Do small furry pets need friends?

Your small furry pet’s companionship needs depend on a number of factors and getting those right is important to their general wellbeing.  To help you understand the basics, here’s the Clent Hills Vets quick guide to the basic social needs of a few popular small furries i.e. guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and rats.  

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), 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 

While some small animals prefer to be alone, and some find human attention is enough, others adore company from their own species and actually live happier and healthier lives for it.  

Read the basic advice below and if you’re still unsure about how to pair up your small furry pet, you’re getting it right, you can always ask Chrisse 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.  

Guinea pigs 

Guinea pigs get lonely if they’re kept alone and this can affect their health & wellbeing. It’s important to try to find them a compatible friend. Even 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 (with supervision). 


Like guinea pigs, rabbits suffer when they are lonely so it’s essential for them to be kept in pairs, as a minimum. Rabbits are sociable animals who need friendship to thrive. Opposite genders tend to get on best, but don’t forget to neuter both. Neutering will prevent baby bunnies from arriving, as well as ensure 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 are handling your rabbits. 


Whether or not hamsters need company depends on their breed - 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. 


Rats get depressed without attention, which is definitely not good for their health. It’s important they get companionship from both other rats and their human owners.  

Ask us for advice 

If you’re about to buy new rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils or any other small furry pets, it’s definitely worth getting some advice. Send us your questions by emailing and we’ll be happy to help. 

If you have small furry pets and one or both of them seem unhappy, please do give us a call and one of our team will be able to offer advice.