How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live On Average? (Must Read!)

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For most pet owners, pets are like a part of their family. And by all means, they want to be with them for as long as possible. 

If you’re planning to have guinea pigs as pets, it’s wise to know how long you can be with them. In case you’re wondering, how long do guinea pigs live on average?

Fortunately, the average lifespan of guinea pigs is between 5 to 8 years compared to other small animals like hamsters.

Although certain factors such as extra care and a healthy lifestyle can make them live longer. 

Factors like illnesses and accidents may also cause a decrease in their lifespan. Regardless, guinea pigs are a perfect choice if you’re planning to buy small pets that live long!

Habitat is also one of the factors that affect your cavies’ lifespan. 

Come to think of it, how long do guinea pigs live in the wild?

Keep on reading below…

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live On Average In The Wild?

Commonly, wild guinea pigs can live between one to four years on average.

They frequently enjoy the freedom of moving from one place to the other because their living environment is large.

Also, these cavies in the wild eat whatever they want, not what they are fed with. Sometimes, they feed on hay, leaves, grass, and even clovers, which serve as a treat to them.

In addition, these wild cavies move around in small groups as playmates thereby preventing boredom.

Despite the benefits associated with living in the wild, the guinea pigs usually live in fear of predators. 

They are constantly exposed to the risk of attacks by larger animals like wolves, wild cats, owls, and snakes.

Even in some parts of the world today, man uses these small animals for food and medical purposes. For this main reason, the wild cavies do not live as long as their domestic mates.

Although the guinea pig we are familiar with no longer exists in the wild, a different species now live in some parts of South America.

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live Indoors?

A Guinea Pig In An Indoor Cage

On average, guinea pigs can live indoors for up to 8 years. 

In a situation whereby the pet owner takes extraordinary care of them, then indoor cavies can live up to 9 or 10 years.

According to the Guinness World Record in 2006, Snowball was named as the oldest guinea pig in the world. 

He died in February 1979 at age 14 years and 10.5 months. This is quite an impressive lifespan for a small animal.

But understand that not all cavies can live up to the age of Snowball. Still, it doesn’t mean that your small pets cannot spend a quality number of years on earth.

Unlike the wild ones, indoor guinea pigs have the advantage of being protected in their enclosures. Predators hardly make their way into their cages thereby ensuring they live longer lives.

Regardless, you must take some important steps to keep these tiny pets happy and healthy throughout their lives.

How To Keep Your Guinea Pigs To Live Longer

Ensuring your guinea pigs live longer is not an easy job. That’s because they are small animals that can easily fall sick or get hurt in their environment. 

But by paying close attention to their health and general wellness, you can achieve this goal.

That said, here are 8 ways to help your guinea pigs live longer:

1. Feed them Healthy Diets Only

Hay is the most important diet for guinea pigs and so you must feed them with it every day. Apart from being a rich source of fiber, constantly chewing hay helps to wear down these cavies’ teeth growth.

Fruits like oranges, pineapple, bananas, and apples are also good for guinea pigs’ health.

They are rich in vitamin C which is beneficial for these tiny animals because they cannot produce it. 

However, feed your guinea pigs only a small quantity of fruits at a time because these diets most times contain excess sugar. And too much sugar can cause stomach problems like diarrhea in cavies.

Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and other vegetables are also perfect for guinea pigs.

They contain vitamins and minerals that can prevent diseases in your small pets. 

But avoid serving them too many veggies at a time; a little quantity once a while is better and healthier.

2. Provide a Large and Comfortable Cage

When planning to buy a cage for your guinea pigs, consider comfort. They should be able to run around in their enclosures as a form of exercise to keep fit. 

Also, the cage should be easy to clean and contain a little “private” space where your cavies can hide or rest. Sometimes, a cavy may want to be alone in a corner without being disturbed.

In addition, their cage must be in a place with moderate temperatures. Guinea pigs do not live well in habitats with too much heat or cold. 

Most importantly, ensure you get a large living environment for the small pets. This will ensure the guinea pigs live peacefully with one another.

3. Get Toys For Them

A Guinea Pig With His Toy

One remarkable thing about guinea pigs is that they are smart, little creatures. But they need objects like toys for mental stimulation and to remain active.

Buy chewable toys for them to wear their teeth growth down. Also, buy other toys for them to play with or simply make a few at home.

Just make sure you don’t use any harmful material in making the toys to prevent harming your guinea pigs.

4. Keep More Than One Cavy In An Enclosure

Avoid keeping just a single cavy in a cage because he’ll get lonely in the long run. Naturally, guinea pigs are social creatures that love living in small groups to prevent feeling bored.

Bear in mind that boredom in cavies can lead to stress and aggressive behaviors. Therefore always keep at least three to four guinea pigs in a large cage as playmates.

However, ensure you know the right way to combine the pets for living together to prevent constant fights.

5. Avoid Keeping Mature Males And Females Together 

Except for mating purposes, do not keep sexually mature male and female guinea pigs together. 

Female guinea pigs get pregnant easily even when they are not fully mature to have babies. As a result of this, serious problems always arise during delivery which may lead to death.

To ensure your female cavies live long, consult your vet before allowing them to mate. Also, separate them from adult males once they are sexually mature. 

6. Maintain Good Hygiene

Regularly cleaning your guinea pigs’ living environments will ensure they don’t fall sick all the time. Even if you have a busy schedule, always create time to brush, wash, and disinfect your pets’ cages.

Besides, their hygiene matters when trying to prevent diseases and infections. Always remember to brush your guinea pigs’ furs, and trim their nails regularly. 

Bathing your cavies is also a great idea, but it shouldn’t be regular to prevent them from having colds and skin infections. 

Since skin differs from a guinea pig to another, ask your vet about the number of times to bathe the pets yearly.

7. Always Visit The Vet For Regular Check-Ups

Taking your guinea pigs to the vet only when they are sick is not a great idea. Paying a regular visit with your guinea pigs to the vet is important for the pets’ general wellness.

While at the vet clinic, the animal doctor will check for signs of illnesses, discomfort, and injuries. Treatment will start immediately if unpleasant symptoms are found.

Once you notice some symptoms in your guinea pigs, then something is wrong. Speak with your vet as fast as possible.

Here are some of the signs that your cavy is sick:

  • Smells badly 
  • Overweight 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Unusually quiet. 

In addition, never give your sick cavy medicines without consulting a vet. Not only can the symptoms become worse, but the pets may also die.

8. Give Them Attention

Create time out of your busy schedule to play with your guinea pigs. They love being held gently by the people they are familiar with. 

Feel free to take your cavies out on a cool day and allow them to play around in a grassy environment. 

However, ensure there are no predators around and open space for them to escape.

Regularly playing with your small pets helps to create a bond with them and improves their mental ability.


How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live On Average Without Hay?

3 Guinea Pigs Eating Hay

Your guinea pigs can go without hay for 24 hours but not more than that before they die. 

Hay contains fiber, which helps digestion in cavies. This diet also keeps the guinea pigs’ teeth growth in check as the texture is perfect for chewing.

If these small animals don’t eat hay regularly, they will have digestive problems which may result in bladder stones and serious pains. Also, their teeth will continue to grow longer and cause mouth sores and loss of appetite.

So hay is more than just a diet to guinea pigs; it’s a “lifesaver” to them.

Read Our Full Guide: How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Hay?

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live On Average Without Water?

Usually, healthy guinea pigs can live without water for up to 24 hours at most. If you don’t give them water after this period, the animals may experience dehydration and organ failure. 

But after 6 hours, you’ll start noticing a sign of weakness in them.

Water is important for all living creatures, including guinea pigs. No matter the situation, never deny the small creatures from having access to it.

How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live On Average Without Food?

On average,  guinea pigs can live around 6 to 8 hours without food but not more than 24 hours.

If you don’t feed them as early as possible, their intestines can get blocked thereby resulting in serious problems.

Just like water is important for guinea pigs, food is also major for them. 

Consider keeping the pets with close friends and family if you won’t be around for a long time. And if this is not possible, provide enough food and water for them pending the time you get back.

Final Thoughts

On average, the lifespan of guinea pigs in captivity is between 5 to 8 years. On the other hand, the average lifespan of cavies in the wild is between 1 to 4 years. 

However, factors like living environment, extra care, and diets determine whether the small animals’ lifespan will increase or decrease.

Wild guinea pigs are at risk of large predators and commonly have an average lifespan of one to four years.

Finally, healthy diets, a comfortable cage, good hygiene, and regular check-ups play a key role in guinea pigs’ lifespan.

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