Understanding Why Your Guinea Pig May Be Licking You


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Although guinea pigs have a calm personality, quiet and docile nature and are small in size, it is still prone to strange behavior. These animals can not only make unique vocalizations and sounds but also jump up and down. Their eyes are wide open when they are asleep. All these are unique traits, which make them such popular and great pets.

Another strange habit you will notice is a guinea owner is licking. They tend to groom other guineas or themselves by licking. In fact, they also lick their toys and cages sometimes. These are perfectly normal behaviors you can expect from them. How about when your piggy starts licking you? It is still considered to be normal behavior. However, you may be wondering often why does my guinea pig lick me, especially if you are a new pet owner.

Trying to understand the body language of your guinea pig can be a confusing experience. That is because there is hardly any correlation between the nonverbal communication of human beings and rodents. Licking behaviors in a guinea pig can signify various emotions from fear to affection.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Lick Me– Getting the answers

Why does my guinea pig lick me? Usually, guinea pigs lick the owners to show their affection. It is one of the ways these tiny animals can demonstrate their love and affection for one another. They might be simply extending the gesture to their owners as well. However, there could be many other reasons for them licking the owners. No matter what the reason could be, licking just goes on to show that they are comfortable with their owners and it is a positive indication.

These little pigs are friendly and sociable creatures and would love to be heard and seen. Licking is a pretty common behavior and there is nothing to worry about. We will now go through the various reasons why your guinea pig may lick you.

Reasons why a guinea pig can lick its owner

In case a guinea pig distrusts and is not fond of its owner, it will not lick him/her. It is imperative to note that these creatures take a long time as compared to a majority of pets to adapt to their new surroundings and owners. However, the signs would not be more obvious if they do not bond well with you.

If a guinea does not trust its owner, it will try to hide, will back away, may bite or nibble. It may also try to escape, or show its dislike while being held. Let us now see the various reasons a guinea pig licks its owner.

1. To communicate

Your guinea loves licking your hands as it wants to spend some quality time with you. It likes you as an owner and wants you to be a playmate. Apart from this, these creatures are extremely affectionate where relaying messages is concerned.

2. For grooming

A guinea pig can lick itself, as well as, other guineas a natural procedure of self-grooming. It is hardly surprising you need to bathe it quite rarely. These animals are quite finicky about their cleanliness and are similar to cats. They not only lick themselves but other cage mates as well through grooming many times a day. As it develops a bond with you, it will also extend this behavior to you to try and clean you. It is a sort of kind gesture from them.

3. Bonding and affection

It is another common reason why your guinea pig licks your fingers or hands. They also use the same technique to show their love for each other. So, they could be simply passing the same behavior to you, someone they consider their caretaker.

4. Smell of food

Your fingers and hands may still retain the taste and smell of the food you cooked. It is possible that your tiny piggy just wishes to explore that flavor. Their noses are pretty powerful in picking up smells and they could have picked up a delicious smell on your fingers. However, it is always advisable to clean your hands properly before handling a guinea pig.

5. Hierarchy

Guinea pigs are usually of a friendly disposition with other guineas and their owners. They also have a hierarchy and social order that they follow while living in groups. Displaying subservience or dominance is quite typical among a group of guinea pigs. Licking is a way to express this. There is a possibility that your guinea pig regards you as their social hierarchy head. So, it is licking you to demonstrate its subservience and respect.

6. Express their discomfort

While it is a rare reason, it is also possible that your guinea pig is licking you because it feels uncomfortable or afraid. Such licking is normally accompanied by vocalization and nibbling and it is simple to know that something is not right.

There could be a reason that it is not in a mood to be held although you picked it up. It is also possible that they are going through some sort of physical pain. If the licking is also accompanied by biting, scratching, or nibbling, it could be a warning that you put it down immediately.

7. Contented

Your guinea may also lick you out of sheer joy. It is perhaps feeling contented and licking is their way of expressing the feeling. You may also observe other jovial behaviors accompanying it such as squealing.

8. Salt

Human beings have naturally salty skin. Your guinea pig may be giving a lick to you as you taste good. These animals are drawn to your skins’ salty taste and simply wish to lap it up. To cut it short, your guinea could be using your skin as its quick snack.

Is it possible to stop your guinea licking?

The answer is “yes”. However, licking is a common behavioral trait for them and they do it for various reasons as we just saw. Several of their interactions with other guineas include licking. Thus, trying to stop them from licking could be problematic and tough.

Licking your hand is their way of showing their acceptance of you. Stopping it could break the bond you share with your guinea. If you, however, find licking uncomfortable or queer, you should contemplate handling your guinea less if that is possible.

In case you notice the cavi taking out its tongue, you can give it a toy for playing with instead. You may choose to chew toys made out of natural wood as guineas are known to like them.

Also, these materials are safe and come in interesting shapes. Your guinea can lick, bite, interact with, and chew these toys in whichever way they like. They can thus keep themselves entertained and engaged. Getting them distracted is an effective trick to minimize licking although it is a loving gesture.

Always, make it a point to wash your hands thoroughly before holding your guinea. You should be mindful of it particularly after handling food. Apply a gentle hand soap, which is good for your skin, as well as, odorless. You may also rub a little lemon juice on the hands. Their bitter smell can stop your guinea to have a lick.

Finally, you can analyze the diet of your guinea pig. Licking might have no connection to your pet’s diet. However, it may suggest that the diet is poor in some minerals such as sodium. You can consult your vet and know what diet they recommend for your small piggy.

Guinea Pig, Smooth Hair, Young Animal

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Is it a good thing to lick?

It is certainly a good thing if your guinea licks you as it loves to lick. At times, your pet loves to lick your hand, which expresses its fondness for you. It is also a sign of its love and respect for you.

Also, contrary to what some people would like to believe and tell, you will not get an infection if your guinea pig licks you. Some people are scared that they may get infected after being licked by their guineas. However, it is just a common misconception.

Although your guinea is friendly and sociable, it takes some time for it to get accustomed to its new family and surroundings. As a responsible pet owner, you should take all possible steps to make sure that your guinea finally feels safe and secure in the company of the other cage mates. They should also feel safe in your company. You may house two or more guinea pigs in the same cage together because they love socializing.

You have to also apply caution where you place the enclosure of your pets. It is better to put the enclosure at a quiet place in your home and yet not too quiet. Also, the room where you put the enclosure should have the right temperature. It should not be excessively warm. These creatures also require natural light so make adjustments accordingly.

One thing is sure. It takes plenty of effort and hard work to gain their trust and make them like you. In case your guinea comes close to you and is not scared to express its true self, it is natural to feel happy and satisfied.

So, when they stick out their tongue and start licking your hand, it is an excellent sign of their acceptance and trust in you. They are signaling their wish to stay close and their comfort level while you are around.

Your tiny pet could be licking you because they are fond of how your skin tastes or out of their happiness to be in your company. No matter what the reason is, these are both positive signals.

Although you may not or may like it to lick your hand, some pet owners find the action loving. Others find it strange. When a guinea pig is new in your house, it can be jumpy and distant in the beginning. Some new guinea pet owners find such traits disappointing. While the adjustment phase is on, they spend a major chunk of their time observing their owners while hiding.

The bonding process between a guinea and its owner requires a lot of understanding and patience on the latter’s part. Take it as a big compliment when your new guinea pig finally licks your hands irrespective of what you personally feel.


In case you are an owner of a guinea pig, you are bound to soon observe their unique behavioral traits. All these traits may not be clear in their meaning and you may wonder why your guinea is behaving in a certain fashion. Licking is one such trait. You also know the answers to why does my guinea pig lick me.

As we saw, there could be many different reasons that your cavi could be licking you. However, it is more out of its expression of bonding and affection. If guinea pigs are brought up in a healthy and positive environment, they are usually friendly and joyful creatures. They are simply trying to display their gratitude and affection towards their caregiver.

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