How to hold a guinea pig safely

Guinea pigs often form strong bonds with their human companions.

However, they can be flighty animals and will sometimes run away from you, even if they’re used to being picked up. They tolerate being picked up but are unlikely to enjoy it.

How to pick up a guinea pig

Guinea pigs have delicate spines so need to be picked up with care. They should be kept upright, with all four feet facing the floor, so they don’t damage their backs. If they’re startled, they might jump out of your hands so don’t hold them up high - they like to stay close to the floor.

Pick up your guinea pigs by:

  • Placing one hand under or around their chest area.
  • Lifting and supporting their hind legs with your other hand.
  • Holding them close to your body for security.

Young children and guinea pigs

It’s better for children to stroke and feed treats to your guinea pigs, rather than pick them up. Ask your child to sit in a secure area where your guinea pigs can run free around them. Guinea pigs will then usually come up to take treats and, once they’re used to each other, a child might be able to gently stroke them.