Can Guinea Pigs Be Left Alone And For How Long?

You need to go out of town for business or an emergency and have a guinea pig.  

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What should you do?  Should you leave them alone or should you have someone to check on them? Whatever you do, you have to make sure your guinea pig is taken care of.

Can Guinea Pigs be Left Alone?

Leaving them alone while you have to go out of town for a day, they could survive but for longer than that would not be good.  It would be ideal if you had someone that could look after your guinea pig while you are gone.  If no one can watch them, you should make sure that they have enough food for how long you are going to be away, different sources of water, and green vegetables that will last a day.

If you are going to be gone for more than two days, someone should be monitoring them every 12-24 hours.  This is so if something should happen like they get sick or hurt, then there is someone to take care of them.  You could get a pet sitter or have a friend or relative check in on your guinea pig, making sure that it has what it needs and is willing to spot clean their cage.  A guinea pig needs a clean cage to stay healthy.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs be Left Alone?

A guinea pig should not be left alone for more than a day as many things can go wrong.

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Problems That Could Happen if Left Alone

If you are going to be gone for a few days, there are things that can happen, which is why it is good to have someone check on them.

  • Run out of hay—a guinea pigs standard diet is 80% hay so they need a lot of it.  This is where they get most of their essential nutrients and fiber.  Guinea pigs have a fast metabolism so it is important that they have hay available all the time.  A guinea pig cannot go more than 12-24 hours without hay.  Within 12 hours they will start to have trouble with their digestive system and become seriously ill within 24 hours.
  • Water bottle leak—the water bottle works on the principle of vacuum and if anything goes wrong, and then the bottle can leak and soak the bedding or become clogged.  It would also mean that the guinea pigs have no water.  Also, if their bedding is soaked it can make them sick.  Since guinea pigs eat a lot of hay, it will make them thirsty so they need freshwater all the time.  They cannot go more than a day or two without water.
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  • Soiled bedding—this is a major attraction to flies along with other insects.  This can give your guinea pig flystrike, which is when the eggs laid in the soiled bedding by the flies turn into larvae.  The larvae will attach themselves to your guinea pigs genitals and start to feed on them.  The maggots will eat your guinea pig alive.  
  • Poop—your guinea pigs cage needs to be spot cleaned every couple of days, more often if you have more than one guinea pig.  The poop will build up, causing a harmful ammonia buildup in the cage.  This is especially true if there is no proper ventilation in the room.  This can be very dangerous for your guinea pig.
  • Escape from their cage—when you leave you to have to make sure that there is no way they can get out of the cage.  You want to check and make sure that the door is locked securely.  If they somehow get out, they can get into trouble that can be life-threatening or harm them
  • Lack of vegetables—to remain healthy, a guinea pig needs a well-balanced diet.  The vegetables give your guinea pig the vitamins and minerals they cannot produce on their own, especially vitamin C.  The longest they can go without vegetables is two to three days.
  • A guinea pig is prone to illnesses and can become sick very fast.  If no one checks on them for a couple of days, they could die or be dead when you get home.  You need to catch ailments fast and get them to the veterinarian if necessary.
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Things to do When You Have to Leave Your Guinea Pig Alone

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  • Give them multiple water bottles as a guinea pig can drink 50-300ml of water each day.  They will sip each time they eat.  Also, if there are issues with one bottle, they will have another to drink from.
  • Install some extra accessible hay racks for extra feed.
  • Give your guinea pig some extra pellets and greens, like lettuce.  You should have two to three small bowls of pellets in their cage.
  • Make sure that the temperature of the house stays warm and consistent.  They do not do well when temperatures fluctuate.  

Conclusion

  • Guinea pigs are sociable animals and if you just have one, then they will need some interaction with a human.  If they are left alone too long, they could be could become stressed or depressed.
  • On average, two guinea pigs can eat a pound of hay in two days.
  • Leaving your guinea pig alone without someone checking on them for more than a day could be life-threatening as there are so many things that could go wrong even if you have tried to make sure they have food and water.
  • A guinea pig does not do well in isolation, even if there is a second guinea pig.  They need human interaction.
  • They need to get out of the cage and have room to move around and explore so if they are confined to the cage longer than it a day, it could be detrimental to their health.
  • Use water bottles and not water dishes as a guinea pig could tip them over, making their bedding wet and no water to drink.
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