There is a big difference between wild animals and animals that people have as pets. Pets are protected and have regular food, attention, and medical care compared to wild animals.
It’s expected that our pets will live longer than the animals in the wild, and everyone wants to know how long their pet is going to live. Before even adopting our pets, we all assume that the longer the animal lives, the higher the chances of becoming a real family member.
As guinea pigs are one of the most affectionate pets you can get, most owners want to know how much more precious time they will have with their cute guinea pigs.
How long do guinea pigs live? The average life span of a guinea pig is around 4-8 years. However, guinea pigs can live longer or shorter than the average lifespan depending on their breed and main factors such as diet and nutrition, health, environment, exercise, and companionship.
This article will discuss the years a guinea pig can live and the main factors affecting their average lifespan. So, let’s start!
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How Many Years Can a Guinea Pig Live?
Guinea pigs’ average life span is approximately 5 to 8 years, but an even longer period in some cases.
The oldest known guinea pig 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.
So, the maximum lifespan of the domestic guinea pig is around 10 to 12 years (when we consider the longest recorded lifespan of the guinea pig).
Compared to the guinea pigs in the wild, the difference is quite high. Before becoming domestic animals, guinea pigs would run free in the wild. However, at that time, their lifespan was drastically shorter.
The majority of these small animals in the wild couldn’t even reach a year of age, as they are prey animals. However, some managed to live up to 6 years. Certainly, things have changed a lot since then because now some guinea pigs live even longer than dogs!
Of course, guinea pigs have a shorter life span than what we would want for them to have. Still, we shouldn’t forget that they are rodents and guinea pigs have a long life span among the other rodents!
Do Guinea Pigs Live Longer Than Hamsters and Other Rodents?
If you think that guinea pigs don’t have a long lifespan, you should look at other rodents’ lifespans. Rodents have a wide range of different lifespans, and in this section, we will compare the most popular rodent pets to guinea pigs.
Hamsters and mice have a lifespan of 1-2 years, while rats and gerbils usually live for 2-3 years. These numbers are very small compared to the guinea pig’s lifespan.
But, some rodents tend to live longer than guinea pigs. Capybara has the longest lifespan among rodents of 10-15 years. Also, the average lifespan of a chinchilla is 8-12 years. Some chinchilla owners have reported that some of them have lived for over 20 years.
How to Find Out the Age of Your Guinea Pig?
Take a look at the guinea pig’s feet. If their outside toe started to roll or curve towards the ‘base,’ that means that the little guy is starting to age.
The other aging factors include the guinea pig becoming less active and losing weight. A guinea pig will start sleeping for longer periods than it used to. Moreover, health problems will become a more common issue for your pet.
The Lifespan of Guinea Pigs Depends on the Breed
Surprisingly, the average lifespan of a guinea pig really does depend on the breed. But 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 lifespan is relatively small and might not become the most important factor while choosing the breed. However, you can still take it into consideration.
Which Breed of Guinea Pig Lives the Longest? | Breed Comparison
|Breed Name||Average Life Span|
|Abyssinian Guinea Pig||5-7 years|
|American Guinea Pig||4-8|
|Coronet Guinea Pig||6-8|
|Himalayan Guinea Pig||5-8|
|Peruvian Guinea Pig||5-8|
|Sheltie/Silkie Guinea Pig||5-8|
|Merino Guinea Pig||5-8|
|Skinny Guinea Pig||7-8|
|Teddy Guinea Pig||4-5|
|Texel Guinea Pig||4-7|
|Lunkarya Guinea Pig||5-8|
|Sheba Guinea Pig||4-7|
|Baldwin Guinea Pig||5-7|
|White Crested Guinea Pig||5-8|
|Rex Guinea Pig||5-6|
|Ridgebacks Guinea Pig||4-7|
Bear in mind that your guinea pig can live longer if you take great care of it, and of course, your little pet might live shorter due to various factors.
Main Factors That Affect the Guinea Pig’s Lifespan
You would want your pet to have a long and happy life, and the great news is that you can help improve your guinea pig’s lifespan. 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 many years.
Here are the main factors that affect your pets’ life expectancy:
Diet and Nutrition
Your guinea pig’s menu is something that you can easily change. It is one of the most important factors when it comes to lengthening the lifespan of your guinea pig, so do spend some time to come up with the perfect nutrition plan.
The following are the things that you should take into consideration when feeding your guinea pig:
Vitamin С Diet
Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C, just like us humans. That’s why it is important to ensure that they get enough of this vitamin with their 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 regulate the amount of the vitamin.
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 amounts of calcium, and it will start to build up in their urinary system. You might want to consider a low calcium diet if you notice similar problems.
However, bear in mind that calcium deficiency is also a dangerous condition. It is crucial for the formation of bones, for example. So, balance is the key.
Water and Hay
You should feed your guinea pig once or twice a day with dry foods 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 guinea pig. 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, check it daily to see if it works properly 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 guinea pig’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 most of them contain a lot of sugar. Some might be too acidic, and others are simply poisonous for guinea pigs. So make sure to do your research.
How Long Can a Guinea Pig Live Without Food?
Guinea pigs really enjoy eating, and food is important when building a relationship between you and your little pet.
No one can say how long guinea pigs can survive without the food because no one has done that experiment in the past. It would be very harmful to guinea pigs to keep them away from food, so we recommend always providing your guinea pigs with a sufficient amount of food during the 24 hour period.
Ensure that your guinea pigs always have some food in their cage, and hay is always a good choice if you need to leave them alone for more than one day. Also, be careful with how many of the food bowls you will leave in the cage because some guinea pigs don’t know when to stop eating, and with excess food, they can easily overeat and develop health problems.
How Long Can Guinea Pigs Live Without Water?
Guinea pigs require a lot of fresh water because they eat a lot and are very active animals. Guinea pigs drink water very often, and it would be hard for them to stay happy if they don’t have a sufficient amount of water in the cage.
There is no particular period that guinea pigs can survive without water. But we recommend not to leave your little pet longer than 24 hours without it. If you need to let them alone for more than one day, be sure to put more water bottles with fresh water in their cage.
You already know about how important vitamin C is, and that guinea pigs can get bladder stones from too much calcium consumption. But did you know that guinea pig teeth grow throughout their whole life? That’s one of the reasons why the guinea pigs should have something to chew on at all times. In the worst-case scenario, their teeth might start to overgrow and cause a lot of different problems.
When it comes to your pet’s health, there is one simple rule that you have to make sure you follow. If there are any changes in the guinea pig’s behavior, in the amount of food that it eats, or even how your guinea pig urinates, it is always better to pay a visit to the vet.
By keeping track of these things, you will spot diseases at an early stage and, hopefully, cure them for good. Always wash your hands before and after handling your guinea pig.
Your guinea pig’s cage is literally its home. The main thing that you have to consider is the cage’s dimensions. Even though guinea pigs are relatively small animals, they need a lot of space. So, the cage has to be big.
Keep the cage clean and pay special attention to the environmental conditions. The room has to be warm and draft-free.
Guinea pigs love to eat, but thankfully, they are also curious and love to play around. Excessive weight gain will be prevented if they have enough room and toys to play with, as obesity can also be a big health problem.
Exercise wheels are not designed for guinea pigs, but there are many other cool things you can offer to your beloved pet. You can even make a few toys all by yourself! Make sure to switch toys a few times per month so that your little guinea pig doesn’t get bored.
In case you can’t have a second guinea pig, make sure to spend at least 1-2 hours per day playing with your pet. Talk to it, give it treats and new toys. By the way, guinea pigs are real chatterboxes!
Guinea pig’s lifespan is relatively long (4-8 years) in comparison to other rodents and pets. However, different factors 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 guinea pig can have a long and happy life. Make sure to learn everything about guinea pigs before you get one, and then caring for them won’t be so hard.