The consistency, smell, sight, and shape of a guinea pig droppings can be an early sign of any underlying health issues. It is essential to know the difference between abnormal and normal poop of guinea pigs to quickly detect health problems. But how will you know if the poop is normal? What should guinea pig poop look like? Let’s find out!
Guinea pigs have two types of poop. These include round, fibrous pellets and shiny dark-colored cecotropes. The normal guinea pig poop is dark brown colored, round in shape, firm, and doesn’t smell. Cecotropes poop is round in shape, small in size, dark in color, and has a glossy surface that sticks with each other.
Normal cecotropes have a strong smell, especially when the mucus membrane laying them is not intact.
The consistency in shape, size, texture, smell, and color of guinea pig poop needs to be observed.
The abnormal guinea pig poop can be different in any of these areas.
If your guinea pigs produce unusual cecotropes, they may not eat them as it lacks proper structure or smell.
What does normal guinea pig poop look like?
The poop pellets of guinea pig appear like fibrous, round balls. These poop pellets should be hard, break up into grainy and fibrous interior when pressed, and have no stickiness.
A large amount of grass hay is a staple part of guinea pig’s diets, and their poop must have the grainy feel of crushed hay.
If the poop looks any different, it could be a sign of the trouble. The concerning symptoms include unformed poop, soft poop, or watery poop.
Gastrointestinal problems are common in guinea pigs. When the guinea pig’s droppings are abnormal, it can be a cause for concern for all owners.
There are a few more signs you need to look for while determining normal guinea pig poop from abnormal guinea pig poop.
Also read: How often do guinea pigs pee and poop?
Normal guinea pig poop color
The color of poop in guinea pigs can differ from guinea pigs to guinea pigs.
One guinea pig can have a dark brown poop, while another guinea pig can have light brown colored poop. The consistency is all that matters in the poop color of guinea pig.
A healthy guinea pig will always produce the same colored pellets. If you bring drastic changes in the diet of a guinea pig, then there can be a small variation in their poop color.
Guinea pigs can also have a significant difference in the poop color when they are in the same family and fed the same diet. One guinea can have a yellowish-brown color, whereas another guinea pig can have dark brown pellets.
If you break a fresh poop pellet from inside, the color will be light compared to the outside color. Sometimes, the inner color can also be slightly green.
Usually, a guinea pig’s poop color can have little to no difference. The drastic changes in the color between the poop pellet can be a significant sign, indicating that your guinea pig’s internal gut system is upset.
If your guinea pigs have excess protein in their diet, then they will produce black poops. Likewise, If they eat something like beetroot, the poop may have a little tint of red color.
Normal guinea pig poop smell
A normal guinea pig’s poop is not at all smelly, which makes them easy to handle. However, the same can’t be said for your guinea pig’s urine. Their urine usually has a pungent smell.
If your guinea pig is healthy, then their poop pellets should not have any bad smell.
But if your guinea pigs have an underlying health problem then they can produce the pellets that have a terrible smell.
Don’t be confused in cecotropes and regular pellets, because even cecotropes have a strong smell, but they are usually good for your guinea pigs.
Normal guinea pig poop size
The size of pellets is not always comparable with the size of guinea pigs. An old guinea pig can have small pellets than what you usually expect, but a younger guinea pig can have a more massive pellet poop.
The abnormal pellets that are tiny or odd in shape can be a cause for concern. It could be a possible sign of various health problems that include pain, gastrointestinal issues, and appetite loss.
So to conclude we can say that if the pellet size remains constant, then the poop of guinea pig can be considered normal.
Also read: 25 common health problems in guinea pigs
Abnormal guinea pig poop
Guinea pigs can have several issues leading to abnormal poops.
Guinea pigs are sensitive creatures, and their internal system is very delicate. Abnormal poops are signs of concern, indicating that there is something terribly wrong with your guinea pig.
These small animals hide their pain or hide themselves away when they are in pain. However, they can’t hide their poop. So it’s essential to observe what they are eliminating.
The abnormal poops can be the sign of guinea pig’s upset stomach or intestinal impaction.
Guinea pig poop smaller than normal
Guinea pigs are prey animals that can be stressed or frightened very easily. When guinea pigs are stressed or frightened, then it causes the movement of the intestine(s) to produce the smaller pellets than average.
After a while, the pellets should come back to their standard size. If the pellets of guinea pigs remain small or tiny, it can be a sign of chronic pain or intestinal problems. Small pellets can also possibly be caused by intestinal impaction.
If the pellets of guinea pigs are shapeless and small, and probably combined with the larger pellets, this means that your guinea pig is not getting much food.
In such a scenario, it is essential to find out why your guinea pig is not eating. A guinea pig can struggle to eat their food because of inner ear infection or dental issues. An underlying health problem can also cause a loss of appetite.
If your guinea pig is recovering from the appetite loss, then they can have small shapeless poops.
A guinea pig’s digestive system keeps working throughout the day.
When your guinea pig is not eating food, then it can lead to the production of pellets in odd ways, as they don’t have enough fiber to develop the pellets.
As their eating habits will come back to normal, so will the shape and size of the poop pellets.
Guinea pig clumpy poop
The standard guinea pig pellets need to be round, single balls. Sometimes, the pellets can clump and smash together when the matter moves slowly from the intestine.
The occurrence of a few of these pellet clumps on occasion is not a severe issue. However, if these clusters occur frequently or in a large quantity, you need to look at your guinea pig’s diet.
Less amount of fiber in the diet can slow down the gut system of guinea pig. If your guinea pig is in stress, then also they can produce poop clumps, which is due to the response of the digestive system to the increased levels of anxiety.
Guinea pig poop lighter
Due to a change in the diet of guinea pigs, their poop color can become lighter. That is common, especially when you change the menu with light color grass hay.
Generally, the poop color of guinea pigs depends on their food quality and type of food. The freshness of the food is also going to directly impact the fecal matter your guinea pigs eliminate.
If your guinea pig’s diet had high protein in the past, the poop would be lighter in color as you deliver them with a more healthy diet.
Otherwise, increased protein in the diet will cause a very dark poop. A very dark, almost black poop is not perfect, as it can cause many health problems if your guinea pig consumes excess protein.
Diarrhea in guinea pigs
If your guinea pig has real diarrhea, then it is a cause for concern that needs quick action, especially when your guinea pig is young.
Not only dehydration can cause life-threatening conditions, but diarrhea is also a symptom of underlying health problems in guinea pigs.
Unlike dogs or cats, change in the diet can’t be the only cause of diarrhea in guinea pigs.
Severe infection, parasites, poisoning, or antibiotics can trigger diarrhea. Sometimes, diarrhea is the only visual sign of a severe underlying health problem.
There have been several instances of life-threatening conditions in guinea pigs from severe diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli infections.
Diarrhea occurs as unformed, watery fecal matter in guinea pigs. If your guinea pig has diarrhea, you need to take your guinea pig to the veterinary surgeon immediately.
Guinea pig poop stuck together
It will be odd to find out the pellets of guinea pigs that are struck together. Luckily, this is not abnormal or uncommon if it occurs occasionally.
Guinea pigs like to keep themselves clean and thus, they groom themselves a lot. A healthy guinea pig grooms themselves several times in a day, and from this habit, guinea pig regularly ingests their fur.
Guinea pigs cannot vomit or cough up hairballs as cats and other animal does.
The fur ingested has to pass through the gut system of your guinea pig.
Sometimes in this process, the hair gets entangled with the poop pellets in the intestine leading to poop stuck together with hair.
Poop strings can also be caused by consuming the rug fibers or other mineral matter.
Providing enough fresh hay and grooming them regularly can reduce how frequently your guinea pig can pass the poop strings.
If your guinea pig continually eliminates the poop strings, you need to take some steps to avoid internal blockages in them.
Mucus in guinea pig poop
If your guinea pig has mucus in poop, then it is a cause for concern. It will help if you take your guinea pig to the veterinary surgeon immediately, mainly when it occurs again, as this is not normal.
You can easily spot the mucus in guinea pig poop. The slimy, sticky semi-fluid matter that is light in color will be strung between the guinea pig’s pellets. Even it can surround the pellets.
Regularly, when a guinea pig’s intestine is upset or irritated, then the production of mucus occurs.
Cecal impaction, mucoid enteropathy, parasites, or antibiotics that disturb the intestinal flora leading to the formation of such mucus.
Also, mucus appears like a transparent, jelly-like material. Mucus can also pass as a movement without any pellets.
The appearance of mucus doesn’t matter. You need to immediately take a sample of poop and this mucus of your guinea pig to the veterinary surgeon.
It needs to be noted that your guinea pig can have some mucus in their droppings if they are recovering from the stomach and the intestines upset.
However, your veterinary surgeon will discuss the probability of mucus in the guinea pig’s droppings in advance.
Dry guinea pig poop
Over a while, the pellets of guinea pig dry out naturally. However, if your guinea pig’s pellet is dry and crumbly then it might be a sign of dehydration.
If your guinea pig doesn’t drink enough water, then their body will try to save the liquid, which results in dry dropping.
As the fresh pellets are drier, it can be mashed easily when they are pressed. Also, the color of these droppings can differ as compared to the standard pellets of guinea pigs.
Less fiber in guinea pig’s diet, intestinal upset, or appetite loss can cause dry poop in guinea pigs.
Cecotropes in guinea pig
The owners who have some experience of keeping guinea pigs know that they can naturally pass two kinds of fecal matter: cecotropes and pellets.
The cecotropes are the tiny balls of shiny and dark fecal matter that looks like a clump of black grapes or tapioca pearls.
As compared to pellets, the cecotropes produce a pungent odor when the membrane of mucus bursts. It is usual for the cecotropes to have an overpowering smell.
For all guinea pigs, the cecotropes are a healthy and everyday intestine(s) movement. You can not find these drops of your guinea pig because they eat these droppings almost immediately.
All the animals practice eating their or even other animals’ feces. A guinea pig will eat their droppings only, except baby guinea pigs who are beginning to wean from their mother’s milk.
Sometimes the question arises why guinea pigs produce two types of poop, and why do they eat the cecotropes?
Baby guinea pigs eat the hard pellets of their mother as a standard of creating the colonies of healthful intestinal bacteria.
Once your guinea pigs grow older, they will proceed to consume and produce cecotropes.
This procedure will allow your guinea pig to pass the food through their system twice, as a result of that, extracting all of the nutrients that it can from their food.
The cecotropes are naturally nighttime droppings, and guinea pigs eat these dropping right from the anus.
Thus, you will rarely see the cecotropes in the enclosure or litter box of guinea pigs. However, Abnormal cecotropes are a warning sign of underlying health issues, and your guinea pigs may refuse them to eat.
Cecotropes, GI stasis and impaction
As it is essential to monitor the droppings of guinea pigs for any irregularities. If your guinea pig suddenly starts producing less poop, then it can be a cause for concern.
A normal guinea pig will poop many times in a day, generating between 100-300 pellets (this will depend on the size of the guinea pig).
Cecal impaction usually happens when the matter stops its movement in the cecum, due to some sort of blockage.
GI stasis refers to prevented or slowed down movement of fecal pellets through the GI tract. Both cecal impaction and GI stasis are caused by impaction and have similar symptoms. The Internal impactions are usually caused by:
- Improper diet
- Lack of fiber
- Consuming of inorganic matter (fur, carpet fibers, clay litter)
The impaction is not comfortable for a guinea pig. The blockage causes the fecal matter to slow down in the stomach, impacting the healthy bacteria in the stomach.
It can further lead to harmful bacteria overpowering the good gut flora leading to severe bloat and pain.
Signs of impaction in guinea pigs
Apart from the small shapeless poop or lack of poop, many signs indicate impaction in guinea pigs.
Most of the guinea pigs will adopt an arched posture that will keep the stomach pressure off, as this is a sign of internal blockage that causes discomfort.
Also, the guinea pig will avoid drinking or consuming anything and can become very sluggish or unwilling to move. A guinea pig can also show that they are in pain, which depends on the bloating level.
Sometimes, you can detect signs of pain or severe bloating. Don’t try to apply any pressure on your guinea pig’s abdomen, as it can be very painful for them.
Sometimes, gastrointestinal stasis can cause sloppy poops or diarrhea. In such a case, the impaction can cause an imbalance of bacteria in the stomach.
If your guinea pig has not pooped for 6 or more hours, you need to take them to the veterinary surgeon.
GI stasis can quickly lead to life-threatening conditions in guinea pigs. The treatment for this can be painful.
If you want to prevent this, you need to make sure that your guinea pig has a clean and healthy living environment and a healthy diet full of grass hay.
Guinea pig not eating cecotropes
If your guinea pig has digestive problems, then maybe they will not eat their cecotropes.
Under such instances, the cecotropes can have abnormal texture and smells, making them unsuitable to consume. The uneaten cecotropes can be a very smelly mess and need to be cleaned up instantly.
It doesn’t always mean that if your guinea pig refuses to eat cecotropes, then there is something incorrect. Sometimes, it can indicate other problems that include:
- Infections: The infection of the inner and oral ear can be painful while eating.
- Pain: Senior guinea pig with joint issues or arthritis will not be able to bend forward to eat cecotropes.
- Dental problem: A guinea pig with huge teeth will not be able to eat cecotropes properly without breaking the coating of mucus.
- Obesity: An overweight guinea pig will not be able to bend forward to taste the cecotropes.
If your guinea pig is not hungry, then also they will not eat cecotropes.
However, a guinea pig feeds every day. If you overfeed your guinea pig with veggies or pellets, then it may not eat their cecotropes.
An owner needs to monitor the poops of guinea pigs. The poop of guinea pigs is always found as the first noticeable sign of health problems.
Also, it is essential to know the difference between abnormal and normal poops. So that you can reach out to a vet in advance and prevent severe illness in your guinea pigs.