Guinea pigs eat very often and sometimes they eat something they shouldn’t.
Can guinea pigs choke to death?
Guinea pigs can choke to death because they cannot vomit. In these situations when they are choking you need to react quickly and in time to save your guinea pig.
In today’s article, you will learn why guinea pigs can choke to death, how to prevent choke, what to do if it stops breathing, and similar questions.
Can guinea pigs choke to death?
Guinea pigs can choke to death because they cannot throw up the food or anything else they eat.
Guinea pigs do not have a gag reflex to force food out of their mouths.
The gag reflex is a natural somatic response when the body tries to reject food or objects from the oral cavity using muscle contraction from the base of the tongue and pharyngeal wall.
The muscles in the throat of guinea pigs do not have enough strength to reject food, so they cannot vomit.
In such unwanted situations, to prevent the guinea pig from suffocating to death, you should immediately help your pets and remove the food.
If you notice that your guinea pig is choking, you should immediately call a veterinarian, who can also give you advice on what to do while you wait for it to arrive.
While you’re waiting for the vet to arrive, you can give your guinea pig a warm shower so it can inhale the steam to relax the throat muscles and remove the food or choking object.
The vet may also suggest that you check the guinea pig’s throat to see if there is an object stuck and remove it.
That’s why you should be very careful that the food you give them is in small pieces to prevent your pet from choking.
Particular care should be taken when playing outside the cage so that they do not eat a bone or other object that could immediately result in choking.
How to prevent your guinea pig from choking?
Apparently, guinea pigs can easily choke on some food or object and then have fatal consequences and die.
It is very important to pay attention to what you give them to eat, the size of the food, other objects near them, etc.
So here are some ways to prevent guinea pigs from choking.
Watch out for the hay
Hay is the main food for guinea pigs they eat most of the time, so you have to be careful when giving it to them.
Do not give them too large pieces of hay, as the guinea pig will eat quickly out of excitement and may choke.
It is best to always give them smaller pieces of hay or break large pieces into smaller pieces to reduce the chance of choking.
Fruits and vegetables in small pieces
Guinea pigs should not eat large pieces of vegetables and fruits because they can choke to death.
You should be especially careful with hard foods such as carrots, which can get stuck in their throats and cause them to choke. I always give my guinea pig a thinly sliced carrot to avoid choking.
The same goes for any other hard fruit or vegetable, you should always cut it into smaller pieces before feeding it to your guinea pigs.
They should always have access to water
Guinea pigs need water for regular drinking, but also to help them if they are in danger of choking.
That’s why they should always have clean and fresh water that will help them swallow food more easily.
Water also helps them not to have a dry mouth, because when the mouth is dry food can stick in the throat and there is a danger of choking.
If you notice that every time the guinea pigs eat, they immediately drink water, and they do it in succession, at least that’s what my guinea pig does.
Give them a smaller amount of food
If the guinea pigs have a larger amount of food, they will be happy, they will be satisfied and they may choke from excitement and quickness.
They will then eat faster to be able to eat everything, but there is the danger of choking.
That is why it is better to give them smaller amounts of food more often during the day, which will reduce the chances of them choking and dying.
Pay attention to the objects in the cage and the environment
You should always check the cage for broken objects or toys and remove them promptly.
Because guinea pigs can eat them and if they are bigger pieces they will cause choke to death.
The same applies when you let them out of the cage, there should be no bones, objects, or garbage on the floor that could choke the guinea pigs.
For example, every time I let my guinea pig into the room, I put a mat that has been tested, to make sure that my pet won’t swallow something he shouldn’t.
What are the symptoms of guinea pig choking?
To be able to react quickly and correctly when guinea pigs are choking, you need to know the symptoms.
Symptoms, when guinea pigs are choking, are as follows:
- breathing problems
- runny nose
- they stop making sounds or they are too quiet
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately check if they have something stuck in their throat and call a veterinarian.
You should keep an eye on the guinea pigs daily and check that everything is okay with them.
What should I do if the guinea pig is choking?
If your guinea pig starts to choke you should help him immediately to save his life.
There are several methods you can use to help a guinea pig when it is choking because all guinea pigs are different and you will need to know more methods.
Here are some tips before you start rescuing your guinea pig:
- Before you start rescuing your choked pet, it is best to have someone else help you rescue the guinea pig more easily.
- You should not panic, because in such moments it is important to think correctly, so as not to make a mistake.
- Last but not least, do whatever you can to help your pet when they are choking.
Saving the choked guinea pig
When guinea pigs are choking you should try to remove the food or object stuck in their throat.
Look in their throat and if you see food carefully remove it, which will prevent your pet from choking.
To remove the food you should use the following methods:
- with fingers or tweezers
- with a plastic syringe
- or by turning the guinea pig
These methods are the best to save your pet, so let’s read in detail about each of them.
With fingers or tweezers
With the help of your fingers, you can remove the piece of food that is stuck in the guinea pig’s throat.
If you still can’t reach the piece of food, you can also use tweezers, you just have to be careful not to injure your pet.
It is best to have someone help you remove the food from the throat as your pet may bite you as a sign of self-defense.
Be calm so you don’t make a mistake and hurt the guinea pig’s throat.
With a plastic syringe
If you want you can try to remove the stuck piece of food from the guinea pig’s throat using a syringe.
The advantage of this method is that you will not injure your pet with the syringe and it may be easier for you to manage to save it from choking.
Just pull the food with the syringe, take it out and your pet will be saved.
By turning the guinea pig
To remove food or an object stuck in a guinea pig’s throat you can use the method of pressing on your pet’s lungs.
Just take the guinea pig in your hands and gently run your fingers over their lungs.
This will cause pressure on your pet’s lungs and a deeper inhalation which will allow the stuck food or object to be released.
If you don’t succeed the first time, repeat the procedure several times to save your little one from choking.
What to do if a guinea pig chokes and stops breathing?
If at some point the guinea pig chokes and stops breathing, there are still chances to save it.
You need to react quickly and take the guinea pig in your hands and turn it upside down.
Then you should massage and rub the belly of the guinea pig with your hand from the bottom of the belly towards the ribs.
By doing this, you cause a small amount of lung pressure and airflow in the guinea pig, allowing it to breathe again and expel the stuck object.
You just have to be careful not to push too hard because you can break his ribcage.
Can my guinea pig choke in water?
Guinea pigs can also choke in water although this is not as common. This can only happen if the guinea pig takes too much water into the lungs.
Guinea pigs are very greedy animals and therefore sometimes they know how to exaggerate their intake of water.
In doing so, the water will block the lungs and the guinea pig will choke.
Is it bad if my guinea pig coughs?
When guinea pigs cough it is not good for them at all.
if you hear the guinea pig coughing you should call the vet and report that something is wrong.
When a guinea pig coughs it has the following symptoms:
- runny nose
- loss of appetite
- irregular breathing
Coughing can turn into an upper respiratory infection and kill your pet.
What is the common cause of death in guinea pigs?
The most common cause of death in guinea pigs is pneumonia.
When guinea pigs have pneumonia they have certain symptoms such as:
- weight loss
- runny nose
- breathing difficulties
Pneumonia in guinea pigs is most often caused by a bacterial infection.
Read more: 11 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Not Eating Hay
Guinea pigs cannot vomit and can easily choke and die. Your pet likes to eat a lot, but sometimes if it accidentally eats an object, garbage, or something similar, it can choke.
Hard food such as carrots, even if given in large pieces, can choke guinea pigs.
You must pay attention to the food, it should always be in small pieces, the hay should also be in small pieces, and similar things that can cause them to choke.
You can also help your pet yourself by using a syringe or using your fingers to try to get the food out and save your pet.
If the guinea pig begins to choke, you should immediately help it and call a veterinarian.