It can be a surprise to new guinea pig owners just how messy these little animals are! Minutes after a cage clean, they’ll have already pooped multiple times. That’s not to mention how much debris will build up if you skip cleaning for even a day!
Although it can be a lot of work, guinea pigs pooping so much usually isn’t a concern. It’s more troubling if they don’t poop enough!
Healthy guinea pigs poop up to 100 times a day, though this number can decrease slightly as they age. If your guinea pig is pooping more than is normal for them, they may have a health problem that should be addressed by your vet.
In this article, we’ll discuss why guinea pigs poop so much, how to spot abnormal guinea pig poops, and some tips for keeping the cage clean.
How Many Times Do Guinea Pigs Poop a Day?
Guinea pigs poop up to 100 times a day! If your guinea pig poops a lot, this typically isn’t a problem.
However, you will want to watch for changes in their poop. This includes changes in shape, color, or frequency. If your guinea pig is pooping more than usual, please see a veterinarian as this may be a sign of illness.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Poop So Much?
Unlike cats and dogs, who evolved to hunt prey and thus can eat a few large meals a day, guinea pigs are grazing animals. Wild species spend their days eating grass and whatever forageables they can get their teeth on!
Speaking of guinea pig teeth, they grow continually. Guinea pigs need to be filing their teeth down at the same rate, or they’ll become overgrown. This, alongside its fiber content, is why hay is so important for piggies.
Is It Normal for Guinea Pigs to Eat Their Poop?
You might notice your guinea pig snacking on their poop pellets. Please don’t try to stop them! Gross as it is, eating their caecotrophs (or poops) is a healthy and essential part of a piggy’s diet.
There are two types of guinea pig poops: caecotrophs, which are the poops they eat, and regular poops that they don’t eat.
Types of Guinea Pig Poop:
- Caecotrophs: These poops contain unabsorbed nutrients, and your guinea pig will eat them so that their bodies can absorb the nutrients from their food fully. These poops tend to be soft and moist compared to the “normal” poops that your piggy won’t eat. You may never see caecotrophs around the cage, as guinea pigs typically eat them right away.
- Regular poops: These poops are more firm than caecotrophs. They don’t contain the same nutrients, so your guinea pig won’t eat them.
What Should Guinea Pig Poop Look Like?
Keeping an eye on your guinea pigs’ poops is an important way to monitor their health. Piggy poops should look like 1-2 cm ovals with rounded edges. Pointed edges or tear-drop-shaped poos can indicate poor diet or illness.
Guinea pig poop should never be runny or smelly. Poop should be solid and shouldn’t break or turn into mush when your piggies step on it.
Healthy poops can range from medium to dark brown in color. If the color of your piggy’s poop changes and there isn’t a dietary cause, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
How to Keep Your Guinea Pigs’ Cage Clean
You’ll never be able to keep your piggies’ cage poop-free, but daily spot cleans will keep it sanitary and help to prevent your guinea pigs from getting sick.
Sweep or vacuum their poop and remove any soiled bedding from the cage at least once a day. Some people choose to clean two to three times a day. Spot cleans should only take 10-15 minutes.
You’ll also need to remove everything from the cage and give it a deep clean one to two times a week.
Can You Litter Train a Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs can be potty trained similarly to rabbits, but rabbits are much better at using the litter box consistently. For piggies, the best we can hope is that the box reduces the amount of poop and pee we find in their actual cage.
Then, add a hay pile to the box. Don’t fill the entire container, but instead, make sure your piggy has to walk into the litterbox in order to eat.
Your guinea pig will poop as they eat their hay, containing a lot of their poops to the box. You can also add pee pads under their hides, as guinea pigs also tend to poop where they sleep.
These steps won’t completely eliminate stray poops from the cage, but it can reduce their numbers and make clean-up much easier.
I hope this article has helped you to learn more about guinea pigs and why they poop so much. Remember that it’s normal for guinea pigs to poop up to 100 times a day, but you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about any changes in their poop.
Monitor your piggies’ poop daily to ensure they’re in good health, and don’t forget to spot-clean the cage!