Does your rabbit, guinea pig or hamster need a friend?

September 21, 2021

Your pet’s companionship needs depend on a number of factors and getting those right are important to your small furry’s general wellbeing. To help you understand the basics, here’s the Towcester Veterinary Centre’s quick guide to the basic social needs of a few popular small furries.

If your pet looks to be under the weather and you’re already following the advice below (and satisfying their feeding grooming and shelter needs), then they may have a medical or a more complicated social issue. In either case please don’t delay, bring them in for a check-up and to get some advice.

Get small furry advice

Some animals need company more than others

Some small animals prefer to be alone, or find that human attention is enough, while others adore company from their own species. Read the basic advice below and if you’re still unsure whether you’re getting it right, you can always ask Katy or any of our vet nurses for advice. Our team can advise you on your particular pet, or if you’re thinking of getting one.


It’s essential for rabbits to be kept in pairs, as a minimum, as they are sociable animals who need friendship to thrive. Opposite genders tend to get on best, but don’t forget to neuter both, unless you want lots of baby bunnies. Neutering will also make for a more relaxed friendship on both sides. Rabbits appreciate human owners, but some dislike being handled. Figure out what your rabbit likes and always supervise children when they handle your rabbits.

Guinea pigs

Like rabbits, guinea pigs get lonely if they are kept alone, so you should try to find them a compatible friend. If you have two that tend to fight, they will still appreciate each other’s company. You could split their home with some mesh to avoid physical contact, rather than separate them completely. Guinea pigs are gentle, sociable animals that get on well with humans, which makes them ideal pets for children (again, with supervision please).

Hamsters and rats

Whether or not hamsters need company depends on their breed, as dwarf hamsters enjoy socialising, while Syrian hamsters need to live alone. It’s also important to remember that hamsters are nocturnal, so you may not see the benefits of their friendship during daytime hours. Meanwhile, rats get depressed without attention, so it’s important that they get companionship from both other rats and their human owners.

Call our vet nurses for advice

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what’s wrong if a small pet seems unhappy. It’s definitely worth getting some advice if you’re about to buy new rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rates, mice, gerbils or any other small furry creatures. Either way, if you have a poorly pet or are about to get a new one, then please do give us a call on 01327 350239 and one of our team will be able to offer advice.

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