Guinea pigs are very stoic animals, so it is important to watch for any abnormalities or signs of illness as they will often try to hide their symptoms due to their nature as prey animals. Responsible guinea pig parents need to look at their guinea pigs’ poops on a regular basis and know what normal poop look like (how many times can I say “poop” in one sentence). But you also need to know what abnormal looks like. read on to find out more.
Things to look for in regards to guinea pig poop include the amount of poop, size, color, consistency, and smell. read on to get the scoop on poop!
What Should Normal Guinea Pig Poop Look Like?
It may not sound like the most fun task when it comes to owning a guinea pig, but closely monitoring their feces can be a really important part of ensuring the health of your furry little friend. A guinea pig’s droppings should be oval in shape and should be a darkish brown color. They should also not have any offensive odor. If they don’t look normal it may be a sign of an underlying disease. Keeping a close eye on your little piggy’s poops will help you keep on top of its health.
Guinea Pig Poop: 8 Different Types and What They Mean
There are eight different types of stool you need to be aware of – AND there is only one type of poop that is considered normal. Try your best to remember what healthy guinea pig droppings are supposed to look like so you can document and keep a record of any changes as they come up.
Abnormal stool can be a sign of an underlying health issue such as digestive problems, improper diet or dental problems. Documenting (even taking pictures) can be really helpful for your vet in terms of diagnosis if any concerns come up and your guinea pig needs veterinary care later on.
Healthy guinea pig feces will be between a dark brown to almost black color. Their consistency should be even throughout, and they should be in an oval-like shape. They shouldn’t be smelly or fall apart if a guinea pig steps on it, nor should they be overly dry. Healthy poop is a good sign your piggies digestive tract is working well.
Small, Dry Poop
Small and dry poop is more than likely a sign of dehydration. Dehydration can quickly become life-threatening for a guinea pig. Make sure to encourage your guinea pig to drink plenty of clean water, whether it be from a water bottle or from a water bowl. Try tapping on the bottle to make sure water is still coming out and make sure your guinea pig is aware and able to get to where the water is located.
Dry, Tear-Shaped Poop
Dry tear-shaped poop could be a sign of digestive problems. You will want to make certain that your guinea pig always has access to fresh, clean hay such as alfalfa or timothy hay. Good quality hay is pivotal to a guinea pig’s diet as the fiber helps their digestive system properly function and to produce the good bacteria that the GI tract needs.
Fresh vegetables and other plant matter are also a very important part of their diet. Like with small dry poop, dry tear-shaped poop can also be an indicator that a guinea pig is dehydrated, so it’s important to make sure that they always have access to clean fresh water.
Fecal pellets that are too big, clumped together, or your little guy seems to be having trouble pooping – are all potential signs of a potential gut problem. In older guinea pigs, it could also be a sign of aging rectal muscles. If you notice these changes, make sure your guinea pig has plenty of hay and water to help aid their digestion, and call your veterinarian if the problem continues. Constipation in guinea pigs can be a serious problem.
If your guinea pig has bloody stool, take them to see a veterinarian right away. Bloody poop is a sign of a serious problem. It could be an indicator of an obstruction somewhere in the guinea pig’s intestines, inflammation, or a tear in the intestinal system or anus. As a side note, poop can briefly become red if a guinea pig has eaten something like beetroot, but it should return to normal shortly afterward.
Smelly, Soft, Mushy Poop
Smelly, soft, or mushy poop usually indicates that a guinea pig is suffering from some sort of nutritional or dietary problem. Make sure hay is always plentiful as it is rich in fiber which will help your guinea pig’s digestive system self-regulate and stool firm up. Other reasons could be due to a bacterial imbalance in the GI tract or a virus so always seek veterinary help if the problem continues or your guinea pig seems unwell.
If you see green-colored poop, you are probably seeing something called cecal pellets. Cecal pellets are a form of poop that have double the protein and half the fiber of regular poops. Because of this, guinea pigs actually eat their cecal pellets! Just like rabbits, this makes them a member of the coprophagic group of animals.
These animals consume their own feces as part of their normal diet and digestive process. So don’t freak out if you see your guinea pig chewing at its own behind or eating its own poop! It is completely normal and necessary for your guinea pig’s health and well-being. Without it, your piggy will be missing out on essential nutrients.
Diarrhea can result in dehydration and lethargy in your guinea pig and can ultimately be deadly. It needs to be treated immediately as it is an emergency in small rodents. Common causes might include a poor diet, infection, disease, or stress. Call your vet and take your guinea pig in right away.
More Poop-Related Facts: FAQ
Q: Is it normal for guinea pigs to poop on their owners?
A: Yes, though we may not like it, it is entirely normal for guinea pigs to poop on their owners! Guinea pigs forage and eat a great deal throughout the day, so they have to have high metabolisms. Having a higher metabolism also comes with needing to poop more frequently, and guinea pigs don’t discriminate about where they decide to poop! Just know it is nothing personal!
Q: Is it okay if guinea pigs eat their poop?
A: As gross as it may sound, yes! It is okay and perfectly normal and healthy for guinea pigs to eat their poop. Guinea pigs eat cecal pellets in particular due to their nutritional benefits (see green poop above). Chances are that you won’t even see these cecal pellets at all since guinea pigs usually eat them immediately when they sense they are about to pop out. If you do see it, don’t interrupt, it is just a normal part of their diet!
Q: How much should a guinea pig poop in a day?
A: How much and how often a guinea pig should poop in a day varies depending on the guinea pig itself, but know that it is quite a lot! On average, most piggies poop more than 100 times a day!
Q: How much poop is normal for a guinea pig?
A: On average, guinea pigs produce at least 100 poops per day, with each poop being between 1.5 to 2 cm long. The number of poops per day for a guinea pig tends to decrease as they get older, but it can also be an indicator of failing health, so be diligent.
Q: Why do guinea pigs poop so much?
A: Guinea pigs poop quite regularly, thanks to a diet rich in fiber. Their hay, the primary element of their diet, is responsible for that fiber. This leads to guinea pigs pooping whenever they please. They are especially fond of pooping while they are eating, but they also like pooping while sleeping and playing or sitting on you!
Q: How do I stop my guinea pig from pooping everywhere?
A: Sorry but you can’t. Avoid giving your guinea pig free rein access to your home, or you’ll end up finding guinea pig poop in places you never thought possible, like behind the couch or in the ground air vents! Instead, restrict their activity to one room or one play area.
You can also focus on dedicating one corner of their cage to being the potty area. Reward them with treats when they potty in this area. It may take some time and dedication, but guinea pigs can be trained to primarily pee and poop in one area. This is especially true if you keep their food near where they use the bathroom. Guinea pigs tend to go to the bathroom as they are eating to make room for more food! So, keeping food and a potty area close by will be helpful.
Q: Can I compost guinea pig poop?
A: Yes, you can! Just add the guinea pig poos to your compost pile, add some straw, and mix in.
Q: Is guinea pig poop harmful to me?
A: Typically, it is unlikely that guinea pig poop will be harmful, but there are cases in which a guinea pig can pass an infection like salmonella or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) to their pet parent through contact with the air or its feces. Due to this risk, it is best practice to thoroughly wash your hands after handling your guinea pig or cleaning out their cage.
Q: What to do if your guinea pig is not eating
A: If your guinea pig isn’t eating, you may need to take your piggy to the vet to find out the underlying cause of its appetite loss. Once the cause has been determined, then your vet with likely recommend hand-feeding your piggy and will show you how to safely do so.
Dr. Elly has always loved animals, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. After studying hard in veterinary school, she practiced in several different countries before moving to North Carolina with her husband and young family. She currently works part time as a veterinarian while caring for her 4 busy children and writing this blog. Dr. Elly genuinely cares about the welfare of her patients. She currently has three dogs, two cats, 5 chickens and 2 rabbits (yes a bit of a zoo!)