A guinea pig — small, fluffy, and, at first glance, low maintenance. Seems like the perfect companion for people without a lot of free time. However, even though guinea pigs are not as big as other animals, they are still prone to health issues. The most common question people have is about guinea pig sneezing. What does it mean and when should you go to the vet? Worry not, as we will explain the ins and outs of this human-like behavior.
Bless you, little friend! What seems to be a human-bound behavior might have a deeper meaning when it comes to guinea pigs. Usually, a guinea pig sneezes an average of 1–2 times a day. That’s normal, as they do it to remove particles stuck in their little noses. We recommend paying close attention to other common symptoms.
If there are indeed no follow-ups to the sneezes but they are still a common occurrence, it might mean that your house is triggering an allergic reaction in your pet. Smoke and dust are the usual suspects when it comes to allergens. Another easy way to see if there’s an allergic reaction is by checking their eyes. Any discharge, green or yellow, might either confirm the allergy theory or point toward an infection.
As with all health problems, you might notice a pattern that can help you pinpoint the exact cause of the sneezing. Watch and see what triggers it — is the bedding absorbent? If not, it might cause the aforementioned allergic reaction. Is the cage clean enough? Guinea pigs need a frequently cleaned living space. Try cleaning or changing his cage and bedding and see if there are any results.
The Big Guns: Vets
If the sneezing still hasn’t stopped, you should try and pay even more attention to their daily routine. Weight loss, lethargy, and aversion to eating might point to something more serious. You can even try changing the food as it may cause some problems with the digestive system.
However, this all might point toward something bigger and harder to treat at home. If that’s the case, you should contact your local vet. You need to do this as soon as you notice anything different in their usual routine, as that might rule out allergy. Not going to a doctor in time might lead to long-lasting problems or even worse.
Once you are at the veterinarian, they might do some tests to determine the cause of the sneezing. Blood tests and X-rays are not only common but also recommended in such cases, so don’t worry about them. Even if the sneezes prove to be just a normal reaction to food or the environment, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The Overall Picture
All in all, for the most part, guinea pig sneezing is a rather normal thing. While we suggest taking your pet for a check pretty regularly, it’s usually the environment that matters the most. Sensitive little noses mean high hygiene requirements, making this little ball of fur not as easy to maintain as most people believe. Don’t let guinea pig sneezing turn you off from owning such a cute critter, though — they are worth all your time and money!