There are a number of guinea pig accessories like collars, leashes and harnesses that are being displayed on online platforms and in other pet stores. They’re marketed as being safe, but pet guinea pig owners always seem to debate on this.
So, now you might find yourself wondering can guinea pigs wear collars, leashes or harnesses? While the leashes and harnesses can be used if done carefully, the collars should never be put on your guinea pig for safety reasons.
There are some key factors to consider before deciding if you want to have your guinea pig wear any of these, just don’t confuse the reasoning with whether or not guinea pigs can wear clothes.
As I said, this is highly debated between pet guinea pig owners. So, that’s why it’s important to compare the possible benefits with the potential harm for yourself, before deciding if you want to use them.
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Can Guinea Pigs Wear Collars?
This is a common question from owners who are concerned about their pets getting lost. However, using collars on guinea pigs is more dangerous and should never be done.
The structure of collars isn’t good for the delicate bone structure of their necks and can cause harm easily.
This information can be slightly confusing because there are guinea pig collars that are for sale in pet stores. If they’re so bad, then why do they still sell them?
The main reason is because they look good, and newer guinea pig owners unfortunately buy them. They purchase it without doing the proper research and sadly don’t realize it’s hurting their pet until it’s too late.
Just remember that guinea pigs are very delicate especially around the spine, which means they can easily be injured by wearing a collar.
Can Guinea Pigs Wear Leashes?
To answer the question can guinea pigs wear leashes, you have to take into account the internal and external factors affecting them.
Guinea pigs are prey to most animals and because of this, other animals could easily attack them and cause a bad situation or fatal injuries. So, what does that have to do with guinea pigs wearing leashes?
Well when they get scared, they will try to escape from that situation. In the process, they may end up accidentally choking themselves with the leash when trying to run away.
At the same time, you may accidentally tug on the leash, especially if their scurrying surprises you.
The tugging motion combined with them trying to run from the danger may end up causing serious damage to their necks or other bodily injuries. It’s a really specific situation, but still very possible.
If you Want to use Leashes
That being said, you can still use a leash just as long as you’re very careful. So if you’re still set on using a leash for your guinea pig, try to use a short leash.
It will make it easier to control your guinea pig, and it’s more comfortable for them while also being suitable for use indoors.
Don’t expect the guinea pig to like the leash because it may be uncomfortable given that it will be its first experience. You should also be patient and not expect it to go smoothly at the beginning.
Maybe try a leash that stretches. This is the only way to allow them to have freedom of movement without giving up too much control.
The stretch will prevent the guinea pig from feeling some of the pressure of the leash, and it does a good job of protecting their back from a little of the damage as well.
It’s also advised to try the stretchy leash after the pet has tried out the short leash and gotten familiar with the whole leash experience.
A good alternative to a stretchy leash is a soft leash. It will also put minimal pressure on the guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Wear Harnesses?
Can guinea pigs wear a harness is a similar question that is also directly related to the physical attributes of your guinea pig.
You can use a harness, as long as you’re using it correctly. There are different kinds of harnesses, so be sure to pick the best one for them.
One example of safe usage is to avoid heading in the direction the guinea pig doesn’t want to go in. By doing this, you’ll avoid any accidental tugging that can harm them.
What Type of Harness is Right for my Guinea Pig?
The first step in choosing the right harness is getting the correct type that you need, then finding the one that fits the best. So what are the types of harnesses that are available? There are currently three main types:
- The H-style, which is easy to put on and is breathable.
- The mesh harness, which is very comfortable and breathable.
- The vest harness, which is known to have a good hold.
The H-styles is highly recommended because it gives the most comfort to the guinea pig. Be careful when slipping the harness on and make sure it fits comfortably.
You can do this by slipping your finger between the harness and their body to ensure it’s not too tight.
Make sure you notice any signs of them being hurt by the harness. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- Increased nervousness.
- Loss of hair around the area.
- Fear of contact.
Stop using these items immediately if you notice any of those signs, and also talk to your vet to get professional advice if you plan on continuing to use them.
Using Harnesses Safely With Your Guinea Pig
Always make sure the harness isn’t too tight. This can be tricky because if it’s too loose the guinea pig can slip out of it and scurry away. Its also good practice to avoid using the harness regularly.
Some pet guinea pig owners have reported back injuries with the regular use of harnesses, so it’s best to limit the time it’s on them.
In most cases you can use a harness with a leash, as long as your still being as safe as possible.
An example of that is to avoid heading in the direction the guinea pig doesn’t want to go in. By doing this, you’ll avoid any accidental tugging that can harm them.
Sometimes the harness isn’t easy to put on and can make the guinea pig feel trapped. So use caution when putting it on, and stop if you start to see signs of them getting stressed.
You can avoid some of the stress by preparing your guinea pig before putting on the harness.
Try holding them in the same place the harness will cover. This will get them used to the contact in that area.
Taking Them Outside With Their Harnesses
When using harnesses and leashes together, keeping your guinea pigs in a secure place becomes even more important.
Start by using the combo with your pets indoors, then you can move to a smaller outdoor section like your backyard.
Make sure there are no dangerous materials around like plastic bags, house plants that are poisonous to them, and dried leaves.
If you’re using the backyard, inform everybody that they’re out and keep other pets such as dogs away from that area. If you do plan on having them out in backyard, it’s best that it’s a fenced-in one.
This will prevent your guinea pig from getting too far away if they happen to slip out of their harness.
If you decide you want to try to walk your guinea pig, you should also consider other dangers present outside. They can be exposed to harmful things like:
- Cigarette butts.
- Pesticides they can accidentally ingest.
- Broken glass.
Keep an eye out for dangers like that to ensure the safety of your guinea pig and only take them outside after considering everything that can happen.
Is Putting a Collar, Leash or Harness on a Guinea Pig Cruel?
This is another common question. While leashes and harnesses can be used carefully, collars should never be used.
Collars can be considered cruel because they’re way more dangerous and serve no purpose on a guinea pig.
Remember that guinea pigs can’t be trained to follow leads. You can only use the leash and harness to control their movements as they spend time outside but they can’t follow your lead the way dogs do.
When using them together outside with your guinea pigs, always have food and water for them and make sure it’s a comfortable temperature.
This means that putting a leash, harness, or both on them isn’t cruel if done for the right reasons and used safely.