DO GUINEA PIGS SNEEZE?
In short, yes.
And it sounds just like you’d expect…. but at a smaller decibel level than made by the human pig-slave’s sneeze!
A Good Sneeze vs. A Bad Sneeze
An occasional sneeze from your piggy is not usually anything to worry about.
Just like us, guinea pigs can get particles up their nose and they may sneeze to shift the blockage. Hay is often the culprit and even when getting good quality ‘dust extracted’ hay, there can sometimes be enough dust to cause a little irritation. On two or three occasions now we've had one of our piggies develop a sudden crackly noise through their nose when breathing. Immediately our guard has gone up, with concerns of the dreaded URI (see below) yet they've had no other symptoms and a day or two later a big sneeze has shifted it and the noise has gone.
However, there are times when sneezing should be treated more seriously and may require swift action. If there are additional symptoms as well as sneezing, like runny eyes and nose, crackly and noisy or laboured breathing, lethargy and hunched posture, coughing or wheezing and/or a change in behaviour, then it could be a URI (upper respiratory infection). A URI can usually be easily treated with antibiotics, as long as it is caught EARLY (this is so important!). If left, it can be fatal, so don't mess around if you have suspicions and seek the advice of your vet without delay.
Guinea pig sneezes may also be the result of an allergy to a particular thing, like a strong scent of perfume for example. Symptoms of an allergy can sometimes be similar to a URI, but if you are concerned, always see a vet to first check if it is the serious issue of a URI, before looking at any potential allergies.
Guinea pigs do sneeze and the odd one now and then is usually more ‘cute’ than ‘concerning’! But, as always with your lovable furry friends, if there are other signs and symptoms along with the sneezing, then don’t waste time in taking the appropriate action to ensure the good health of your precious piggy.