How to Keep a Guinea Pig Safe Around Other Pets
Guinea pigs are cute, cuddly, friendly, don't take up a lot of room and are relatively easy to care for. This makes guinea pigs excellent pets. Unfortunately, there's a good chance your other pets would look at a guinea pig and see a snack rather than a friend.
Much depends on the character and temperament of your carnivorous pets, but guinea pigs make tempting prey for cats, dogs, predatory birds or certain snakes that want to hunt. If you aren't careful, you might end up needing a guinea pig veterinarian sooner than you would like.
That doesn't mean you should give up your dream of including a guinea pig in your family. Many households have successfully introduced guinea pigs into an environment full of other animals and discovered the best ways to keep them safe, even if they don't get along with everyone.
Supervision and Separation
One of the most important principles of keeping your guinea pig safe from harm is supervision. Guinea pigs shouldn't be allowed to run around freely in any case, as they love to chew on wires and baseboards, but vigilance is even more crucial when there are other animals around.
When you remove your guinea pig from its cage for playtime, make sure you’re in a closed room where other animals can't come in by surprise. Generally speaking, it is good practice to keep your guinea pig separate from other animals or out of reach.
Get a Good Cage
Though guinea pigs can be kept in open-topped cages, having other pets in the same house or apartment makes this a no-go. Your furry friend needs its own safe space.
Make sure the cage is well built and can withstand the curiosity (or worse) of a larger animal. Consider buying a larger cage than you would otherwise so you won't need to remove the guinea pig as often. Make sure the holes aren’t too large, to ensure that prying paws won't be able to reach very far through the bars.
Finally, if you can't find a place for the cage that's completely out of reach to your other animals (it may be difficult to find such a place for your guinea pig in a small New York apartment, for example), train your other pets to understand that the area around the cage is strictly off-limits, even if they seem to just be sitting innocently nearby.
Can't We All Just Get Along?
Will you need to keep your guinea pig separated from the rest of the family for all 7-8 years of its life? Maybe not. We've all seen those videos of a cat being friends with a mouse, or a lion with a human, so remember that anything is possible!
Depending on your other animals, you may be able to introduce them to your guinea pig and help them become friends overtime. Reaching that point however, does take a little bit of careful work.
The best way to get started is by introducing the smell of your guinea pig to your other pets with a towel or blanket you have rubbed it with. Once used to the smell, you can carefully bring the animals together and observe how they react to one another. Eventually, this cautious approach could result in an adorable cross-species friendship.
In Case of Emergency…
If you do encounter an issue between your guinea pig and another pet, it is important to have your guinea pig seen by an exotics veterinarian promptly.