Guinea Pig Coughing? All You Need To Know

Every guinea pig owner should be concerned if their guinea pigs make strange noises when breathing or coughing unexpectedly. “Why is my guinea pig coughing?” Most pet owners wonder. Do they appear to be ill? Is it a remark made in response to something? So, here is a quick result of the research made for the treatment of coughing for Guinea Pigs.

The inflammation in the guinea pig’s windpipe causes coughing. A strong odor, eating too quickly, foreign particles in the nose canal, and an upper respiratory disease are all possible causes. Coughing on occasion might be overlooked, but continuous coughing demands immediate medical attention.

A slight allergy, gulping food, or severe respiratory problems can induce coughing in guinea pigs.

We need to discover what’s causing the coughing and treat it appropriately because this might be a life-threatening situation.

Guinea pig

Why Is My Guinea Pig Coughing?

Generally, it would be best not to take it leniently when your Guinea Pig starts coughing. This problem might be hazardous to them, and it can even take their lives. Your pig might be coughing because of several reasons.

Your Guinea Pig is Coughing

Coughing is not prevalent in guinea pigs because they are impatient with food and swallow it quickly; some guinea pigs cough when eating, resulting in a short coughing sound.

Guinea Pig in field

Coughing is a common occurrence in others for a variety of causes. To cure coughing, it’s vital to figure out what’s causing it.

So, here are a few of the most common causes of coughing in guinea pigs:

  1. Eating or drinking too quickly might jam the windpipe, leading your guinea pigs to try to force food or water into their mouths, resulting in such noises.
  2. Dust, allergens, gases, smell, and other substances might irritate the windpipe, causing coughing. These can happen when we use dusty bedding or hay, scented floor cleaners, or fleece detergents, to name a few examples.
  3. Another reason might be an upper respiratory infection. It can also induce pneumonia, a condition in which the lungs fill with fluid and create serious health problems.
  4. A complete vet examination is required if a nasal channel obstruction is caused by foreign objects, followed by therapy to clear the block. For example, a piece of cardboard can become caught in the nasal canal, and so on.

Reasons For Respiratory Infections

To begin with, guinea pigs can get respiratory infections from non-guinea pig animals.

Even healthy dogs and bunnies are vulnerable to this hazard. Julia Whittington, a veterinarian, agrees, “Among the pathogens are Bordetella bronchiseptica and Streptococcus pneumonia. Rabbits and dogs carry Bordetella, and many animals can be asymptomatic Streptococcus carriers.” Interactions between guinea pigs and rabbits or dogs should be avoided at all costs.

Second, improper bedding, such as cedar can cause respiratory difficulties in guinea pigs. A draught from an open window, or wet hair after a bath, can set things off after that.

Finally, there are times when respiratory illnesses strike without warning. Harmful pathogens can hide in plain sight and choose inconvenient times to wreak havoc.

Diagnosis Of Respiratory Infection

When diagnosing respiratory infections in guinea pigs, there are a few things to bear in mind. So, let’s have a look at them more closely.

Listen to the breath sounds.

As you can see, respiratory illnesses make it harder to breathe. So, you should listen to your guinea pig’s breathing; this is a red flag if they are gasping or making any clicking sounds or noises. Their breathing is usually smooth and silent.

Due to allergies, guinea pig respiration is slightly louder than usual, but there will be no breathing difficulties; thus, take note of the difference.

Observe Your Guinea Pig’s Nose

It would be best to examine his nose to see whether he has any discharge. Mostly, sneezing is followed by nasal discharge in the case of an upper respiratory illness.

The release may be green or yellow if he has a respiratory or throat infection. If his nose is red and he continuously touches or scratches it, he may have a sore nose caused by allergies.

Guinea pig close up photo

Check your Pig’s Eyes

Respiratory problems could be affecting your pig’s vision. For example, discharge or puffy eyes, red eyes, or inflammation of the inner eyelid are possible symptoms.

Try to feed him

Your guinea pig may refuse to eat if they are ill. It would be best to keep track of how much it consumes regularly based on what you put in his cage. You’ll see that it has either stopped eating or is just eating a small amount of food.

Observing his energy level

Guinea pigs are recognized for their high level of activity. If you have a respiratory ailment, it will be less active. It may be moving slowly within his cage, or it could be less gregarious and energetic than his usual routine.

Look for Any stressful event.

Guinea pig eating grass

Such events quickly wreak havoc on the young soul’s immune system, creating illness. When immunity is low, the risk of developing respiratory infections (or any other disease) is exceedingly high.

As a result of these situations, several behavioral changes occur. Examples include pregnancy, new teammates, bullying, nutritional changes, cage crowding, cedar or pine bedding, and other stressful events.

Getting A Veterinary Diagnosis

Now is the moment to seek professional help. This respiratory problem may be mild right now, but it will almost certainly increase during the next few days. As a result, go to an animal clinic and seek a vet as soon as the first sign occurs.

If you get help early on, you will not be sorry. Moreover, it would be best to look for a small animal exotic veterinarian who has worked with animals like guinea pigs in your region.

Provide the vet with a Detailed History of Guinea Pig

Giving the vet all of your guinea pig’s information will aid him in diagnosing and treating your pet. The vet might want to know about your guinea pig’s history.

Detailed Examination of Your Pig

This will be a physical examination. They will almost definitely do the same procedures as you did at home, including nasal discharge, ocular discharge, and so on. They might also look for signs of dental disease in the mouth if any are present.

To our astonishment, dental problems do cause respiratory infections in guinea pigs. The node is an infection pocket, and the dental concerns include misaligned teeth and swellings. Your veterinarian will examine your guinea pig’s lungs, so don’t need to worry.

Conducting an X-Ray

X-rays can be used to diagnose and measure the severity of a problem in various ways. If your guinea pig has dental concerns, your veterinarian will take a skull x-ray to look at the jaw bones and oral tissues.

Guinea Pig in basket

If the suspension is due to pneumonia, chest data is required. In cases of respiratory infections, an X-ray is always advised because it provides all the information.

Identifying the Type of Bacteria

Bordetella bronchiseptica or Streptococcus pneumonia causes respiratory illnesses in guinea pigs. The veterinarian will recommend tests to determine which bacterium is causing the problem. He’ll take tiny samples of your guinea pig’s body to test in a tube.

Treatment Of Respiratory Infection

If a guinea pig is diagnosed with an infection, it must be treated as soon as possible to avoid his death. If they are having veterinary therapy, it is recommended that they seek advice from an expert vet.

Hospitalize him if required

Occasionally, the illness progresses to the point where it requires observation, or the veterinarian wishes to keep him in the hospital for extensive treatment and observation.

The hospital personnel will help with food, oxygen if necessary, injectables, and monitoring of all therapies. Until the guinea pig is stable enough to be cared for at home, hospitalization is recommended.

Moreover, multiple therapies can be given simultaneously in hospitals, which we can’t do at home. For example, in the case of difficult breathing, oxygen is first humidified.

Unlike oral drugs, injectables are given intravenously. Energy boosters are also available in hospitals for overall well-being.


They’re given to you based on the germs that infected your guinea pig. Based on the results, your veterinarian will suggest tests to determine the reason and antibiotics that can effectively treat the respiratory infection.

The most important thing is to follow the veterinarian’s instructions to ensure that any conditions and the microorganisms that cause them are treated and eliminated.

Noting the doses of antibiotics.

Medicine droppers are used to provide the proper amount of liquid antibiotics to your guinea pig’s mouth.

Of course, he may grow accustomed to it; medicine isn’t his favorite meal after all. As a newborn, he placed drops on his favorite food and served it to him.

Monitor the Illness

Because some antibiotics can cause diarrhea, it’s best if you keep a close eye on things. This happens when drugs kill the good bacteria that live in our intestines.

This is not a good sign, and your veterinarian should be contacted right away. He has the option of changing the antibiotics or the doses.

Give Vitamin C

You can also take a vitamin C supplement like Oxbow’s GTN50 every day to avoid vitamin C insufficiency at any time for your Guinea Pig.

Your guinea pig needs to ingest 10-50 mg of vitamin C every day to prevent infections and improve immunity. The health circumstances and status of the guinea pigs, such as if they are old, young, pregnant, or have other health issues, dictate the dose.

Prevention of Respiratory Infections

Providing a range of bedding options for guinea pigs is the easiest way to prevent respiratory infections. It would be best to avoid using pine or cedar Wood shavings since they can irritate your skin.

It’s also crucial to keep your guinea pig’s cage as clean as possible to avoid gases gathering and aggravating the respiratory system’s mucous membranes.

Even if your guinea pig isn’t displaying any visible signs or symptoms, you should take them to the veterinarian for a checkup at least once every six months to verify everything is in order.

Are Guinea Pigs Supposed to Cough/ Sneeze?

According to a study based on guinea pigs, they cough and sneeze, and coughing is a defense mechanism of the airway in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs cough to consume foreign material accumulated in their airway and clean it out.

An inconvenient, unproductive cough caused by various environmental factors and diseases, including inflammatory reactions, necessitates immediate medical intervention since it risks our guinea pigs’ death.

So, If your guinea pig is gasping, coughing, or turning its head, it has difficulty breathing and needs immediate attention.

If they coughed once or twice while eating their favorite vegetable, it could be because the food became stuck and they couldn’t vomit, so they tried to clean it out by pushing it in, which resulted in such sounds.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Coughs and Sneezes?

You should look for a few other symptoms if your guinea pig coughs and sneezes. It has likely contracted the respiratory infection if any following symptoms are present.

Of course, you should seek emergency medical help if you notice a clicking or wet breath sound, wheezing, sneezing, heavy or difficult breathing, watery eyes or nose, tired eyes, tiredness, or a lack of interest in food.

Coughing in guinea pigs can be a significant problem if it happens frequently. Although guinea pigs rarely cough or sneeze, if yours does, please take the necessary precautions.

It would be best to consider the differences between guinea pigs and humans. Coughing in guinea pigs frequently persists for more than a week. Instead, treatment is required; otherwise, the illness will spread quickly.

Thus, you should immediately separate your guinea pig from the other guinea pigs in the cage if you see any of the above symptoms so that the entire crew does not become ill.

You can put it in a bathroom so that your guinea pig can breathe easier when getting a hot shower. If it has already lost its appetite, use a syringe to push it to eat.

Coughing in guinea pigs can also be an indication of allergies. Perform a self-assessment by substituting the items listed below for a few days and observing the guinea pig’s response to find out.

Cleaning supplies, air fresheners, Aspen and Pine bedding, laundry detergents, perfumes, and other scented items are just a few examples.

Can a Guinea Pig Die from Coughing?

Because your guinea pig will try to disguise her illness, you may not notice it right away.

Because of this tendency to hide signs of disease, as well as your guinea pig’s overall inability to recover from infections without the intervention of a veterinarian, even seemingly minor symptoms can quickly kill your cavity.

Thus, call your veterinarian right once and bring your pet in for an immediate examination; the sooner your veterinarian can examine and treat her, the better.

Because the illness is very contagious, a sick pig might easily infect others. Pet store guinea pigs are more likely to get infected because they are exposed to many other guinea pigs. If you have more than one guinea pig, keep them apart if one shows signs of illness.

Can a Guinea Pig Get Sick Because of You?

You should stay away from your guinea pig if you have the sniffles since guinea pigs can catch colds from humans.

You should keep your guinea pig warm and give him plenty of water if he shows signs of a cold, such as a runny nose or sneezing. Take him to the vet if the symptoms do not improve within a few days to rule out a more severe illness like pneumonia.


Can guinea pigs get a cough?

Yes. Coughing is a frequent occurrence in all living beings, so don’t be surprised if your Guinea pig coughs now and then. Sometimes, food fragments may become trapped in the throat of animals, who eat more quickly than humans. Coughing causes such pieces to be removed from the Guinea pig’s throat, preventing suffocation.

What causes the cough reflex?

The pepper extract capsaicin and a low pH can trigger cough reflexes in guinea pig airways. TPRV-1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid-1) is expressed in sensory and afferent nerve fibers in the airways.

Do guinea pigs have a cough reflex?

Cough reflex sensitivity is increased in patients with allergic rhinitis, contributing to rhinitis-induced cough. According to findings from multiple studies, cough to citric acid is elevated in the guinea pig model of allergic rhinitis.

Can guinea pigs cough or sneeze?

Guinea pigs, like people, can get particles stuck in their noses and sneeze to dislodge them. Every day, a guinea pig sneezes two to four times. This is normal and should not be seen as a cause for alarm. Anything more could be a sign of an allergic reaction to something or a respiratory ailment.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!