Why Do Guinea Pigs Squeak When You Rub Their Back?

Guinea pigs make the perfect pet for a busy family. You still want a small pet, but you don’t want head out for four walks a day, such as you would with a dog. Cats are fun, and can interact well with small pet mammals, but if all you want is a small pet for a small apartment, a guinea pig may be perfect choice for you. A guinea pig was named in part for the actual pig, due to the high-pitched squealing sounds that they both make. The similarities are different from here. 

These adorable little animals enjoy human interaction but if you’ve just adopted one, or are thinking of adopting one, then you may be wondering why such a small animal makes so much noise. Can it be normal when they squeak a lot? What about if you’re touching them? You don’t want to unnecessarily upset them, but you do want to care for your pet so they have everything they need. 

Should I Be Worried I’m Hurting My Guinea Pig?

If you’re petting your guinea pig and he/she is squeaking or making other sounds, then examine the context. Do they have a way to move away from you if they have had enough, or are they stuck in your arms? What look do they have on their face? Chances are they are just enjoying the situation, as generally squeaks mean happiness and contentment.

When giving them direct attention, stick to a few minutes of petting, up to ten minutes, rather than one hour. That squeaking may turn into a more distressful sound, but it’s better to avoid that situation by taking a break. It also helps to understand the different sounds your guinea pig is making, so you know how they are feeling in that moment.

What Kinds of Sounds Does a Guinea Pig Make?

Guinea pigs are just like other mammals, such as dogs or cats. They can make a wide range of sounds that have different meanings. It helps to understand what each sound means, particularly if they’re making distressful sounds, such as growling. This indicates they’re in distress, or a predator is near. Loud noises or a change of environment can upset them too. The solution is to give them a gentle pat so they know they are safe. 

Shrieking happens when your pet is in serious pain, or they are in danger. Your dog or cat may be friendly, but a small animal doesn’t understand that. It’s important to make the guinea pig feel safe again. Your guinea pig should have their own small cage that’s kept in a quiet area and safe from other pets or young children. 

Just like human kids, your guinea pig may whine. The reason is similar. While this isn’t an emergency such as shrieking, you should still check on them to see what’s up.

You’ll be surprised to hear that guinea pigs can purr, much like house cats do. The purr will come out a bit more like a grumble though. This might confuse you, but it is a positive sound. You might hear it when you’re grooming your guinea pig, or giving them gentle pets. And just like with cats, they may also purr to comfort or soothe themselves. It still helps to gently pet them, no matter what the cause is. 

Some guinea pigs will chut, while others won’t. Chutting is similar to the purring of a cat and means they’re happy and contented. You want to aim for this sound as much as possible!  

Why Do They Squeak When I Touch Their Back?

And finally, guinea pigs make that squeaking sound that we’re familiar with. This can also be called “wheeking”. This sound is kind of like how cats meow at us. It’s just for the benefit of us humans. This sound can be when they’re hungry and waiting for you to deliver their food. They may make this sound at the same time each day. 

You may notice that your guinea pig squeaks a lot when you touch their back. The good news is that this is a positive response. It means that your guinea pig is enjoying the touching, and wants you to continue! But squeaking can also mean more. 

What If the Squeaking is Constant?

It can be difficult to figure out what another human wants, let alone a small guinea pig that doesn’t speak English. But it’s most likely related to a few things. If your guinea pig is squeaking a lot, they may want something. For example, if it’s near dinner time they want their food.

They may be looking at you, hoping to seek your attention. But if you’re petting them, they are demanding more, just like a dog or a cat. They may keep demanding it, even though you’re getting tired. But they do enjoy the attention and interaction they are getting from you. 

How to Control Squeaking?

The best way is through timed interaction with them. If you pet them for one hour straight one day, guess what? They’ll demand that the next day and the day after. Set your attentions to your guinea pig to ten minutes, as many times a day as you can. That way they’ll understand that they aren’t going to be petted for hours, and that more attention is coming later.

Use Your Intuition

Your intuition will help you to decipher how your guinea pig is feeling in the moment. You’ll understand when that back petting feels good to them, and how much longer they desire it!

Each type of pet is different from each other, with specific sets of needs. While all pets need plenty of exercise, warm shelter, food and water, and love and caring from their humans, each pet, including the guinea pig, has specific needs that must be met. You may constantly be learning more about your cute little guinea pig, but if they squeak or wheek a lot, that’s the best sign that they’re happy and content!


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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