7 Ways to Walk a Guinea Pig on a Leash

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

One thing that terrifies me about owning a small animal is the risk of losing it.

How in the world will I ever be able to find a tiny guinea pig if it runs off in open ground?

But, at the same time, without letting these small animals run around, there would be a higher risk of obesity.

This fear is what made me research different options that would let me walk a tiny guinea pig in the open without any risks whatsoever.

So:

Can you take your guinea pig outside? Of course, you can!

Guinea pigs and all other small animals can be treated just like a cat or a dog.

These small animals, too, can be taken out in the world to have some fun.

The only precaution is to use the right leash.

I have put together 7 of the best options that are the safest, in my opinion.

So without further ado, let’s get to these leash options!

7 Leash Options to Walk a Guinea Pig

Now:

The trick here is that unlike a dog or a cat, a guinea pig is unable to create a noticeable action or sound to indicate if a leash is hurting it.

This is why we need to be extra careful with our choice of guinea pig harness and leash.

The following 7 options can also be implanted step by step.

Start with a leash that will be the most comfortable and gradually move on to something that will offer more freedom to the animal.

1. Short leash

I would recommend starting off with a short guinea pig leash.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

  • A leash is more comfortable to put on
  • The short length keeps the guinea pig limited
  • It is more suitable for indoor training

Since it will be a new experience for your guinea pet, it is best if you start in a place where there is the least chance of things going wrong.

I’d recommend trying this awesome guinea pig leash for your furball. It’s super comfy and comes at an unbelievable price!

This place is your backyard.

Put on the leash on your pet and let it walk around.

Keep the leash in control at all times.

Since the pull of the guinea pig leash will be somewhat strong, the guinea pig may not like it at first.

However:

Stay consistent.

Continue walking the guinea pig this way in your backyard for a few days before you head out.

For a while, stick to this short leash so that the guinea pig doesn’t go very far away from you when you’re outdoors.

2. Get a Stretchable Leash for Your Guinea Pig

The next way of walking a guinea pig is on a stretchable leash.

Of course, this provides the guinea pig a little more freedom, but you remain in control too.

It is the perfect leash to switch to when the guinea pig has been well-trained on the short leash.

Here’s the thing:

Since the guinea pig will have gotten used to running around by this point, they will start getting more and more excited.

At this stage, a leash with a limited length can be harmful.

The fragile backs of guinea pigs can get damaged if the pull of the leash is too strong.

This is why a stretchy leash will be your best friend.

The pressure of the leash won’t be exerted on the guinea pig.

Instead:

The stretchiness of the leash will absorb it.

This method of walking the guinea pig is a great way of building confidence in the guinea pig as well as in you.

Since this method allows the guinea pig to go further away, you can start training the animal to return back on certain authoritative orders.

This will help you when you move onto more advanced ways of walking the guinea pig.

3. Long Leashes for Guinea Pigs

The last length option is to use a long leash.

This method of walking is only for guinea pigs who have been trained well.

The animal must be obedient enough to stop or return when ordered.

Long leashes allow the guinea pigs to go very far away,

To make sure that other animals, vehicles or any obstacles don’t harm the guinea pig, training is important.

Similarly:

Long leashes should only be tried by owners who have experience of walking small animals.

Also, I’d suggest you use a long leash with a harness only.

Using a long leash with a collar has a higher risk of getting loose.

Since the guinea pig might be far away, you won’t be able to see whether the leash is still on or not.

I like using a small cat harness for guinea pigs in case I want to go with something that has a long leash. This is a good option for someone looking for quality.

4. Buying a Guinea Pig Harness with Leash

As mentioned above, a leash with a harness is a safer option.

However, it isn’t a method recommended for beginner level guinea pigs.

This is because:

  • Harnesses are difficult to put on
  • They can make the guinea pig feel trapped if the animal isn’t used to the feeling before

Therefore, you need to gradually start preparing the guinea pig for a harness before you start using it outdoors.

In order to become an expert in this method of walking, you must start by harness training.

Start by making the guinea pig very comfortable with being touched around its main body area.

Next, introduce the harness.

Start with something easy such an H-shaped harness.

Let the animal become familiar with its smell.

After that, place food on the floor so that the guinea pig’s attention is at one place and it doesn’t move around a lot.

Meanwhile, put on the harness.

If the guinea pig resists, don’t force the harness on it.

Throughout the training, make use of words that the guinea pig can identify as an order to wear or remove the harness.

After that, attach the leash and continue walking the guinea pig like normal.

Keep this in mind:

Do carry an extra leash that the guinea pig is comfortable with.

In case the harness irritates the animal, you will have an alternative at hand.

5. Soft leash

Walking with a soft leash is recommended for guinea pigs who are either very sensitive nor have experienced a serious injury.

Soft leashes put the least amount of pressure on the animal’s body.

They do not exert a strong pull either.

Basically:

Walking on a soft leash requires some getting used to.

Since the pull is not as strong, the owner must practice in a secure space to get used to the leash.

It requires a different kind of hold which may feel awkward at first.

6. Getting a Leash With a Bell

Walking with a bell is the safest option for people who own naughty guinea pigs.

A bell will help you keep track of the direction that your guinea pig is running in.

This is the most helpful with a long leash.

Also:

Bells are also an easy distinguishing factor between pet and wild animals.

Even if your guinea pig somehow slips away from the leash, the bell will allow people to identify it as a pet

Hence, it will be easier for you to find it.

This identification will also keep the guinea pig safer than if it was thought of as a wild animal.

7. Vest harness for Guinea Pigs

The last method of walking a guinea pig has more to do with style than anything else.

Once your guinea pig trained well enough to be on its best behavior outdoors while also being comfortable in a harness and leash, you don’t really have much to worry about.

This is when you can start experimenting with different styles of harnesses and leashes so that your guinea pig walks in style.

A vest harness looks super chic on small animals like guinea pigs.

Moreover:

These harnesses are more breathable too.

Since they have been designed for pro guinea pigs, they don’t need to be as tight.

This element makes these harnesses more comfortable while still being safe.

Other than the breathability, such harnesses are also more comfortable.

Here is a rundown of some harness styles along with their best quality:

Style Pros
H-styleBreathable and easy to put on
Vest styleSuper cute and has a good hold
Mesh harnessBreathable and comfortable

Precautionary Measures for Leash Walking Guinea Pigs

It is a very common myth that leashes can kill your pets.

This is completely false unless you’re very careless about it.

Here’s the thing:

You must proceed with caution when dealing with animals.

Especially when you own a sensitive and small animal.

The slightest mismanagement can hurt them physically or emotionally which can further lead to death in worse cases.

This might astonish you:

The owner needs more training than the guinea pig before starting to walk on a leash.

Owners can get careless and do things unintentionally that hurt the animal.

First of all, make sure that whatever leash of harness you’re using is the right size.

Anything too tight or loose will hurt the animals.

Tight harnesses and leashes can suffocate and choke guinea pigs.

Loose leashes and harnesses can slip off and the guinea pig may get lost.

Next:

Opt for breathable harnesses only.

Similarly, leashes should be made out of soft materials, especially around the collar area.

These qualities will keep your guinea pig as ventilated and comfortable as possible.

Lastly:

Never take your guinea pig out for a walk unless you know for certain that the place is small-animal-friendly.

Animal parks are not a safe zone for small animals because bigger animals such as dogs and cats are more likely to attack the smaller ones.

Similarly, such public areas can lead to disease transmissions too.

Guinea pigs are very sensitive animals and should only be exposed to clean hygienic, and extremely safe areas.

Signs That Leash is Hurting Your Guinea Pig

If you’re taking care of the aforementioned precautions already, that doesn’t mean you’re good to go.

There is still more than you can do to make your guinea pigs’ walk better.

To be extra definite that the leash or harness is safe, keep a close eye.

Since guinea pigs are rather hairy, it is harder to see visible signs of irritation.

But, if the guinea pig is getting hurt, you will still be able to identify it with the help of a few signs.

Here’s the most prominent one:

The guinea pig will start hating the leash or harness.

It will stop enjoying its walks and you may also notice that the animal will not want to walk or play.

The guinea pig will overall become stressed too.

These are the signs of a stressed guinea pig:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of hair
  • Not wanting to be handled

Although stress can be a result of various other reasons too, it is best that you avoid harnesses and leashes during such a time.

When is your pet ready to walk without a leash?

Once you’ve trained your guinea pig and tried all the 7 ways of walking it on a leash, you may be considering to let the guinea pig walk freely without any control.

Well, here’s the kicker:

You must never let your guinea pig walk without a leash, no matter how trained it is.

It simply isn’t safe for small animals to run around on its own.

Bigger animals, vehicles, and even humans may not be able to spot the tiny guinea pig running around.

It can be easily stepped on or even attacked by a wild animal.

Therefore:

Your guinea pig will never be ready to walk without a leash.

Things to carry when taking a guinea pig out

Now:

You’ve learned all the best ways to walk a guinea pig on a leash.

It’s time to start implementing these tips now.

But, before you do so, there is one more thing you need to know.

Every time you take your guinea pig out, you must carry a bag of essentials with you.

This is to ensure that all the needs of the guinea pig are catered to even when you’re outdoors.

In this bag, the most important item is a water dispenser.

Walking will cause the guinea pig to lose its breath and get thirsty.

Water will be essential.

Also:

Carry a few snacks in case the animal gets hungry.

A few pieces of fresh fruits will do.

Other than that, if your guinea pig has a favorite toy, keep it with you as well. I’ve personally seen guinea pigs go nuts for this toy.

This is for when the animal feels anxious in a crowd.

It will also be useful if other animals around your pet are playing with their toys.

Your guinea pig won’t have to feel left out.

Moreover, do not forget to pack an extra leash and harness.

You must have an alternative in case the one in use breaks or gets damaged.

If you have a tiny travel cage for your guinea pig, take that with you as well.

If the animal gets tired, you can bring it back in the cage.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack in some poo bags.

You don’t want your guinea pig to be leaving its waste all around!

Related questions

Do guinea pigs like to be cuddled? 

Guinea pigs are unlike most other rodents.

They possess qualities that other rodents do not.

Similarly, guinea pigs also have very different likes and dislikes.

Although most rodents feel stressed if cuddled, guinea pigs are rather content with it.

Some rodents require proper training before they can be picked up.

This isn’t an issue at all in the case of guinea pigs.

What can guinea pigs eat every day? 

Guinea pigs can be fed fruits and vegetables every day.

In fact, the majority of their diet should comprise of fresh leafy green vegetables.

Kale, spinach, and lettuce are not only guinea pigs’ favorite, but also the most essential part of their meals.

As for fresh fruits, make sure you’re not feeding the guinea pigs more than one full cup in one day.

Excessive fruit intake can lead to an increase of sugar in their blood levels.

Can you over handle a guinea pig?

Over handling basically means that you’re holding the guinea pig in your hands way too much.

Although guinea pigs don’t mind being held and cuddled, overdoing it can annoy them.

Especially if the guinea pig is new, over handling can cause it to get stressed.

Start by learning the right way to hold the animal.

Then, gradually start increasing the time period that you hold the pet for.

Whenever the guinea pig tries to get away, put it back in the cage immediately.

Do guinea pigs know their owners?

Yes, guinea pigs are smart enough to recognize their owners.

They gradually build a sense of resemblance.

Not only do they use their sight to recognize their owner, but they also make use of their sense of smell to identify who they recognize.

It is due to this quality that guinea pigs slowly and steadily get more interactive and social with their owners.

Which guinea pig breed is the friendliest?

Guinea pigs are known to be social creatures.

There are around 13 breeds of the animal.

However, it is difficult to distinguish on the basis of their friendly nature.

All guinea pigs love to interact with humans that they recognize.

So:

If you’re looking for a friendly guinea pig, get any breed and just make sure you build a good relationship with it.

References:

https://petcentral.chewy.com/guinea-pig-stress-signs/

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