Are you swarmed with thoughts like “why is my guinea pig not eating or drinking?” or “why is my guinea pig quiet and not eating” and wonder what you can do about it? We are here to help.
Guinea pigs typically eat all the time to keep their digestive system on the move in everyday situations, so if your guinea pig is showing signs of appetite loss, something sinister is undoubtedly going on, and you need to root it out. Don’t worry! We are here to help you out in the process.
Why Isn’t My Guinea Pig Eating? A guinea pig refusing to eat can become a great problem for its owners as it is uncommon for this gluttonous animal to refuse food. This eating disturbance is likely to be caused by several reasons that may require a different remediation plan.
It is common for owners of guinea pigs to panic and delve into emergency mode when something of this sort happens. But that shouldn’t be the case, as trying home remedies and making haste decisions without prior research and knowledge may overcomplicate things.
Therefore, if your guinea pig is not eating, there is no need to panic. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps that will hopefully get your guinea pig back to its original track of consumption.
Why Is My Guinea Pig Not Eating?
Several underlying causes may be behind your guinea pig’s changed diet patterns.
These causes can range from one end of the spectrum to the other: your pet guinea pig may be suffering from severe health complications such as extreme stress, respiratory infection, GI stasis, physical trauma, or mental trauma.
The other end of the spectrum may include relatively uncomplicated reasons, such as temperature fluctuations and eating habits changes.
It is imperative to know about the regular eating pattern of a healthy guinea pig to understand its abnormal eating behavior. An ordinary guinea pig usually eats hay non-stop during the day, along with a considerable serving of vegetables, occasional treats, and a few pellets.
This may seem like a lot, but if a guinea pig stops eating the mentioned amounts of hay, pellets, vegetables, and treats, its digestive system is likely to get affected considerably.
A guinea pig who doesn’t eat for twelve to twenty-four hours is likely to enter into a dangerous, highly unhealthy time frame. If your guinea pig hasn’t eaten for as long as twelve hours, you need to contact a vet immediately.
Because of the wide-ranging causes of eating disorders, looking for a reason is essential to devise a viable solution. Some of these problems can be rectified at home, whereas others might need immediate medical assistance. Some common causes amongst guinea pigs that affect their eating abilities are as follows:
One of the most typical problems that can cause guinea pigs’ loss of appetite is dental complications. Just like humans cannot eat specific foods because of a hurting tooth or gum, guinea pigs also begin avoiding food because of molars growing inward. Such molar growth can damage their jaws and gums because of overgrowth, making eating quite a problematic endeavor,
Guinea pigs’ teeth do not stop growing, just like other rodents. Thus, they need to be filed continuously. If you haven’t shortened your pet’s teeth in a while, it is quite probable they are hampering its ability to eat properly.
Tartar buildup may be a significant cause of discomfort in guinea pigs. Excessive accumulation can cause infections, eventually leading to more complicated oral problems. If that is the case with your pet guinea pig, immediately taking it to a vet is recommended.
You can also avoid tartar accumulation in your guinea pig by switching to foods that can help reduce it.
Gastrointestinal complications can inevitably deteriorate your guinea pig’s food intake and cause a loss in appetite by reducing bowel movements.
Constipation, blockages, or gases can cause your pet to feel really unwell and stop eating. If the pain is too intense, they may even stop moving altogether. If you suspect your guinea pig to suffer from gastrointestinal complications, take it to a vet as soon as possible, as such complications can only be treated through proper medical assistance.
Vitamin C Deficiency
Guinea pigs cannot produce Vitamin C naturally, and thus it is an essential element to them. Their diets must be Vitamin C infused to compensate for lack of production.
Vitamin C deficiency is quite common in guinea pigs. It may cause several other complications such as weakness, swelling, bleeding gums, anorexia, immobility, and a loss or decrease in appetite.
If the condition worsens, it may even prove fatal for your pet. Therefore, no matter how minimal the symptoms may be, visiting a doctor is necessary. In addition, you should make sure to give your guinea pig a diet full of Vitamin C enriched fruits and vegetables as a precaution.
Guinea pigs are highly picky eaters, and one of the most common reasons behind a decrease in their appetite is the quality of the meal on offer. You should supplement your pet’s diet with appropriate fiber and vitamin concentrations and give it fresh vegetables in addition to seeds, hay, and feed.
Water is also crucial for a guinea pig, just like any living organism. Failing to provide a nutrient-rich diet to a guinea pig results in weakness, which may aggravate to a point where it stops eating altogether.
If you are unsure about the kind of diet you should give to your guinea pig to maintain its health, consulting a veterinarian is a good option.
Guinea pigs may also stop eating and drinking because of upper respiratory tract infections. Such infections are typically caused by pneumonia or related complications but may also cause other serious illnesses.
Trouble in breathing or blocked nasal passages may leave your guinea pig with no choice but to breathe through its mouth, which may cause further complications. Difficulty in breathing can make your pet very tired, prompting them to stop eating.
Porridge is an excellent food alternative in this case, as it allows easy swallowing and encourages hydration. You can also prevent your fluffy guinea pig from contracting upper respiratory infections by limiting exposure to cold drafts and avoiding leaving it wet for long periods.
If your guinea pig shows breathing stress, immediately take it to a vet.
Contrary to popular notions, most animals can also experience anxiety, stress, and sadness under various conditions, which is quite similar to humans. Therefore, emotional disturbances may be a primary cause behind your guinea pig not eating.
To know if that is the case, pay close attention to your guinea pig’s general condition and immediate surroundings. Does it seem like they may be going through unfavorable circumstances or a difficult period? If yes, such situations are likely taking a toll on your precious pet.
A lack of hygiene, excessive noise, animals in its surroundings that may be taken for predators, or the death of a partner maybe some of the reasons behind a buildup of negative emotions in a guinea pig. A decrease or loss of appetite in such challenging conditions is a normal phenomenon in the case of guinea pigs.
Change in Food
Guinea pigs may show aversion to food if you introduce a new brand or type of pellets, hay, snacks, or other foods. This varies differently amongst guinea pigs, lending almost an individual quality to this phenomenon. For instance, one guinea pig may prefer Kaytee straw, whereas others may love it.
All you need to do is come to terms with your guinea pig’s food preferences, and you are good to go!
Temperature fluctuations can be one of the primary causes behind guinea pigs’ eating patterns. These animals prefer more relaxed environments and may get aggressive or anxious if it goes over 25 degrees centigrade.
However, they are from Peru in the wild and hold the ability to adapt to warmer temperatures. It is crucial to bring your guinea pig indoors during the winter if it lives outside to ensure its health.
Domesticated guinea pigs commonly come in various sizes and shapes and are often bred for guinea pig shows. If you have such a guinea pig, it may have longer hair which can retain more heat than short hairs.
Ensure a well-maintained temperature in the room your guinea pig lives in to ensure it doesn’t overheat, and it is likely that temperature would not cause any eating disorders in your pet. You can also use a frozen water bottle in the summer for your guinea pig to lean on when it gets too hot.
Make sure to never put their living space next to a radiator.
Although it may seem weird, dehydration can also make guinea pigs stop eating. This is usually seen when the bottle nozzle stops distributing water accurately, resulting in severe dehydration.
In some other cases, a guinea pig may not drink water if you mix it with vitamins or medicine, primarily because of the change in taste. This can further lead to a loss of appetite in guinea pigs.
Environmental Reasons Of Why My Guinea Pig Is Not Eating And Pooping
Rodents like guinea pigs are susceptible to even minor changes. A seemingly insignificant change can cause considerable amounts of stress and anxiety in your guinea pig, resulting in a loss of appetite.
If you are wondering why my guinea won’t eat, you need to look around and observe if the following changes are affecting your pet:
Guinea pigs usually live in the wild in the form of herds and thus get lonely when left all by themselves. If your guinea pig has been split from its friend or its companion has died, you might need to consider getting a new pig to keep the other company.
Fear Of Other Pets
If your guinea pig stopped eating and there are no apparent medical complications in sight except any other pet that may seem like a predator, your furry little pet may be scared to death.
Even if your dog or other pet seems friendly, your pig can be on edge seeing them approach. Keeping other pets out of your guinea pig’s sight is advisable to ensure its comfort.
Moving your guinea pig to a new house or even room can cause extensive stress because of the unfamiliar surroundings.
An unsafe or unknown environment can put them off their food. Since guinea pigs need a place to hide all the time, make sure you arrange a house for them to run into when they feel a bit insecure after a move.
Guinea pigs are social animals but putting a number of them in one cage is not advisable as they still need room to move around. A standard guinea pig cage features dimensions 2 x 4 ft and is quite suitable for two guinea pigs only.
Is My Guinea Pig Sick?
It is common for guinea pigs to stop eating when they are sick. Some common complications that they may be suffering from include the following:
Liver or Kidney Complications
Complications in the liver or kidneys are usually witnessed in older guinea pigs with a more sensitive digestive system than younger ones. Giving them foods with a high oxalate content can cause excessive swelling in their kidneys or liver, which is probably why your guinea pig won’t eat veggies.
Beetroot, rhubarb, or spinach can cause such complications, and many leafy green, calcium-containing vegetables can lead to stones in the bladder and kidneys.
In case of a renal complication, your guinea pig may suffer from swelling around the stomach, making it difficult to poop or eat. It is common for them to feel sluggish, or stop eating altogether, hide away more, and increase their water intake. Contact a professional vet immediately if you notice such behavior in your pet guinea pig.
Cancer is quite a complicated disease in guinea pigs, similar to humans. The most common cancers found in guinea pigs include mammary tumors, uterine tumors, skin tumors, and lymphoma (also known as lymphosarcoma).
You may need to keep your guinea pig under constant medical supervision and allow it food under carefully formulated circumstances.
Obesity is an uncommon but highly complicated disease in guinea pigs. Obese guinea pigs may have fatty or fleshy pads on their legs, groin area, and shoulders. They may even develop fat globules on their internal organs, such as the heart, leading to severe cardiovascular and other disorders.
An obese guinea pig is unfit, has reduced exercise tolerance or mobility, and eats less.
Surgical procedures are as painful for guinea pigs as for humans or other animals. If your pet guinea pig has undergone surgery, it can be in pain for a few days.
Even relatively minor surgeries can have a far-reaching impact on their mental wellbeing, consequently affecting their eating patterns. If your pet stops eating after surgery, consult with a veterinarian immediately.
How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Is In Pain?
Guinea pigs are small and fluffy balls of happiness, but that does not mean they do not feel pain as humans or other animals do. Since they cannot articulate their pain to us, there are specific symptoms that we need to look out for to spot the signs of distress. Some of these include the following:
Why Isn’t My New Guinea Pig Eating?
It is pretty common for some guinea pigs to altogether refuse food intake when brought into a new and unfamiliar environment. It is also possible that your new guinea pig is simply not eating because you are in the room and you are a part of the foreign environment. Anxiety and fear are the primary reason behind both these kinds of behavior.
However, several other factors might be behind your guinea pig’s reduced diet. So if you are wondering why your new guinea pig is not eating, it is time to answer some crucial questions:
Have You Taken It To A Vet Recently?
It is quite possible that a reason behind your guinea pig not eating is a medical condition instead of fear or anxiety. Ensure that you take your new guinea pig to a vet and get the necessary checkup to ensure its sound health.
Does My Guinea Pig Have Enough Space In The Cage?
Although guinea pigs are social animals, a lack of space to move around can take a toll on their eating ability and health.
They should have a minimum of 7.5 square feet of room to move around, but more is advisable. Feeling too cramped makes a guinea pig struggle about its safety, thereby feeling uncomfortable to eat.
Could My Guinea Pig Be Feeling Lonely?
Depression induced by loneliness is a common thing in guinea pigs. If you have just one guinea pig that is not eating, it may be lonely. Consider bringing in another guinea pig to keep the other one company!
Is The Environment Unfavorable For My Guinea Pig?
The new environment your guinea pig is subjected to may terrify them: this could be because of stuffy smells, loud noises, or even too many stuffed animals looking like real ones.
Why Isn’t My Baby Guinea Pig Eating?
Baby guinea pigs face the same difficulties as their grown-up counterparts: the world may seem unfamiliar and strange, causing a decrease in their appetite. If you have recently moved houses or shifted your baby guinea pig to another room, they may face even more difficulties adapting to their new surroundings.
Nervousness and dread may be the primary reason behind your piggy’s eating routine changes. You can help them feel comfortable by developing a close bond with them, spending time with them, calming them through petting, and hand-feeding them their treats.
You can also provide them with a suitable hiding space, sit next to them to foster a bond, or even talk to them as they may start recognizing your voice. This is likely to calm and quieten them down and urge them to abandon their hiding space to investigate and eat.
What If My Guinea Pig Is Upset?
The symptoms of depression and anxiety cannot be distinguished from those of other medical conditions by laymen. Thus, it is crucial to consult a professional vet and get your guinea pig adequately examined.
However, guinea pig owners may eventually develop a keen eye to recognize the signs of happiness and distinguish them from that of stress, such as a tendency to water, excitement, and close interaction with their fellow guinea pigs. Keep in mind that guinea pigs enjoy themselves the best while interacting with other guinea pigs.
In contrast, a guinea pig may feel sad or stressed because of deafening voices or an unfavorable environment and may scream, whine, or mope around. So how can you can understand for sure if your guinea pig is sad?
Let us look at some common characteristic symptoms of sadness in guinea pigs:
What Is Making My Guinea Pig Upset?
Is your guinea pig exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above? It is crucial to pay close attention to the underlying reasons. Some common reasons why your guinea pig may be upset include the following:
Anxiety or Stress
Stereotypes that may cause such problems to exist on a broad range spectrum. Such repetitive or consistent behaviors may include necessary water intake and a constant “play game” with some primary items such as a nourisher or drinking fountain.
They may even cause a minor or untidy environment due to a lack of attention.
Aggression Induced By Fear
Although aggression is not very common in guinea pigs, it may cause them to adopt ruthless behavior toward other animals due to suffering from a pain-causing pathology.
They may also act this way when mismanaged or mistreated by an owner, yelled at or punished by them, or when feeling threatened in a new environment.
Guinea pigs are active, social, and brilliant animals that may feel depressed in a poor environment with decreased stimulation and interaction. Such low elements may cause boredom, sadness, and an eventual loss of appetite.
Death of a Guinea Pig Friend
It is said that some guinea pigs can even die of grief, which is actually because of the lack of interaction, increased sadness, and apathy in the animal.
Guinea pigs can suffer from numerous pathogens and disorders that may cause sadness, loss of appetite, and other abnormal symptoms easily confusable with depression.
What Should I Do When My Guinea Pig Isn’t Eating?
Guinea pigs eat their own poop, known as cecotropes, to obtain Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and fiber. Although it may sound disgusting, this activity enhances their digestion. If your guinea pig is not eating its poop, something serious may be going on.
If your guinea pig is not eating at all, it may suffer from a gut blockage or several other complications. Inappropriate eating routines and a constant eating schedule change may be because of some disorders such as GI stasis.
However, these are just speculations, and the first thing you need to do if your guinea pig is not eating is to take it to a vet for a proper examination. You should also examine your pet to see if they are getting unfit or ask your vet to get some X-rays or radiotherapy if required to locate the potential blockage and rectify it.
The treatment procedures may include Metacam or Ranitidine at specific intervals or Reglan and Buprenex at regular intervals along the day for critical care: about 4-5 times a day.
It is alright to give them Cisapride and Meloxicam orally when their eating and pooping habits start getting a bit normal. But you should continue to take the best care of your guinea pig until full recovery.
Accommodate Them And Give Them Time To Adjust
If your guinea pig is not eating because of some environmental factors, make sure that you move things around to accommodate them accordingly. Give your piggies a little time, and they will surely come around.
Use Proximity To Encourage Eating
Guinea pigs are lovable animals that crave love, and you can make your guinea pig eat by feeding it food right from your hand, stroking it to ease its tension, and talking to it soothingly. You may even switch to some other snacks of their liking to ensure that they eat happily.
Don’t feel perplexed if your guinea pig spends its time hiding: allow hiding and let it overcome the phase it goes through to become social again.
How Do You Force-Feed A Guinea Pig?
Force-feeding a guinea pig is necessary to keep it alive when it is sick, feeling under the weather, or undergoing post-surgery care. You can wrap it up in a blanket to reduce resistance and feed it a carefully formulated critical care food mixture through a syringe.
It is a good idea to keep pipettes and syringes in different sizes lying around for emergencies to start feeding your guinea pig by hand immediately if necessary.
The kind of tool you use for feeding depends primarily on the sort of mush you are feeding your pet. For a viscous mush, you may need to cut the tip of the syringe, which may have some sharp edges capable of hurting your cavy. Make sure you use sandpaper to even out all edges.
Never use any needle for feeding your guinea pig! You can make your mush more fluid by mixing instant flakes of oat in it, turning it into a kind of guinea pig smoothie.
Guinea pigs eat a lot usually and have fast digestive systems. Thus, if your guinea pig has stopped eating, there is no time to hang around! Take your pet to a vet immediately and try to look around for the environmental conditions that may be causing your piggy to go on a hunger strike.
Even if you cannot determine any causes, consulting your vet as soon as possible is your best shot. You can also take help from the discussion we just had to take better care of your fluffy guinea pig!
Happy guinea pigging!