There are a lot of different factors that come together to create a guinea pig’s life expectancy. Some guinea pigs live for only a few short months or years, while other pigs can live for years on end. Find out how long guinea pigs can live for when Dr. Jess answers, what is the life expectancy of a guinea pig?
Guinea Pig Basics:
A guinea pig is a type of pocket pet that resides in the cavie family of animals. There are many different types, shapes, and colors of guinea pigs, like the Texel guinea pig, that make great pets.
They are small animals that grow to a maximum of approximately 10-11 inches long, and can weigh up to 2.5 pounds as a healthy adult.
In captivity and with proper care it is quite common to see these pets live happily for many many years.
One of their main anatomical (body) “quirks” is that they are constantly needing to chew in order to file their teeth down, as their teeth are constantly erupting (growing longer and longer).
Another quirk is their inability to see well in the dark!
They are quite playful animals and love to socialize with the ones that they know and love.
They make great pets for responsible pet owners, and those living in small dwellings wanting a loveable pet that comes in a small package.
Guinea Pig Life Expectancy Factors:
There are many factors that come into play when talking about the length of a guinea pig’s life. Some of these factors you can control or try to, and others, you have no control over ever.
Some piggies will unfortunately live just a few months, while others will live on for over many years.
Some of the major factors that may affect your guinea pig’s life span include their genetics, their overall health, veterinary care, and quality of diet and management techniques.
Guinea Pig Life Expectancy:
Many sources will say that the average guinea pig will have a life expectancy somewhere between 5-7 years of age.
There are always going to be outliers to this life span debate.
In fact, some of the oldest guinea pigs on record were over 10 years old and the oldest guinea pig in the Guinness Book of World Records lived to be 14 years old!
How Old is My Guinea Pig in Human Years?
Once you know your guinea pig’s age (or age range), many pet owners want to know how old their pet is in human years.
Guinea Pig Age Groups Defined:
Another big component around guinea pig lifespans is how these pets are defined by their ages. In general, this is how I identify different age groups of piggies:
- up to 6-9 months.
- From birth to 6 months old, a baby guinea pig will be learning so many things about their world, and growing so so much. They will learn to become more and more independent during this stage.
- This is the best time to get your pet accustomed to your veterinarian and have their first checkup. Your vet can give any recommendations based off of their initial exam – that’s why this step is so important to your pet’s overall health.
- 9 months – 1.5 years of age.
- Your guinea pig will turn into a adolescent, meaning that they will continue to grow for some time, but will eventually reach their full adult size during this phase of life.
- Your pet will have many of their habits and quirks in place by the time this stage of life ends and they move on to mature adulthood.
#3- Adult/Mature Guinea Pigs:
- 1.5 – 4 years old.
- This is equivalent to early to midlife for your pet. They may tend to slow down a bit (even though they may still have bouts where they revert back to their baby behaviors espcially when playing).
- This is the time frame when many guinea pigs start to gain weight and develop other medical issues, such as heart and teeth health concerns.
- It is important to keep up with veterinary care through these enjoyable years.
#4- Senior Guinea Pigs:
- 4+ years old.
- Most guinea pigs will slow down and tend to sleep more and be less active.
- Diseases may arise during this time.
- Routine veterinary care is extremely important to help identify and treat many of these diseases.
Increasing a Guinea Pig Life Expectancy:
Now that we understand the factors that can influence your guinea pig’s lifespan, we can try and help your pet live their life to the fullest and longest.
Remember that some of the factors that can affect a guinea pig’s life expectancy include: diet, genetics, weight, environment, veterinary care, etc.
Some of these factors we can manipulate to help our guinea pigs potentially live longer.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Keep Your Guinea Pig Indoors: Keeping your pet indoors will also help decrease the chances of animal fights, some infections and potential diseases. This just means that they have protection inside and are monitored by their owners so that they stay safe from threats outside the home.
- High Quality Diets Only: One of the single biggest factors to the health of your pet is their diet that you offer to them. That is why it is extremely important to feed them a complete and balanced diet. That includes treats and fresh water too! Have a conversation with your vet as to what you should or need to feeding your pet before changing their diet and do it immediately if your guinea pig stops eating or drinking or has a hard time breathing.
- Medical / Veterinary Care: Everything from spaying and neutering, to routine vaccinations and other preventatives, oral care, and emergency care, will all likely be a part of keeping your dog around for longer than if veterinary care was not available to your pitbull.
Guinea Pig Life Span Summary:
There are so many factors that can affect the lifespan of your guinea pig.
There are things that you can do for your cavy that may help them live a healthier, longer life.
Contacting your veterinarian and discussing options about your pet’s lifespan and health is going to help you and your guinea pig with how to proceed through life in a healthy and positive way!
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.