How long do guinea pigs live? Have you ever wondered? Well, you are not alone. Especially if, as a future piggy pet owner, you are trying to figure how much time (and money) you will need to commit to.
On Average, How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live?
On average, a pet guinea pig can live anywhere between five and eight years. But keep in mind that this is only an estimate. Various external factors and genetics play a role, as does the breed of guinea pig.
For example, Himalayan, Peruvian and Silkie guinea pigs can live between 5 and 8 years, while an Abyssinian guinea pig has a life expectancy of five to seven years.
Hairless breeds (or skinny pigs), on the other hand, can live anywhere between 7 and 8 years. But there are always exceptions to the rule, like Bear. A guinea pig, who in 2019 at the ripe old age of 13, was on track to break the world record for the world’s oldest guinea pig.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live In The Wild?
While food may be in abundance and they are free to roam in their natural habitat, unlike their domestic cavy counterparts, ‘wild’ guinea pigs have a much shorter lifespan of between 1 and 4 years. This is due to the fact that they are prey animals, with a lot of natural predators, including people.
7 Ways To Increase Your Guinea Pig’s Lifespan
As already mentioned, you can expect to care for your domestic guinea pig for between five and eight years, depending on the breed and its genetics. But there are also a lot of things you can do to increase its lifespan, keeping it healthier for longer.
Want to find out how?
Carry on reading for our top 7 tips to ensure your guinea pig is a part of your family for as long as possible.
1. Create the perfect environment
Guinea pigs thrive in the right environment. This means investing in a good-sized wooden hutch and a run with plenty of space where they can explore, forage, play and sleep. Other essential items to think about when setting up your piggy pals’ hutch include:
For more information on how best to create the perfect environment, read this article.
2. Keep your guinea pig’s hutch clean
A simple yet really effective way to keep your guinea pigs healthier for longer is to regularly clean their enclosure. This includes daily spot checks to get rid of soiled or wet hay, pick up poop and replace bedding. Weekly cleans are also recommended, as are monthly deep cleans with a pet-friendly disinfectant.
On the subject of cleaning… Your guinea pig needs regular grooming sessions too. These don’t only help your piggies look their best at all times, but they are also a great way to do overall health checks while also building and maintaining that all-important bond with your furry friends.
3. Beat the boredom blues
Physical and mental stimulation is vital to keep your guinea pig healthy, as is daily interaction with you and other guinea pigs. A good selection of toys is a great way to keep your cavies busy while you’re away and will help prolong their lives.
Need a few ideas for some games you can play with your guinea pigs? We have some great suggestions right here.
4. The correct diet is essential
Often described as spuddy buddies or furry potatoes, guinea pigs can go from fab to flab pretty quickly. Always make sure you are feeding your cavy specially formulated nuggets and healthy treats, along with fresh vegetables. Fruits, while delicious, should be limited as many have high sugar content and can quickly lead to your guinea pig becoming overweight.
And don’t forget the vitamin C! Guinea pigs can’t make this all-essential vitamin and need to get it from vegetables or as a supplement.
For more advice on getting your guinea pig’s diet right, we suggest you read this article!
5. Keep the temperature moderate
Whether your guinea pigs live outdoors or inside, they must be kept in an area with moderate temperatures. If a guinea pig gets too hot in direct sunlight, it can quickly overheat and die, and if it is too cold, it is susceptible to pneumonia. You should also make sure your cavy is never wet for extended periods of time.
6. Ensure your guinea pig has a pal
Many factors can affect a guinea pig’s average lifespan, including loneliness. Cavies are very social animals and should always be kept in groups of two or more. A guinea pig on its own can and will experience boredom, depression and even behavioural issues.
Find out more about loneliness in guinea pigs in this article.
7. Find the right vet for your guinea pig
Not all vets have experience with small or exotic pets, proving problematic when it comes to your guinea pig’s care. We recommend finding a veterinarian that understands the physical (and emotional) needs of a cavy.
And remember to book regular check-ups so that any underlying health issues can be flagged and treated as quickly as possible. It goes without saying that this is a sure-fire way to extend your precious pet’s lifespan.
To Finish Off
Of all the pocket pets, guinea pigs live the longest, which means owning one is a long term commitment. Daily interaction, regular vet visits and time spent grooming your cavy is the order of the day and what being a responsible piggy owner is all about.
While it may sound like a lot of work, the rewards are worth every moment. Ask anyone who has ever seen their content cavy wheek or popcorn with delight.
Now it is time to hear from you! Tell us how old your guinea pig is!