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Guinea Pig Lifespan: Factors That Influence How Long They Live

guinea pig lifespan

Once you fall in love with that first fluffy cavy, you want to know how long this friendship can last. And how can you extend the time you have together? As pets, a guinea pig lifespan is usually 5-7 years. Some guinea pigs have lived much longer though! 

In the wild, a guinea pig lifespan is more likely 1-4 years. This is due to harsher environments and that they’re prey animals. Domestic cavies have a safe and comfortable life. Especially if you know how to take proper care of your guinea pig.

Keep in mind as you’re creating a great life for your cavy that some things are out of your control. Genes and mother nature can shorten a guinea pig lifespan. So do the best you can with the things you can control and love on your cavy for all of their days! 

Check our Saskia on YouTube as she talks more about guinea pig lifespans! 

Diet and Nutrition To Maximize Your Guinea Pig’s Lifespan 

Getting your guinea pig’s diet right lays the groundwork for the rest of their lifestyle. They won’t have the energy to socialize or explore if they aren’t feeling well.

Proper nutrition keeps their digestive system in tip-top shape so they can absorb all the nutrients they need to thrive. 

guinea pig lifespan


Guinea pigs need low-calcium grass hay available 24/7. Timothy or Orchard grass hay are great options. Having hay available gives them the chance to fill up on fiber as well as chew all day to wear down their teeth.

Their teeth are always growing and without a proper high-fiber, hay-filled diet, a cavy’s teeth can become overgrown and very painful! 

One of the biggest ways to influence a guinea pig lifespan is by keeping the hay pile stacked high!

Fresh Veggies

Fresh vegetables are the richest source of vitamins for guinea pigs.

guinea pig lifespan

Guinea pigs especially need the vitamin C found in many fresh foods as their bodies can’t make vitamin C on their own, and they must get it from the food they eat!

Most guinea pigs should get about one cup of fresh vegetables a day. However, this cup should be mostly leafy greens! And when it comes to leafy greens, you don’t need to worry too much about them overeating.

It’s the fresh food that’s higher in sugar that you need to watch out for. Fruits and high-sugar vegetables (carrots!) need to be limited and saved to be used as treats! 

Some vegetables to include in your guinea pig’s diet are:

  • red and green leaf lettuce

  • romaine lettuce

  • kale

  • cilantro

  • parsley

  • red and green bell pepper

  • broccoli

  • spinach

  • celery

  • dandelion greens

  • cabbage

  • endive

  • carrot tops

  • mint

  • basil

  • collard greens

  • brussel sprouts

  • turnip greens

Make sure you rotate between different vegetables and don’t overfeed any one type of food (this doesn’t apply to hay, hay is an always-food). 

Calcium oxalate stones can form when a guinea pig has too many foods high in oxalates. But this isn’t something you have to worry too much about as long as you’re rotating through many different fresh foods.

Some vegetables that are higher in oxalates are spinach, parsley, and celery. These foods are great for cavies, just not every day! 

Pellets Fortified With Vitamin C

Another way to make sure your guinea pig is getting enough vitamin C is through pellet food. Quality pellet food is a great supplement to a diet full of hay and fresh leafy greens. 

Just make sure you aren’t overfeeding pellet food, this could lead to your cavy forgetting to eat their hay!

The first ingredient of pellet food should always be hay. Try to stay away from any guinea pig food that looks colorful. Dyes and additives are not your cavy’s friend. Pellets should look nice and boring! 

Guinea pigs can be offered ⅛ of a cup of pellets a day. 

Habitat and Lifestyle

Once you have things working well on the inside of your guinea pig, they can enjoy what’s on the outside! A guinea pig’s enclosure plays a huge role in their overall health and happiness.

Space To Move and Explore

A guinea pig needs at the bare minimum 7.5 square for their enclosure. The bigger the better for sure. When you have multiple cavies, they need additional space. 

Your guinea pig needs space to call their own. Living life with a claustrophobic pit in your stomach doesn’t support longevity! 

The more space your guinea pigs have, the more room there is for toys and fun. As well as space to hide goodies to encourage the treasure hunt of foraging! 

Toys To Keep Them Active

Everybody has hobbies that they love. That's what makes life all the more fun! For our beloved cavies, that’s foraging. Exploring and getting curious about what’s around them is their favorite thing to do in the day. 

So give them lots of toys to explore! This keeps them moving which is great for their overall health as well as their digestive system. Exercise helps move food through the digestive system.

The best toys to get guinea pigs exploring are the ones that have a tasty snack attached! Natural toys give them something to safely nibble on.

A variety of toys (as well as changing the types of toys you provide) give them new tastes and textures which keep them from getting bored. 


Guinea pigs are very social, just like us humans! Positive relationships have been found to play a role in longevity for humans. So we gather the same goes for cavies! Friends bring happiness which lowers stress! 

guinea pig lifespan

And lower stress means better health. As long as you aren’t overcrowding your cavy. This takes us back to the enclosure size factor. As long as your setup is designed for multiple guinea pigs, they will love their house party!

Wild cavies live in herds of 3-10 cavies. Little family units! No guinea pig was meant to be an island. They need family around them.

Yes, you make a fantastic family as a guinea pig parent but having other cavies around that speak their language really does make their life even better. 

Saskia is talking more about guinea pigs and what they need socially on YouTube!

Visits With A Cavy-Savy Vet

Not all veterinarians are up to date on the latest happenings with the guinea pig crowd. Make sure you have a vet with guinea pig experience picked out and ready to go before you ever really need them. 

If something is off with your cavy the last thing you want to do is have to scramble to find someone who knows what they’re doing. 

Additionally, well-checks are important. Get your guinea pig checked out by a vet. It’s a great time to ask any questions you have about your guinea pig or how to care for them.

Lengthen A Guinea Pig Lifespan By Being A Smart Parent

If you’re doing your best to be informed and diligent with the care of your cavies, then you’re well on your way to a long happy life with your guinea pigs.

The fact that you’re here, says a lot. Usually, those who want the best for their pets, find the best for their pets. 


We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.


Before adding any new product, please consult your exotic veterinarian. If your pet is acting unwell and you have concerns for their well being, please contact your vet immediately.

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