Can Guinea Pigs Catch Human Colds? Let’s Find Out

Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 06:53 pm

We take care of the guinea pigs by feeding them, caring for them when they are sick, and doing everything they need to make them comfortable and happy, and content.

But what should we do when we have a cold and are sick, should we take our furry pet in our arms and hold him for a while, or is it dangerous not to pass on the cold to him, so that it will also be painful?

Can guinea pigs catch human colds?

Yes, guinea pigs can catch human colds, mostly through bacterial infections and very rarely viral infections.

In today’s article, we will learn more about the possibility of guinea pigs catching human colds and how they affect their health.

Can guinea pigs catch human colds?

Yes, guinea pigs can catch bacterial infections, while very rarely they can catch viral infections like some types of flu.

Research shows that although it is possible to transmit a viral infection, this happens very rarely.

However, bacterial infections can be transmitted from humans to guinea pigs.

That is why it is best to keep your guinea pig away from you when you have a bacterial infection, while if you have a viral infection it is best to judge for yourself what to do or best to consult a veterinarian.

So let’s see in detail how bacterial and viral infection affect the health of guinea pigs.

Bacterial infection

Bacterial infections can be transmitted from humans to guinea pigs.

When we have a cold, it is usually the result of a viral infection, but bacteria can sometimes be the source of the cold.

Therefore, if you have a cold, you should just in case pay attention to your pet and separate it from you. Because you won’t be sure if your cold is the result of a viral or bacterial infection.

Humans have a much stronger immune system than guinea pigs and they deal with colds much easier.

While it is a bit more difficult for guinea pigs, they are more delicate than us and a cold from bacterial infection can be dangerous for their health.

When guinea pigs have a bacterial infection it can be passed from one guinea pig to another.

When guinea pigs have a bacterial infection, it can be noticed by certain symptoms, such as:

  • loss of appetite
  • lethargy
  • heavy breathing
  • nasal discharge

The most common bacterial infection in guinea pigs is Bordetella bronchisepta which affects their respiratory tract.

It is transmitted through coughing and sneezing, and during sexual relations between guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs can also be carriers of this bacterium, but not show any symptoms, but they can also infect other guinea pigs and they all die if they are not treated promptly with medication.

As you can read the danger of a bacterial infection from a cold is life-threatening for guinea pigs, so be as careful as you can.

If you do come into contact with your guinea pig, make sure it is as little as possible, because even if you wash your hands before touching your pet, the risk of transmission is still significant.


A cold caused by the rhinovirus is very common among us humans, but not among guinea pigs.

Rhinovirus mostly affects the upper respiratory tract in humans and is acquired 3-4 times a year.

If you have a cold from rhinovirus, the chances of it being transmitted to guinea pigs are very low.

Most often the cold is transmitted if it is caused by influenza A and B, as well as by other viruses that can be contagious to the guinea pig.can guinea pigs catch human colds

How does a guinea pig get a bacterial infection from humans?

If you only have a cold then the guinea pig will probably not get sick.

But if that cold has a bacterial infection through the airways and through touch, it will be transmitted to the guinea pig.

Indeed, guinea pigs have fur, but even this will not protect them from the transmission of bacterial infection through contact with humans.

How to prevent a guinea pig from getting a cold infection?

It is best to prevent the guinea pig from getting a cold infection to prevent health problems.

Here are some steps you should take:

  • avoid cuddling – or do it very rarely to reduce the chances of her getting an infection.
  • without touching – because that way you can very easily infect your guinea pig with the infection. If you must already touch it then wear gloves to protect them from transferring the infection and bacteria.
  • care from other family members – if you are very sick then other members should take over the responsibility around the guinea pig such as providing food and water and other necessary things.

What to do if you think your guinea pig has an infection

If you suspect that your guinea pig has a bacterial infection from a cold and if it has symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, lack of appetite, etc., then you must not wait, you must take it to the vet immediately.

The veterinarian will examine your guinea pig and prescribe appropriate therapy so that it can recover as quickly as possible.

Bacterial infection can easily turn into pneumonia, which can seriously threaten the life of the guinea pig.

Can guinea pigs get the flu from humans?

Yes, guinea pigs can catch flu from humans and it is very dangerous for their health.

When guinea pigs have the flu they will have a very hard time dealing with it especially their airways which are very delicate and small.

If not treated promptly, influenza can be fatal to the guinea pig and can cause severe health problems and death.

Read more: Can Guinea Pigs Abort Their Babies? Let’s Discover


Guinea pigs can catch a cold from humans if it is from a bacterial infection, while if it is from a viral infection it happens very rarely.

When the guinea pig has symptoms of lethargy, loss of appetite, drowsiness, and other symptoms, it should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Bacterial infection is very dangerous for the health and life of the guinea pig.

Finally, guinea pigs are very delicate and we must take good care of them, regardless of whether they are at risk of catching a cold from us humans or other infections and diseases.

Read more: Guide For Newborn Baby Guinea Pigs