You want as many years as possible with your pet. If you have a Guinea pig or are interested in getting one, you might wonder how long these small mammals live. How long an individual Guinea pig will live depends on many factors, including their diet, breed, hygiene, and activity level. You can help extend your Guinea pig's life expectancy by providing them with the best care possible.
How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live?
On average, Guinea pigs live between 5 and 8 years, though some can live to be 10 or more years old. It's not unheard of for some Guinea pigs to live into their teens.
In general, Guinea pigs live longer than most other small mammal pets. Their lifespan is longer than that of mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and hedgehogs. However, they're not quite as long-lived as rabbits, chinchillas, or sugar gliders.
Snowball was the oldest known Guinea pig, who reached an impressive 14 years and 10½ months old.
Factors That Affect Lifespan
It can be difficult to predict your Guinea pig's exact lifespan because several factors play a role in their longevity. Some are beyond your power, whereas others, like your pet's diet, habitat, and activity level, are within your control.
Genetics play a large role in how long anyone will live, whether that's a human or a Guinea pig. A pet could be born with congenital conditions or might develop unexpected genetic ailments throughout their life.
There's not much variation when it comes to the lifespan of different Guinea pig breeds. Most breeds live the average of 5 to 8 years. However, some varieties, like the Skinny Pig and Abyssinian Satin, are at higher risk for health problems, so they live around four to six years.
A Guinea pig's living conditions play a huge role in their overall health. The number one cause of death in this species is pneumonia, which is most often caused by a bacterial infection in the pig's lungs. Clean their cage regularly to maintain good hygiene, and use appropriate bedding in their cage, like shredded paper or fleece.
Your Guinea pig's cage should also be the correct size. If you keep them in an enclosure that is too small, they will become depressed and are more prone to develop illnesses. A single Guinea pig should ideally have six square feet of space or more. A cage with a solid floor is optimal over one that's grated, too.
Even though Guinea pigs resemble round potatoes, they need exercise too. Without enough physical activity, a pig is at risk for illnesses like heart disease, digestive complications, and obesity. Guinea pigs should spend at least one hour outside of their cages every day to run around and explore.
Of course, you'll want to supervise this playtime to keep your pet safe, but it can also be a great time to strengthen your special bond. Play interactive games with them, like hide-and-seek or tug-of-war.
Good quality food is vital for a good quality of life. Guinea pigs should eat a balanced diet of hay, pellets, and fresh vegetables. One of the most important things about this species is that they can't synthesize their own vitamin C; Guinea pigs must get it through vitamin-rich foods and/or supplementation. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, which is fatal if left untreated.
How to Increase Your Guinea Pig's Longevity
Though you don't have complete control over how long your Guinea pig will live, you can provide them with the best care possible during their five to eight (or more!) years. Feed them a healthy diet, provide them with a spacious, clean enclosure, keep them active with daily exercise, and bring them to the vet for routine checkups. Your Guinea pig can live the best life possible with attentive care plus plenty of TLC.