Many people enjoy owning pets. A favorite of many households is the guinea pig. Families find them gentle and the right size pet to have, especially around children.
However, despite their small and less fussy nature, they still need utmost care and love to thrive. These are social creatures that prefer having people or other guinea pigs around as opposed to living alone. Your average guinea pigs may live between from 5 to 7 years.
What’s the Average Lifespan of a Guinea Pig
Right from the start, it’s essential to know a few facts about guinea pigs before getting it as a pet. One crucial area is the lifespan. How long does the guinea pig live? Many pet owners want to know how many years they’ll enjoy having them around.
Usually, guinea pigs may live anywhere from five to seven years. However, longevity varies depending on a few factors. Under the best circumstances, they can live for up to ten years. It’s not uncommon for guinea pigs to live longer, bringing joy and memories to the whole family.
Nonetheless, right from day one, as a pet owner, you must be committed to taking good care of it. Under top-notch circumstances, the reward is a longer lifespan.
Why Do Some Guinea Pigs Live Longer Than Others?
Below are different ways to help increase the number of years you get to spend with these fuzzy friends:
1. Suitable Living Conditions
Mostly, a guinea pig lives in a cage in your home. But, it’s not just any cage. If you want your pet to live longer, it needs a comfortable pen that’s secure. Only the family can open and close it, keeping the guinea pig safe.
In a home with other pets like dogs, having a secure cage is crucial. Dogs are known to kill guinea pigs, especially if they’re not brought up together. So the first way to ensure it lives longer is to get a secure and comfortable cage to keep them safe.
Additionally, the size of the cage is crucial. Avoid getting a small one that the guinea pig ends up outgrowing in no time. The best is spacious enough for your pet to run around without any limitations. The more room there is, the longer your pet will live happily.
2. Teeth Grinding Materials
Out in the wild, it’s not uncommon to observe guinea pigs constantly chewing on certain materials. The same is necessary at home when you get some as pets. They need straws or untreated wooden blocks to grind down their teeth.
Guinea pig teeth can grow long and become quite uncomfortable if not properly managed. It becomes difficult for the animal to eat anything leading to starvation. Therefore, the pet must grind its teeth.
The best way to do so is to let it grind down on certain materials. So you must provide these for your pet. There are even chew toys that can be a better option for them, thus increasing their lifespan.
3. Good Food
When a guinea pig is in its natural habitat, it enjoys a lot of fresh food. The same must apply when it’s a pet. As an owner, at the top of the list for proper care and management must be a continuous supply of fresh food.
The good news is there’s plenty you have at home that these lovely creatures enjoy eating. For instance, you can serve them:
The best foods for them are leafy green vegetables. They chow them down when fresh and live longer. Just as beneficial as they can be for you, they supply the guinea pig with lots of vitamins and minerals.
You can feed your pet some fruits but make sure the vegetables are in higher supply plus a little hay or straw. Fruits contain lots of sugar, so they are more suitable in small bites for certain vitamins. That’s a great way of increasing their lifespan.
However, there are some foods that under no circumstance should you feed your guinea pig. In fact, from day one, every member of the family must know this to avoid a fatality. These include:
As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are social creatures. It means they don’t thrive when they live alone. So once you get one, look into getting another one to keep each other company.
Naturally, guinea pigs need the best environment to thrive. Change might be good for you, but it’s stressful for your little friend. They detest any difference, and even moving their cage can wind them up.
Therefore, you need to keep things constant and add another friend if you want your pet to live longer. Living alone in a cage isn’t fun, and can quickly get lonely. Even when you include toys to play with, it’s not the same as having a companion.
Moreover, you may not have ample time to keep them entertained due to work and other commitments. Therefore, the best solution is to get them a friend. Long-term isolation can lead to death due to loneliness.
5. Proper Bedding
In a cage, proper bedding is necessary, especially when you have more than one guinea pig in a cage. The best material is absorbent, which keeps your pets dry and comfy throughout. Then make it a habit to change out the bedding often to avoid discomfort.
Wet bedding can lead to a whole host of issues. First, your friends are uncomfortable and anxious because of the moist surroundings. Second, it can easily become a breeding ground for parasites, including fungi and bacteria. That means diseases are right around the corner.
Therefore, you must take all the necessary steps to keep the cage dry, protecting your pets’ health and well-being. You can have special feeding troughs and water tubes to prevent spillage on the fresh bedding.
6. Frequent Vet Visits
Like any other pet, guinea pigs require proper health checkups to improve their lifespan. Even if you don’t see any signs of illness, a wellness check is important. That way, you can know when all is well and when something is wrong, needing urgent treatment.
After noting all the different ways to improve your pets’ lifespan, it’s also crucial to note ending life signs.
How to Tell Your Guinea Pig is on its Last Days
No one wants to think about their pets dying, but it happens. It’s essential to know the signs and prepare rather than find it lying dead in its cage. Some of the signs to look out for are:
Typically, guinea pigs love eating. Most likely, you always find your little friends chewing on something. But, if you notice one has stopped eating, something is wrong. Guinea pigs stop feeding when in poor health and can quickly starve to death.
Have you noticed some gunk around the eyes of your guinea pigs? They might be suffering from eye infections that can easily turn worse in the absence of proper care. The cause is excess ammonia on the bedding, which leads to eye problems , and this can be fatal.
Lack of Energy
In reality, guinea pigs rarely standstill. They enjoy moving around and can be joyous to watch. But, when they look lethargic, it’s a sign, not all is okay. They seem to lack energy which gets worse.
Your little friend enjoys grooming as often as possible. However, if you notice your guinea pig is looking unkempt, then it’s no longer grooming. Once they stop this, it means something is wrong, and most likely, they have a skin disease.
Improper Bowel Movements
Since a guinea pig is often feeding and drinking, they experience frequent bowel movement. Another sign of lack of appetite is improper bowel movements.
You also notice that when they go to the bathroom, the urine has a strange reddish color. Having traces of blood on the urine is a huge warning sign.
As a pet owner, getting some guinea pigs will fill your life with unimaginable joy and happiness. These little creatures are balls of energy that always manage to put a smile on your face. However, if you want them to live long enough, you need to take good care of them.
From day one, make it a priority to cater to their needs. Additionally, be on the lookout for any signs that signify the end of life.
Featured Image: livianovakova10, pixabay