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Behavior Guinea pigs and other pets- possible to die from fear?

doganddisc

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
212
I have two dogs, two cats, and my guinea pig in a set up where they are capable of somewhat interacting with each other. The guinea pig cage I have is open and off the ground:

[GuineaPigCages.com] Guinea pigs and other pets- possible to die from fear?

I know with rabbits, they can die from fear if they sense a predator being too close. When I had my other guinea pigs a few years ago they showed absolutely no fear with my cats and I would often find the two species sleeping next to each other in the same cage (also an open top). They were never unsupervised, of course, but they got along great and didn't seem to know they were predator and prey.

My new guy is a little more nervous, though he far more curious about the other animals than he is afraid of them. This time I have dogs as well (I did not have dogs before). The cats have pretty much left the guinea pig alone though they will occasionally come and check him out. Mostly they like watching the mice above him though.

The dogs love to watch the guinea pig, especially when he does zoomies around the cage. I've let them run around together (again, very supervised) and had absolutely no issues. One of my dogs is far too interested in him for me to be comfortable with leaving them for even a second but for the most part I have few concerns about them living in the same space.

I am, however, concerned about fear. My cavy shows very little fear towards the dogs now, especially when he's in his cage, but I'm sure somewhere in the back of his head he's thinking "this thing is supposed to be eating me". Also, I'm getting him a companion this Saturday and have no idea how that one will react to having dogs in the area. My dogs are larger and can see into the cage.

Is there a good way to do introductions so the piggies will not be afraid of the dogs/cats being around their cage?

Edit:

Here's a photo of them checking each other out right after I built the cage:

[GuineaPigCages.com] Guinea pigs and other pets- possible to die from fear?
 
I'd put a lid on the cage. Then they can interact all they want through the grids, but there's no chance of a move by a skittish pig triggering a dog's prey drive.

My two guinea pigs huddled at the back of their cage in absolute terror when we first got them because the dog was looking through the bars. Now, they go nose to nose with any dog that comes in. However, I never let them out of the cage unless the dog is securely caged -- she's convinced the pigs would make a wonderful breakfast.
 
I have not heard of animals dying from fear.

It would be better if you add a lid to the cage. You won't want any accidents to happen.

How is the metal shelving on the top supported? Did you cut off the legs? If the legs are resting on the coroplast, I'm afraid some day the whole shelve will collapse.

Are you planning to adopt your guinea pig a friend?
 
Hm, I hadn't really thought of doing a lid. I wonder if it would even be possible given the set up I currently have. I might give that a try. It would mean taking everything down though, I think.

The metal shelving on top is supported on the ground. I cut a hold in the coroplast to get the posts to the ground. It is very secure- unless there was a major earthquake, that thing isn't going anywhere. And in the ten years I've lived here, there haven't been any earthquakes (at least, not ones that I could feel).

Also, yes, rabbits can die from fear. They can become so stressed that they suffer a heart attack.

I am getting him a friend. He'll be here this Saturday but will be quaratined for a significant period of time since my guy is sick and the new piggie is coming from somewhere with a lot of other piggies.
 
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I have heard of horror stories of letting your dog/cat hang around with your small animal. One moment they're pals, the next....the small animal ends up dead. It happens within a blink of an eye and the owner did not have time to stop it from happening.

I personally won't even own dogs or cats because of an event from my youth. My sister bought a rabbit that was killed by my mother's dogs. The dogs never seemed to be aggresive around the rabbit's cage, either. One day she wanted the rabbit to have some fresh air in a pen in the backyard. The dogs didn't seem to even care at first, but then one of them snapped and lunged at it out of the blue. I wasn't there, but my sister said it was quick as lightening. The rabbit was killed in one swift move. I was so sickened by what happened that I couldn't be around my mom's dogs often after that. I knew it was just instinct, but I couldn't feel the same way about them again.

So not only can you lose your piggie, but it can affect your feelings toward your dog/cat.

Sorry for the lecture! :p
 
Hm, I hadn't really thought of doing a lid. I wonder if it would even be possible given the set up I currently have. I might give that a try. It would mean taking everything down though, I think.
You could just buy a piece of coroplast or even grids zip tied together so easily opening
 
MissJean, I would definitely never let the two of them run around the yard together no matter how well trained my dog is or how well they got along. You can't train out prey drive- you can just train a dog to ignore it. Even then, they can only ignore it for so long. Too risky.
 
Can you turn the cage around? Have the shelving stand at the end of the cage covering the 1x2 area, the other 2x2 area, you can add a lid from closet shelves.
 
That's something to think about Lissie.

I'm really not a fan of having a lid on the cage as I enjoy the ease of contact with my guy with an open top. I am wondering if maybe raising the sides in some way might be a better option.

That or just keep the dogs away from the room if I'm not in it.

I was more worried about him dying from fear than the dogs doing anything. I know my dogs and what sets them off. I know accidents can happen and no dog is ever 100%, but I really don't think the dogs getting into the cage is even a possibility.
 
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