If it’s possible, Guinea Pigs can be even cuter than they already are! With their excitable squeaks and popcorn jumps, who wouldn’t want to watch them all day? To add to their adorableness, Guinea Pigs do in fact sneeze!
Just like humans, they make an “ah-choo” sound while sneezing that is usually much softer than ours. Their little faces scrunch up right before a sneeze and they may even hop in place if it’s a strong enough one!
Do guinea pigs sneeze often?
Piggies will usually sneeze between two and four times a day. You’ll notice when they’re going to sneeze as they’ll suddenly get a blank face, sneeze, and shake their head. Sometimes they will have a bit of discharge come out, which they’ll clean up themselves or you can gently wipe their noses with a warm, wet cloth.
What a guinea pig sneeze sounds like
The sound of a sneezing guinea pig is quite distinct, and easily recognizable if you know what to look for. It’s quite a unique “ah-choo” sound that’s hard to miss. Take a look at this video to hear the sneeze of a cavy:
Why do guinea pigs sneeze?
Most people do not realize how much our animal companions are like us, or perhaps we’re more like them! Guinea Pigs sneeze to remove irritants from their noses, such as dust or strong scents. Sometimes, dry weather can be irritating and cause more sneezing than usual. The most common culprit of a sneezy cavy though is hay dust or wood shavings, which is why we suggest using fleece or a high-quality bedding product.
Again, like us, piggies are susceptible to allergies. They can develop allergies to their bedding dust, pollen, or the cleaning products you use for their enclosure. Heavy perfumes in the air, such as air fresheners, can cause allergies and should be used sparingly around pets. Guinea Pigs can also have or develop food allergies, so their diets should be monitored closely.
Another leading cause of more sneezing than usual is stress. These little guys depend on us to make their lives as comfortable as possible and when something stresses them out, you’ll notice it in their physical behavior. Stress triggers for piggies can be:
- Meeting new companions
- A too small enclosure
- A lack of proper exercise
- Fear of other household pets
It is also very important that your cavy is receiving the proper amount of vitamin C. Like humans, Guinea Pigs cannot naturally produce vitamin C which leads to a weakened immune system that cannot fight off bacteria. While it may seem odd, a sneezy piggy can also point to possible dental issues as the nasal cavities are close to their teeth. There may be other reasons as to why your piggy is sneezing more often and should be discussed with your local vet.
So, to sum it up, here are the x reasons why your guinea pig is sneezing:
When sneezing is a cause for concern
As with all pets, their physical health should be watched for any unusual signs to prevent potentially life-threatening illnesses. Being such small little guys, URIs (upper respiratory infections) can be fatal for guinea pigs if not treated immediately. An overly sneezy Guinea Pig with a wet cough, discharge, or a cracking/clicking sound when breathing needs to see a vet immediately.
So, while their little sneezes are adorable, more than 2-4 times a day is a cause for concern, especially when combined with any of the above-mentioned symptoms. It could be as simple as changing their hay, using fleece instead of wood shavings, or even removing an air freshener. Be sure to rule out a URI with your vet first though and then begin removing possible irritants from the home.
How to reduce guinea pig sneezing
Not all illnesses can be avoided, but with some small preventative measures, you can help your piggy live a comfortable life. First, you’ll want to check the location of their enclosure. Is it in a well-ventilated area without heavy perfumes or large amounts of dust? Good ventilation helps to prevent the build-up of dust, which can help prevent your cavy from sneezing.
In addition, cavies need to be in warm temperatures, as they can catch colds easily. Furthermore, they should never be damp or wet for extended periods of time. For instance, after a bath, make sure that you dry them off asap.
Try out different types of bedding to see which works best for you and your piggy. Hay and shavings are known to cause dust allergies so we always suggest using high-quality fleece as bedding material. Proper cleaning of their enclosure helps stop the spread of bacteria and removes odors from the home. If you cannot find the source of your piggy’s excessive sneezing, it’s time for a vet visit to ensure your companion can live a full, healthy life.
While a few sneezes here and there are natural and adorable, your cavy should not sneeze more than 2-4 per day. It’s important to monitor your piggy’s health to catch early symptoms of health issues. Sneezing can be a sign of a serious infection, such as a URI, or it can be caused by something as simple as their hay.
It is our job as pet owners to make sure our pets are living their best lives. Learning that your Guinea Pig can sneeze and when to become concerned is a wonderful way to be a great pet owner. There’s so much that can happen with these little guys, but with a bit of knowledge and a friendly vet, all Guinea Pigs can live happy squeaky lives.
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