How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Hay? Let’s Find Out

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 06:28 pm

The main food of guinea pigs is hay. They consume it every day, providing them with the nutrients they need to live.

You must be wondering if the guinea pig runs out of hay, is it dangerous or not?

How long can guinea pigs go without hay?

Guinea pigs cannot stay without hay for more than 24 hours, if they go two days without eating hay they can have fatal consequences and die. Hay allows proper digestion of food, and intake of fiber and nutrients and helps to reduce their constantly growing teeth.

In today’s article you will learn why guinea pigs must eat hay every day and what will happen if they run out of hay to eat, so let’s get started right away.

Can guinea pigs live without eating hay?

No, guinea pigs cannot live without hay, in fact, there is no other food that you can give them as a substitute for hay.

It is enough for the guinea pigs to be without hay for 24 hours and they will start to have health problems.

The hay in its composition contains a lot of fibers that are needed for guinea pigs, and at the same time, it helps to reduce their constantly growing teeth.

There are several types of hay and they are not all the same, the better the hay, the healthier the guinea pig will be.

One of the best is timothy hay and meadow hay because they are also rich in vitamin C, which is one of the most important vitamins that guinea pigs cannot produce on their own and must get through their food.

When you buy hay, you should make sure that the hay is of good quality and that there is no dust that can cause respiratory infections, so see if the label says dust extracted, then it is dust-free hay.

If you give him alfalfa hay, you should pay attention to the amount, because this hay has a lot of calcium.

Calcium is undoubtedly important for the health of guinea pigs, but if they take in too much then calcium deposits and stones form in the bladder, which is very painful for your pet.

Bladder stones should then be removed with antibiotics and surgery performed by a veterinarian.

Hay is the main source of food for guinea pigs, but in order not to get too much calcium or any other ingredient, it is necessary for your pets to have a diet enriched with vegetables and fruits.How long can guinea pigs go without hay

What are the dangers of not feeding your guinea pig hay?

If you don’t feed the guinea pigs hay they will likely die within two days. Guinea pigs can go without hay for 24 hours, but not more than that.

Hay is the main supplier of fibers for guinea pigs, without them they cannot have a normal digestive system, and without fibers, they will not be able to digest food properly.

If they don’t eat hay, guinea pigs can only develop bladder stones that will then need to be removed by surgery.

If bladder stones occur once, it is likely that guinea pigs will get stones again for a certain period of time and will not be able to fully recover.

If the guinea pigs are constantly faced with the appearance of stones, due to the great and unbearable pain, euthanasia may be necessary as a last resort.

The fibers in the hay are the main factor why you should always give hay to guinea pigs, but we should also say something about the teeth because hay also helps with their health.

By eating the hay, the guinea pigs will be able to reduce their teeth which are constantly growing, because if they do not reduce them they will not be able to eat and chew food properly.

When guinea pigs do not eat hay they have a greater chance of gaining weight and developing diabetes.

Vegetables and fruits have more sugar, while hay does not have so much sugar and is great for maintaining a normal weight in your pet.

Should guinea pigs eat hay all the time?

Yes, guinea pigs need to eat hay constantly, every day in order to live normally, otherwise, they will die.

Timothy hay and meadow hay are excellent hay choices for guinea pigs, but you should be aware that pregnant guinea pigs need to be given more hay alfalfa.

Alfalfa hay is richer in calcium, and pregnant guinea pigs and those who are nursing small babies need exactly this kind of hay.

You can also mix timothy hay with calcium-rich alfalfa hay and feed it to your pregnant guinea pigs.

How should you be careful about the hay you feed your guinea pigs?

Hay should be given daily to the guinea pigs in their cage, and the old hay should be removed at the same time.

The hay you give the guinea pigs should be fresh, clean, and dust-free.

If there is wet hay, it should be removed from the cage, as it can only attract insects and bugs that carry diseases that can be transmitted to the guinea pigs.

Once a week you should thoroughly clean the cage so that the guinea pig can have better protection against bacteria and infections.

What to do if you run out of hay for your guinea pig?

Sometimes it happens that you run out of hay for your guinea pig, or you can’t buy it at that moment and you wonder what to do.

The best solution is to give him some grass, such as Cat grass, wheatgrass, and timothy grass.

It is even better if the grass is free of chemicals because these can cause fatal consequences and the death of the guinea pig.

You can also give them a cucumber because it contains a certain amount of fiber, water, and a little sugar, which will be good for the guinea pigs to eat.

However, it is obvious that it is best to have a sufficient amount of hay so that you do not get into such an unpleasant situation for your pet.How long can guinea pigs go without hay

Can guinea pigs eat pellets instead of hay?

No, guinea pigs cannot eat pellets instead of hay. Pellets can be a supplement in their diet, but they can never be a substitute for hay.

Pellets can cause bladder stones if consumed in large quantities.

The pellets do not have enough of the main ingredients that the guinea pig needs, and with pellets, they cannot reduce the constantly growing teeth.

Read more: 11 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Not Eating Hay

Can guinea pigs survive if they eat only hay?

Yes, guinea pigs can live if they only eat hay.

But if they eat only hay, it will slow their development, because they need to take in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are not enough in the hay.

That’s why hay should be represented by 70-80 percent of the diet, and the rest should be vegetables, fruits, pellets, and of course clean and fresh water.

Read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Leaves? Let’s Find Out


Hay is the main food for guinea pigs without which they cannot live for more than two days. After 24 hours without hay, the guinea pigs will already start to have health problems.

By eating hay, guinea pigs get fiber, which is necessary for their digestive system to work normally.

If you have a pregnant guinea pig, then you can give it alfalfa hay, which, unlike other types of hay, has more calcium.

Guinea pigs can eat vegetables and fruits as dietary supplements, but hay is the main source of food they cannot live without.

Read more: Why Is My Guinea Pig Eating Bedding?