It can be alarming for some guinea pig owners if they find their guinea pigs are shaking/shivering. But what does shaking indicates? I was curious to learn when it happened the first time with me. So, I went ahead and asked a few experts and read a bunch of research works regarding why is my guinea pig shaking? Here is what I found out!
Guinea pigs may shake or shiver for many reasons- Joy, Cold, Fear, Anxiety could be some of them. There is also a skin parasite called Guinea pig mange(Trixicara cavis), which can lead to pain, shaking & twitching in guinea pigs. We often see guinea pigs shaking during a thunderstorm or fireworks.
It would be wise to find the cause of shaking before determining what would your next step be. As you can see, there is a lot of reason why your guinea pigs could be shaking. If you cannot determine the cause of shaking, then it is wise to consult a veterinarian for the right guidance.
Let us first learn about a few primary reasons which can cause shaking in your guinea pigs. I think this can help you find the cause of your guinea pigs shaking and thus finding a possible solution as well.
Why do guinea pigs shake?
There can be a lot of reasons due to which your guinea pigs could be shaking, ranging from benign to alarming.
While they could shake out of happiness, fear or pain could be another reason that could leave your guinea pigs shaking throughout.
Here are some of the most common reasons that can leave your guinea pigs shaking:
- Your guinea pig is happy or content.
- Shaking out of fear due to some loud noises like loud music, loudspeaker, lightning, etc.
- Guinea pigs do shake while they are rumble strutting. It is a part of their dominance behavior.
- The cold weather could be another reason behind shaking.
- Diseases like ear infection, mites, etc. can lead to shaking as well.
So, now that you already know the factors that could leave your guinea pigs shaking.
Let us check out some of the most common instances most guinea pigs owner go through and find out what does shaking in different situations indicates.
Do guinea pigs shake when they are scared?
Yes, guinea pigs do shake when they are scared. Others sign of fear includes freezing, moving his head up and down(Like throwing), etc.
Anxiety or fear from loud noises of the music system, TV, Crackers, or even thunderstorm could leave them shaking.
Why is my guinea pig shaking and purring?
Shaking and purring is typical behavior in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs do shake when they are happy or excited about something.
Rubbing nose, popcorning are some other signs of happiness as well. If your guinea pigs are shaking out of joy, then you should not be bothered about it.
Why is my guinea pig shaking his head?
Shaking of the head could indicate a health issue in guinea pigs. An ear infection could be a common reason behind guinea pigs shaking their heads.
Sometimes flies or other insect bugging them can also initiate such shaking behavior in guinea pigs.
Look out for other symptoms like loss of appetite, loss of balance, rolling on the ground, etc. If you suspect it is an ear infection, then seek medical help immediately.
Why is my guinea pig shaking his bum?
Guinea pigs shaking their bum from one side to another(vibrating), is a common dominance behavior in guinea pigs.
It is also known as rumble strutting, where they make such movement accompanied by a rumbling noise.
Guinea pigs usually do so while making a mating call or showing dominance over other guinea pigs. You need not worry about it until they get into a severe fight.
Why does my guinea pig shake when I pet him?
If your guinea pigs shake when you pet them, then it can mean either they enjoy being petted by you or they hate it.
It is tough to tell whether they are enjoying it or not. Usually, the shaking is accompanied by a purring noise.
You need to observe if your guinea pig is liking being petted or are they getting irritated. Not every guinea pig enjoys being petted and cuddled, and you need to understand the same.
Why is my guinea pig shaking after a bath?
If you find your guinea pig is shaking after a bath, then it is definitely a shiver out of the cold.
You should never leave your guinea pigs damp or wet after a shower. Guinea pigs usually don’t need a frequent bath, so make sure you dry them out quickly if you happen to give them one.
Shivering is common after a bath, so you need not worry about it much.
Why is my guinea pig shaking and twitching?
If you notice some unusual behavior in guinea pigs like lying on a side, squeaking in pain, and twitching(like Seizure), then it might be the sign of skin diseases like guinea pigs mites.
Often times, mites cause severe pain in guinea pigs leading to shaking and twitching in them. You need to seek medical assistance immediately if you see such behavior in your guinea pigs.
How do I stop my guinea pig from shaking?
Treatment for your guinea pigs shaking will upon the underlying cause. While some instances required immediate action, others can be left alone without any issues.
If your guinea pig is shaking out of happiness or joy, you can stop bothering about them; however, for other reasons, you might need to take some action.
Shaking after a bath
If you notice your guinea pig is shaking after a bath, you need to warm them up quickly.
Using a soft dry towel to dry them up by wrapping them around could be an excellent point to start.
You can use a hairdryer from a distance if you need to dry them up quickly.
However, make sure you keep it at a distance so that you don’t end up hurting your guinea pig’s skin.
Shaking out of fear
If you find your guinea pigs are shaking out of fear of some loud noises, predators, or something similar, there is nothing much you could do for them.
Try adding some hiding spaces where guinea pigs feel secure so that they are not stressed out much.
You can also cover the front part of the cage with some blanket or bedsheet for providing them a little relief.
If they are shaking excessively, you might want to visit a vet soon.
Shaking when you pet them
If your guinea pigs are shaking out of fear when you pet them, or they don’t enjoy being petted by you, then you might need to consider developing a close bond with them.
Having a better relationship often makes them feel comfortable around you and thus solves the issue as well. Do remember they do vibrate when they are happy as well.
Shaking due to health issues
If your guinea pigs are shaking abnormally, then you might need to take them to the vet immediately.
Shaking their head, seizure-like behavior, etc. is often a sign of serious health issue which requires immediate medical assistance.
Conclusion: What do guinea pig shaking mean?
Shaking could mean a lot of different things in guinea pigs. Right from happiness, fear, anxiety, or health issues, all can lead to shaking in guinea pigs.
You need to watch your guinea pigs closely and see if it is something usual that is causing them to shake, or there are some other symptoms associated with shaking that could be indicating a health issue.
Understanding the cause is crucial in deciding what you can do to prevent shaking in guinea pigs. If the shaking is out of joy, you can stop bothering about it else you might need medical assistance immediately.
Sources: Effects of fireworks on guinea pigs, Reduction in aggression and dominance status in guinea pigs, Guinea Pigs: Aggression and Dominance, Social confrontation in male guinea pigs, The effect of human interaction on guinea pig behavior.
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