Guinea Pig Life Span: How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live For?

Guinea Pig Life Span How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live For

Everyone wants to know how long their pet is going to live for. Before even adopting our pets we all assume that the longer the animal lives, the higher are the chances that it will become a real family member.

So, what about a guinea pig life span? And how long do guinea pigs live for? By the way, is there anything that you, as a great owner, can do to ensure that your fluffy ball of happiness lives a long and happy life?

We are going to answer all of these questions in the following sections below. So, let’s start!


How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live For?

The average life span of a guinea pig is around 4-8 years. However, you should bear in mind that guinea pigs can also live a few years longer or shorter than that period but it really does depend on a lot of different factors.

Of course, guinea pigs have a shorter life span in comparison to humans, for example. But we shouldn’t forget that they are rodents and guinea pigs have a really long life span if the take a look at the rest of the rodents!

The oldest guinea pig known was called Snowball. This guinea pig lived for 14 years and 10 months! Of course, this guinea pig was placed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Before becoming domestic animals, guinea pigs would run free in the wild. However, at that time their life span was drastically shorter. The majority of these small animals couldn’t even reach a year of age, as they are prey animals. However, some managed to live up to 4 years. Certainly, things have changed a lot since then because now some guinea pigs live longer than dogs!

Source: Rodent Basics – The Ohio State University


How to Find out the Age of Your Guinea Pig?

Take a look at the guinea pig’s…feet. If the outside toe of your guinea pig started to roll or curve towards the ‘base’, that means that the little guy is starting to age. Your pet is a granny or a grandpa if you see that the largest toe curls.

The other aging factors include the guinea pig becoming less active and losing weight. The guinea pig will start sleeping for longer than it used to. Moreover, health problems will become a more common issue.


Guinea Pig Life Span Depends on the Breed

Surprisingly, the average life span of a guinea pig really does depend on its breed. Frankly speaking, scientists still fail to explain why skinny pigs, for example, tend to live longer than the breeds that have long hair.

The difference in the estimated life span is relatively small and might not become the most important factor while choosing the breed. However, you can still take it into consideration. Here is a small table that you use as a guide:

Breed NameAverage Life Span
Abyssinian guinea pig5-7 years
American4-8
Cuy4-8
Himalayan5-8
Peruvian5-8
Sheltie5-8
Silkie5-8
Skinny7-8
Teddy4-5
Texel4-7
White-crested5-8

 

Bear in mind that your guinea pig can live longer if you take great care of it. And, of course, the little guy might end up passing away earlier due to various factors.


Main Factors that Affect the Guinea Pig’s Life Span

Of course, you would want your pet to have a long and happy life. And the great news is that you can totally affect your guinea pig’s life span. Proper care is crucial and if you learn how you can be a great owner to your guinea pig, then the fluffy ball will be able to make you happy for years and years.


Diet and Nutrition

Your guinea pig’s menu is something that you can easily change. By the way, it is one of the most important factors, when it comes to influencing the life span of your precious pet, so do spend some time to come up with the perfect nutrition plan.

What should you take into consideration when feeding your guinea pig?


  • Vitamin С

Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C, just like humans. That’s why it is important to ensure that they get enough of this vitamin with its diet. There are pellets that have added vitamin C. However, it is always better to feed your guinea pig with fresh fruits and vegetables at least once a day to be able to regulate the amount of the vitamin.

Related: Guinea Pig Vitamin C Food List (Dosage, Serving Size & More)


  • Calcium

Unfortunately, guinea pigs can easily develop bladder stones throughout their lives. If this condition goes untreated, it can become life-threatening. That’s why it is important to make sure that your guinea pig does not eat foods with too much calcium. Their body simply won’t be able to wash out the excess of the calcium element and it will start to build up in the urinary system. You might want to take a low calcium diet into consideration.

However, bear in mind that calcium deficiency is also a dangerous condition. This element is crucial for the formation of bones, for example. So, balance is key.


  • Water and Hay

You should feed your guinea pig once or twice a day (whatever works better for you) with dry food and fresh fruits or vegetables. However, there are things that should always be present in the cage.

Fresh water and hay are extremely important for the overall well-being of the animal. You need to change the water every single day. Don’t forget to make sure that it is clean and fresh. Moreover, if you use a water bottle for your guinea pig’s cage, do check daily if the thing works or not.

Hay is also important for the guinea pig’s health as guinea pigs need to have something to chew on at all times. Hay is great for the fluffy ball’s teeth and the digestive tract. Timothy hay is the preferred option for adult guinea pigs. However, there may be times, when your cavy might need Alfalfa hay (it is higher in calcium).


  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The main problem with fresh fruits and vegetables is that the majority of those contain a lot of sugar. Some might be too acidic and others simply poisonous for guinea pigs. So, make sure to do your own research.

Remember that your beloved pet should have something fresh to eat once a day. The fruits and vegetables will help your guinea pig get enough vitamins and other important elements.


Health

You already know about how important vitamin C is and that guinea pigs can get bladder stones from too much calcium. But did you know that guinea pig teeth grow throughout their whole life? That’s one of the reasons why the little guys should have something to chew on at all times. In the worst case scenario, the teeth might start to overgrow and cause a lot of different problems.

When it comes to the health of your pet, there is one simple rule that you have to make sure you follow. If there are any changes in the behavior of the little guy, in the amount of food that it eats or even in the way the fluffy ball urinates – it is always better to pay a visit to a vet. In such a way, you will be able to spot disease at an early stage and, hopefully, cure it for good.

Always wash your hands before and after handling the little fellow.


Environment

Your guinea pig’s cage is literally its home. The main thing that you have to take into consideration is the dimensions of the cage. Even though guinea pigs are relatively small animals, they need a lot of space. So, the cage has to be big. Make sure to place enough toys in the cage so they don’t get bored. Another important thing is to have a small house where the guinea pig can hide if it gets anxious or simply needs some time alone.

Keep the cage clean and the surrounding conditions appropriate (the room has to be warm and draft free).


Exercise

Yes, guinea pigs love to eat. But, thankfully, they are also curious and active animals. In case they have enough toys to play with, they won’t get obese (which can also be a big health problem).

Exercise wheels are not designed for guinea pigs, but there are so many other cool things that you can offer to your beloved pet. By the way, you can totally make a few toys yourself! Make sure to switch them a few times per month, so that the little guy does not get bored. And always remember that safety comes first.


Company

Guinea pigs are incredibly social animals. The little guys can even die of loneliness! That’s why it is recommended to adopt two guinea pigs at once. They will be able to keep each other company. In case you can’t have a second guinea pig, make sure to spend 1-2 hours per day playing with your pet. Talk to the little guy, give it treats and new toys. By the way, guinea pigs are real chatterboxes! The little fellow will soon start to talk to you as well. So cute!


The guinea pig life span is relatively long (4-8 years). However, there are so many different factors that can affect the length of the guinea pig’s life and its overall well-being. The great news is that an amazing owner can control practically all the factors to ensure his beloved guinea pig has a long and happy life.