Loss of Appetite in Guinea Pigs: Causes and Treatment

Do you have a guinea pig at home and find out that he does not want to eat anything? It might be confusing for you. However, don’t worry too much as this article will tell you everything you need to know about it, including the causes and the possible treatment you can do.

A guinea pig might have partial loss of appetite or we call it as inappetence or does not want to eat altogether as we call anorexia. Anorexia is commonly caused by several forms of infections, while inappetence is mostly caused by manifestation of several diseases and disorders.

There are some conditions triggering inappetence, such as lack of fresh water supply, unable to chew the food properly and extreme temperature. Change in diet and environment also stimulate this condition.

So, let’s see why your guinea pig doesn’t want to eat and the treatment you can do to overcome it.

Why Doesn’t My Guinea Pig Want to Eat?

There are some underlying causes telling you why your guinea pig does not want to eat. Here are the following causes:

  1. stress
  2. poisoning
  3. loss of cage mate
  4. infections (bacterial, viral and parasitic)
  5. surgical procedure
  6. changes in dietary – either the food is too hard  or unpalatable food or even a poorly designed diet
  7. changes in environment
  8. extreme temperature
  9. lack of fresh water supply
  10. malocclusion of teeth (under-bite or overbite)
  11. ketosis – a condition when the liver produces too much digestive byproducts
  12. loss of smell
  13. an aggressive cage mate that prevents other eating
  14. obesity
  15. metabolic disorders, such as vitamin C deficiency or renal failure

From those causes of loss of appetite in guinea pigs, the most common causes are infections or illness, malocclusion, drugs intolerance, and sometimes the loss of a cage mate. The causes can be mentally or physically.

One of the most common causes is malocclusion or problem related with the teeth. That’s why it is important to have dental examinations. If the case is anorexia, then you should bring your guinea pig to have his teeth checked.

Symptoms of Appetite Loss in Guinea Pig

Though the most common symptom is you never see your guinea pig wants to eat, there are some other symptoms you can observe. Here are the other common symptoms of appetite loss in guinea pig:

  1. weight loss
  2. lethargy – your guinea pig doesn’t have enough energy to move and do some things. He will seem to appear weak.
  3. depression
  4. laid out water and food – the food and water are untouched
  5. loss of elasticity in its skin
  6. rough and messy hair

If your guinea pig doesn’t want to eat because of an infection, then he might have additional symptoms, such as diarrhea or even fever. If malocclusion is the cause, then you will notice the misaligned teeth that become the factor of loss appetite in guinea pigs.

How to Treat a Guinea Pig that Doesn’t Want to Eat?

Treatment of guinea pig that doesn’t want to eat can be simply done by feed him. There are two ways you can do to feed your guinea pig to eat while he doesn’t want to eat:

  • Encourage Him to Eat

Dark, moist greens might give your guinea pig temptation to eat. The good examples of dark and moist green you can feed to him are cilantro, lettuce, parsley, tops of carrots, and so on. You should feed him a top-quality grass hay along with the small amount of fresh pellets. Refer to these best veggies to maintain guinea pig nutrition.

Then, you can also remove all the normal bedding and replace it with hay. It is considered as a good strategy to let your guinea pig to eat again. You can consider other great ideas for your guinea piggy bedding.

They are comfortable enough for your guinea pig. Avoid using soiled hay and give fresh hay instead. Make sure to clean the entire cage too with these ways to clean the cage of guinea pig.

  • Provide a Good Quality of Water

Your guinea pig needs water around 2/3 cup of water per lb body weight every day. This amount of water includes the water in its food too.

Smaller amount of water is more important than none. Make sure you keep your guinea pig stay hydrated.

  • Hand Feeding

Hand feeding is worth trying, but make sure you have consulted with your vet about this. Your vet will tell you the recommendation of the food you can feed to your guinea pig and provide a syringe as well.

Wrap your guinea pig in a towel and put him on a hard surface. Then, direct the tip of the syringe to his mouth. Once the syringe is completely in, press down the plunger slowly and let your guinea pig to shallow the food.

Regarding to guinea pig feeding, you might need some ideas about it, such as foods we must avoid to give guinea pig and best fruit for guinea pig: a guide of feeding.