There might have been some instances when school or some business work, makes you travel somewhere for a day or two or even more. So, as a concerned guinea pig owner, you might be wondering what you should do with your guinea pigs? How long can you leave your guinea pig alone? A day, a weekend, or even more?
A guinea pig should never be left unattended for more than 24 hours. Always have someone look after your guinea pigs at all times. If you have to leave them alone when traveling, you might need to ensure they have more than enough food, multiple sources of water, and plenty of green veggies to last a day.
If you are going to leave for two days or more, then it is recommended to have someone monitor them every 12-24 hours or so.
Living your guinea pigs alone can be a little daunting for some people, and being an owner of 4 piggies, I totally understand that.
However, with my experience, I can say that it is entirely safe to leave them alone for a day, considering you provide them enough food and water to last.
There are a few other concerns that we must know before you leave them alone, and I shall share all of them with you all.
A quick tip: If you are living for a vacation(2 days or more) then you can also try this amazing service from Trusted home sitting to look after your pet when you are away.
I will also share some tips at the end, which can help you to keep your guinea pigs safe and healthy when you leave them alone for some time.
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Concerns about leaving your guinea pigs alone?
Your guinea pigs can get into all types of trouble when there is no one to look for.
Although most of these can be avoided if appropriate measures are taken before leaving them but still it is essential to be aware of the problems which they can get into.
So, today, I have listed some of the significant concerns which many guinea pig owners have while leaving them alone.
Running Out of hay
Guinea pigs need a lot of hay in their diet. A standard diet of your guinea pig consists of 80% hay in it. They get most of their fiber and other essential nutrients from the hay itself.
So, having a lot of feed available for them to eat all the time is crucial. Also, having fast metabolism guinea pigs need to be continually eating, which makes the availability of food 24x7 crucial.
Thus, if you plan to leave your guinea pigs alone, you must ensure they have enough hay to last through the period.
A leak in the water bottle
I doubt any guinea pig owners haven’t faced the problem of leaky water bottles yet.
The water bottle of your guinea pig works on the principle of vacuum, and if anything goes wrong, the bottle can leak and soak the entire bedding, which can create two significant threats.
The first one being no water for guinea pigs to drink, and the second major issue is damp bedding can make your guinea pig ill.
Although this can be easily fixed if you are there to monitor your guinea pigs; however, when you leave them alone for a day or more, it can be a massive problem for them.
Guinea pigs eat a lot of dry hay, which makes them thirsty so, they need access to freshwater all the time.
Soiled bedding can attract flies
If the bedding is not spot cleaned daily or the water from the bottle makes the bedding wet, then such places can be a significant attractant for flies and other insects.
Flies love a damp and moist environment where they can lay eggs. Now you might be wondering what harm can fy do to your guinea pigs.
Let me warm you flystrike can be fatal for your guinea pigs because fly lay eggs on the hay, which forms larvae, which then gets attached to the guinea pig’s genital area and start feeding on them.
It might sound a little scary, but a bunch of maggots can eat your guinea pig live. So, we need to ensure we keep our guinea pigs safe from flies.
Also, if you are living for a couple of days, then your guinea pig’s cage is going to be full of poop lying all around.
This can create harmful ammonia buildup in the cage area, especially if there is a lack of proper ventilation in the room, which is dangerous for your guinea pigs.
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Escaping from the cage
If your guinea pigs tend to jump out of the cage or escape from the cage by any other means, then you must ensure they are unable to do so when you are away.
Either get a proper cage that they cannot escape or modify the cage to prevent the same.
If your guinea pigs escape when you are away, they can get into all sorts of trouble, which can harm them or even be life-threatening for them.
Thus, this is one major factor to consider when you are leaving your guinea pigs alone for some time.
Lack of veggies can trigger health issues
Guinea pigs need a well-balanced diet to remain healthy. While hay remains a staple part of their diet, vegetables also contribute a significant chunk in it.
Vegetables provide guinea pigs with much-needed vitamin c, which they cannot produce on their own.
If you are planning for a vacation of a day or less, then it might not be a significant problem as you can feed them right before you leave and leave some extra in their cage for the time being.
However, if you are going to be away for more than that, then it might be a little troublesome.
Fighting and injury
Male guinea pigs can get territorial sometimes and start fighting with your cagemate. That can be a common problem, especially if you have more than one male in a single cage.
You can watch them fighting and hurting each other in some instances. If you are away and they end up fighting with each other and hurting one or both of them, then it can lead to some serious trouble for you.
How long can guinea pig go without water?
Any experienced vet would recommend providing water to your guinea pigs at all times.
However, it is said that a guinea pig can last without water for a day or two at maximum.
Although it is not a wise move to keep your guinea pigs deprived of water for so long because they can suffer from serious health issues due to it.
How long can guinea pig go without hay?
Guinea pigs can go without hay for 12-24 hours at max. If your guinea pig doesn’t have access to hay, then within the first 12 hours, their digestive system will start having trouble, and within 24 hours, they can become seriously ill.
Anything above 24-48 hours without any hay can be a life-threatening situation for your guinea pigs. Your guinea pig intestine may get damaged permanently if they are deprived of feed for more than 24-48 hours.
How long can guinea pigs go without vegetables?
Guinea pigs can go without fresh vegetables for 2-3 days without much issue, although it is not ideal for depriving them of vegetables for that long.
Vegetables supplement a lot of essential nutrients, including Vitamin C, in your guinea pig’s diet, thus providing your guinea pigs with fresh vegetables every day is vital.
In fact, most guinea pigs in pet stores are not offered adequate veggies for more than 5-6 days a week. Most guinea pigs there are just surviving with the bare minimum and have no quality of life.
That is the reason you will see many owners and breeders ask you to avoid buying a guinea pig from pet stores. Thus, It is recommended to provide your guinea pigs with fresh vegetables daily.
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Tips to keep your guinea pig’s healthy and safe when you leave your guinea pig alone
If you are going on a trip or a vacation and planning to leave your guinea pigs alone, then there are a few measures you need to take.
You cannot just toss away a little extra food and leave them alone. As we had discussed earlier, your guinea pigs can get into all sorts of trouble when they are alone.
Thus, we need to ensure that our piggies remain healthy and safe when we are away.
This is not just important for them but also for you as you can enjoy and travel with peace of mind that they are going to be okay even when you are not available.
Get a pet sitter
If you are planning to leave your guinea pigs alone for more than a day, then you might need to consider getting someone to look after them for a small fee.
Now, there can be a lot of options depending upon where you live and what resources you have available.
Either you can get a personal pet sitter who will visit your home in some interval of time and keep checking on your guinea pigs, or you can drop your guinea pig into their place or center where they can look after your piggies.
I would suggest you take the service from Trusted pet sitters if there is no one else available to look after your pet. They are amazing and affordable too.
If such facilities are not available, you can also ask Kennels in the area who can take care of your guinea pigs in the meantime.
You can expect to pay a small fee of 5-10$ per day for a pair of guinea pigs. If you plan to leave them for an extended period or you have a large litter size, then you might bargain the price a little bit.
Train a friend or a neighbor to take care of your guinea pigs
If a pet sitter or kennel is not an option for you, then the second-best alternative would be to look for a neighbor or a friend to look after your guinea pigs.
If you are going for a day then you might have no issue in leaving them on their own; however, if you are planning to leave for more than a day then it would be a good idea to prepare all the veggies and put it in a container in the fridge and get piles of hay in small bags.
It will be easy for your friend and neighbor to walk in and throw the foodstuff in the cage and refill their water bottles.
This is one of the most reliable methods if you plan to leave for a weekend or more.
Set up a camera to monitor them from your phone
If you are a frequent traveler who needs to leave your guinea pigs alone for a day or two regularly, then you might need to consider adding a security camera with access to live footage on the phone.
This way, you can monitor your guinea pigs personally in short intervals and make sure they are doing good. If you notice some sorts of problems, you can ask your friends, family, or neighbor to check on them.
Get some hay racks set up
On average, a pair of guinea pigs can consume a pound of hay in 2 days. Although the diet of your guinea pig may vary a little bit, the average holds true in most cases.
You can plan accordingly the amount of hay you need to leave available for them in their cage before leaving them alone. It is wise to install some easily accessible hay racks with extra feed for a day or more.
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If by any means they run out of hay in their regular hay rack, they can munch on the extra grass if they have the option to do so. Running out of feed is a problematic situation for you and your guinea pigs as they can get into some serious health issues in case they don’t have hay for more than 24 hours.
Get them multiple water bottles( A wise investment)
A healthy guinea pig can drink anywhere in between 50-300ml of water every day. The consumption of water may depend upon the weather, diet, and living environment around your guinea pigs.
As guinea pigs eat a lot of dry and fiber-rich diet, they get thirsty quickly, so; they need access to fresh water at all times. Although they might not drink a considerable amount of water at once, they do need to sip in a little every time they eat.
Always ensure they have at least 1 bottle of water for every guinea pig as some guinea pigs get territorial and don’t let the other access the water bottle.
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If you are leaving for more than 24 hours, install 1-2extra containers at least because if something goes wrong with a bottle, they can drink with the other. You definitely don’t want to leave your guinea pigs dehydrated and thirsty when you are away.
Throw in some extra greens and pellets
It is a wise idea to install hay racks and throw some Lettuce in it before you leave. In that way, they at least have some green for the day too much on.
Additionally, you would want to leave at least 2-3 small bowls of pellets in their cage so that they can munch on them.
Pellets would help in keeping up with the extra nutrients which guinea pigs need and would have otherwise got from their regular veggies.
Get someone to clean the cage when you are away
If you are planning to leave for a weekend or more, you need to ask someone to spot clean the cage at least every other day.
The waste buildup can attract a lot of flies, which is fatal for your guinea pigs. Another major issue can be the ammonia buildup in the room can make your guinea pigs ill as well.
You can ask a friend or a pet sitter to use a vacuum or something just to clean up the cage a little bit every day or every other day.
Separate your guinea pigs using a divider in the cage
If your guinea pigs fight with each other frequently, then it is a good idea to put a divider in the cage and separate them before you leave.
Although keep them side by side as guinea pigs do need social interaction or they can get lonely. Using a divider is the easiest way to avoid any fights when you are away. This shall also reduce the chances of hurting each other.
It is fine to leave your guinea pigs alone for a day or a little bit more, but anything more than two days can be threatening.
There are lots of problems which your guinea pigs might get into, right from lack of hay, water to hurting themselves by fighting or escaping their cage.
A lot can happen over two days; thus, it is best to have someone to look after your guinea pigs if you are planning to leave them alone for more than a day.
Although with enough preparation, you can keep them safe and healthy for two days at maximum, anything above that can be a threat to their health and life.