The average lifespan of a guinea pig is around 4-8 years. However some guinea pigs don’t live that long whereas others make it to a much riper old age.
A well cared for guinea pig will have much more opportunity of living a long healthy life but longevity is also affected by their genes. If your piggy’s parents were strong and healthy and lived to a good age, your pet will have more chance of doing the same.
Lifespan can also be affected by the guinea pig’s breed. In-breeding can cause weaknesses in any pets and this can affect their life expectancy.
Life Cycle of a Guinea Pig
- Birth: When a guinea pig is born, they will feed on their mother’s milk for up 4-7 weeks. Weaning age is very early in guinea pigs and the sow may begin introducing them to solid food when they are just a day or two old.
- 4-6 weeks is the time when female guinea pigs (sows) reach sexual maturity
- At around 6-8 weeks old male guinea pigs will be capable of reproducing. However some reach this stage earlier.
- 5-6 months is the minimum recommended age for females to reproduce.
- 14 months is when they are considered adults and are fully grown.
- 4-8 years is the average age a guinea pig will live depending on health and genetics.
How to help your guinea pig live to a ripe old age
You can help your pet live a long happy life. Here are some of the things you can do:
Feed them a healthy diet
Just as in humans, a guinea pig needs to eat the right foods in order to be fit and healthy. They need hay, pellets and fresh vegetables as well as lots constant access to water.
Guinea pigs need regular exercise. and they should also have a run or a large indoor pen for bad weather which they should have access to on a regular basis (once daily at least).
Your guinea pig’s hutch or cage is the space they will spend most of their time. Guinea pigs are intelligent animals and they need space and stimulation so they don’t become bored. If they have no space in which to move and nothing to do they become depressed and this can affect their life expectancy.
Their hutch or cage should measure at least 120cm x 60cm (for 1 or 2 guinea pigs).
Their housing should contain toys and boredom breakers that keep your pets interested. These can include tunnels, balls, things to chew on etc. Put yourself in a guinea pig’s position - imagine if you were in a cage with nothing to do or play with. This would be a very sad life for such a lovely pet.
Give them Love
Guinea pigs respond well to loving owners. Some enjoy being handled whereas others aren’t so comfortable with this. However, all guinea pigs benefit from attention whether it is being held on your lap (or by your neck which they seem to love!) and gently stroked or being hand-fed.
Guinea Pigs Need Companions
Because they are social animals, a single guinea pig without a friend can become incredibly lonely and suffer from depression and solitude. In Switzerland, it is against the law to own only one guinea pig and is considered cruel. Find out more about adopting a guinea pig...
Check their Health Regularly
If a guinea pig becomes ill they can get worse very quickly so make sure you do a regular health check and generally keep an eye on them. If they show signs of illness you should immediately contact your vet.
What is the Guinea Pig Age in Human Years?
Taking 12 guinea pig years as the equivalent to 1 human year, you can see how old your guinea pig is in human years below:
So, as you can see, there are many things you can do to ensure your guinea pig lives a long and happy life. If you are new to guinea pigs, be sure that you can commit to them for their lifetime so that they are settled,secure and loved.