Guinea pigs like to eat, and they will munch on anything that smells good enough. But this can be dangerous—they sometimes decide to chew things they shouldn’t. Can guinea pigs choke? Yes, guinea pigs can choke.
Since they cannot vomit and thus cannot rid their bodies of unwanted objects consumed by mistake, if a piggie accidentally eats a piece of food that’s too big for its throat, it might not be able to breathe properly—and could even die.
To save your pig, you must be prepared for such a scenario and get as much information as possible. This article discusses the causes and prevention of guinea pig choking. So, let’s get started!
Can Guinea Pigs Choke?
Your pet guinea pig can choke because they lack a gag reflex and have weak throat muscles, preventing them from throwing up food that may have gone down the wrong way.
The absence of a gag reflex in pigs means that if they are choking, someone must help them. You should take food out of their mouths to prevent it from blocking the airway.
It would help if you were always careful when giving your guinea pig treats, fruits or other food. Always cut small pieces of fruits and vegetables, so they don’t choke on them. However, these rats can occasionally ingest things they are not allowed to, such as rubbish, bones, and other items that cause them to choke.
Additionally, if your pig appears to be choking, please contact your pet doctor immediately. Your pet doctor may advise you to inspect your guinea pig’s throat for food or other foreign things. In addition, you might consider showering your pig with hot water to allow it to breathe in the steam and relax its muscles to remove the impediment leading to choking.
Additionally, you should consult a veterinarian to avoid injuring your pet during choke rescue. Once the choke has been removed, it is advisable to get your pet examined by a veterinarian.
Signs of Choking in Guinea Pigs
If you observe any of the following symptoms in your pet guinea pig, immediately contact your veterinarian:
Symptoms of choking
- Standing with the head extended and an anxious expression
- Trouble inhaling
- Inability or refusal to eat and drink
- Blue ears, nose, gums, and tongue
- Loss of awareness
Because coughing and choking cause pets to exhale forcefully, it can sometimes be difficult for pet owners to tell the difference between them. When your pet is having difficulty inhaling, he’s likely to choke — not cough — so you should contact a veterinarian immediately if this happens.
Why does it sound like my guinea pig is choking?
A guinea pig choking sounds similar to a cat coughing up a hairball. Guinea pigs produce coughing and choking sounds as they suffocate. They may sound as though they are hiccupping or stifling.
It is helpful to recognize whether a cough or hiccup becomes something more serious. If your guinea pig is wheezing, consult your veterinarian. It could be breathing issues.
If your guinea pig is coughing or making gagging sounds, check to ensure nothing is stuck in its throat. You will quickly become familiar with all the sounds your guinea pig makes.
What Do I Do If My Guinea Pig Is Choking?
If your guinea pig is choking, it may cough up a hairball or gag on a small amount of food. It could indicate that your guinea pig has something stuck in its throat that cannot be removed. However, it may also be a sign of severe respiratory issues, in which case you will need to consult a veterinarian.
If your guinea pig’s airway is closed, you won’t have time to call a veterinarian. To avoid injuring your guinea pig, you must work quickly and carefully. With a pair of little tweezers, you can remove the thing on your own. It will typically be some hay or food. It would help if you exhibited gentleness.
If your guinea pig panics, keeping it still long enough to remove the thing with the tweezers may be challenging. Be careful you don’t damage your guinea pig. Shaking them while holding them upside down is the fastest and easiest solution.
You can avoid having to do all of this if you ensure that your guinea pig’s cage does not include any potentially choking-hazardous food, hay, or other objects. Regularly clean their cage and feed them only small amounts of food.
Why Is My Guinea Pig Gagging?
It is usual for guinea pigs to gag because unchewed food tends to become stuck in the back of their mouths. Your guinea pig will produce a gagging sound to expel food from its mouth.
Guinea pigs have teeth in the rear of their jaws that they utilize to masticate their meal into a thicker paste before digestion. This paste, which is stored in the back of their mouths, is created by their chewing food.
This can occasionally become trapped in their throats. However, it may also indicate a problem with the guinea pig’s back teeth. Visiting a veterinarian may be necessary if the condition persists. Another reason guinea pigs could gag is if they have something caught in their throats, such as food, hay, or a hairball. Whatever is in their throat, guinea pigs will gag or cough up.
Occasionally, when a huge object obstructs a person’s airway, they may begin to choke. Guinea pigs are unable to vomit food from their stomachs, unlike humans. They will gag and instead vomit up items. Sometimes guinea pigs appear to be vomiting, but they cough up a thick material from the back of their mouths. Don’t worry if your guinea pig occasionally produces gagging sounds.
How to Prevent Choking in Guinea Pigs
It would help if you kept your guinea pig safe from choking hazards. Here are some strategies to protect them:
Cut Fruits and Vegetables Smaller
Guinea Pigs should be given small pieces of fruits and vegetables rather than large chunks. Please do not give them thick stem (like carrots) vegetables because these can easily get stuck in the animal’s throat, leading to choking.
Carefully feed them with hay
It would help if you were careful when offering your pig larger chunks of hay. To avoid accidental choking, weed out any large pieces that may have made their way into the feed pile.
Serve smaller portions
Give your guinea pig smaller portions of food rather than a large meal. Guinea pigs sometimes get choke on their food when they eat too quickly.
Offer Water with Each Meal
Always provide your guinea pig with fresh water when you feed it. Guinea pigs can develop a dry mouth while eating if their mouths stay too long in an empty state, making them more likely to choke
Pigs’ Dental Care
Bad teeth make it difficult for guinea pigs to chew food, so they can easily choke or develop other gastrointestinal problems.
Examine for Choking Signs
Furthermore, check your guinea pig daily to ensure he is not choking. Symptoms of choking include a runny nose and gagging noises; troubled breathing is another sign the animal may have lodged in its food or water bowl.
The inability of pigs to clear their throats of food makes them more susceptible to choking than other animals. Avoid feeding your pigs whole fruits and vegetables; cut them into smaller pieces.
However, we have listed some methods for rescuing a choking pig. We hope that you find them helpful! However, after such an incident, it is important to consult a veterinarian to assess your pig’s health; veterinary assistance can also be sought if foreign objects become lodged in the pig’s throat.
Delbert Curtis is a senior writer at Petcosset, a leading online resource for pet care information. With over 10 years of experience in the pet industry, Delbert is passionate about helping pet owners provide the best care possible. He has written extensively on pet health, nutrition, training, and behavior. Delbert is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the pet industry to provide the most accurate and helpful information to Petcosset’s readers. Delbert enjoys spending time with his pets and exploring the great outdoors when he’s not writing.