Care for a pregnant guinea pig


If you adopt or buy a guinea pig you are very likely to be pregnant. Discover how to detect it and how to act in the situation.

Rare notes to your guinea pig? Have you thought about being pregnant? Many times guinea pigs are adopted or bought without attending to a very important fact such as being able to be waiting for young. Guinea pigs have a short life cycle, around five years, so after four months they have already matured sexually. This can cause that, although we believe that our guinea pig is still a baby, we are surprised that the little guinea pig is going to be a mother. So you can know how to react in these cases, Bekia will give you in this article a series of tricks to take care of your pregnant guinea pig.

Our guinea pig is pregnant

If you have a minimum suspicion that your guinea pig may be pregnant we recommend that take her to a vet, where through an ultrasound they can confirm or deny your hypothesis. Thanks to ultrasound you can also know the number of pups that are born in the belly of our pet. In addition, the veterinarian will give us the keys to know how to take care of our guinea pig in these cases. Did you know that the pregnancy of these rodents lasts only two months? Around 68 days.

There is also a series of signs that can confirm us That our guinea pig is pregnant. If you suspect, check out this list and then give your pet a little recognition:

  • Their bodies start to get fat and their abdomen swells
  • Breasts develop
  • They eat and drink in greater quantities
  • You can feel the fetuses if you rest your hand on the guinea pig's gut

What care does our guinea pig need when pregnant?

Our pet must follow one healthy nutrition during her sweet wait, since this will help her young develop strong and healthy. Among the foods that we must add to the diet of our pet is alfalfa hay (rich in calcium) and foods rich in vitamin C, even being able to use vitamin supplements if the veterinarian considers it appropriate. In addition, we must keep clean fresh water in our pet's drinking fountain.

We must keep their environment as close as possible during the two months of pregnancy so that they do not suffer stress or an abortion. This implies that no sudden changes in temperature and location or loud noises that can scare the guinea pig. You should also keep the cage clean and conditioned to the needs of our guinea pig, especially if we see that it begins to have difficult access to some of the accessories of your house. On the other hand, if we have more than one guinea pig we should consider separate them to avoid clashes. But, if you feel comfortable with the male nearby and it is not a problem we can leave them together until a few days before the start of labor. That will be the time to separate them so that they do not eat their own offspring or return to prey to the guinea pig in a short period of time.

We should not force our guinea pig to do things that it does not want, especially because it may be irascible. Sometimes pregnant guinea pigs do not like to be disturbed, so They will shy away from affection and attention of its owners.

Possible complications during pregnancy

It is recommended that our guinea pig has its first offspring before ten months old, since that is when the bones of his pelvis begin to weld. This would cause the birth canal not to expand in due course, causing complications in delivery. Therefore, if you do not know the age of your guinea pig or if you have had deliveries before you should contact a veterinarian to avoid taking risks.

On the other hand there is a serious illness with a high mortality among pregnant guinea pigs, the toxemia. This pathology develops a couple of weeks before delivery and up to a week later, causing an anorexic outbreak in our pet, immobility and hypersalivation. It must be treat urgently by the veterinarian if there are signs of illness, as this could cost the life of our guinea pig.

It is time for the delivery of the guinea pig

It is difficult to guess when our guinea pig will go into labor because, you never know for sure how many weeks the animal is and much less when it will break waters. Therefore, we must know an approximate date and pay close attention to our pet those days. Although it is almost impossible to detect symptoms that indicate a possible labor, you can do a Homemade measurement of our pet's pelvic bone, located above the genitals. If when placing the finger on its location we notice the bone broken in two, with a separation of approximately one centimeter, we can guess that the delivery of our pet is planned to occur in the next ten or five days, although this measurement is not All likely, since there are guinea pigs that show separation in the pelvis weeks before giving birth.

Labor begins when our guinea pig find a comfortable position and stay completely still. For a period of time between ten minutes and half an hour the animal will push to the rhythm of the contractions to expel the young. Normally it does not require any help beyond breaking the amniotic sac that surrounds the young if we see that the mother does not care to do so.

The delivery of guinea pigs is a process simple and fast where the animal itself is able to give birth without help. We will only have to intervene if we see that the process is lengthened and the guinea pig continues efforts to expel more offspring or if it begins to bleed abnormally and uncontrollably. In these cases we must transfer our pet to a veterinarian, where they will take care of any complications that may have arisen in the birth process. Therefore, it is better if we consult a veterinarian specialist in rodents.

The delivery will end when our guinea pig eject the placenta. Do not panic if you see that it is eaten with umbilical cords and amniotic sacs, it is a very common process among rodents and many other animals. The young will be sucking breast milk for a month approximately and, after this, it is necessary separate males from females to avoid new pregnancies both by the mother and the offspring.

Feeding for a pregnant guinea pig

Once the pregnancy is confirmed, the first thing, within the care for a pregnant guinea pig, will be to adapt your diet. A correct diet for any guinea pig, it includes, according to its proportion, the following foods:

  • Hay, since guinea pigs are completely herbivorous.
  • I think specific to guinea pigs that must also be composed of hay.
  • Vegetables rich in vitamin C to prevent a disease called scurvy (lack of vitamin C because it is not ingested in the diet).
  • Fruits and cereals only as a prize, that is, occasional consumption.
  • Vitamin C supplement if our guinea pig does not eat enough with your usual diet.

After reviewing the diet that every guinea pig needs, how should we adapt it if ours is in gestation period? Feeding a pregnant guinea pig should include the following modifications to your usual diet:

  • Alfalfa hay rich in calcium, necessary in pregnancy, as their requirements increase.
  • The amount is tripled>

In addition to food it is also important to maintain the following precautions:

  • It is not time to make changes in the environment or in the routines of our guinea pig because they can be a stress factor for her. Likewise, we must avoid loud noises, drafts or excess heat (guinea pigs withstand heat worse than cold).
  • Although your life will remain essentially the same, if we find that you have difficulties entering or leaving the cage, accessing the drinking fountain, etc., we must take steps to facilitate mobility.
  • If you live with other guinea pigs and observe that with some clashes occur it is a good idea to separate them, keeping the pregnant cage in the usual cage. You can live with the male until the end of pregnancy, if you feel comfortable with him, but you should always separate a few days before delivery or just after to prevent a pregnancy right after birth.
  • Guinea pigs do not need to nest to give birth but, even so, we must keep the bed always clean.
  • During pregnancy we can notice that our guinea pig is more reluctant to manipulate it. Let's leave her alone.
  • For any anomaly or doubt we should consult the veterinarian without wasting time. In this sense, it is important that this is an expert in guinea pigs. It is a good idea to have your telephone number and the emergency number at hand in case there are any complications.
  • Finally, it is not the time to submit it to activities that you dislike, such as bathing or brushing. Unless you like it, we can postpone it the couple of months that the pregnancy lasts.

These would be the main care for a pregnant guinea pig, if we meet a healthy female. In the next section we will stop at the risks that may arise.

Risks for guinea pigs during pregnancy

As we have said, guinea pigs mature sexually very soon, between 2-4 months (we must also bear in mind that their life expectancy is, on average, about 5 years). From 10 months of age the bones of his pelvis are welded. A first birth at this time may be impossible, since a rigid birth canal will prevent the outflow of the offspring, assuming a Caesarean section with the risks that this intervention entails. Therefore, if we do not know the age of our guinea pig or if it has given birth or not before, it is advisable to put the case in the hands of the veterinarian. Between 4-7 months it will be the safest age for a first pregnancy.

On the other hand, within the care for a pregnant guinea pig, we must know the main pathology that can occur during this period, the toxemia, which is a very serious and deadly metabolic disorder, if not detected in the early stages. It occurs in females a couple of weeks before delivery and until a week later. It manifests itself by immobility, anorexia and hypersalivation (drooling) and, in blood tests, hypoglycemia, although there are occasions when the guinea pig appears suddenly dead without showing any symptoms. There are also risk factors such as obesity or age.

How to know if my guinea pig is going to give birth

Care for a pregnant guinea pig also includes the time of delivery. One of the biggest uncertainties in any pregnancy is knowing when the event will take place. Although we know that our guinea pig's pregnancy lasts about two months, it is impossible to know when the exact day will be of childbirth In addition, in guinea pigs it is not easy to detect symptoms that indicate the impending birth, since there are no changes in their behavior. Perhaps the only one would be the pelvic bone. If we put our finger above the genitals of our guinea pig we will notice a bone. If we notice it as a match in two, with an approximate separation of 1 centimeter, we can predict that the delivery will take place in the next few days (about 10). It must be taken into account that this sign is not an exact measure, that it is not easy to feel it and that there are guinea pigs who can present this separation for a long time without starting labor.

Once the birth begins, the guinea pig will remain still and its young will be born quickly. Thus, if you wonder how long the delivery of a guinea pig lasts, you should know that, in general, the entire process usually lasts from about 10 minutes to half an hour and, in any case, should not last for more than an hour. The possible complications that may arise are set out in the following section.

Delivery problems in guinea pigs

Generally, childbirth does not require any special care on our part, since it is usually a quick and simple process that our guinea pig will quietly do alone. We must not intervene unless there is a complication, such as the following:

  • Neglect of the offspring, translated in not breaking the amniotic bag. The normal thing is that, as the young are born, the mother breaks with her teeth the bag that surrounds them but, sometimes, this does not occur, for different reasons, and it will be we who break it and bring the baby closer to her mother. We can ask our veterinarian to teach us.
  • Excess time, if the labor process is prolonged for more than an hour without the birth of more babies and we observe that our guinea pig continues to give birth, making efforts. It may be a dystocia and will need veterinary intervention.
  • Bleeding, which is normal in childbirth but cause for consultation if the amount of blood exceeds one tablespoon.
  • Of course, we must request veterinary assistance if we observe any anomalous signs in our guinea pig or in their offspring.

The expulsion of the placentas indicates the end of the delivery. It is completely normal for the guinea pig to eat them, just like ingesting amniotic bags and umbilical cords. Small guinea pigs are born with the ability to feed themselves. In addition to their mother's milk they will be able to eat the same as her, so we must continue with a balanced diet, maintaining alfalfa hay that ensures the calcium necessary for their growth. Despite this independence, they should suck approximately during the first month. Behind him, it’s important separate males and females to avoid new pregnancies, both of the mother and the offspring.

Finally, despite the fact that we provide all the care for a pregnant guinea pig, the pregnancy process involves a risk, not to mention the ethical issues that should surround guinea pig farming in a society in which so many of these animals are abandoned and, therefore, need a home. As responsible caregivers we must consider sterilization.

If you want to read more articles similar to Care for a pregnant guinea pig, we recommend that you enter our Gestation section.

How can I take care of my pregnant guinea pig?

The first thing we have to keep in mind is that guinea pigs are animals that, with very little care, are able to get ahead, whether they are normal or pregnant.

It is very important for the health of a guinea pig, that we provide in your diet an extra vitamin C, since as with humans, they are not able to manufacture this vitamin, and a deficit can cause serious problems of health.

If the lack of vitamin C is something to avoid in any state of the guinea pig, much more if you are pregnant. The ideal would be to provide our guinea pig with foods rich in this vitamin, such as red and green peppers, orange, spinach ... An extra calcium intake is also important. You can read these other articles on food: Part 1 and Part 2.

Is there any food I can't eat?

In case our guinea pig is pregnant, we find a single prohibited food in their diet, parsley.

The parsley in guinea pigs who are pregnant can cause them to have an abortion, and if they are breastfeeding they can cut the milk, which would be a problem for the little ones.

Our general recommendation would be to never give parsley to our guinea pig, as it can be toxic, in addition to causing dehydration.

Can I take my guinea pig and continue playing with it?

It is important to take the guinea pig as little as possible, and if you have to catch it, we will do it with great care, and making the least possible pressure on your belly, which reaches a considerable size.

By the time the young are born, the only thing we should have prepared is the same fresh food we give to the mother, and hay.

Unless we observe an incident, as a general rule it is not necessary to separate the male, although we must be careful not to get the guinea pig pregnant again during the first hours after delivery.