Why Do Dogs Lick Guinea Pigs? (Is It Safe?)

by Sonya | Last Updated:   October 11, 2021

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Dogs are born with many instinctive behaviours, and licking is one of them. Dogs can often live in harmony with other pets in the house, like Guinea Pigs, and will lick them to show their affection. However, it’s important to monitor this behaviour, especially when it first starts, as dogs can injure Guinea Pigs by accident.

A lot of households contain both dogs and guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are small rodents that make great pets for kids. The population of guinea pigs in the United Kingdom is approximately 400 thousand whereas the number of guinea pigs are a little over 1.3 million in the United States.

Is it okay for the two animals to interact and let the dog lick Guinea pigs? We will find out in this article.

Dog getting ready to lick a guinea pig that is sitting on couch

Is It Safe to Let Your Dog Lick a Guinea Pig?

In the wild, dogs are prone to hunt small animals like guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are naturally an attraction for dogs as they love chasing everything that runs from them. Dogs can hurt guinea pigs by accident, even when they’re trying to be nice.

If your dog is untrained, their natural instinct is to hunt small animals. Given the size of most large dogs, if they aren’t trained very well, they can easily hit the guinea pig, hurt it, or even kill it in as little time as a second.

Dogs usually have bacteria in their mouth. They love sniffing around, licking stuff, and eating whatever they like and find interesting. Unfortunately, these bacteria can cause respiratory diseases in guinea pigs.

Pet parent tip: If you notice one of your pets is sick, it’s better to separate them from your other pets until they feel better.

Related Reading: 4 Reasons Your Dog Licks Your Hand

Will My Dog Eat My Guinea Pig?

Here are some behavioral signs that a dog is a danger to your little guinea pigs:

  • If your pooch growls continually at your guinea pig, it will likely attack it if it gets the chance
  • When your dog comes across the guinea pig, excessive barking is a sign of danger to come
  • You might also notice your dog freezing and staring at your guinea pig. This might be an attack stance that explains a potential danger
  • If your dog jumps towards your guinea pig when they are in your hands or their cage, your dog has marked a prey, and your guinea pig is in danger
  • Teeth clenching also gives a sign of an impending attack

If you notice any of these aggressive behaviors, keep your guinea pig away from your dog at all times.

Regardless of your dog breed, supervising every interaction between both dogs and Guinea pigs will prevent the unfortunate from happening.

Can Guinea Pigs Bond With Dogs?

Remember that it is most likely that the guinea pig will be afraid of the dog at first. Keep a separate and safe space for your guinea pig to get time for itself and recharge.

How to Properly Introduce Dogs and Guinea Pigs? 

If you are going to introduce your dog and guinea pig, you should follow these tips for a smooth introduction.

  • When you first introduce your dog and guinea pig, keep your dog on a leash and leave your guinea pig in their crate
  • This will allow you to control both the animals at the same time
  • It’s better to have another person for help. This way, you will have an extra pair of hands
  • Keep both the animals several feet apart at first
  • Get your dog’s attention and try to keep them calm
  • Ask your dog to sit
  • Use treats and praise as rewards for obedience
  • Move your dog closer to the Guinea pig in its crate in small steps
  • Dogs can easily become stressed or aggressive during this process. Stop the introduction right away if your dog gets too excited or aggressive
  • You can let your dog calm down and try again later
  • When your dog is staying calm you can give a bit of extra slack on the leash

At this point, your dog and guinea pig might be getting closer to staying calm around one another. However, at the first sign of aggression or anxiety, you should separate your pets.

Safety Tips For Dogs and Guinea Pigs

It’s time to learn how to keep your guinea pig safe from the dog. 

  • Always supervise their interaction: Never leave your dog unattended with your guinea pig. Even if your dog and guinea pig are completely calm, always supervise any interaction between your dog and Guinea pig. Even the slightest flinch can sometimes mean that your Guinea pig is unsafe, so keep an eye out.
  • Guinea pig should always have its space: Give your guinea pig a place of its own so it can be alone when it needs to be. Consider purchasing a comfortable guinea pig cage in which your pig can feel relaxed and sleep well.
  • Safe spot for your Guinea pig: Keep the cage in a safe spot. Ideally, you should place the Guinea pig cage in a room away from your dog. Otherwise, your dog might accidentally knock the cage over.

Pet parent tip: The relationship between the two animals can change very quickly. So, it is so important to monitor them whenever they are together.

Wrapping Up

Keep in mind that all face-to-face interactions between your dog and Guinea pig hold an element of risk for the guinea pig. Even a well-trained dog might accidentally play too roughly. Even if pets have been getting along with each other for years, accidents can still happen.

Always give each of your pets the care and attention they deserve!

Sonya is a software engineer by day and recently earned her MBA degree, but she also loves spending her free time writing about her favourite passion, dogs! Click here to read more.
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