Guinea Pigs

How Long do Guinea Pigs Live? Let’s Find Out

Home » Guinea Pigs » How Long do Guinea Pigs Live? Let’s Find Out

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Don’t you just wish you could hang out with your little guinea pig forever? Well, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, your fluffy friend will only live a few years. Heartbreak is inevitable, but you can soften the blow by preparing yourself for the difficult moment. Before anything else, you must learn about its expected lifespan.

So, how long do guinea pigs live? You will find the answer as you go on reading. What’s more, in this article you can also learn how to best take care of your cavy and increase its lifespan. From ideal food to common illnesses – we’ve covered it all!

Guinea Pig Life Expectancy: How Long Do They Live?

On an average, guinea pig life lifespan can fluctuate between four to eight years. However, this number may vary depending on how happy, healthy, and well taken care of your pet is. Sometimes, pampered guinea pigs may live over ten years.

How Long do Guinea Pigs Live
How Long do Guinea Pigs Live

Even though this may seem longer than the lifespan of smaller animals such as rats and hamsters, guinea pigs tend to have a shorter life expectancy than cats and dogs. Surely, the lifespan of a guinea pig depends on its size as larger mammals usually live longer than smaller animals. 

If you like smaller pets but wish to spend more years with them, guinea pigs would be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you are a new pet owner and are afraid of commitments, this may not be the right option for you. For, ownership of a guinea pig is a matter of half a decade at least.

How to Keep Your Guinea Pig Healthy?

Now you know that your pet can live longer if you take good care of it. But, not sure how to keep your fur baby healthy? It’s actually quite easy. The key to ensuring your pet is healthy is to keep it happy. Look out for key indicators to find out whether your guinea pig is happy.

If your pet has a dry nose and clear eyes, it’s a good sign. A healthy guinea pig will have a good appetite and be very active. If your little cavy is trying to squeak, purr, and whistle, they sure are happy. Most importantly, a happy and healthy guinea will frequently leap into the air with happiness – known as “Popcorning.”

It is great if your pet demonstrates all of these traits. If not, don’t worry. All you have to do is ensure that your guinea pig is living in a healthy environment. Make sure to provide proper nutrition, companionship, and adoration, and soon your guinea pig will transform into a gleeful ball of fur.

How to Increase a Guinea Pig’s Lifespan?

Again, the key to long guinea pig life expectancy lies in ensuring they are happy and healthy. If you want more specific tips on how to keep a guinea pig healthy, we will provide those too. First and foremost, you need to make sure the cage is spacious and clean. It is essential to maintain a healthy diet for guinea pigs. If they are fed a strict nutritious diet, their digestive system will suffer.

By nature, guinea pigs are very social. So a big part of keeping them happy, and therefore healthy, is to keep them occupied. Plan out daily activities with them which must including some simulation. It is important to have more than one guinea pig so they can interact and play.

But don’t worry, you do not have to spend a fortune to make your pet happy. Guinea pigs are quite easily entertained. They love simple things like balls, tubes, and tunnels. Best of all, you can make your cavies very happy even without a fancy cage setup. All you need to do is shower them with love and attention. They enjoy occasional human interactions such as stroking.

Most importantly, allocate some one-on-one time with your pet. Not only will this help foster a very strong bond but it will also help you recognize potential health concerns. Below are some common symptoms you must pay heed to:

  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Redness in the ears
  • Teeth problems
  • Bumps on skin and fur
  • Drinking too much water
  • Being unusually noisy
  • Demonstrating restlessness by breaking things inside the cage

Best Place to Keep Guinea Pigs

Pet guinea pigs spend most of their time in the cage, and often with a companion. So, try to get a cage that will easily fit two adult guinea pigs. Moreover, it needs to be roomy enough for them to play and exercise. Include additional elements in the cage to keep your guinea pig busy.

Tunnels and tubes are great add-ons for guinea pig cages. They can sleep in them, or even hide. We recommend having different areas for the pet to explore. So, you can place small boxes and build ramps. Even though your guinea pigs will get plenty of outdoor time, their indoor space needs to be cozy and fun.

Whether to place the cage outdoors or indoors depends on your preference. If you maintain a comfortable temperature, they can live in a shed, car-free garage, or their own heated outhouse. Do keep in mind that the guinea pigs should have enough space to move around freely.

Can Pet Guinea Pigs Live Alone, or Do They Need Company?

Now, let’s discuss companionship. Is your affection enough to ensure a happy life for your guinea pig? Sadly, it is not. These social little animals strive best with other guinea pigs. We recommend that you keep at least two guinea pigs.

When in the wild, guinea pigs live in herds. They communicate with body movement and noise with one another. So, the more guinea pigs you have the happier they will be. However, make sure they are of the same sex or are desexed. Otherwise, you will end up having to handle litters of baby guinea pigs – which can get out of hand sometimes. 

You need to understand and prioritize your guinea pig’s need for a social guinea pig circle. For, lack of it can be detrimental and stressful for them. Once they have bonded well, do not separate them. Even if one of your guinea pigs needs veterinary attention, take at least one guinea pig companion to help them cope better with stress.

Ideal Food for Your Guinea Pig

Again, be extra careful about what you are feeding your pet. Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system, so you must strictly monitor their diet. Not sure what they love to eat? We’ll help you!

One of the best food options for guinea pigs is clean hay. Serve them clean hay all day long and look at them gladly nibble away. Not only is this great for their digestive system but it will also help maintain healthy teeth. Additionally, you can provide them with the right type of pellets.

If you are looking to bring some variations, you can give your guinea pigs an array of fresh produce. The pets love to munch on fruits and vegetables throughout the day. So, give them some bananas, berries, or tomatoes and they would be over the moon. You can also slice up some green peppers, or lettuce, and watch them gobble all the veggies.

Can Guinea Pigs Vomit?

Wondering why you need to be so careful regarding what to feed your pet? It’s because they do not have the reflexes to throw up. Unlike most other animals, if they ingest something toxic, or choke on food, guinea pigs cannot vomit. This can, of course, reduce a guinea pig lifespan.

This is why, as a pet owner, you must be careful about what you are feeding your guinea pig. Furthermore, you should monitor the serving size very closely. Overeating or stuffing too much food can be fatal too! Your guinea pig’s inability to vomit will also make it difficult for you to identify when it is feeling unwell.

For other pets, it becomes evident that their digestive system is not agreeing with food when they throw up. As this does not apply to guinea pigs, you must be extra careful. Look out for signs like excessive thirst, lack of appetite, lethargy, and rapid breathing. 

What are Some Common Guinea Pig Illnesses?

You can increase guinea pig life expectancy by identifying some of the common illnesses they suffer from. Respiratory Infections like pneumonia are among the most significant guinea pig diseases. Pneumonia in cavies can be caused by bacteria such as Bordetella and Streptococcus. Other illnesses, pregnancy, stress, and overcrowding can often cause this infection.

Diarrhea is also very common among guinea pigs – thanks to their sensitive gastrointestinal tract. A wrong diet can trigger the growth of bad gas-producing bacteria in their gut. This can hinder digestion, release toxins, damage the pet’s intestinal tissues, and cause diarrhea. Severe diarrhea can have consequences as alarming as death.

Another very common illness in guinea pigs is urinary problems. The pets are prone to developing urinary calculi. These are stones that form in the bladder or kidney, that can have a life-threatening impact. Female guinea pigs may also suffer from cystitis.

While these illnesses are identified most frequently in guinea pigs, you may want to keep an eye out for other illnesses too. These include tumors and abscesses, parasites, skin problems, and scurvy.


Guinea pigs are amazing pets. These cute, friendly, and entertaining animals are quite easy to take care of but, how long do guinea pigs live? Even though some guinea pigs live no longer than four years, with proper care you can ensure that your furry pet lives more than 10 happy years.

Related Topics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *