startling your guinea pig.

Pick Up a Guinea Pig for the First Time

Once your guinea pig is happy and relaxed, then you can pick them up. It is recommended that you try to handle them only when the guinea pig is comfortable and does not look stressed when you try to handle them.

The best way to handle a guinea pig is to use two hands to hold them.

  • Place a hand on your guinea pig’s chest and be careful not to squeeze their delicate rib cage.
  • Use the second hand to support their rear to help prevent it from running.
  • Allow your guinea pig’s leg to hang over your hand to help ensure they feel safe and supported.

Note: you should always wash your hand before and after handling a guinea pig to help minimize any harm to you or your pet.

Holding Properly

It is important that you know how to hold your guinea pig properly after picking it up to help make it feel safe and avoid injury.

Ensure that you use a hand to support their torso in place while you can move the other hand under their hind legs during handling. You should allow the guinea pig to hang over your hand instead of crunching any of its legs.

A great way to hold your guinea pig is to rest them against your chest while facing you to help make it feel secure. You can even use your free hand to pet or tickle your guinea pig.

Tips: Holding Guinea Pig For Injections

There are situations where you may need to hold your pet for injection. Here is a great way to hold a guinea pig for injections.

  • Gently encircle their forelimbs and neck using a hand.
  • Use the other hand to support the hind limbs to help prevent them from moving backward.
  • The vet can then give your piggy injection in the midsection.

Note: Most guinea pigs don’t really like injections and can protest by squeaking.

Keep Your Eye on the Guinea Pig’s Reaction

It is important that you should be on the lookout for any reaction from your guinea pig when handling it. This will help to determine when your guinea pig becomes uncomfortable and serve as a cue to put it down.

Guinea pigs are likely to squirm whenever they feel uncomfortable and will prefer if you put them down. Once you notice this, you should ensure that you don’t squeeze them to help avoid dropping them to the ground.

A great way to respond to this is to hold your guinea pig on a sofa or soft and comfortable place. This will help to put them down very quickly.

Another sign that you can be on the lookout for is when your guinea pig starts to lick your hand while wriggling. This also shows that it wants you to put them down.

On the other hand, you can determine that your guinea pig feels comfortable handling if its eyes are open, stretched out, or lay down on your hand.

Also read: 11 Guinea Pig Behaviors To Help You Understand More About Them

Placing Your Guinea Pig Back 

Generally, most guinea pigs love to be held for about twenty minutes. However, some may not like being handled for long, and some can even tolerate a little longer than that.

When you just start to handle a guinea pig, you should first start with just a minute and then gradually increase the handling time until it is about 20 minutes.

It is also important to be careful whenever you want to put your guinea pig back in their enclosure.

You need to ensure that you hold them securely when placing them back on the ground or their cage. It is best to hold them firmly and securely close to the floor before allowing them to go.

This will help to ensure that your guinea pig does not jump or fall off from a height.

YUEPET Guinea Pig Carrier Bag with Bed

How often Should Guinea Pigs Be Handled?

Now that we know how to handle a guinea pig let’s dive into how often a guinea pig should be handled.

As stated before, guinea pigs enjoy being handled and petted, but it may take time before they get to trust and be comfortable with you. Furthermore, a guinea pig can become more comfortable handling it if trained from a young age.

This means you can hold a guinea pig as often as possible if your guinea pig is comfortable with you. However, you will need to be on the lookout for signs that your guinea pig is not stressed and is comfortable with handling.

Guinea Pig Harness and Leash


Guinea pigs are among the most popular and adorable pets in the world. The best thing is that they love human interaction, and they love to be handled and petted.

However, they have fragile bodies, and you need to be very careful when handling them to help avoid any injury.

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