What Causes Bloating in Guinea Pigs? Physical and Behavioral Signs!

If you have a guinea pig, you are probably aware that they don’t get sick very often. However, guinea pigs have a very sensitive GI tract, which causes bloating.

If you believe your guinea pig is bloated, read ahead to find out more.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Bloated?

Your guinea pig can get bloated if they are ill, stressed, or have a poor diet. Bloating occurs when gas builds up in your guinea pig’s GI tract.

They cannot pass gas and the longer it stays in their intestines, the more pain it causes.

Since guinea pigs are quite fragile, a bloated guinea pig can get sick really quickly. It may not seem like it, but bloating can be fatal for guinea pigs.

If they are not treated, your guinea pig’s intensities will stop moving, which means they won’t be able to eat. If the illness persists, it may result in death.

How to Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Bloated

There are various ways to check if your guinea pig is bloated.

More of the symptoms to look out for are either mostly physical changes or some behavioral changes.

Physical Changes

Let’s look at some physical changes that can tell you that your Guinea Pig might be bloated:

Bloated Abdomen

One of the most common ways to know that your guinea pig is bloated is by the change in their appearance.

Your guinea pig can have a bloated abdomen when the food moves through the GI tract very slowly.

This process is called GI stasis and it can cause your pet’s GI tract to fill up with gas. This will make their belly bigger, which will be very obvious to notice.

Another reason for a bloated abdomen can be blocked food movement.

For example, a hairball can be stuck in your guinea pig’s tract, which may prevent them from swallowing the food properly.

A bloated abdomen can develop quite fast, and it is best to go to a vet immediately since this is very dangerous.

Dental Problems

Dental problems may also cause bloating.

Overgrown molars or incisors can easily cause GI tract issues in your guinea pigs. Since a guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing, they overgrow and cause pain to your pet.

When your pet is in pain, it will continuously grind its teeth. Since their teeth are constantly growing, the teeth may start cutting into their gums, which will only cause additional pain.

The pain can be excruciating to the point where it gets harder for your guinea pig to eat, and if they stop eating, they can develop GI stasis, which in turn causes bloating.

If you believe your guinea pig is in pain, examining their mouth yourself may not be the best idea since they might not let you.  

Bloated Hind

Guinea pigs can easily get diarrhea, which may cause their fur to have fecal matter or stains.

If your guinea pig stays still for too long, it might have fecal staining, which can cause bloating.

To check, it is best to not pick them up. Instead, simply look at their hind while your pet is still in the cage so they don’t get startled.

Hunched Posture

If your guinea pig is bloated, it will hunch its body instead of sitting or standing straight.

It will also be lazy and not run around in its cage. This can occur due to GI tract issues, so it is important to look at your guinea pig’s posture to check if they are sick.

Ruffled Fur

A bloated guinea pig will have ruffled fur.

Since guinea pigs love grooming themselves, their fur is always clean and in place.

If your guinea pig is bloated, they will feel too uncomfortable and lazy to groom themselves, which is a huge sign that something is wrong.

Behavioral Changes

And here are behavioral changes to look out for to assess if your guinea pig is feeling bloated.

Unusual Pooping Behavior

If your guinea pig is bloated, their pooping behavior might change.

GI issues can cause diarrhea or constipation. If they are bloated, they might stop eating and at one point, they will stop pooping.

This is why it is essential to check their cage for fecal remains and get help if you believe something is wrong.

If you do find fecal matter in their cage, it should be hard and small. However, if something is wrong, the fecal matter will be soft and smell bad.

Loss of Appetite

If your pet is bloated, it will make a huge difference in their appetite.

A guinea pig that has GI tract issues will eat less and eventually, stop eating completely.

Your guinea pig will start losing weight if it doesn’t eat for a while. Make sure to keep an eye out to check if your guinea pig is eating regularly.

Lack of Energy

Since guinea pigs are very energetic pets, it is easy to tell when they lack energy.

A guinea pig that is bloated may not run around too much because it won’t have the strength.

Bloating can cause your pet to feel weak, which means they won’t have the energy to perform their usual activities.

If your guinea pig stops moving, they could be in severe pain.

What Do You Do When Your Guinea Pig Is Bloated?

If you believe your guinea pig is bloated, it is best to take them to the vet immediately since bloating issues can get serious.

If you think waiting a few days is the better option, it is not. These symptoms will not go away and will only get worse as time passes by.

When checking for bloating, the vet will do a physical examination to check if your guinea pig is eating properly.

They will start from the abdomen since a bloated abdomen is the biggest sign of GI tract issues.

If your guinea pig is bloated, its abdomen will be extremely sensitive to the human touch.

It is best to tell your pet all the symptoms that your guinea pig may be suffering from so they can come to a quick conclusion.

Another way to check if your pet is bloated is by analyzing their urine and blood.

Through blood or a urine sample, your vet can determine if your guinea pig has GI tract issues.

The blood test can show inflammation in the intestine, which will confirm that your guinea pig cannot digest food because of bloating.

If a blood sample does not give you an explanation, you can always get an X-ray of your pet.

Through an X-ray, you can easily check your pet’s GI tract and learn all about the complications that can easily cause bloating.

If your vet suggests an X-ray, do not hesitate or get scared. Your guinea pig will not feel any pain and will only feel better once the problem is found.


In short, bloat in guinea pigs occur when gas builds up in your pet’s gastrointestinal intestinal tract.

If you want your guinea pig to stay healthy, it is always best to keep an eye out for physical and behavioral changes.

If you believe something is wrong, seek help and call your vet immediately.

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