How Long Can A Guinea Pig Go Without Food


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Being herbivorous animals, guinea pigs essentially feed on different plant products. Ideally, you ought to provide them with a lot of fruits, vegetables or pellets for better nutritional outcomes.

They live longer in comparison to other rodents. The pet owners do enjoy their company for a long time. Yes, they are indeed very entertaining. Children love to play with them non-stop.

However, their sound health is of paramount importance for the owners. To make sure these tiny creatures get proper care, pet owners spend hours researching how long can a guinea pig go without food.

Fortunately, we have furnished all vital information in this regard. The article gives a vivid description about:

  • Frequency of feeding them.
  • Points worth considering before going on a vacation.
  • Ways to ensure there is a steady water and hay supply with multiple water systems and hay racks, and lot more.

Number Of Times You Ought To Feed Them

For safe and overall health, you ought to feed your guinea pig on a consistent basis. Feeding them twice a day will suffice. You can schedule it according to your convenience. However, make sure to do so once in the morning and evening.

If not checked, they do have a tendency to acquire obesity. On account of this, it is important you make sure they do not overeat.

Will They Starve Themselves If You Go On A Vacation?

This is one of the major worries for owners of guinea pigs. The first thing they think before deciding to go on a vacation is how long can a guinea pig go without food? Not only this. They have an additional query. Will their favorite pet starve to themselves?

Fortunately, they won’t on the condition that you take appropriate steps. For instance, before you leave, you can make sure they are kept in an enclosure or cage with rightful foods.

In case they are not bound by a cage or enclosure, make sure they have access to their favorite foods. The list of such foods would include:

  • Some grass.
  • A little fruit.
  • Abundant hay.
  • Fresh vegetables.

You Can Ensure Steady Water And Hay Supply With Multiple Water Systems And Hay Racks

Yes, you can breathe easy and enjoy your vacation stress-free. Your favorite guinea pig will not face any acute shortage of either water or hay.

Take help of various water systems available in a pet store. Install them in the cage and ensure uninterrupted flow water for the little wonder! You can even opt for several bowls or water bottles so that they don’t fall short of water at any point.

Likewise, you can even opt for the hay racks. These racks are immensely beneficial. It saves you from throwing away the hay on the floor of said cage. It will also ensure there is no contamination with urine or feces. In other words, not only does the cage remain neat and clean, it also keeps it germs-free, for instance.

Install it and get rid of the inconvenience. These racks will aid you in storing additional feed which the guinea pigs and keep eating in your absence.

How Many Days Can You Leave Them Alone?

Well, there will not be any major issue if you leave them all alone for a day or two. They can very easily handle the situation in your absence if tamed accordingly.

Anything more than this duration, can have life-threatening consequences.

It may involve a plethora of things like:

  • Lack of water and hay.
  • Instances of fighting and hurting themselves.
  • Sustaining injury while trying to escape from the cage.

For How Long Can They Survive Without Dying Of Starvation?

There is no scientific data available yet in this regard. In absence of this hard truth, we are left with the only option. Rely on something that is accepted as the norm.

As a thumb-rule, avoid keeping them without any food in excess of 12 hours. If you do so, their digestive tract might stop functioning causing severe intestinal and liver issues.

Keep A Check On The Duration

Not all guinea pigs exhibit the same amount of appetite. You have to consider the health status to decide how long can a guinea pig go without food. For instance, healthy ones can last without food for almost 8 hours. Remember – in case they starve beyond this time limit, it can invite fatal health consequences.

It is equally important to note one crucial factor. This time limit will experience a further reduction in several special circumstances where the guinea pig in question is:

  • Nursing.
  • Gets exposure to extreme temperatures.
  • Pregnant.
  • Sick.
  • Old.

What Is GI Stasis And How Can It Effect Their Digestive System?

As a proud owner, it is vital that you know what GI stasis is and what adverse consequences it can create for the digestive system.

Due to their anatomical features, guinea pigs contain a very sensitive digestive design. This is clearly evident when they experience different bodily problems when there is any slight change in their food intake.

One such problem is GI stasis. This phenomenon is characterized by three distinct aspects:

  • Their stomach makes a complete stoppage in movement of food.
  • They suffer from dehydration as the entire body gets flooded with fluid.
  • All these developments prohibit the digestive tract to function in normal condition.

Your Fur Ball May Suffer From Scurvy Disease

When guinea pig owners get to know about scurvy disease while going through how long can a guinea pig go without food, they become anxious and worried.

Never mind, know why this disease arises in the first place. It will help you take appropriate preventive measures at the earliest.

To start with, this health condition results from food deprivation. The origin of this disease lies in deficiency of Vitamin-C.

Naturally, a question may arise in your mind – how to replace the deficiency? The answer is very simple – offer those pellets and vegetables in the right amount.

Well, ‘prevention is always better than cure’. Be alert and look for early symptoms.

It can include many symptoms such as:

  • Painful joints.
  • Sluggish feeling.
  • Hair or weight loss.

Get Acquainted With The Quantum Of Hay They Consume A Day

Since you are interested to know more about how long can a guinea pig go without food, it is important you know the daily consumption of hay by a guinea pig.

They love to eat hay in abundance. When it comes to their daily consumption of hay, it could range anywhere from 90 to almost 100 grams every day.

On account of this, it is very important you make sure the cage or enclosure has a sufficient amount of hay.

Their love for hay can be gauged from the simple fact that they keep on eating it the entire day!

Choose The Hay Judiciously

Choose the hay with due care. This is important because some of these pigs are infamous for being allergic to specific hay.

Coming to types of hay meant exclusively for guinea pigs, it includes two varieties:

  • Timothy Hay: This is the best variety and will offer you extreme help in keeping the teeth of these pigs in right shape.

Owing to the presence of a fragrant smell, it has become their first choice. It is the composition of the hay that scores the brownie points! For example, it contains the Timothy grass’s leaf, stem and more.

When guinea pigs munch them, they are certainly going to get their daily dose of minerals and vitamins.

  • Orchard Hay: This is a perfect alternative to guinea pigs allergic to the other variety, namely the timothy hay.

Though they provide almost similar nutritional value, they are brilliant on fiber content. Additionally, it has a softer texture offering great ease while eating.

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Give Them Fresh Pellets Of Food

You wish to see your guinea pig in the best of health. This explains why you want to know more about how long can a guinea pig go without food.

It is recommended you provide fresh pellets of food. By offering stale food, you of course do not wish to jeopardize their health status.

Coming to frequency of replacement, this ought to be done on a daily basis. When you replace the food daily, you are in fact doing a favor for your guinea pig.

For instance, they have an uncanny habit of kicking the droppings into the food bowls. When they consume the stale version, there is hardly any intake of vitamin-C.

Keep a proper check on the daily quantum of pellets you keep in the food bowl.

Wrapping Up

It is great news that you are the proud owner of a guinea pig! Like any other like-minded individual, safety and good health of your favorite pet is understandable.

Portray your human nature by treating the pet as a part of your life. Take necessary measures to offer comfort to them. Draw the boundary line and never breach the line. It will augur well both for you and your beloved pet. This is what we call living in peace and harmony!

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