We have all seen guinea pigs shivering and we often wonder why they do it. The most common explanation is that the guinea pig is cold, but this may not always be the case.
This article aims to explain possible reasons for a guinea pig shaking from time to time without going into too many details about specific diseases. As there are exceptions to every rule, some of the explanations provided here might not apply in certain situations.
Note: an already sick guinea pig can sometimes shake due to a lower temperature or pain which you would need a vet to diagnose and treat properly.
When Guinea Pigs Shiver
a) They feel cold :
In nature, guinea pigs live in burrows underground where the temperature can be relatively stable. It is, therefore, no wonder that guinea pigs feel cold when the air temperature around them is lower than their body temperature. A young guinea pig’s body will not be able to produce enough heat to keep his or her body warm.
b) They are happy :
Guinea pigs sometimes shiver in anticipation, especially if they are taken out of their cage for some cuddle time. This is actually a good sign because it means your guinea pig trusts you and enjoys being with you – so go ahead and pet him/her (see what I did there?).
c) They are stressed :
Guinea pigs don’t like change. When they move to new surroundings or when something happens that scares them, they will sometimes shiver in fear.
d) They are about to sneeze or vomit :
When a guinea pig is about to either sneeze or vomit, he/she may start shaking and staring at the ground. Sneezing is often accompanied by a “snort” sound while vomiting usually happens without warning so it can be hard for you to observe these behaviours before it’s too late.
As a side note, guinea pigs rarely ever get sick so please take your pet to a veterinarian if this happens on a regular basis! I have had one of my guinea pigs throwing up every day for months and then going back to being perfectly fine all by himself after 3 weeks of medication, so it’s always good to get a check-up before taking drastic measures.
e) They are in pain:
It is rare for guinea pigs to feel sick and show it, but if they do, you will often see them shaking and unable to walk properly.
If the problem persists after an hour or so (sometimes even less), I would recommend going to a veterinarian as this could be a sign of an injury such as a broken leg or other fracture that should be treated promptly!
f) They like it:
When shivering is not caused by cold or fear, it could well be due to another factor such as heat. Guinea pigs can tolerate slightly warmer temperatures than humans; however, keeping them at around 65°F (18°C) is the ideal temperature for them. If you have an air conditioner and keep your house at a comfortable temperature, your guinea pig will not need to shiver to warm up.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why guinea pigs shake and it is not always easy to identify the cause. If you are ever in doubt, please take your pet to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Thankfully, guinea pigs rarely get sick and most of the time shaking is just a sign that your furry friend is happy!