I have three female guinea pigs ages 6 months, 6 months and 4-5? weeks. Right now I have plenty of space for them and everything is great. But I'm thinking about moving when my lease runs out in August (I know it's a ways off but in a college town you need to look very very early) and I'm thinking about moving to a larger place and getting a dog. I have a CandC cage and would animal-proof it, of course, but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with owning dogs and guinea pigs. Breed-wise I would probably be leaning toward a sheltie. Are there any breeds that are "nicer" to the piggies? Has anyone found they just can't keep both kinds of animals?
Thanks for any info
- I GAVE, dammit!
I have both, but I never let the guinea pigs down on the ground with the dogs around.
Terriers are known for being particularly bad with 'rodents.'
There are certainly some dogs who turn out to be ok, but you won't know except by experience. And there are some horrific stories of dogs who've broken into the guinea pig cage.
- Supporter in '09
My first GS was a female and she knew any other critters I brought in were my "babies" and was wonderful with them. She and the tortoise arrived the same week and if I lost track of the tortoise in the yard, I could ask her to find him for me.
I have fostered 5 or so other GS with varying prey drives. So even within any given breed you will have a variety. One of the other females I had was fine with all the small critters, but the puppy and a big male with a penchant for cats and anything that moved, was not even allowed in the same room with the guinea pigs without supervision. Even with secure cages.
Kind of a test to see if any dog is a "keeper" with us. It also helps me evaluate foster dogs, since I have all these other critters.
I would never leave my small furries on the floor unattended with the big furry around.
Now I have two different dogs that I do not trust with the pigs. The Lab mix has the chase instinct and is never alone with them, and I won't let him stand between me and the pigs when they are on the floor.
The other dog, a Chow mix, wants the poops but she is not as blase about the pigs. She would chase if given a chance, so she doesn't get one. In general they ignore the pigs, but the dogs prick their ears when the pigs run, and I know they would chase if I wasn't vigilant.
I have a permanent baby gate at the door to the pig room, and I add another one above it before leaving the house. After a few years of co-habiting with the dogs I can leave the gate open when I wander around the house, but I never leave it open if I'm not within a few feet of their room.
That said, dogs are predators and guinea pigs are prey. The presence of the dog may frighten or stress the pigs, so it might be a good idea to keep the pigs in a separate room (such as the bedroom) with a door that can be shut . Keep your dog separated from the piggies during floor time, and never leave the two together unattended if the dog can gain access to the pigs. Shelties are very gentle, but also very curious and are good problem-solvers. Your pup may figure out how to lift lids or open doors, so weigh down or securely latch all cage openings. Make sure to obedience-train and socialize your Sheltie well, and train him or her to recognize the piggies as pack members rather than squeaky toys.
Speaking as an owner of three Shelties, please remember that the Sheltie is naturally a very vocal breed and may not be suitable for an apartment, unless it's a dog-friendly community. They also love their masters and do not like to be left home alone all day. Shelties often do best in groups of at least two, so they can play with each other while their masters are away. They really do best with wide-open spaces to run off-lead (once trained), and need a lot of exercise because they have so much energy. Try and find a good dog-park in your area for runs.
So, with that being said, the guineas are up on a table where they can't be reached, and when I clean them, I block off the room they're in so the dogs can't sneak in. I prefer to just keep the dogs away from them.
- In Memory of Mama
I think it will depend on the dog. Those dogs that like to herd or chase small animals (squirrels, rabbits, etc...) would not be a good match.
My advice would be to keep them separate when you're not home and make sure the piggies are in a safe room the dog cannot get into.
- Supporter in '14
When the piggies are out for floor time I do put the dog in another room or outside just to be safe.
I have to tell a cute story about this: I had put the dog in another room one day so I could put the piggies out on the floor. I guess I didn't get the door shut all the way because I turned around and she was in the area where the piggies were. I had 1 little girl who was not doing well (Lilly/eye injury thread on Medical-Emergency forum). I didn't freak out when I first saw Julia in there with them and I just watched her for a second. She was sniffing Lilly all over, just about the time I was going to take Julia out she circled around Lilly and layed down next to her, Lilly then buried herself under Julia's long hair. It was so cute. I sat down on the floor right next to them and just watched them. If any of the others came near them Julia would just raise her head and look at them and sniff around where Lilly was like she was making sure she was still there. They stayed like that until I got tired of watching them and put Julia outside. Lilly only lived a couple of more weeks after that.
The cat on the other hand...grrr! The cage is completely cat proofed but she still stresses the piggies (and me) out by batting at them through the grids. She may be going to visit a friend who just bought an old farm house (mice included) soon. My friend called the other day and wanted to know if they could borrow my cat for a while. Might give the piggies a little vacation for a while anyway.
Sounds very familiar.
So does this:
"I have a Cocker Spaniel (Julia)and she has never bothered the cage, actually she doesn't even seem to notice they are there except when I give them veggies and then she tries to get the lettuce out."
"Funny you should say that: I have a friend with a cocker spaniel who thinks the pigs are her babies - she's very, very gentle with them."
Look at my dog:
He doesn´t bother about the girls unless they poop and he wants their veggies.
Although I´d never leave him alone with the piggies outside their cage.
I guess he's in touch with his feminine side! Spaniels are lovely!
Here's some photos of Emil, as a puppy. In the first he's being trained to leave Martin alone during floor time. Martin's not quite sure, and wants to get back into the cages. At the time we had a cage arrangement for three cavies consisting of several cages in a row, with the end grating taken out in all of them so they could get between the cages, and on that occation the open door for floor time was at the other end. Emil was quite a boisterous puppy, and Martin wanted to get back in!
This is what happens when the kids have forgotten a cage door after floor time! Emil wanted to play with the guinea pigs and jumped right in through the opening you can see. Anne and Martin were nimble-footed enough to escape to the neighbouring cages, Ariel was a little slow as usual. Be careful to really dog-proof your cage! We were lucky he just wanted to play and cuddle. Ariel got a real cleanup.
(OT: Springer lovers will notice that European springers look different from American springers)
Do you really want to find out the hard way about your precious new puppy's prey drive?
- Knee Deep
Hudson(3yo bc mix) sniffs them, but he's scared of them eating him.
Sparky (90yo retriever mix) doesn't care about anything unless it is invading his sleeping space.
Coco(7yo besenji mix) and Frankie(3yo bc mix) would, if given a chance, like to eat a pig in a heartbeat.
ETA - back in 2002, we were dog sitting a shep mix.. I was getting the pigs some food or hay or something and the dog was in the room with me. I turned around to get something out of the closet, turn back around and he had Carmelita in his mouth. Worse that happened was she lost some hair, took her to the vet the next morning and she checked out ok. Scared the daylights out of me and the dog when I screamed!
- My piggy made me give!
But she knows the guinea pigs are off limits. That being said, I never leave her alone with the pigs. The pigs are currently in the living room on the floor. I made a lid for the cage just to be safe because although I don't think she'd do anything, I don't want to take that risk.
If you get a sheltie, be prepared for lots of barking. My neighbors next door have two and all they do is bark. All the shelties I've known are notorious barkers.