Guinea Pig Sneezing: Why Is My Guinea Pig Sneezing?

Guinea Pig Sneezing

Did you just hear your guinea pig sneezing?

You have to admit that the guinea pig sneezing is the cutest of all the guinea pig sounds.

Where you might be adorning the ‘Ah-Choo’ sound made by your piglet, you may also worry thinking: Why is my guinea pig sneezing? Has your guinea pig might catch a cold? Or is your piglet developing an allergy?

Well, if it was just one or two ‘ah-choo’ you don’t have to worry. You can just adore how cute your piglet is. But if your piggy is sneezing more often and has developed some other symptoms as well you should contact your veterinarian and get your piggy the expert attention.

Guinea Pig Sneezing

Just like humans, an occasional guinea pig sneeze is completely normal and healthy but anything more than two to four times a day is a sign of either an allergy or respiratory infection.

Guinea pigs sneeze to clear their nasal passage of irritants like dust particles, small insects, smoke, and other foreign particles. Guinea pig sneeze sounds just like a human sneeze, except that it is a bit softer and cuter.

Here is how cute a guinea pig sneezing sound is.

You don’t have to call your vet if you hear your guinea pig make a weird sneezing sound as usually guinea pig sneezes are triggered by some irritants like dust, smoke, etc. However, if your guinea pig has developed some accompanying symptoms and the sneezing is more frequent, you should get your piglet the immediate attention of an experienced veterinarian. Excessive sneezing and sometimes even a minor sniffle could be an early sign of a serious health issue like pneumonia or upper respiratory infection in guinea pigs.

It could be serious, but chances are your piglet is totally fine and just trying to get the dust particles out of its nasal passage. So, stop worrying and continue reading as we are going to discuss all about guinea pig sneezing ranging from what does a guinea pig sneeze sound like? Why is my guinea pig sneezing? Is it a normal healthy sneeze or a sign of an upper respiratory infection?

Do Guinea Pigs sneeze?

Yes, guinea pigs do sneeze, just like humans, occasional sneeze or two is perfectly normal and healthy for guinea pigs. It is usually triggered by irritants like dust and smoke, etc. Guinea pig sneezes sound a lot like human sneezes but are softer, given the petite size of guinea pigs.

Guinea pig yawning

Why Is My Guinea Pig Sneezing?

Guinea pigs are sensitive little creatures. There could be a variety of reasons making your guinea pig sneeze. Normally a sneeze is triggered by some irritant like dust or smoke in the nasal passage. But there could be other reasons like allergy, URI, or stress.

1. There is Foreign Particle in Your Piggy’s Nasal Passage

Guinea pigs are small little creatures, with the tiniest nasal passage. So, it gets really irritating for guinea pigs when minute foreign particles like dust, smoke, small insects, etc. find their way into their nasal passage. Guinea pigs thus let out an ‘ah-choo’ to clear their nasal passage.

Guinea pig sneezing due to dust particles in hay

If your ball of fluff sneezes as you offer them fresh hay, there is a huge chance that they have inhaled dust particles, that are prevalent in the hay. Similarly, if you just lit up a candle in the room, your piglet might have inhaled the smoke that triggered the sneeze.

What Can You Do to Help?
There is nothing to do here. You can just adore how cute your guinea pig’s sneeze is. But if there is too much dust in the hay, you could put it in some kind of mesh bag, shake it off a bit and blow the dust away with a hair dryer. After discussing with your vet, you may also spray a little water on hay so that dust does not fly around and get into your guinea’s nostrils. You may also want to invest in a high-quality air purifier that would get rid of all the allergens, dust particles, smoke, etc., and ensure fresh and clean air free of an irritant to your piglet.  

2. Guinea Pig is Allergic to Something

Like humans, our guinea pigs also develop allergies to certain things that make them sneeze. Guinea pigs are mostly allergic to air fresheners, perfumes, cleaning products, aspen bedding, pine bedding, and scented toiletries. This is the reason that when guinea pig owners spray air freshener in the room to cancel out the guinea pig smell, all of a sudden, their piglets start sneezing.

What Can You Do To Help?
First, you have to determine what is causing the allergic reaction in your guinea pig. You can make a list of potential allergens and then try to cut out each allergen and see if it helps. If it is not helping, you can take help from your veterinarian. Guinea pigs are often allergic to pine and aspen bedding, so you can make changes in guinea pig bedding. And try to clean the guinea pig cage, bedding, pee pads, and sleep sacks with a pet-safe detergent. And use pet safe air freshener instead of your regular air freshener.

Here are few guinea pig bedding and cage cleaners to consider if your guinea pig seems to be allergic:

3. Guinea Pig Is Stressed

Guinea pigs are nervous little creatures and are easily stressed. And research has shown that stress has a negative impact on guinea pigs’ immune systems, making them vulnerable to infections and increasing their susceptibility to sneezing. Being in an overcrowded room, irritating bedding, a new cage mate, loss of a cage mate, and change in environment, could easily stress a guinea pig.

What Can You Do to Help?
You can highlight the potential stressors and try to remove them one by one and see if it helps. Generally, you should never put your guinea pig cage in an overcrowded room. If you are having guests over and the room is going to be full, you can cover the guinea pig cage with a blanket. Stress can also increase the risk of URI in guinea pigs, so, you should get your piglet examined to rule out the possibility of URI.

4. Guinea Pig Is Sick

While guinea pigs sneezing up to four times a day is perfectly fine, sneezing more often could be a sign of upper respiratory infection in guinea pigs, which could lead to pneumonia if left untreated. Pneumonia is a serious illness and is often a cause of death in guinea pigs. Therefore, if your piglet is exhibiting the following signs in addition to sneezing, you should immediately get him the expert attention:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Labored breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever and depression
  • Lethargy

Old guinea pigs are more susceptible to developing URI. A sudden change in environment, temperature, diet, humidity and ventilation could also increase the risk of respiratory infection in guinea pigs. The deficiency of vitamin C could also be the underlying reason for respiratory troubles in guinea pigs.

What Can You Do To Help?
If your piglet is sneezing more often and has developed other signs of respiratory infection, you should immediately get your piggy friend examined by an experienced veterinarian. The vet will probably prescribe some antibiotics depending on the cause of the infection. If it is caused by vitamin C deficiency, vitamin C pellets or drops might be prescribed.
Guinea pig sneezing in yard

Healthy Guinea Pig Sneeze Vs Unhealthy Sneeze

Healthy SneezeUnhealthy Sneeze
It is occasional. No more than four sneezes in a day.Guinea pig is sneezing more often.
There are no additional signs of sickness.Piglet is developing other signs of sickness.
Piggy is sneezing to get rid of foreign bodies in its nose.It could be a sign of upper respiratory infection or an allergy
No treatment is required; your furry friend is healthy.Immediate attention from an experienced vet is required. URI can be easily treated with antibiotics if caught early.

Guinea Pig Is Constantly Sneezing: Tips to Reduce Guinea Pig Sneezes

Here are some general tips that might help you reduce the frequency of your guinea pig’s sneezes:

  • Make sure your guinea pig’s environment is dust and allergen free. You can use an air purifier to keep the air clean and healthy for guinea pigs.
  • Make sure the bedding is not irritating your piggy. Dust or oil in the bedding could be making your piggy sneeze.
  • Clean your guinea pig cage regularly. Though guinea pigs are fastidious little creatures and keep themselves clean, it gets impossible for them to keep themselves clean when their cage is dirty.
  • Feed your piggy friend good quality, dust-extracted hay. Dust particles prevalent in hay trigger sneezes in guinea pigs on finding their way into their nostrils.
  •  Provide vitamin C to your piggy friend daily as they cannot make their vitamin C.
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