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Guinea Pigs/New pig will not eat


I just got a new guinea pig. She looks healthy but won't eat or drink. Is this OK? If not, what can I do?

Thanks, Diya

You don't give me a great deal of information so let's see if I can start with a few of the basics.  

Is she a baby or a grown pig? Most new pigs will be skittish and frightened for the few days in their new environment. You want to be sure to feed guinea pig pellets, not rabbit food. Don't buy the kind that you get at the grocery store with all the colored fruit loops, etc. That's just eye candy for the owner. They need a good quality pellet, most of which are made of either alfalfa or timothy or a mix.

As for the water bottle the best kind is the bottle with the spout and the ball in end of it. The pig only has to touch that ball with their tongue and the water comes out. You might also find out what the previous owner was feeding. Sometimes changing the diet is stressful to them.

Your pig has to have a few days of being left alone except for feeding and hanging clean water. Don't use a bowl or stone crock for the water. The pigs will sit in it and foul the water very quickly. I know that sometimes you see that in a pet store, but it's not the safest and cleanest way for your pig to drink.

By leaving her alone she will gradually get used to the new sounds and smells of her new home. If she's very young she's probably just left her mother and is frightened. Again, time and patience with take care of that. As long as she has the right food in front of her and access to fresh water she will figure it out in a couple of days.

Don't offer too much in the way of fruits or veggies just yet. A small piece of carrot or lettuce is okay, but you want her to eat the pellets that are the mainstay of her diet.

She may be eating a little when you're not watching. Most pigs like privacy when they eat. I think your little girl just needs some time to adapt to her surroundings and she will be fine.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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