Life Span of a Guinea Pig: How long can a pet guinea pig live?

 The lifespan of a guinea pig should be one of the most crucial things to take into account before getting one as a pet. Basically, you need to be aware of the level of commitment you're making when you adopt these cute little guinea pigs. Knowing a guinea pig's lifespan will also help you decide whether or not to bring several of these cute rodents into your home.

Life Span of a Guinea Pig: How long can a pet guinea pig live?
Life Span of a Guinea Pig: How long can a pet guinea pig live?

How long do guinea pigs live?

 In short, guinea pigs usually live an average of 5-7 years. This means that, compared to other rodents like mice, gerbils, or hamsters, they have a much longer lifespan. Yet, it is essential to note that there is a distinct link between age and factors such as diet, breed, environment, and access to veterinary care.

 The oldest known guinea pig lived to be 15 years old, or 14 years and 10.5 months to be exact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and the cavy was named Snowball. So, when it comes to domesticated guinea pigs that are well cared for and have access to healthy food, of course, guinea pigs can live longer than they do on average.

The life cycle of a guinea pig

To better understand age and lifespan, let's review the average life cycle of guinea pigs:

- Birth: Newborn guinea pigs feed on the sow's milk for 4-7 weeks.

- 4-6 weeks: female guinea pigs reach sexual maturity.

- 6-8 weeks: Male pigs reach sexual maturity, although some reach this time earlier.

- 5-6 months: The recommended minimum age for breeding in females.

- 14 months: When both sexes are fully developed and considered adults.

- 5-7 years: the average lifespan of domestic guinea pigs, depends on genetics, health, and environment.

Age of guinea pig in human years

 Although some online sources differ, I have found a few vet clinics that stick to the calculations listed below, which I will mention. I want to point out here that this is just to give you an age example. I have also seen other charts that claim that one human year equals 12 guinea pig years.

Human Age Vs. Guinea Age

Human age Vs. Guinea age, equivalence time:

  • 3 months = 2.5 years
  • 6 months = 5 years
  • 1 year = 10 years
  • 2 years = 20 years
  • 3 years = 30 years
  • 4 years = 40 years
  • 5 years = 50 years
  • 6 years = 60 years
  • 7 years = 80 years
  • 8 years = 80 years
  • 9 years = 90 years
  • 10 years = 100 years

 So, for example, let's take the age of my guinea pig and see his age in human years, to get an idea of the age equivalence. Muffy is about 8 years old, according to her adoption records. That means she's about 80 human years — basically, an elderly pet that's already past the maximum age of her expected lifespan.

6 ways to help your guinea pigs live a long and healthy life

 Yes, you can help your guinea pigs live long, healthy lives - and It's much simpler than you might imagine! Here are 6 ways to extend the life of your fabulous furry friends.

1. Healthy eating

 A healthy diet is essential for living a long and healthy life, just like it's for humans. Feed your guinea pigs the right food, such as water, vegetables, hay, and pellets, in current amounts.

2. Regular exercise

 Exercise is another critical lifespan factor, and it's no different for your pets. Living day after day in a cage is not fun, as you can imagine. So regularly, a few times a day, let your pets exercise through free playtime outside of their habitat.

3. A clean, safe, and stimulating environment

 First, make sure you have an appropriately sized cage for your guinea pigs. If their habitat is too small for them, they will live in a constant state of stress and will most likely fight with each other over the stress, thus reducing their lifespan. Also, the cage should be located in a safe place away from drafts and too much noise, as well as other pets who might think they look like a tasty treat. Boredom is also a factor, so make sure your guinea pigs have several stimulating options to engage them mentally and physically.

4. Love and care

 Whether your guinea pigs like to be held or you prefer to let them run around, guinea pigs respond very positively to parents who spend time with them. You can significantly increase the lifespan of your guinea pigs by talking with and spending time with them.

5. Companionship

 Did you know that in some countries it is illegal to have only one solitary guinea pig? This is because guinea pigs are very social creatures, so much so that they can suffer from depression and even die of loneliness. So even if you give your best furry friend a lot of attention, it's really important to consider adopting another guinea pig for companionship.

6. Regular vet appointments

 Regular medical checkups help you stay on top of your pet's health and can address health issues before they get out of control. If your guinea pigs show any unusual signs, The best course of action is almost always to consult a vet who specializes in rodent species.

What happens when your guinea pigs get older?

Here are a few signs that your guinea pigs are aging that are entirely normal:

  • Around 4-5 years old, they tend to slow down and be less physically active.
  • You may notice that your pets are sleeping a little more than usual. It's perfectly normal. However, it's crucial to speak to your veterinarian if this is also present in your pet along with depression, decreased appetite, or trouble waking up.
  • You might see a growth or lump appear as they get older. Frequently, these are fatty deposits that don't harm your guinea pigs' health. However, always consult your veterinarian to make sure it's nothing more serious.
  • Diseases such as arthritis and cataracts are often part and parcel of aging. Talk to your veterinarian about what can be done to lessen the discomfort of these conditions.
  • Older guinea pigs, like humans and many other types of pets, usually turn gray around the mouth and nose.

In conclusion: The guinea pig that broke records

 The Guinness World Record for the oldest known caged guinea pig belongs to an animal named Snowball from Nottinghamshire, UK. He died on February 14, 1979, at the age of 14 years and ten months old. Other guinea pigs have come close to this record (a guinea pig named Bear was supposed to be 13 in 2019), but no one has managed to surpass it yet. The difficulty in actually determining a pig's age, of course, adds to the complexity of this. The birth of the pig must be documented to qualify for the record.