Dogs and Guinea Pigs?--do they get along?


Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:21 am

I think that you can have a dog and guinea pigs so long as you never forget that your dog is always going to be a dog and you need to be aware of their demeanor around the pigs all the time.

Here is my recent dog and piggie stories. Oscar, Buddy and I moved in with my parents and their beloved rottweiler last year. I was definately nervous about it, but let me say that this dog was the saddest excuse for a Rottweiler. His bark shook the house, but he was usually barking from his bed and not bothering to protect us from whatever he was barking at. Introducing the pigs to the dog was hilarious. Roxy, (the dog) got so excited he bounced around the cage like a little kid until he peed on the floor. The next day we put the pigs on the floor and let Roxy sniff them out. Next thing I know, Roxy was bouncing around trying to get them to play with him. He even nudged poor Buddy. Buddy just stood there. Roxy looked up at us so confused about why Buddy wouldn't play with him. Oscar and Buddy just stood perfectly still probably scared out of their minds. I relieved them and put them back in the cage. I honestly believed Roxy thought they were little dogs. A few days later he started licking his lips every time he saw them, so I guess he figured it out. I still let them be near each other, but not freely. A dog is a dog.

Sadly Roxy passed away last March from a quick bout with cancer. During the hardest days I would take the piggies out to see him because he wasn't really able to move around much. It just seemed like he needed the company.

In July we got a 5 month old Black Lab. Now this dog is funny! She flunked out of hunting school and I know why! Up until about 3 weeks ago, when Oscar got sick...she was terrified of the guinea pigs. I couldn't get her in their room. If I took them out, she was running. She was always a very scared dog and ran from everyone and everything. She lived under my parents bed unless my mom was around. You couldn't get her out of there. She also is really big on eating grass, leaves and wood. She was using the bathroom everywhere, especially when nervous. I didn't realize it until the vet gave her a strict no carb diet (as a behavior modification approach) but our new dog was acting like a guinea pig! Now I can't keep her out of their room. She isn't so interested in them, she just loves to get at the hay that falls to the floor! She still gets really nervous if they start talking, lol.

Anyway, I noticed those few months in which my home was dogless, the piggies got so relaxed and layed back. As soon as we brought another dog in the house they were, "scaredy pigs," again, so I do worry a bit about their stress level...though they seem to be a lot less scared of our new dog than the Rotweiller.

Finally as a complete side comment, if you are interested in a great story about strange animal combinations, or just need a reason to smile, check out this link:

It's my favorite story. You would think it was a fairy tale, but it is 100% true! The books are great too, especially for children.

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Supporter in '12

Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:36 am

She would be just as dead if he squashes her as if he bites her!
This I totally agree with! The dog that attacked my pig probably just thought it was a toy, he sure squeaked like one, but the force of his jays cased a hernia on the guinea pig. If he would have shock him like dogs usually do with toys I would have one less pig today.

So, the question is not: Will the dog attack and want to kill the pigs, it is also: will the dog try to play with the pigs? Equally dangerous.

I would never ever leave a dog alone in the same room as the cage - no matter how the dog behaves.

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Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:49 am

The above inserted pic of my dog with the piggies is, I hasten to add, not the usual way to keep the three!
A dog is a dog and a piggie is prey in the dog´s eyes.
I never even let my dog alone with my babies (my children).

But I love the Emil in the Cage-Picture!


Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:03 am

I think this will depend on the dog, i have a Yorkie (Peggy) who weighs about 5lb and she plays with one of my girlies in particular, they actually chase each other around the house and its usually Peggy that gets worn out first!

Even Booze Hags Give

Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:27 am

I certainly wouldn't trust piggies with any kind of terrier.

When I took in an ancient shepherd/lab mix, she quickly learned that she was low animal on the totem pole here. Any other animal could do whatever they wanted to her and she had to put up with it. Even if a guinea pig wanted to share her supper.


But still, I never left them together unattended.

That dog also loved lettuce and pig poop. She loved poops so much, she could hardly wait for them to come out of the pig.

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Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:01 am

I have to say I think it was foolish and irresponsible of you to subject your guinea pigs to those two dogs, oscar&buddysmom. It's as though you put them together just to see what would happen.

If the what would happen resulted in a death, how would you feel?


Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:10 am

I'm realistic about my dogs. Martin the terrier would kill any of the small animals given half a chance. I won't even take them out of the cage unless Martin is contained. He's acceptably well behaved when the little guys are caged, and we're home to supervise. He seems to think that the rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats are his own personal television. It irritates me when he starts jumping up and down to get a better view of guinea pigs popcorning or eating, but it honestly doesn't seem to bother the pigs (or the rabbits in their C&C below).

Bodhi the lab/border collie would probably be fine with them. He's well behaved when I have the little guys out, and tends to run away from them. The guinea pigs have no sense of personal space and tend to charge at Bodhi. I still would never trust him alone with them.

I always contain the dogs away from the small guys (and cats) when we're not home. It's safer for everyone that way. I also have the cat proofed C&C's lid tied shut. This is in case the bouncy terrier ever discovers where the lid is and realizes that he could get inside. It's just smart to be cautious to the point of paranoia.

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BDM+Ps Mom

Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:12 pm

It's a bit harder to judge when you have guinea pigs first and want to add a dog to the mix, because you haven't been with the dog long enough to really predict how he will react.
I had my dog first, and aqcuired my guinea pigs later (about 4 years after my dog), so I knew very well that he could care less about any other animals. Frankly, I don't even think he thinks he's a dog... I'm pretty sure he thinks he's a human.
Anyway, I think the best approach would be to voice your concerns to the dog rescue (maybe they have a dog inparticular that is super, duper laidback, and/or they know it used to live with small animals or cats or something), and have multiple visits with the dog so you can observe his behavior (maybe bring a stuffed toy that looks like a guinea pig and see how he acts with it).
As long as all precautions are taken, I think you can definitely make it work.
I personally find cats MUCH more worrysome with guinea pigs than dogs, but that's just my experience.
Good luck!


Post   » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:48 pm

Lynx, I don't think it was at all irresponsible of me to introduce my guinea pigs to a dog whose home they were moving into. Especially when that dog was a rottweiller who was capable of swallowing each of them whole. In addition to having them meet, I would often take the piggies out and spend time with both the dog and the pigs together, to further inforce the idea that they were not intruders in her home.

Further, when we got the new dog I felt it was very important to make sure that this dog knew she was moving into their home and that she know that they are supposed to be there. I did and have no regrets of encouraging her to come into their room. In fact, my goal was to have her come in there often enough that they were no longer interesting to her. I see nothing wrong with that.

As said in my original post, a dog is a dog and one should never forget that when having the two animals in the same environment with one another. Irresponsible would be neglecting to recognize that the two animals are in an environment together. They will have interactions with each other and I much rather they be used to having them, then surprised if they should happen to meet in a non-controlled circumstance.

I stand by my actions and I do find it amusing that Roxy thought they were little dogs and the new dog seems to think she is a guinea pig. (though that dog actually chased a squirrel the other day, so I think we are making progress in teaching her how to be a dog.)

I also don't know why you think that it would have resulted in death. As stated, the rottweiller was the saddest excuse for a rottweiller and never acted violent. Knowing that and taking into concideration that a rottweiller is still a rottweiller allowed me to put the piggies in a perfectly safe situation, so please don't assume I threw the pigs on the floor with the dog and walked away or that I brought a new dog in the house and through her into their cage.

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Post   » Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:17 am

Hmm.. I have had interesting experiences with dogs and guinea pigs. When I lived at my parents we had an old old border collie that was deaf and nearly blind. He thought my guinea pig was his baby and would growl if anyone went near his cage and would stand in front of it at all times.

Granted, other than one time, I never left them together to meet and interact. When Spike was out on my lap my dog would come and watch over us. When Spike had floor time, my dog would circle the enclosure and layodwn beside him where ever spike would lie down. (He was too old and arthritic to jump the barrier.

We had a new dog later who also was interested in the guinea pigs, but I think she wanted to play with them.... I never let her near them unless the pigs were on my lap and the log was on the floor.

I think the thing you have to understand is that dogs are curious and often don't know their own strength. I completely agree with everyone warning on the dangers of dogs and guinea pigs. A nice dog may not mean to hurt a small animal, but can easily do it. Laying on it, or playing to rough or getting scared.

I don't know, that is my two sense. I think interaction is fine granted that the pig isn't on its own and is either protected by its owner or its cage...

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Post   » Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:27 am

And always remember, your reflexes are a lot slower than you'd like to think. If a predator (dog, cat, ferret, or other) lunges, jumps, nips, etc at your small pet, chances are you're helpless to get there in time.


Post   » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:02 pm

Oh my gosh, I am just cracking up at that photo of Emil the Springer Spaniel IN the cage with the piggy!!!! I have seen that same look on my Springer's face many times ... like, "Um, gee Mom, just what am I supposed to do or not do right now? Am I in trouble??? I'm sorry if I'm being bad!"

Fortunately, my 4-year-old girl Sunshine has never actually climbed into Harry's cage. She is from American show lines, not hunting type, but has what I would call a "strong interest drive" in cats, birds, ducks, squirrels and yes, guinea pigs. She just wants to SEE them and sniff them, darn it! I honestly don't think she'd hurt anything/bite on purpose. When she has gotten close to a couple of extremely tolerant cats, she sniffed them all over thoroughly and then lost interest.

Now when Harry is out, she truly wants to play with him. I hasten to add - they are NEVER left alone together; as others have said above, I don't think she would hurt him on purpose but one wrong step and voila, smashed pig (doesn't help that Harry is old, small and frail). So I will hold Har-Bear and she will sniff him, and give him an experimental shove with her nose like, "Hey you, get moving, I wanna play!"

When I let Harry walk around, Sunny is either outside or I'm right there with them. She loves to Hoover up any magic beans he produces (which appalls my family but I find rather useful). She'll follow him a little bit but since he is busy ignoring her, she'll usually give up and lie down. The other night she did this, and the pig actually ran between her legs and hopped over them!

Let me explain that Harry is either A) incredibly stupid, or B) incredibly used to dogs (he came to us from a family that owned two). Because he is utterly blase about the dog. Sunny will stick her nose in his cage and he'll walk over, touch snoots, and go back to what he was doing. He absolutely could care less that she is around and doesn't act the least tiny bit afraid of her.

That said, I strongly advocate a strict "no pigs and dogs left alone together" policy. Dogs will be dogs, after all, and even the sweetest and smallest family pet is armed with a mouthful of wicked teeth and more than capable of pig homicide. I say the same thing about dogs and little kids. You just have to be careful.


Post   » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:45 pm

There is another point about dogs and pigs. Lets say - for the sake of argument - that maybe you could trust the dog not to bite/kill the guinea pig, and you're lucky that the dog doesn't play too roughly with the pigs. There's also the fact that pigs are prey animals by nature, and will probably always be stressed by the dog. I think dogs more easily assimilate other species into their flock than piggies do, although both are flock animals.

I've noticed that Ariel is less afraid of Emils affection after she lost Anne, but she's still very apprehensive. I usually give her floor time or cuddle time when he's out with my husband and not around, so he won't come over and lick her all over when she's on my lap. She relaxes better when he's not there, and I think stress is a bad thing for cavies.


Post   » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:38 pm

I have my pigs sitting on a folding table in their C&C cage. My dog is a Yorkie Poo. The only way he can even see them is if he gets up on one of the chairs sitting near them. They live up stairs in my bonus room so when its time to let them run around we put up the baby gate on the stairs so my dog can't get to them.

At first my dog was very scared of them, they were bigger than he was. He is now 8lbs and they are both 3 lbs. But now that he is getting older and not so playful we allow him to see them on the floor. He was quite energetic the first 2 years of his life and I was afraid he might try to bite them like his play toys. Now he runs all around them and bounces off the walls. He loves chasing little critters outside and wants to do the same with the pigs but we do stay very close when he is allowed to be by them. He acts playful not aggressive around them but I won't let him be by himself with them.

When I was looking for a dog I researched the breeds and asked about what kind of pregy drive they had.


Post   » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:41 pm

Our two lab mixes will touch noses with the friendlier of our pigs through the bars of the cage. If the dogs are particularly tired, I'll let them lie on the bed beside me as I give Turk, our recovering pig, his syringes of Critical Care. But that's as close as I let them get, and I'd never leave them alone together. The dogs sometimes lick their chops when I walk into the room holding a piggie...and that's all I need to know.


Post   » Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:49 pm

i have two pigs and 2 dogs. the rat terrier would love to eat them. she doesn't bother the cage much , only to steal any lettuce she can. when the pigs are in there play pen , that dog has to be put away. however we have a min pin whould adores the pigs. he is allowed to get in the play pen with teh pigs ( only if we sit next to it, never can be to careful) he likes cleaning them and the pigs like to bite his toe nails. he will lay down on the floor and the pigs crawl all over him . but whne the pigs start popcorning he gets scared and run out of the play pen. When the pigs are in there cage, he stands up and will lick them thru the cage and they line up to be licked.

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Post   » Thu Nov 29, 2007 2:24 pm

HDSIEBERT1320, please read this post:
If you take the time to use proper captalization and punctuation, it makes posts so much more readable.


Post   » Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:16 pm

A couple of weeks ago I attended a "dog language" class, i.e. body language between dogs. It was very educational! However, the lecturer also mentioned one interesting thing, which I haven't heard before, and haven't seen happen in my dog, but nevertheless could be worth thinking about for us who have both dogs and piggies.

It came up when discussing large breeds with high hunting/killing instincts and how they can misinterpret smaller (miniature dogs). Now, there is some debate about this, but facts are that sometimes miniature dogs are killed by larger. He was saying that when the little dog squals and shows submissive signals, the squeal is a tiny squeak that is understood as the sound of a small prey, and the killing instinct kicks in. He said that he believed using squeaky toys as a reward when training your dog would trigger the killing instinct in dogs with these tendencies.

I train obedience with my dog, and he loved to work for squeaky toys, but I couldn't help thinking that maybe that could be something to think about at least for those of us who have guinea pigs as well.

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Ze French Piggies

Post   » Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:16 pm

My Husky wash them...LOL If I cuddle with a piggy, he comes and begins to lick them. I think he thinks..they smell funny;) or that they are very strange cats;) he does that to our cats too, so I think it is safe to say that some dogs do likes other animals with them in the house.
I'd stay careful though: animals are and will remain animals: they too can have a grumpy day and an urge to bite;) I know many humans like that

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