Have you ever wondered if Guinea Pigs can get hiccups?
Believe it or not, guinea pigs can and do get hiccups from time to time!
But do you know why? And more importantly, is there anything you can do to help them get rid of them?
It can be worrying when you first hear your Guinea Pig hiccup, it is very common. In fact Guinea pigs are especially susceptible to hiccups, it also looks very cute.
Below ill go through the causes and how to prevent and treat Guinea Pig Hiccups.
Now its important to know whether or not you should be concerned about your Guinea Pigs getting hiccups.
If they do get them over a short period of time and go within a few minutes, then generally there is nothing to worry about. (Although keep an eye on them)
Getting hiccups too often or lasting for awhile could be connected to some conditions to do with their lungs or digestion, although this is not very common.
What is a Hiccup?
As mentioned before, it can be very common for Guinea Pigs to get hiccups. More often than now its down to their food and the speed they eat it.
You see when they eat, their diaphragm muscles contract and close the vocal cords. It is this that causes hiccups in guinea pigs.
Usually it doesn’t cause hiccups, however if they do eat quickly then it can happen. Eating quickly results in them consuming air and since guinea pigs are not able to be sick, the ait leaves through hiccups.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Get Hiccups?
At some point in their life, every single guinea pig will experience hiccups.
More often than no its due to eating their food quickly. Although, if your guinea pig does get hiccups often or they last for a while, you should consult your vet.
It can also be caused when their noses are blocked and the air cannot escape.
Since it can be an indication of something more serious (although not common), its worth knowing the causes and how to treat hiccups.
Since you cannot use the same methods you would for a human.
This guide is going to help teach you some of the most common causes and quick solutions for guinea pig hiccups.
When Do Guinea Pigs Have Hiccups?
Guinea pigs can get hiccups at any time. Since they have a lifespan of 6-8 years, you will experience their hiccups at some point.
When your guinea pig gets hiccups it’s often as simple as waiting for them to pass by themselves and keeping an eye on them to make sure they stay healthy.
Only more persistent hiccups should cause concern; if that’s the case then check with your vet about potential causes such as throat cancer, whooping cough or heart disease.
For the most part though if your guinea pig is hiccuping once in awhile you shouldn’t worry.
How long do guinea pig hiccups last
Generally, guinea pig hiccups will only last for a few minutes.
As already mentioned hiccups are caused when their diaphragm muscles contract. Once these relax then the hiccups should stop.
If they are hiccupping more often or for an extended period of time, then it may be indicative of a more serious condition.
There are some symptoms to look out for if the hiccups could be related to something more serious, such as;
- Eating & Drinking less or not at all
- Not playing or moving around as much
- No longer discharging waste
- Showing Physical Pain
Long lasting hiccups can be a symptom of digestive problems. If your guinea pigs show signs of any of these with hiccups then you should take them to a vet.
Do Baby Guinea Pigs Get Hiccups?
Yes Baby Guinea Pigs do also get hiccups, in fact they can be even more likely to get them than adults. This is because baby guinea pigs often eat really quickly and its this that causes the muscles in the diaphragm to contract and cause hiccups.
Just like with adults, these hiccups should only last a short time.
Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Get Hiccups?
Pregnant Guinea Pigs can get hiccups and will often get them more whilst they’re pregnant. Increased hiccups can be a good sign that they are about to give birth.
The hiccupping will increase whilst they are giving birth to the baby guinea pigs (pups).
Once all the babies have been born then the hiccuping should stop.
Why Adult Guinea Pigs Get Hiccups
Hiccups can be very common in adult guinea pigs. At first they can be a bit alarming.
It’s worth having an understanding as to why they get them, as this will help you know what you need to do if they do get hiccups.
I just want to emphasise that hiccups should only last a couple of minutes. If they have them for an extended period of time then it’s worth consulting a vet.
Food and Hiccups
One of the most common causes of guinea pig hiccups is eating their food too quickly. When they eat too fast, the air in their stomach gets forced out through their diaphragm muscles and causes them to hiccup.
More often than not if their feeling scared then they might rush their food.
If they’re not used to you yet, you might want to wait until they’ve finished eating before playing or cuddles.
This should reduce the chance of them suffering from guinea pig hiccups.
Digestion and Hiccups
If your guinea pig is suffering from digestion issues, such as a blockage in the digestive path. This could cause them to get regular hiccups.
You’ll find your guinea pig has regular hiccups and should be treated if it doesn’t stop. They should see a vet if your cavy is not eating or looks like they’re in pain.
Hiccups and Gastrointestinal Problems
Gastrointestinal stasis is common in adult guinea pigs and is often caused by stress, illness or even a poor diet.
It’s to do with the intestine and the inability for it to allow food or water to pass through, which impacts digestion.
With weakness in the intestine and digestion, it can cause hiccups.
Guinea Pigs Respiratory and Hiccups
Another common issue for adult guinea pigs is to do with their respiratory system.
Snuffles is the most common. This is when the diaphragm muscles contract because of additional air entering their stomachs when they try and breath.
Usually this will only last a few minutes.
It’s also possible for them to get upper respiratory infections, a common symptom of this is hiccups.
If more severe symptoms develop then take them to the vets.
Guinea Pigs Diet and Hiccups
Before I mentioned that Guinea Pigs eating too quickly can cause hiccups, however the diet can also cause it in other ways.
It’s recommended that their diet does contain timothy hay, pellets, fruit and vegetables.
However there are some foods that can can be a little bit more sensitive to their digestion.
This does cause an imbalance and its this imbalance that can cause hiccups.
Treating Guinea Pig Hiccups
Hiccups usually go in minutes and are generally not an issue with the health of your guinea pig.
Hiccups can however be a warning sign for something more serious if it continues for hours.
You need to call a vet if it is like that.
Below I’m going to give some suggestions on how you can help prevent some of these more serious conditions and keep your piggies nice and healthy.
Give Your Guinea Pig Plenty of Fibre
It’s important to give your guinea pig plenty of fibre. These types of diets can be quickly digested. In fact the gastrointestinal tract can only digest fibrous food.
Giving your guinea pig non fibrous food such as meat or dairy will upset their digestion and this will result in your guinea pig getting hiccups.
Keep them away from other foods such as cabbage, beans, potatoes and chocolate. However give them hay, vegetables and fruit.
These kind of things are full of fibre and this will dramatically help boost their immune system.
Don’t Give Your Guinea Pigs Too Much Sugar
A real treat for your guinea pig is fruit, and they will rush to eat them which will give them hiccups.
These are very high in sugar, which can cause gastrointestinal issues as well as diarrhea.
Its really important that you do limit the amount of sweet foods that they have. You should still give them fruit as treats, as they contain Vitamin C (which they cannot naturally produce).
The key is just to limit it and only give them these as a treat once a week.
Keep Diet The Same
Like with any animal if you suddenly decide to change your Guinea Pigs diet, it can impact their digestion.
You should give guinea pigs 2-5 weeks to gradually get used to their new diet. If you dont then they could get issues such as constipation or gastrointestinal stasis. Which is why they tend to get hiccups.
Keep Water Topped Up
If there is one thing you should always do and that is to keep your guinea pigs water topped up. You should also keep it clean and fresh.
Like all animals (plus you and me), we need water to stay hydrated.
If we become dehydrated then this can cause major problems with our digestion.
As already mentioned, guinea pigs with digestion problems will often hiccup.
If you feel your piggy might be a little dehydrated, check their bod temperature. It should be 99-103 degrees Fahrenheit.
You might need to try and get some fluids into them through a syringe if they’re not drinking.
Give Them A Stress Free Life
Guinea pigs can get stressed incredibly easy, this is because they’re prey animals.
Even things like loud music playing, noise, and even temperature changes can impact their stress levels. All of these will impact their health.
Your guinea pig could get gastrointestinal issues which can show as hiccups, because of the increased stress levels.
Build a good relationship with your piggy as well as exercise them and feed them well and they should remain healthy.
Keep Their Cage Clean
if left, the guinea pigs cage can get very dirty. Lets face it, if you left your house awhile without a good clean it could make you very poorly.
Not cleaning their cage can cause bacteria to grow, but also encourage ticks and fleas.
The biggest concern is the bacteria, as this can cause digestion issues. Which can initially show as hiccups and then develop into something more serious.
You should clean the cage at least once a week and make sure that the floor, water bottles and food bowls are cleaned on a regular basis.
How to stop guinea pig hiccups
If you feel that your guinea pigs hiccups are getting them even more distressed, you might want to try and stop then.
It is possible to help but you cannot get rid of them like you would if your friend had hiccups.
You should never (Noticed I underlined that!) hold your guinea pigs nose to try and stop the hiccup. No doubt you’ve tried this on yourself.
(It never works for me when I do it on myself)
Doing this on your guinea pig will just scare them and believe me, they’ll not come near you again.
Ever had that friend jump out and try and scare you when you have hiccups? Yep that dont work either….
You should never scare a Guinea pig. In fact scaring them could make it worse. not only that but they’ll run the risk of hurting themselves as they’ll me incredibly scared.
What you need to do is just give them a little space and time. Your first instinct is to cuddle them but dont. Just let them chill out in their cage and the hiccups should fade within a couple of minutes.
There is one thing you can do but you do need to be very careful. This is because they don’t like being touch under the belly and you could end up hurting them.
Get your two fingers and place them below the heart and lungs but above the liver. This should be their diaphragm.
Gently push down with the tips of your fingers, but like I said be careful.
This can help remove that build up of air inside and stop them from hiccuping.
Are hiccups dangerous for guinea pigs?
No, generally guinea pigs hiccuping is not harmful. It’s only dangerous when they get severe or are associated to a more serious condition.
More often than not, hiccuping is caused by eating food or drinking too quickly. If this happens then don’t worry, it should clear up in a few minutes.
It only becomes slightly more worrying and stressful when the hiccups go on for a few hours. If they’ve been happening for a full day then its time to phone a vet and get your guinea pig checked.
Interestingly guinea pigs cannot be sick in order to empty their stomach. This often results in issues within their digestion.
This digestion issue can cause hiccups, along with any respiratory issues that come from being stressed out about the digestion.
A common reason why Guinea Pigs get hiccups is because of stress. This can result in respiratory levels, which can impact on their hiccups.
If this does not solve the problem and the hiccups get worse, you should certainly look to get them sorted.
Get your local vet on the phone and book an emergency appointment.
So Can Guinea Pigs Hiccup? The answer is yes.
If your guinea pig has hiccups that last more than a few minutes, it might be worthwhile to take him or her to the vet.
Digestion problems are common in guinea pigs and can often be treated with medication or changes to the diet.
Thankfully, most cases of hiccups in guinea pigs are nothing serious and will go away on their own after a day or two.
Has your guinea pig ever had hiccups? What did you do to help them stop?