Guinea pigs can have completely different personalities and demonstrate a variety of behaviors. That depends on guinea pig’s breed. Some can be very calm while others show aggressive traits. It is likely that an aggressive guinea pig can exert dominance over a calm and submissive piggy. That is when a dominant guinea pig is bullying the other one.
You have to keep an eye on the dominance and bullying behavior of your pets. That is how you keep both of your piggies healthy, safe and happy. Bullying can lead to problems not only with physical state but also with mental health of a piggy.
Monitoring your pets’ behavior is a key to prevent bullying. If your guinea pigs are fighting, you will notice bite marks on the face. Also, weight loss is a sign of bullying too because a bully is not letting a submissive piggy to drink or eat. A non-aggressive pet may hide and feel scared to play with you or other fellow piggies.
So, why is a guinea pig bullying the other?
A guinea pig is bullying the other pet because of illness, lack of space, pour pairing and boredom. Guinea pigs can become enemies, so the aggressive piggy starts bullying the submissive one. Sometimes bullying is a short-term event which they can resolve quickly, but in severe cases you might need to separate your pets permanently.
In this blog post you will find out why is a guinea pig bullying the other and what to do about it. Also, we will talk about the prevention measures. Let’s dive in!
Reason 1 – Feeling sick makes a guinea pig aggressive
Guinea pig are nonviolent pets that enjoy playing and living together. However, pain or discomfort in the body can affect their behavior. Like any other pet, when a piggy is feeling sick or distressed, it can become aggressive. That is why it is crucial to monitor your pets at all time!
Apart from bullying a sick guinea pig will show other signs of illness, so in this case the best solution would be taking it to the vet. That way you will make sure that an aggressive piggy won’t start bullying others. To prevent bullying caused by physical illness or distress, you need to maintain a healthy surrounding.
That includes cleaning the cage on the regular basis. Also, you need to monitor the diet of your pets. A first step to creating a good companionship is ensuring that your pets are healthy and safe. Check out a complete guide on guinea pig cage cleaning routine here.
Reason 2 – You didn’t pair your piggies properly
Pairing guinea pigs is necessary to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the cage. If you put your guinea pigs together straight away, they might start bullying and fighting with each other. That is because they didn’t have a chance to get to know each other.
Keep guinea pigs in pairs or trios of the same sex. I would recommend keeping two females or two males together, especially if they are siblings. Don’t keep sows and boars together as it can cause bullying related to mating.
Also, a great way to avoid mating related fights is to keep younger piggies together with senior guinea pigs. That way older guinea pigs will adopt dominance over younger ones. To ensure successful pairing choose a spacious room for guinea pigs to meet for the first time.
Reason 3 – Lack of space in the cage
One of the most common reasons why a guinea pig is bullying the other is a lack of space in the cage. In a little cage there will be not enough space to keep adequate distancing between them. Chances are that piggies will get irritated and start fighting.
That is why when choosing a cage for guinea pigs pay attention to its size. Cages should be large enough to provide plenty of space for your pets. Also, it is very important to organize areas where they can hide. It is very important to maintain privacy.
For example, you can get a 2-tier cage, so each piggy can go to a different floor. If you have only one cage, you can separate it into sections, so your guinea pigs don’t get annoyed by each other. I put together a cheap and easy DIY tutorial on how to build a cage for guinea pigs, so check it out!
Reason 4 – Guinea pig is showing dominance
As a rule of thumb there is always one dominant piggy in the group of guinea pigs. To find out which guinea pig is dominant you need to observe their behavior. That includes taking a note of how they live and fight. Fighting to show dominance is common for guinea pigs.
A guinea pig that wins a fight is a dominant one. Then, guinea pigs fight until all of them back down and act submissively in front of the dominant piggy. Once the dominance is established, bullying will stop. However, it can happen that none of the piggies back down.
That is a real worry for an owner. In this case guinea pigs become increasingly aggressive and violent. That is when you have to interfere promptly. Take measures to prevent them from bullying each other. For example, don’t re-introduce them to each other multiple times. Also, it helps to get double of everything (chew toys, hideouts, water bottles etc).
Reason 5 – Your guinea pig is bored
Guinea pigs like to play with toys, veggies and, most of all, they want to play with you! When you don’t spend enough time with each of your pets, they can get bored and annoyed. As a result, chances that guinea pigs can start bullying each other increase.
An easy way to prevent bullying in this case is making sure that your pets always have something to do. Organize floor time and take them out of the cage daily. Moreover, you can give agility training a go. You won’t believe how may tricks your guinea pig can learn!
Entertainment inside the cage is important too. As I mentioned earlier, get double of everything, so your guinea pigs won’t fight over items. Take a look how to organize guinea pig’s cage. The last but not least, provide them with a variety of toys to play with. I’m sharing my top picks here.
What do you do to prevent and stop a guinea pig from bullying other pet? Let me know in the comments section below!