It’s a completely normal behavior for Guinea Pigs to lick each other. Guinea Pigs are social animals and licking is one way that they show affection to each other and also groom themselves. But what does it mean when your Guinea Pig Licks you?
As a pet owner you may find this strange and surprising. The licking could be a sign of affection towards you. Here are some reasons why your Guinea Pig may lick you:
Guinea Pigs are friendly animals and they love to interact with their family. Their licking could be one way of showing their affection towards you. It will often be accompanied by the Guinea Pig making noises like squealing. They are just trying to show their love towards you.
Guinea Pigs are known to be obsessed about grooming. If you have more than one Guinea Pig, you will have certainly seen them grooming each other. They do this by licking each other or chewing their fur. They may sometimes groom you as well. Your pet will lick your skin to clean you. It is somewhat a caring gesture towards you by your Guinea Pig.
Licking Salt or Food
Your Guinea Pig might lick your hand to taste salt from your skin. Human skin secretes skin oil and sweat, both of which have a salty taste. While your Guinea Pigs don’t need any extra salt, many love the taste of salt and may lick salty things, including your skin!
They may also lick your hand if you have recently touched food. If you’ve eaten or held food recently, your hands might still smell like food. Your Guinea Pig may smell it and start licking your hands.
Sometimes your Guinea Pig licking you can mean they are afraid or uncomfortable. There could be many reasons that can cause discomfort. One reason could be that they are not liking how you are holding them. If they start licking you unusually when you hold them, put them back inside their cage and see if they’ll continue licking you.
Another reason for them licking can be because they are experiencing pain. They may lick you to communicate that something is wrong. This should become obvious if their licking is accompanied by nibbling.
Can you Stop a Guinea Pig from Licking You?
While Guinea Pig licking is friendly in most cases, it can sometimes become problematic. Their licking could become uncomfortable for you or your family members and may need intervention. To reduce their licking there are some simple things that you can try:
Give Them Chew Toys
Your Guinea Pig can be given chew toys to try to stop their licking. Whenever your pet starts licking your hand, give them a few chew toys. This should divert their attention from your hand to the chew toy. The chew toys will keep them entertained and hopefully remove any urges they have to lick you.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands before handling your Guinea Pig can also help put an end to their licking. It will remove the smell of food or salt from your skin. Remember to use a soap that is odorless. Washing with an unscented soap will keep your Guinea Pig from getting sick if they do lick you.
Another thing you can try is rubbing lemon juice on your hands. The bitter taste and smell of lemon should be enough to stop your Guinea Pig from wanting to lick your hands.