Why do guinea pigs sneeze? Just like us humans, there could be several reasons for guinea pig’s sneezing.
Commonly, there is something in their system, like dust, for example, that needs to be barred.
Sneezing is a natural means of their body to keep the lungs free from debris that irritates.
Most often than not, sneezing is harmless and a natural part of the behavior of guinea pigs. But sometimes, it might lead to something more severe. For instance, it can suggest a respiratory infection. You will need a vet in such cases.
My pet thumper often sneezes when he sniffs dust. At first, I was so worried, but I realized that I also have the same reaction to dust. And it is normal!
So what I do is that I ensure that I clean his space regularly to get rid of the dust. (please read here how much space do Guinea pig need)
Yes, we cannot get rid of all of it, but I wanted to lessen his exposure to dust as much as possible.
However, as I have said earlier, dust is not the only reason for a guinea pig’s sneezing.
To know more about the underlying relationship of sneezing to guinea pigs, read until the end of this post.
What Is A Sneeze?
Sneezing is a manifestation of the defense system of the body. It usually occurs when the nasal mucosa gets irritated.
In such a case, the body resolves to expel the air from the lungs immediately. So if you notice, we tend to sneeze every time we breathe pepper or dust.
For the most part, humans cannot control sneezing. This is also true among animals.
For our guinea pigs, sneezing is very similar to human sneezes. It tends to occur when we are sick or when we sniff dust, among other reasons.
And it does not always mean that you need to visit the vet.
Should You Worry If Your Guinea Pigs Sneeze?
If you are a guinea pig owner for quite some time now, you probably have realized already that respiratory problems are not uncommon among them.
And frequent sneezing is typically a sign of allergy or infection among guinea pigs.
In mild cases, an infection, particularly in the upper respiratory system, might only cause a common cold.
But in the worst cases, the infection can spread towards the lower respiratory system; this can lead to pneumonia.
Although the common cold is not that dangerous, you should not take this lightly. That is because it can lead to severe disease in a few days if not given prompt attention.
So when you feel that your pets are not well, you have to pay closer attention to them.
Also, take note that guinea pigs are one of the most sensitive creatures. Abrupt changes in the weather can result in infections.
However, if the sneezing is only due to some allergen or dust, you won’t have to be concerned that much.
But in such a case, you need to monitor your little furry friend. It is advisable to seek medical help if the sneezing continues.
How Often Do Guinea Pigs Sneeze?
This varies among guinea pigs, depending on their environment, the season, and the litter that they use.
Typically, it could be a couple of times daily. In such a case, it is signifying that there is nothing wrong with your pet, and nothing is needed to be done. (please read here why did my Guinea pig die)
As mentioned earlier, dust can usually cause sneezing, and you cannot do anything to eradicate it.
But if your pet sneezes more frequently, it can indicate that it has been potentially exposed to allergens.
So what you need to do is to investigate the environment as well as the guinea pig’s bedding closely.
Ultimately, if they are just sneezing naturally without other symptoms accompanying it, there is nothing concerned.
But when you have doubts, it would be best to ask for advice from a professional.
Reasons For Frequent Sneezing In Guinea Pigs
Why do guinea pigs sneeze?
The bacterial infection is the primary reason for the majority of respiratory problems. This is commonly due to the spread of the bacteria into the non-infected guinea pigs from the infected ones.
Other than that, losing immunity can also be another factor that can cause respiratory issues among guinea pigs.
If you ask what causes the loss of immunity, then it can either be due to improper diet or increased stress.
Reduced immunity can also result in the development of body infection.
Guinea pigs tend to get sick easily if the foods that you serve them lack vitamin C.
So make sure that there is a sufficient amount of this particular vitamin in their diet.
Apart from that, it would help if you also kept their cage clean and hygienic. Improper bedding can also bring troubles to your pet.
Also, new surgery and neutering might as well affect the functioning of their respiratory system.
Symptoms Of Respiratory Infection
If you notice symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and heavy breathing in your guinea pigs along with sneezing, then you might need to see a vet as soon as possible.
That is because what I have just mentioned are the most common symptoms of respiratory infection in guinea pigs.
Much more, if you noticed that they have discharge from the nose or eyes, and producing crackling sounds, then it might confirm that issue right away. Also, check if their eyes are semi-closed. (please read here why do Guinea pig have red eyes)
If all of these symptoms are displayed by your pet, again, you need to see the vet right away.
Upper respiratory infection can be fatal.
On the contrary, if your pet does not have any of the symptoms above, then the sneezing might be due to an allergy to something from around the house.
Here are some of the things that can cause an allergic reaction to guinea pigs:
Scented products like perfumes and pine bedding, aspen bedding, cleaning products, and aerosols or air fresheners.
The washing detergent or liquid you use in cleaning the fabrics in their space or handling them can also be another reason.
As such, you have to try replacing those things progressively for several weeks to see which among them is the culprit.
In my case, it took me five variants of washing detergents before I found something that does not irritate Thumper.
Why do guinea pigs sneeze? Sneezing is usual for guinea pigs.
Just like humans, this is the reaction of their body to defend them.
And there could be several reasons for this, including dust, for example, or any other small debris that they might have breathed.
However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms mentioned above, it suggests respiratory infection, which is considered severe and needs immediate action from the experts.
So in such a case, you need to visit the vet immediately.
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.