When you have a Guinea Pig as a pet one of the situations you can face is that your pet stops eating. It is important that you are aware of your pet’s habits and notice on time that your pet is not eating.
There are a lot of reasons for a Guinea pig to stop eating such as stress, lack of water, vitamin C deficiency, recent surgical procedure, or illness, so you have to discover the cause in time to fix it, so your Cavy starts eating normally
In case you want to know more about the reasons why guinea pigs stopped eating and how to fix it please keep reading.
Why is my Guinea Pig not eating? (Causes)
There are plenty of reasons that can make guinea pigs stop eating so let’s go over the most common reasons and how to resolve them.
When guinea pigs are stressed it can make them stop eating. Lack of space, illness, too much noise, inappropriate handling, or too much petting are all triggers for stress. To make your guinea pig start eating again you have to eliminate the source of the stress.
In case you want to know more about stress in guinea pigs and how to reduce it, read our article ”How To Cheer Up My Guinea Pig (and reduce stress)?”
Recent surgical procedure
In case your guinea pig had any type of surgical procedure it will not be able to eat. Your vet will advise you on how to help your guinea pig eat. Hand-feeding is necessary and additional Vitamin C in their diet is important to help your Cavy recover.
Change of environment can be stressful for the guinea pigs and it can cause them to stop eating. To avoid this your furry friends should stay in their habitat and in case you have to go away for a few days it is better to leave your guinea pigs at home and find somebody to take care of your pet.
Just make sure they are experienced with guinea pigs and know your Cavy’s routine to avoid any stressful situation..
Insufficient fresh water
Freshwater should be available for your Cavy at all times. They need around 100 ml of water daily for normal functioning so in case they do not have enough water among other things they can stop eating.
Make sure that the water source( for example inverted water bottle) is lifted above the bedding to avoid water being polluted.
Also, make sure that the bottle is not leaking and in case it happens drain and dry that area. One other thing to always check is the nozzle, it can get stuck from time to time and your guinea pig is trying to get the water but not getting any. So always check that the water level and that bottle is working properly.
Guinea Pigs Medical conditions (as a cause for not eating)
Pregnancy can be a very risky period for the guinea pig and one of the things you have to pay attention to during pregnancy is that your Cavy is eating. It can happen that she is feeling uncomfortable and losing appetite due to her condition so make sure she is eating properly.
Ketones are a byproduct of metabolism and when at normal levels help the body to function normally. Ketosis usually happens when the liver produces too many ketones, this condition is also known as pregnancy toxemia
According to the Pet MD site
Ketosis usually occurs in the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy, or in the first week after a guinea pig has given birth. Normally, ketones are utilized as energy, mainly for the brain, when blood sugar (insulin) levels are low.
Source Pet MD ”Pregnancy Toxemia in Guinea Pigs”
In this condition, the body uses fat instead of sugar for energy which is usually caused by lack of food so the body kicks into survival mode and starts to burn fat to get the energy.
It is a very dangerous condition and can kill your guinea pig in 48 hours from the appearance of the first symptom so it is vital to prevent this condition.
The first solution is to make your guinea pig spayed so she can not get pregnant at all. Another solution is to carefully monitor your cavy while pregnant and make sure she eats regularly and drinks enough water, even if you have to hand feed it.
Is a gastrointestinal condition that is caused by guinea pigs not eating. The gas that normally leaves the body, is not able to do so because there is no food in the digestive tract.
So gas gets stuck and starts to build up and causes discomfort and pain that can be fatal for a guinea pig. It is important to react on time and take your pet to a vet for immediate medical attention and if diagnosed with Ileus to get the proper therapy.
This condition is usually caused by either some respiratory infection, parasites, or stress that cause a guinea pig to stop eating and develop Ileus
Signs to look for are lack of appetite followed by fewer stools or no stool at all which is not normal for guinea pigs so react on time and let the vet help your guinea pig.
Guinea pig’s teeth grow all the time and have to be kept at a proper length. Cavies do it by eating roughage food and chewing different objects to wear them out to a proper length.
If a guinea pig stops eating roughage food, its teeth will overgrow and cause teeth misalignment (a condition called Malocclusions) that will eventually cause your Cavy not to be able to chew and swallow food.
Overgrown teeth are also causing a lot of drooling and that saliva will make the fur and jaw constantly wet (a condition called Sloberrs). Other reasons for teeth overgrowth is jaw injury and too much selenium in their diet.
Overgrown teeth will make guinea pigs eat less and they will lose weight and eventually will stop eating. That situation is life-threatening and it is best to act before it comes to that.
If it happens that you have to hand/force-feed your guinea pig you can get more info about it in the section below (How to Hand feed my guinea pig)
You also have to visit the vet to assess the situation and suggest the proper course of treatment which can include trimming the teeth to the right length and proper therapy.
It is advisable to observe your guinea pig (and any changes in behavior), make regular checkups by yourself, and also visit a vet regularly because a trained eye can spot symptoms that you can miss and by proper treatment prevent any potential health condition.
Pain (especially older guinea pigs)
With older guinea pigs it can happen that they are more choosy about the food they eat but still they have a normal appetite. In case you notice that your senior guinea pig is losing appetite do not think it has something to do with age and you should visit the vet ASAP.
Guinea pigs of all ages should eat, drink, poop and pee daily so if there is any change in that, it’s a red flag that something is wrong.
If they are in pain it can cause them to eat less or stop eating at all so if you visit a vet on time and your Cavy has a treatable condition he can prescribe some medication that will help with the condition/pain and your pet will start eating normally again.
How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food?
Scientists are not sure what it the exact period is that guinea pigs can live without food but they estimate that guinea pigs can stand max 12 hours without it.
If they are starving for more than 12 hours it will cause intestinal problems and if it lasts for more than 24 hours it increases the risks of fatal outcomes. So if in any case, you are not around for a day or two make sure that they have enough food for days to avoid any issues.
It is strongly recommended to have somebody check up on your pet, feed them and clean the cage while you are away.
Force / Hand feeding Guinea Pig
The main reason for force/hand feeding of your guinea pig is that they are not eating at all, and as mentioned before they should not be without food for more than 12 hours. So to avoid health issues or even fatal outcomes you have to make your pet eats.
If you would like to learn more about hand feeding a guinea pig do read our article ”Hand Feeding A Guinea Pig”
Guinea Pig not Eating and Hiding?
Guinea pigs are prey animals so it is normal for them to hide especially if they are frightened by a sudden loud noise, for example when you drop something or a dog starts barking in the yard. Also when they want to sleep or just relax they want to feel secure so they need to hide.
But when you notice a change in behavior that your guinea pig is hiding too much, and not eating it means that your pet is most likely ill and all prey animals hide their illness to avoid attracting the predator. So you have to help them. In case you notice that your guinea pig loses weight go straight to your vet for an exam to determine what it is about
Also, another reason for guinea pigs hiding and not eating is in case of a change in the guinea pig environment. Changing your place of living, taking them on a trip for a few days, or just changing their cage/habitat can trigger fear.
They will become frustrated and will most likely try to find a place to hide. It is important to be there to help them and encourage them to explore but first give them some time to cool down. Maybe even try with their favorite food or treat, to get them outside and reassure them they are safe.
In the case of a new guinea pig, it is quite normal for them to be shy or even scared of you so they will most likely hide. Just leave them enough food and water and after a while, they should go out just check from time to time if they started to eat.
Guinea pigs are sensitive animals and any change in behavior can indicate that something is wrong with your pet and need help
When they stop eating it is a situation where you have to react fast because there is a limited amount of time to make them eat. A visit to a vet is the best solution but if you are not able to take your guinea pig you have to make them take some food, not starve.
Hopefully, this article helped you shed some light on this topic!