I understand why my guinea pig is sneezing, and I apologize for the inconvenience. But how harmful can a sneeze really be? When I noticed my guinea pigs sneezing for the first time, it was my second thought: they had a cold. Let’s see what I took away from my visit with the veterinarian.
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Is it bad if my guinea pig sneezes?
Unless the sneeze is triggered by an allergen in the environment or simply by the dust from hay, for example, there is nothing to worry about.
Sneezing caused by respiratory diseases such as upper respiratory infection, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your guinea pigs.
An appropriately constructed first aid kit can always come in handy if a serious medical emergency occurs. Please refer to our guide on How to assemble the ideal first-aid kit for your guinea pig.
The next question that popped into my head was, “Why do guinea pigs do this in the first place?” and “What factors trigger this behavior?” Let’s take a look at what I discovered.
Why do guinea pigs sneeze?
Several factors can cause guinea pigs to sneeze, each with its own set of symptoms. Guinea pigs do not sneeze unless they are provoked to do so. So, if you notice your guinea pig sneezing, it is most likely due to one of the following causes:
- Upper Respiratory Infection, for example, is a respiratory disease.
- An allergic reaction to something in their environment. For example: dust, smoke, aroma, and so on.
- Nasal passages can become clogged with hay or food particles.
- Any obstruction of the nasal passages caused by another factor.
- Cleaning the fleece bedding with scented body care or washing liquid is recommended.
While sneezing due to allergens and hay is quite common, it should not be a source of concern for most people. Sneezing while suffering from a respiratory disease has the potential to be fatal.
Why is my guinea pig breathing fast?
Do guinea pigs sneeze a lot?
No, guinea pigs are not known to sneeze excessively. The presence of allergens in the living environment causes sneezing in guinea pigs on a regular basis.
Sneezing on a regular basis, on the other hand, could be a sign of a respiratory disease such as Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) or pneumonia.
You should also look for other signs and symptoms of disease in order to determine the cause and seek treatment.
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How many times a day should a guinea pig sneeze?
If your guinea pigs sneeze only once or twice a day, you can safely ignore their sneezing. A respiratory infection, on the other hand, could be caused by frequent sneezing in the presence of other symptoms.
Sneezing in guinea pigs can be prevented by following a few simple steps. These will be discussed in greater detail later in the article.
Should I be worried if my guinea pig is sneezing?
An occasional sneeze in your guinea pigs should not be a cause for concern for you or your veterinarian.
If, on the other hand, you notice them sneezing on a regular basis, you may need to look into the matter further to determine the source of the problem.
They may experience nasal irritation and sneezing when hay or food particles enter their nasal passageway.
However, it is possible that it is caused by a serious health issue, such as a respiratory infection, in some cases.
Guinea Pig Illnesses, Part 2: Urinary Infection (Upper Respiratory Infection)
It is possible that you will need to investigate other symptoms in order to determine why your guinea pig is sneezing and how bad it can be for your guinea pigs.
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Guinea pig sneezing and running nose and crusty eyes
A runny nose, crusty eyes, and sneezing in your guinea pig can all be signs of an upper respiratory infection in your pet (URI).
I would advise you to keep an eye out for additional symptoms such as a refusal to eat or drink, labored breathing, discharge from the eyes or nose, lethargy, and so on.
If you experience any of these symptoms in conjunction with a sneeze, the likelihood of contracting URI is extremely high.
It would be wise to take your pet to the veterinarian right away. URI can be fatal within a day or two of onset, and as a result, it can be extremely detrimental to your guinea pig’s health.
Guinea pig sneezing and coughing
Sneezing and coughing in guinea pigs is also a possible symptom of an upper respiratory infection in these animals.
They are not typically susceptible to catching a cold, so if you notice them sneezing and coughing, it is likely that they are suffering from URI.
Sneezing and coughing in guinea pigs can be caused by pneumonia in some cases, but not always.
If your guinea pig has started coughing, it would be best to take him to the vet as soon as possible. The presence of coughing in guinea pigs is usually a sign of a serious illness.
Guinea pig sneezes when eating hay
Sneezing when guinea pigs are eating hay is usually not a major source of concern for them.
When the grass is dusty, they sneeze a lot, and the dust from the hay irritates their noses even further. This is usually the case when you introduce a new brand of hay to your guinea pigs or when you serve them dusty hay.
However, keep in mind that prolonged exposure to this type of dust can result in severe respiratory diseases in guinea pigs, which can be fatal.
Guinea pig sneezing but no other symptoms
Sneezing in guinea pigs can be triggered by a variety of different factors. Sneezing can be triggered by an allergen in the home environment, dust, foreign particles in the nasal passage such as food leftovers, hay, or a severe respiratory infection such as upper respiratory infection (URI).
However, because your guinea pig is not displaying any other symptoms, it is possible that the problem is caused by an allergen in the environment.
Keeping their living environment healthy and clean (avoid pine or wood shaving bedding) as well as providing excellent quality hay can help prevent this from happening to them.
It is recommended that you keep a close eye on your guinea pig for any other signs of illness, as guinea pigs are excellent at concealing disease.
They have the ability to suppress the symptoms for an extended period of time, allowing the condition to progress to a critical stage by the time you become aware of it. You should also consult a veterinarian as soon as you notice that your pet’s nose is constantly running with mucus or sneezing.
In some cases, the aroma of essential oils or scented candles can also be the cause, which is something we don’t usually consider. More information can be found in our in-depth guide: Is it possible for essential oils to cause respiratory problems in guinea pigs?
Guinea pig sneezing blood
Sneezing blood in guinea pigs is a very rare occurrence. If there is a small amount of blood dripping from their nostrils, it could be due to hay being poked into their nostrils.
You should visit your veterinarian as soon as you notice severe nose bleeding that has not stopped despite your efforts to clean it or that has started bleeding again after a short period of time.
The presence of severe nose bleeds indicates that something is unquestionably wrong with your guinea pigs. It is also important to ensure that your guinea pigs do not inhale the blood, as this can result in pneumonia and other health issues in the animals.
How can I stop my guinea pigs from sneezing?
If you notice your guinea pig sneezing every now and then, this should not be cause for concern. Sneezing frequently, on the other hand, can be a warning sign.
Look for other signs and symptoms to determine the source of your sneezing. Sneezing in guinea pigs can be avoided if you adhere to a few simple rules and procedures.
Guinea pigs should be litter trained, with regular spot cleaning and a thorough deep clean every week to prevent waste buildup in the cage. It is frequently observed that waste buildup can increase ammonia levels in the surrounding air, causing guinea pigs to become allergic and sneeze, as well as other symptoms.
It is also possible that the location of your guinea pig’s cage will be an issue. This can be exacerbated if you have placed the cage in an area with poor ventilation and airflow, or if there is smoke coming from your kitchen or fireplace, which can be harmful to your guinea pigs.
Always ensure that the cage is placed in a well-ventilated area away from smoke and fumes emanating from the cooking area.
Always use high-quality bedding in your guinea pig’s cage to ensure that he is comfortable. I prefer guinea dad fleece liner because it is super absorbent, odorless, and prevents germs from building up in the liner. You can also use other types of bedding, such as Carefresh paper bedding, if you prefer.
Another important factor to consider is the provision of high-quality hay for animals. Hay dust allergy is common in both guinea pigs and humans, and it is caused by pollen. The use of dusty hay for a prolonged period of time can cause respiratory diseases in guinea pigs. Consequently, I would recommend using high-quality hay such as Oxbow Hay and Small Pet Select Hay for your animals.
If the sneezing persists for an extended period of time or if you notice any other signs of disease in your guinea pigs, you should consult a veterinarian.
Sources: CARING FOR YOUR GUINEA PIG, RESPIRATORY INFECTION, Dyspnea in guinea pigs, Viral Pneumonia in Guinea Pigs, Respiratory Bacterial Disease in Guinea Pigs, Mechanics of Respiration in Unanesthetized Guinea Pigs