Can Guinea Pigs Feel Emotions?

Can Guinea Pigs Feel Emotions?

Jack was furious that his wife had used his car to drive to work. In his fury, he banged the door and walked to the kitchen to get a mug of water. When his guinea pig saw his reactions, he got scared and hid from his master.

For a moment, Jack felt sad about his reactions, but he was also concerned, can guinea pigs feel emotions?

Guinea pigs feel emotions and get sad, excited, frightened, or compassionate. When bullied and left alone, guinea pigs get sad. When well socialized, guinea pigs sense human emotions, too. Guinea pigs understand affection and show it through kissing, purring, and nuzzling. They’re used as emotional support animals for anxious and depressed people.

Can Guinea Pigs Sense Human Emotions?

Guinea pigs are intelligent and sensitive pets. As such, they can sense human emotions easily and respond accordingly.

For example, a guinea can tell when his master is sad from his talking, walking, and behaving. In return, the guinea runs away to hide.

Can Guinea Pigs Feel Emotions?
Photo by Brett Sayles:

When the master is happy, guinea pigs can equally sense and understand the current emotions. Consequently, he gets closer to the owner and (probably) wants to stay on his lap.  

Even so, for a guinea pig to sense his owner’s emotions, he must have socialized well with him. If guinea pigs can sense human emotions, can they offer any support to them, too?

Is A Guinea Pig An Emotional Support Animal?

Any pet, including Shibas and guinea pigs, can be used as emotional support animals.

Unlike service pets, emotional support animals require no training. However, you can train your piggy to work the way you want according to the emotional support you want him to offer to you or any members of the family.

People who may need emotional support include isolated elderly men and women and anxious and depressed people. Also, people with other chronic diseases and disabilities may need an emotional guinea pig.  

While persons with emotional problems may not recover, the symptoms may lower, consequently saving them from trouble. Better still, help them live many days free of stress.

However, your therapist must give you a letter that qualifies your guinea pig as an emotional support animal (ESA). The letter also proves that you have a problem and need an emotional support animal.

Do Guinea Pigs Understand Affection?

Like any other pet, guinea pigs understand affection.

They can as well show affection to their owners. Nonetheless, they only do so to owners who love and treasure them. It is what you give to your guinea pig and how you treat him that makes him an affectionate animal.

Also, when you socialize with your piggy, he begins to trust you and show affection.

Guineas often have a way of demonstrating their affection as well as how much they care for you. In most cases, they do this by nuzzling, purring, and kissing, just like the Maltese do.

Let’s take a closer look.


When you notice that your piggy is brushing his body around your feet, then he is trying to show how much he loves you.

Sometimes they nuzzle their heads against your neck. Else, on your hands, if you’re holding them.


Unlike the way most pets kiss (more like licking) their owners to show affection, guinea’s kiss is much similar to that of humans. Very adorable.

They constantly ‘bite’ your face and nose. They do it gently and won’t hurt you since they don’t use their teeth.


A guinea pig that is happy or satisfied with what he is getting; often squeaks. You can hear this when you gently pet him. It’s the same when you tickle him.

But Piggy loves purring even when they feel unsafe and upset, right? Absolutely, but the difference is that when they’re happy, the purring is prolonged. In contrast, when they’re upset and threatened, it is in short spurts.

Eating From Your Hand

A piggy that is not affectionate often eats away from his owner. Actually, he eats from a hidden area. Wait until he trusts you; he suddenly becomes affectionate.

When he does, he will even eat from your palm without biting you.

Comfortably Sleep or Sit On Your Lap

An affectionate piggy knows when you’re happy or sad. In return, he may want to keep you company to make you feel better whenever he senses you’re emotionally drained.

The same applies when he senses that you’re happy. He may want to play with you and eventually sleep on your lap.

Can Guinea Pigs Feel Sadness?

Like us, guinea pigs have feelings; for example, they feel sad when they see you sad. Also, there are things you may do to your piggy and end up making him sad.

If you’ve interacted with your piggy, then it becomes easy to tell when he is sad.

Your piggy may be sad due to:

  • Lack of enough food
  • Being left alone all-day
  • Lacking companion in their cage, especially if they had one
  • Being scolded
  • Seeing their owners being sad

How Do You Know If Your Guinea Pig Is Sad?

Some of the signs he will show include:

Unwillingness to Play

Has your playful piggy suddenly ceased to play?  Is he staying in one place and not willing to play? Well, if he is in good health, he is likely sad.

It would help to find out what could have made him unhappy and find a solution. Just like we don’t like being sad, pigs too don’t like it, and it would help to seek ways to make them happy.

Unwillingness to Eat

Every other pig, not just guinea, loves eating. It doesn’t matter if you just fed your buddy a few seconds ago; as long as you add food to his bowl, he will still want to eat.

Can Guinea Pigs Feel Emotions?
Photo by Magda Ehlers:

Their stomach never seems to get full. Hence, a guinea that won’t eat is either sick or sad. If the former is not the case, he is saddened by something you need to look into.

Alarming Quietness

Guinea pigs are ever cheerful, running all over, and very interactive. When you get close to them, they’ll come closer to you and kiss you or show their love in any other way.

When you notice that your piggy isn’t moving whenever you get closer, he is not responding to your calls either; it’s possible he is sad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Guinea Pigs Be Good For Anxiety?

Why not! Guinea pigs can be good for anxiety. They don’t have to be trained. Once you have an emotional connection with your guinea pig, then he treats you with love and sticks close to you as long as you allow him to.

Having him around you and playing with you causes bad memories to fade as well as fears. As a result, anxiety ceases, and excitement, joy, and a sense of well-being dominate you.

Also, research shows that guinea pigs help in relieving stress. In fact, in some cases, this piggy may make stressed people get better with time.

What’s The Verdict; Can Guinea Pigs Feel Emotions?

Indeed, they do. They get angry when their owners are angry. When their leaders are happy, they, too, are happy. Sometimes they want to spend time around their owners, sleep on their laps, eat from their hands, and play with them.

No wonder they’re also used as emotional animals as they’re also affectionate, just like any other animal or human. The bond you have with your piggy also plays a significant role in determining how affectionate he is. 

If you keep on scolding him, then he becomes fearful and won’t want to get close to you, especially when he notices you’re sad and emotional.


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