11 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Not Eating Hay? Update 2024

Last updated on February 4th, 2024 at 12:58 pm

Sometimes, some guinea pigs stop eating hay, eat smaller amounts, and eat other food.

Hay is the leading food for guinea pigs that they should consume daily. Hay is an essential source of food so that they can properly digest food, and it also helps their teeth which are constantly growing.

Today’s article will reveal 11 tips to help guinea pigs eat more hay.

Why do guinea pigs don’t eat enough hay?

Guinea pigs do not eat enough hay for various reasons, ranging from teething problems and poor hay quality to depression and natural aging.

So let’s see in more detail the possible reasons why our pets sometimes eat less hay and how to help them regain their appetite.

Problems with the teeth

Guinea pigs have 20 teeth, and they are constantly growing, so they need to have the proper nutrition to wear them down.

Of course, hay is one of the primary food sources that also helps reduce the size of their teeth.

If the guinea pigs have a dental problem, they will not want to eat hay.

When guinea pigs have dental problems, the following complications occur:

  • Weight loss – because their teeth hurt and they can’t eat and grind food properly.
  • Weight loss can also lead to the death of the guinea pig.
  • Overgrown teeth – cause pain and can cause mouth injuries in guinea pigs.

Overgrown teeth can also cause problems with the normal movement of the tongue of guinea pigs, which ultimately results in a refusal to eat hay.

Respiratory infection

When guinea pigs have a respiratory infection that happens very often, your pet does not want to eat hay.

Suppose you notice that your guinea pig has the following symptoms. In that case, you will know that these are signs of a respiratory infection:

  • shortness of breath
  • too much sneezing
  • coughing
  • loud breathing

In this situation, you should take your pet to the vet to give him therapy and get better, and then he will eat hay again like before.

why guinea pigs not eating hay

Old age

As guinea pigs age, they lose their appetite and eat hay.

It is an entirely normal natural process that cannot be changed, and then you should get used to the fact that your pet does not need to eat as much hay as before.


When guinea pigs are depressed, they may stop eating hay or eat much less.

Guinea pigs are social animals; if one of their friends dies or is depressed because of something else, they will not want to eat hay.

In this situation, there is not much that can be done; the only thing to do is to wait for time to take its course; the guinea pig will eat again when it is no longer under depression.

Hay feeder

The hay feeder can sometimes be a problem, and guinea pigs refuse to eat hay from it.

Some guinea pigs like to eat directly from the floor of the cage where you have placed a pile of hay.

If you notice that they like to eat that way, remove the hay feeder, and give them to eat directly from the floor.

Most guinea pig owners report that their guinea pigs do not like to eat hay from feeders or hay racks.

Apart from hay racks, you can also give them hay in other ways:

  • Cotton bags – make holes in the bottom, hang the bag in the cage, put hay, and let your pet enjoy the food.
  • Cardboard boxes – can also be a substitute for a hay feeder; again, poke holes in the bottom, fill the box with hay, and the guinea pigs will rush to eat it.

Different types of hay

Sometimes guinea pigs get bored of the same type of hay, so they like a slight change, just like humans.

Different types of hay are distinguished by their smell and taste, so see which hay your pet likes best.

We recommend four types of hay for guinea pigs.

Timothy hay

Timothy hay is one of the most commonly used hay for guinea pigs.

This hay has a great taste and smell, and many guinea pigs love to eat it.

Important Ingredients:

  • proteins
  • fibers
  • fats

All these ingredients have an outstanding balance, which is why this type of hay is excellent for the health of guinea pigs.

Bermuda Hay

This type of hay has excellent quality and is on the top list for guinea pigs, with a fresh smell and green color.


  • fibers
  • proteins
  • calcium

Although this hay is excellent, guinea pigs prefer timothy hay.

Orchard Hay

This hay has a sweeter smell and is a solution for guinea pigs who develop allergies to other types of hay.

However, your pet will indicate whether it likes this type of hay or one of the other types of hay.

why guinea pigs not eating hay

Meadow Hay

Meadow hay is hay that contains several different ingredients, such as:

  • flowers
  • tufts of grass
  • meadow hay seed heads

This type of hay, like the others, is rich in fiber and contains specific amounts of calories and protein.

Eating less other food

Sometimes guinea pigs eat less hay because they eat more vegetables, fruits, and pellets.

We should pay attention to the menu of the guinea pigs because hay should be represented by 80%.

So be careful when you give them other food; if they overeat and eat more than they should, they will be complete and will not want to eat hay.

Problems with the environment

The environment in which guinea pigs are found must be optimal, without stress and dangers for our pets.

Otherwise, the guinea pig will not feel good and happy if they are stressed or afraid of predators or any other pet near them.

When the cause of the stress disappears, the guinea pig will again eat hay with a great appetite.

Give them hay in different ways

If your guinea pig gets tired of always eating the same way, he will lose his appetite and cut back on eating hay.

So here are some ways to give them hay in a more exciting way:

  • put hay in different places
  • change them daily with different types of hay
  • hide the hay in toilet paper
  • add some vegetables to the hay
  • put a few drops of fruit juice on the hay

Give them various pieces of hay

Try giving the guinea pigs different pieces of hay.

There are three types of different pieces of hay:

  1. with stems thinner than the leaves
  2. more leaves and some stems
  3. a leafy and soft part of the hay

Try all three and see which piece of hay your pet chooses.

The second or third cut is perfect for them, while the first cut, which is more crunchy, is not suitable for them to eat.

Hay should be fresh

Guinea pigs should always eat fresh hay, it has the most nutrients, and the guinea pig likes it the most.

If the hay is moldy or dry, your pet will not want to eat it.

Always choose the best hay for your pet, and you will see how much he will enjoy eating it.

Why does the guinea pig eat some hay?

They are several reasons why a guinea pig does not want to eat hay.

If the hay is not fresh, if there is mold and dust, the guinea pigs will not like it.

In any case, we should pay attention to our pet because a dental problem can be why he does not want to eat hay.

why guinea pigs not eating hay

What are the consequences if a guinea pig does not eat hay?

Hay is the leading food for guinea pigs; any reduction in the daily diet can only cause problems with their health.

The following problems may occur:

  • dental problems
  • digestive problems
  • lack of nutrients

All these problems are risky for your pet’s health, so guinea pigs must eat hay every day, and if they don’t like it, you should take them to the vet.

How much hay should guinea pigs eat?

Guinea pigs should eat as much hay as they can.

Hay is their primary food source, so we should let them eat as much as they need.

Hay improves their health and helps them to have enough nutrients in their organism, so they will be healthier and live longer.

Can guinea pigs live without hay?

Guinea pigs cannot live without hay; there is no alternative as a substitute for hay.

Guinea pigs should always have hay available. Otherwise, they may die in a brief period.

They also eat vegetables, fruits, and pellets, but hay is the primary source of nutrition.

Can guinea pigs eat pellets instead of hay?

Guinea pigs should not eat more pellets than hay.

Pellets are good if they are only part of their diet, or rather a small part, because they cannot replace hay.

Hay has fibers that are essential for guinea pigs, and helps to improve the performance of their digestive system and reduce the ever-growing teeth.

Does eating hay make guinea pigs happy?

Guinea pigs are more than happy to eat hay, no other food can replace hay in their diet. Hay makes them happy and improves their health at the same time.

Guinea pigs are so happy when they eat hay, that sometimes they sleep on it, that is, they use it as bedding.

My guinea pig, when I put hay for him, he first eats it and then makes his bed and sleeps directly on the hay.

Should guinea pigs eat fresh hay?

Yes, guinea pigs should eat fresh hay, preferably daily.

Dry hay with mold and dust is never a good option for our pets; they will refuse to eat it because of its smell and taste.

Fresh hay is best for dental health, digestion, and other benefits for guinea pigs.

Read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dates? All You Need To Know

Alternative to hay for the guinea pig

If you run out of hay, it’s nothing terrible, and you can give him grass as an alternative.

The grass is an excellent alternative to hay because it offers the same nutrients as hay.

Of course, the grass is not hay, but it can serve in certain situations when there is a hay shortage, as long as you provide hay for your pet.

Read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pine Needles? All You Need To Know


Guinea pigs must eat hay daily to stay healthy and get enough nutrients.

Hay is their primary food, representing 70-80% of the daily diet. The rest is supplemented with vegetables, fruits, and pellets.

If the guinea pigs do not eat hay, they get sick and may even die.

Reasons why guinea pigs sometimes do not eat enough hay can be dental problems, infections, old age, stress, poor quality hay and other reasons.

Finally, hay should always be the primary food source for our pets.

Read more: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley? (Benefits And Risks)