It is not uncommon for guinea pigs to whine at other guinea pigs or even at you! Whining can mean many things, but it generally means your guinea pig is unhappy or trying to avoid conflict. In some cases, whining can also indicate pain or illness.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Whine at Another Guinea Pig
Whining is very common among pairs or groups of guinea pigs. It’s particularly common when introducing new guinea pigs for the first time. Whining is typically a noise made by the more passive guinea pig to communicate to a guinea pig that is more pushy or dominant.
It is also quite normal for baby guinea pigs to whine when approached by a much bigger and older guinea pig. They are basically saying, “I’m not a threat, don’t hurt me!”
When a guinea pig whines at another guinea pig, it generally means they don’t want a fight or any kind of confrontation. You may hear whining when one guinea pig is trying to push another out of a hidey house or away from a food bowl.
The more passive pig may whine as a way to protest something or express that they want to be left alone, but they have no intention of fighting back.
Loud teeth chattering, on the other hand, signals an imminent warning to leave them alone. If this is not respected, the chattering guinea pig may follow up with a bite.
When both guinea pigs whine, it’s generally a good sign. Both piggies just want peace and no conflict.
Some guinea pigs are more sensitive, and may even start whining as soon as another guinea pig starts rumble strutting or chattering their teeth. They are basically making it clear that they don’t want to be involved and don’t want to challenge the other piggy.
Whining among groups of guinea pigs can be normal in many cases, but it’s important to keep an eye on the herd dynamics and ensure that the whining guinea pig is not being bullied out of eating or attacked by the aggressor. Make sure they have a spacious cage with plenty of hiding places, food bowls, and water bottles so there is no need for the guinea pigs to argue over resources.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Whine When You Pet or Hold Them?
When guinea pigs whine when they are petted, it generally means “I don’t like this.” They may not enjoy the way that you’re petting them, or they may be a little stressed. Some guinea pigs will whine when you pet them too close to their bum or another area they don’t like being touched.
They may also whine if you pet them too fast or rub their fur backward against the natural grain of their hair.
Abyssinian guinea pigs are most sensitive to this, as their hair goes in all directions and petting can be uncomfortable for them.
Guinea pigs may also whine during grooming, nail clipping, baths, or other unpleasant activities. Sometimes it helps to offer some of their favorite veggies during nail clipping to distract them.
Some guinea pigs will whine at simply being picked up. They may not like being held, or they could be anticipating something bad happening.
Some guinea pigs are just more vocal and sensitive than others in general and are more likely to whine about smaller things.
I have several piggies and there are a few that are just bigger babies, particularly for nails. They will even eat their favorite veggies and continue to whine simultaneously just so I know how traumatized they are by the painless 2 minute procedure. 🤣
Whining Can Indicate Potential Illness in Guinea Pigs
Whining can also be a sign of pain, particularly when there are no other guinea pigs or people nearby that are causing a guinea pig to whine.
If you hear your guinea pig whining while they are alone or hiding in their house, it’s important to keep a close eye on them and take them to the vet for a check-up.
Also look out for other signs of pain such as a puffed-up coat, hiding more than usual, and chewing on paper or hidey houses.
Whining when peeing is common when guinea pigs have UTIs (urinary tract infections) and bladder stones.
There are a few reasons you may hear your guinea pig whining, and while it can be a normal behavior, it’s important to determine the underlying reason.
If your guinea pig is whining at others frequently, it’s a good idea to re-arrange the cage and make sure there is plenty of food and water for the more passive piggy to prevent any negative health consequences.
Guinea pigs communicate with people and other piggies in a variety of ways, both vocally and through their body language. To learn more about how your guinea pig is trying to talk to you, check out our Guinea Pig Behavior page.