Learn why guinea pigs poop so much and what makes healthy poop!
As a first-time guinea pig owner, it can be shocking to find how much a guinea pig poops in a day. How can one small creature create so much mess? Taking a look at your piggie’s poop can actually tell you a lot about their health.
This guide will walk you through why guinea pigs poop so much, what is normal, and how to spot health issues just by looking at your guinea pig’s poop!
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Why Does My Guinea Pig Poop So Much?
Guinea pigs are constantly eating, which means they are constantly pooping! Their pooping habits can tell you a lot about the health and well-being of your pet.
As guinea pig owners, it’s important for us to understand how their digestive systems work, what healthy poop looks like, and how to spot unhealthy poops.
A Guinea Pig’s Digestive System
Guinea pigs have somewhat delicate digestive systems that can easily be upset. Because of this, it’s important as owners to understand how the digestive system works to help avoid health issues in our pets.
Guinea pigs are herbivores and should be constantly eating throughout the day. If you think about how a guinea pig would eat in the wild, they would be constantly grazing on what food they could find.
Their digestive systems are designed to be constantly moving since in the wild they would be nearly constantly eating. It’s important that your pet guinea pig always has hay available to eat to keep their digestive systems moving.
A guinea pig’s digestive system can actually start shutting down if they don’t eat on a regular basis. This is why feeding the proper diet to your guinea pig is so important.
Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Poop?
Actually, the answer is yes! But they don’t eat all their poop.
Guinea pigs don’t just have one type of poop – they have two! The first type is the normal type and what you expect poop to be. They also produce a second type that is a result of a “first pass” through the digestive system. These are often called caecotrophs. These poops are little bundles of nutrients that the piggy’s body didn’t absorb the first time through.
You may see your guinea pig reach around and eat these right as they come out. They are usually a bit lighter in color and softer than standard poop. It’s kind of gross, but eating these cecal pellets is essential for your guinea pig to stay healthy. They contain good bacteria and You really shouldn’t be seeing both types of poop in your guinea pig’s cage – if you are finding cecal pellets it could be a sign of a health issue.
The Proper Guinea Pig Diet
Because of the way their digestive systems work, it’s important to make sure to provide the right diet to your guinea pigs to keep them healthy.
80-90% of a guinea pig’s diet should be made up of good quality grass hay. Timothy hay and orchard grass hay are the most common options.
A guinea pig should also get about a cup of fresh vegetables each day. Some good daily options are green leaf lettuce, bell pepper, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes. Guinea pigs can’t produce their own vitamin C, so veggies are important to avoid health issues.
Finally, guinea pigs should get a small amount of pellets each day. They only need 1/8 cup of pellets per pig each day. You don’t want pellets available at all times. You also want to choose a healthy pellet – I recommend the Oxbow Garden Select Adult Guinea Pig Pellets.
Of course, your guinea pig should always have clean water available. You can provide this using a water dish or water bottle.
If you’re feeding the right diet, you should see normal healthy poops from your guinea pigs. Let’s go over what that means!
What Does Normal Guinea Pig Poop Look Like?
Guinea pigs have pretty dry poop that is normally dark. It should have a uniform oval shape and all the poops should look about the same. Healthy poop doesn’t really have a smell either.
How often a guinea pig is pooping is also important. A guinea pig is basically a little poop machine. You’ll become familiar with a normal quantity of poop for your particular piggies through spot cleaning and observation. If you notice a lot more or a lot fewer poops, that could be a sign something is wrong.
How Poop Can Show Health Problems
Your guinea pig’s poop can sometimes be the first sign that something is wrong. Once you’re familiar with normal poop you’ll be able to quickly spot when things are off. When you are spot cleaning your guinea pig’s cage, take a look at their poop to see if anything looks unusual. Changes in poops could be caused by dental problems, improper diet, a new or different environment, or could be a sign of infection or illness.
If you are noticing very soft, wet, or watery poop, that is definitely a sign that something is off. It could be due to an incorrect diet or changes in diet. Your guinea pig might be getting too many veggies, or they might be getting enough hay. Try reducing veggies and encouraging more hay consumption and see if it helps the issue.
If your guinea pig has very watery poop that is all over its cage or its bum, they need to see a vet. Diarrhea can quickly become very dangerous for guinea pigs because it can cause them to become dehydrated very quickly. Diarrhea can be a sign of a bacterial or viral infection or some other issue with the digestive tract. Severe cases can be life-threatening.
You might also notice very small or misshaped poops. This is usually a sign of dehydration or other digestive problems causing your guinea pig to have trouble pooping. Make sure your guinea pig is getting enough water and encourage them to eat hay. This can also happen with older guinea pigs when they start to lose strength in their back ends. As they slow down they can sometimes lose strength in their rectal muscles. It’s alsways a good idea to keep a closer eye on senior pigs for signs of issues like these.
Small and misshapen poops can also be a symptom of bladder stones. Stones make it painful to urinate and can also make it painful for your guinea pig to poop as well. Bladder stones are a major health issue and definitely need treatment by a vet.
If you notice changes in your guinea pig’s poop or pooping patterns, it’s always a good idea to get them checked out by a vet just to make sure they don’t have a major health issue.
Do Skinny Pigs Poop More Than Furry Pigs?
You may have heard that skinny pigs poop a bit more than normal furry guinea pigs.
If you aren’t familiar with skinny pigs, they are basically just hairless guinea pigs. And they actually do poop more!
Since they don’t have any fur to keep them warm, the metabolism of a skinny pig has to work a bit faster. They need more energy for their bodies to keep their temperature regulated. This means they are processing food even quicker – which leads to more poops!
It’s especially important to make sure skinny pigs have enough hay and the proper nutrition to keep them happy and healthy.
Final Thoughts on Why Guinea Pigs Poop So Much
Even though it can be a lot to clean up, finding all those poops every day is a sign of a healthy piggy! Make sure to check your guinea pig’s poop when cleaning to make sure they look normal and to spot any developing health issues early.
More Articles on Guinea Pig Health:
- You NEED to buy critical care for your guinea pigs – find out why!
- How to Save a Vet Fund – don’t get caught unaware by vet costs!
- 4 Steps to Finding the Right Guinea Pig Vet