Last Modified

March 11, 2023 by Umair Shahid


Guinea pigs have a lot of amazing qualities. One is their lifespan. Their lifespan is four to eight years in captivity. One to four years is the lifespan of a Guinea pig in the wild.

If you want to buy a pet that gives you a long-term commitment then I would recommend you to buy a guinea pig.

How long do guinea pigs live

Guinea pigs can live up to ten years. I have had a Cuy breed pig that only lived for a year. It depends upon their lifestyle and genetic factors.

Furthermore, my two piggies recently passed away due to ear infections and pneumonia.

 In my current muddle, I have a six months old, five years old, and eight years old pig.

Every breed has its specificity. Like satin, the breed has the satin syndrome. Texel breed species are prone to cancer.

 Cuy’s species grows faster but does not live very long.

Potatoes, seeds, chocolates, garlic, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, etc should be avoided. These foods can be led to extremely unhealthy conditions.

Many diseases can affect guinea pigs’ health. Dirty surroundings, improper diet, and loneliness can shorten your pet’s lifespan.

In addition to this, deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy in a guinea pig. Scurvy in young guinea pigs can be fatal.

In this article, I will tell you how can you increase the lifespan of your pet by changing certain things.

Moreover, by keeping in view certain factors your pet can lead a healthy life.

Furthermore, I have explained the factors that tell you that now your pet is on his last breaths.

These factors include improper bowel movements, eye problems, lethargic pets, etc.

Life expectancy

The average lifespan of a Guinea pig in captivity is four to eight years. However, with proper care, their age can reach up to ten years.

In wild, it is very difficult for them to survive. Their average lifespan in the wild is between one to four years. They die in wild because of certain diseases.

Moreover, they can die out because of starvation or predation.

These small animals have a longer lifespan than certain other small pets. These include hamsters, Rabbits, etc.

Their average lifespan is eight years but through pampering, these healthy pets can live up to ten years.

Their lifespan is shorter than dogs and cats. However, they are suitable if you want small pet animals, especially for children.

Some people say that their lifespan is the result of their small size. As larger mammals tend to live longer than smaller mammals.

So, the guinea pig is an excellent choice. It is a small pet animal with a longer lifespan.

If you are ready for a commitment for at least half a decade, then go for a guinea pig.

If you want to buy a guinea pig but with a short-term commitment. Then here is the solution to your problem, buy an older guinea pig.

If you are an emotional person and didn’t want to get separated from your pet. Then, from day one, you must take proper care of your pet.

As a result, the longer lifespan of your piggie will be your reward.

Ways to increase the lifespan

Just like human beings, the lifespan of a Guinea pig is partly dependent on genetic factors and partly on the environment.

You can take the following steps to help your piggie to lead a happy, healthy, and long life

The cage should be cleaned

The foremost priority should be the hygienic measures. Your pig’s living space should be neat and clean.

They eat, sleep, and urinate in the same place. So, their bedding should be changed and cleaned regularly.

 Moreover, their cage and its wires should also be clean. Otherwise, they will suffer from several contagious diseases.

Groom your pig regularly

Some breeds of Guinea pigs have very long fur. In summer, this thick fur can cause a number is skin diseases.

So their grooming should be done weekly to avoid matted fur.

In addition to this, metal made comb should be used properly to remove the tangles and snarls.

Suitable conditions

Guinea pig lives in cage. Only family members should be allowed to open the cage.

New people can frighten your pet thus stressing them out. If you have other pets along with your guinea pig, then it’s crucial to keep them together.

Dogs are known to kill these small creatures. So, provide them with a comfortable and secure environment inside and outside the cage.

This will help your pet to live long and happy.

Healthy diet

In the natural habitat of Guinea pigs, they eat a lot of healthy and fresh diet. So, in captivity, a fresh diet is included in their most demanded item.

As a pet owner, the foremost priority in caring and management should be the continuous supply of a fresh diet.

Worried about expensive food items? Not at all. Most of the items which they require are present in a plentiful amount at home.

You can serve them kale, spinach, and lettuce. Moreover, carrots, tomatoes, peas, bell peppers, and broccoli are good for them.

Just like humans, green vegetables are very beneficial for guinea pigs too. They love eating green foods.

They chew them out when fresh. These vegetables provide a lot of vitamins and minerals to guinea pigs.

You can also give them fruits. But keep in mind that fruit contains a lot of sugar. Give them fruit in the form of small bites with a lot of hay and vegetables.

Certain foods listed below should be avoided at any cost. Otherwise, you will risk your pet’s health.

These foods include potatoes, seeds, chocolates, garlic, and cabbage. In addition to this, meat, mushrooms, avocado, dairy products, and iceberg lettuce should also be avoided.


Guinea pigs are social animals. Without interaction, they can get stressed resulting in a shorter lifespan.

So, it is recommended to always buy a pair of Guinea pigs. They require a lot of interaction daily to spend a healthy and happy life.

These social creatures cannot thrive when they are alone.

 Changing the environment or even changing the place of a cage can be stressful for your pet.

Keeping things constant and adding a friend to their environment will make them happy and thus healthy life.

Living alone in a cage is not fun at all. Even if you add toys, it doesn’t replace the need for a companion.

Long-term isolation can even lead to the death of your little guinea pig. Moreover, the partner guinea is necessary for a busy pet owner.

Proper bedding

Proper is necessary for a healthy guinea. If you have kept more than one pig in a cage, then you should be more committed to their cleanliness.

The bedding should be of absorbent material. It makes you pig dry and comfy in the environment.

The moist surroundings can make your pet anxious and uncomfortable. In addition to this, it can host several issues.

It will become a good breeding area for several parasites. Fungus and bacteria will also start growing.

So different pathogenic organisms will be ready to attack your pet.

Chewing material

In the wild, it is not uncommon that guinea pigs constantly chew something. This requirement is the same in pet guineas.

You have to provide them with straws or small wooden blocks to Grind down their teeth.

If their teeth don’t grind down, it can be led to extreme difficulty in eating.

As a result, their teeth will grow long resulting in uncomfortableness. This can lead your pet to starve and die.

Now chew toys are also available and are a better option for small rodents. Thus, this can also increase their lifespan.

Small mammals veterinarian

Like other living beings, guinea pigs can also get sick or injured. So, you should always Find a specialist vet for consultation.

See also  Are Guinea Pigs Nocturnal? (Find Out!)

The standard vets may not know these small exotic pets. Don’t forget their regular check-ups too.

Even if you don’t see any illness, a regular check-up is important for their well-being.

 Because if there is something wrong, you can start treatment immediately.

Tips for caring

Guinea pigs require a lot of experience. Unlike hamsters, they don’t run on wheels.

But you have to give them time outside the cage so that they can run around and explore.

It will also stretch their leg and body muscles. Moreover, it will help your pet to socialize and will in turn improve your pet’s health.

The right diet is also important for the prevention of illnesses and obesity. Dry pellets are also included in their diet.

Common illnesses

Certain diseases can attack your pet. Finding out them in advance and treating them immediately can save your pet’s life.

These diseases include


Older guinea pigs are prone to cancer and other diseases as well. Spot and treat the unusual lumps and bumps.

If you feel any lumps on the abdomen or skin, immediately tell your pet’s vet. Moreover, don’t hesitate to tell anything not ordinary to your pet’s doctor.


Sometimes guinea pigs get sores at the bottom of their feet. This can be because of a dirty cage and improper wire enclosures.

This is called bumblefoot. In this case, you have to treat your piggie with antibiotics.

 Moreover, depending upon the condition you have to readjust your pet’s enclosure.

Digestive problems

Guinea pigs have a very sensitive digestive system. If the bacteria in their gut gets out of balance, they may get diarrhea.


Unlike other rodents, guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C. They are completely dependent upon their diet for vitamin C.

If your pet starts to shed, is reluctant to move, or develops diarrhea. Then he may be suffering from vitamin C deficiency and will develop scurvy.

Signs that your pet is living his last days

No one wants to see their pet dying. But it is the sad reality that every living shall taste death.

So, it is better to know the signs rather than see your pet lying dead inside the cage. Read it more carefully if you are the owner of an old guinea.

Poor appetite

Typically, guinea pigs love to eat. Under normal circumstances, you will always find them eating out something.

But all of a sudden if your pet has stopped eating, then there is something wrong.

 Guinea pigs stop eating due to poor health and can die out due to starvation.

Eye problems

If you have noticed any gunk around the eyes of your pet. Then most probably your pet is suffering from an eye infection.

It can be because of the lack of proper care. Excess ammonia on the bedding can cause eye infections and can be fatal.

Guinea doesn’t look energetic

Guinea pigs are very active and smart. They are not standstill creatures. They enjoy moving and jumping.

If your pet is lethargic, then it is not okay. This seems that they lack energy and it can get worse.

Looks messy

If your little pet doesn’t groom at all, then something is wrong. Normally, guinea pigs love grooming.

Once they stop this, it means something is wrong, and they might have developed a skin disease.

Improper bowel movements

Guinea pigs are eating lovers. They frequently eat, drink and experience bowel movements.

Lack of appetite can also be because of improper bowel movements.

Note the color of urine of your pet. If it is reddish-brown and has traces of blood then it is an alarming sign.


Q1 What guinea pig breed has the longest lifespan?

Peruvians, also called shelties live the longest lives. They have an average lifespan of twelve to fourteen years.

On the other hand, hairless guinea pigs have the shortest lifespan of three to five years.

It is difficult to determine the lifespan of Guinea pigs. However, you can have a clue by looking at their feet. Old guinea pigs have rolled toes.

Q2 What is the most common cause of death in guinea pigs?

Pneumonia is considered the leading cause of death in guinea pigs. Pneumonia is mostly caused by bacterial infections.

The symptoms of pneumonia include wheezing, difficulty in breathing, weight loss, and reddish eyes.

Q3 Do guinea pigs get lonely when their partner dies?

Sadly, if your guinea pig dies leave the other one alone. The alive one will be stressed and sad. He will need a companion.

If there is only one piggie remaining, then consider buying a companion for him. If there is more than one left in the cage, then you can skip adopting a new one.

Q4 At what age guinea pig is considered old?

Guinea pig is considered old after five years of age. Senior guinea pigs need special care and attention. Your senior guinea pig needs a check-up at least yearly by a qualified and experienced veterinarian.

Once they start getting old, provide them healthy diet and supplements for the prevention of diseases.


 The average lifespan of a Guinea pig in captivity is four to eight years.

The average lifespan of Guinea pigs in the wild is one to four years. As a pet owner, you can increase the lifespan of your pet by providing the best possible care.

The lifespan of the Guinea pig depends upon genetic factors as well as the environment.

If you provide proper care it can live up to ten years. Certain breeds are prone to different diseases.

The satin breed is prone to satin syndrome. Texel breed is prone to cancer. Buy breed is famous for its large size but it doesn’t live very long.

I have a muddle of piggies that includes six months old, five years old, and eight years old pigs.

Guinea pigs are a long-term commitment and are small creatures. If you want a guinea pig but with a short-term commitment. Then I would recommend you to go for an old guinea.

There are many ways through which you can improve the lifestyle and lifespan of your pet.

The most important thing is cleanliness. They eat, sleep and urinate at the same place. So, their bedding should be changed properly.

Otherwise, they will suffer from contagious diseases. Moreover, you have to provide suitable conditions, a proper diet, and proper bedding.

Furthermore, you have to provide them with chewing material.

Always buy a pair of Guinea pigs. Otherwise, a single pig may die out of loneliness. A guinea with a companion is a happy pig.

Grooming your pig on weekly basis is also important.

Furthermore, I have mentioned the common illnesses that a guinea can suffer from. These include tumors which mostly affect old pigs.

 Bumblefoot is also a disease in which guinea develops sore feet due to dirty cages.

Digestive problems are also common in guinea pigs because they have a sensitive digestive system.

Scurvy also develops in guinea pigs due to deficiency in vitamin C. These pigs don’t form their own vitamin C.

I have mentioned the signs of a dying guinea pig.

These signs include loss of appetite, eye problems, messy looks, improper bowel movements, and lethargic pets.

Moreover, I would recommend you to the go-to veterinarian for a routine check-up of your pet.

Even if you see no signs of illness still you should visit the vet.

 This is because if your vet notices something wrong, you can start the treatment immediately.

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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