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Guinea Pigs/guinea pig won't eat


so i recently bought a new pig from PetSmart; actually only yesterday evening (10-9-2014). It's a female Calico pig and still about a few months less than a year old. she has all the essentials and more; normal hay and alfalfa, a medium sized hay ball house, the proper pig food pellets, an always full water bottle, some veggie stick treats,and some chewing blocks. with all that you would think shed be a happy girl, but ever since i got her, the amount of food in her bowl hasn't changed, the water level is the same as when i filled it yesterday, she hasn't touched any treats or toys and NEVER leaves her ball. the only thing she'l actually eat are grapes. and she doesn't even eat the whole grape. i understand she's probably scared and nervous but idk why she wouldn't eat or drink. she lets me hold her but hides on my shoulder under my longer hair and hasn't made any noises, squeaks or purrs. she seems perfectly healthy and petsmart was extremely professional and provided a lot of info about where they get their pigs and their health and age. PLEASE REPLY ASAP. I've read about how this can easily and quickly lead to starvation and death. i can't go through that again especially a few days after i had to give u my extremely sick pig to the vet :'(   i can even feel a good amount of her bones; spine, hips, shoulders

If you just got this pig from PetSmart you need to return her. Being able to feel her spine,hips and shoulders is a sign that this is a gravely ill pig. At this point she is dehydrated and will not survive much longer.

I believe that PetSmart usually gives a 'grace' period of health that is supposed to guarantee their animals are healthy. Guinea pigs do not usually show signs of illness until it's too late. Their appetite is the measuring stick of their health. When they stop eating they are already on their way out. They will put their head in the corner and stay there.

As for treats and toys, they don't play with toys like a hamster does. The only treats she needs are small pieces of carrots, parsley and lettuce. They will eat melon rinds and even banana peels. But treats are just that, occasional treats. The main diet should be their pellets.

Being shy and withdrawn for the first few days is normal. And perhaps even not eating at first. But when they don't drink that's a red flag. Feeling the bones means she's already wasting. I would take her back to PetSmart immediately.

Just an FYI, if you have a water bottle with a spout, tap the spout with your finger to make sure the water is coming out. The bottles with the little ball on the tip of the spout are the best to use, but they can occasionally get stuck. But being without water for that short of a period should not have caused this.  

Please let me know what happens with PetSmart. If they are honorable they will replace her for you. If not, write a letter to their corporate office and let them know about it.  

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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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