Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ask A Guinea Pig: Guinea Pigs Outdoors and Dog Friendships?

It's time for another installment of Ask A Guinea Pig, where we answer your questions! chewy pig asks: "I have a male guinea pig named chewy who we take outside once every day. We just got an outdoor dog and would like to keep taking chewy out. Any tips for getting them to like each other?"

Answer: Before answering your main question, we wanted to talk a little about bringing your guinea pig outdoors. Guinea pigs should not be housed outdoors due to temperature fluctuations, predators, and other issues, although bringing us outside occasionally for things like pignics is fine. I hope you're not using a leash or harness to walk us like a dog since those things can injure us. Also, make sure that you take a look at what we said before about guinea pigs eating grass if you're going to let us graze outdoors; grass is generally fine, but you'll want to avoid grass that's been treated with chemicals, or come into contact with other stuff that's bad for us like dog poop. Also, you'll want to take care to make sure that your piggy doesn't escape into the wild. Broccoli was living in the wild when we first found him, and as he can tell you, it's not fun.

Now, onto your main question: Can guinea pigs and dogs be friends, and can you do anything to encourage this? The important thing to keep in mind is that dogs are natural predators and guinea pigs are prey animals. There are some differences in dog breeds; we've read that terriers are known for chasing rodents, while Shelties tend to be a gentle breed. Even within the same breed, individuals may vary; you might have a gentle terrier or a vicious Sheltie. No matter the breed, you should consider training your dogs if they are going to be around guinea pigs. We also generally recommend that you never leave your dog around your guinea pigs unsupervised. This can get your piggies killed. While we have read some sweet stories of dogs and guinea pigs getting along, it's better to be safe than sorry. Even a gentle dog could be careless and accidentally hurt your guinea pig by stepping on them or laying down on them if they're large enough. Also, because your guinea pigs are prey animals, they're probably going to be scared around a big predator like a dog. One person who had both guinea pigs and dogs noticed that after the dog died, the guinea pigs seemed more relaxed and noticeably less scared.

We're not saying it's impossible that your guinea pig and your dog could become friends. But we are saying that you're playing with fire if you're encouraging this friendship. Your guinea pig is better off being friends with another guinea pig.

Guinea pig friends are best! A dog would probably want to chew on us rather than the log.
Anyone have any experiences with dogs and guinea pigs? Got another question for our next Ask A Guinea Pig? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. My guinea pig Snickers and dog Pepper seem to basically ignore each other. My dog is 16 years old - so he doesn't have the chase in him anymore. See them both (and a cute pic of Snickers new pet bed) at
    Follow me!

  2. Great advice and a well written blog. I just have found your website and love all the info and product reviews. Cheers to all

  3. Thank you! I just decided to make my brother take the dog for a walk. Btw I never use the harnesses.

  4. For 13 years, my late boxer dog, Sophie, was a pig guard par excellence. I had her from a pup and she immediately wanted to help with my large herd of piggies, guarding them from predators in the garden, helping lick them dry after a shampoo, letting them snuggle up to her in her basket and staying up all night with me when one was sick.

    I never taught her any of this. She just did it and I am sure that she thought of them as the puppies she never had. She was so gentle with them that I never had any qualms about leaving her with them when I went out. She was a dog in a million and I doubt that I will ever see her like again. If anyone asked me about dogs and pigs together I would err on the side of caution and say be very careful but for me Sophie was an absolute treasure. My pigs all had very many pig friends but they had a large friend too.

    I will miss her forever.