How Long Can A Guinea Pig Go Without Food? | Alarming Facts to Know

Guinea pigs are the cutest rodents; they are very adorable and friendly depending on their type. 

But how long can a guinea pig go without food? It’s a widespread concern among guinea pig owners, as everyone once in a while has to go away from home for days or weeks. 

How Long Can A Guinea Pig Go Without Food

Although there aren’t any official reports on it, many people have said that a guinea pig cannot go without food for more than 8 or 12 hours. But no one should deprive a guinea pig for that long as well, since by that time it surely would have developed serious health conditions. 

Let’s learn how to properly take care of guinea pigs’ diet and what to do when your guinea have to be unattended by you. 

How long Can A Guinea Pig Go Without Food?

To be very honest, guinea pigs are almost always chewing something. Their digestive system or stomach always keeps moving. This means that they are built so that they will have to keep eating at small intervals. 

Guinea Pigs Can Hardly Live For 8 To 12 Hours Without Food!

So the answer to how long guinea pigs can go without food is not long at all. There wasn’t any test done to see how long a guinea pig can survive without food, as it’s insane. But vets have suggested that guinea pigs are most like to survive 8 to 12 hours without food. 

So are you thinking that maybe now you can keep your guinea pig without food for 12 hours? If you are, then the idea is absolutely stupid. Because even though guinea pigs are likely to survive without food for 12 or so hours, they would get sick by that time. 

Digestive system not working, kidney failure, liver failure. GI status, dehydration, etc. are all fetal illnesses and might permanently impair your pet. Also, the time of 8/12 hours gets reduced in case your guinea is old or pregnant or already has a disease.

How long Can A Guinea Pig Go Without Food

So if there ever comes a time when you have to keep them unattended, make sure that someone is there to take care of them. If not, then provide enough food and water for them beforehand and try not to leave them alone for longer than 4 to 5 hours. 

And if you see that the guinea pig by itself is not eating or drinking and have other health issues, immediately take it to a vet. 

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Water

The calculation of required water for a guinea pig in contrast to the food they need is slightly different. Guinea pigs usually feed on food like hay, which is dry food and makes the rodents drink water. 

Guinea Pigs Can Live Without Water For 24 Hours. But They Will Be Dehydrated By Then!!

Apart from hay, they should also be fed with a cup size worth of fruits and vegetables, complimentary pellets, and vitamin C supplements.  When the fruits are watery and juicy, guinea pigs typically don’t drink much water as they are already fed on the fruits. 

So depending on their amount of food intake, type of food, the environment they live in, and health conditions, guinea pigs can last up to 24 hours without water. But it is definitely not recommended to keep a guinea pig away from water for that long.

Guinea pigs are very susceptible to dehydration, which can easily lead to serious health conditions. So there should always be enough food and water in the cage for the guinea pig to eat and drink whenever it wants to.

Dehydration may even result in heatstroke. So, knowing the answer to Does a Guinea Pig Purr When Get Stroked? may save the animals’ lives, so be very cautious. 

Guinea Pig Food And Water

Now you know how long can guinea pigs go without water and food. But what exactly are you supposed to feed them to provide them with the nutrition they need? We know that guinea pigs are herbivore animals, and below are some plant-based food items that are good for guinea pigs:

Guinea Pig Food And Water
  • Clean Water
  • Hay (staple guinea pig food, rich with fiber, good for the digestive system)
  • Tomatoes (has lots of water)
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli 
  • Artichokes
  • Cucumbers
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • kiwi
  • Pellets (some pellets have too much carbohydrate)
  • Cicrotropes (it’s the yellow or greenish part of rodents’ stool which they eat, and is very important for their digestive system)
  • Vitamin C supplements, etc.
How Long Can A Guinea Pig Go Without Food

Along with food, clean water is a must. Some fruits and veggies have high amounts of calcium and carbohydrate. Too much calcium intake may cause bladder stones, and a high carbohydrate intake may cause obesity. 

Going by this video will help understand the right amount of Vegetables for Guinea Pigs (When to Feed and How Much):

So these things should be considered while feeding guinea pigs. Also, providing enough vitamin C is important as like many other mammals, guinea pigs cannot make vitamin C in their body. 

So give them fruits enriched with vitamin C and vitamin C capsules when needed. But be careful; eating too much fruit may cause diarrhea or other conditions. 

Food That Should Not Be Fed To Guinea Pigs

Almost every guinea pig’s diet is the same. Providing them the right food in the right amount with 24/7 availability of clean water is enough for guinea pigs in terms of diet. But some food items should not be provided to them. These are:

Food That Should Not Be Fed To Guinea Pigs
  • Any food with caffeine
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Jams
  • Peanut butter
  • Milk
  • Avocado
  • Meat
  • Mushrooms, etc.

Other items should not be fed to guinea pigs. So before feeding anything, consult a vet and ensure that your guinea pig isn’t eating any random food.

Read More: American Guinea Pig: Facts, History, Personality, Care, Diet, and Health Issues

Guinea Pig Won’t Eat Food Or Water: Symptoms and Causes

Being unable to provide food for your guinea pig for a while is an important issue to mule over. But what if your guinea pig by itself stops eating and drinking? What should you do to tackle this situation?

Guinea Pig Won't Eat Food Or Water

Guinea pigs are very prone to getting ill from bacterial infections and other health-related diseases. And when they start suffering from these issues, due to their discomfort, they may stop eating. This is a very serious situation and may lead to other complications.

But you first need to identify if something is wrong with them. Maybe they weren’t fed for a long time or got ill for other reasons; the symptoms should be found out.


  • Stops eating or drinking
  • Doesn’t poop or abnormal poop
  • Squeaking too much, not moving at all, grinding teeth, or restless
  • Not urinating or abnormal colored urine
  • Red dull eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Reduced elasticity of the skin
  • Dull looking fur
Guinea Pig Won't Eat Food Or Water


  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Intestinal Infections
  • Scurvy for lack of vitamin C
  • Dehydration

In such conditions, you should immediately rush to the vet. Without proper treatment, the guinea pig may end up with lifelong physical impurities or may even die. 

Another important fact about guinea pigs:  What Is The Perfect Temperature for Guinea Pigs?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many days can guinea pigs go without food?

Not even a single day! Guinea pigs must be fed twice a day and cannot go without food for more than 8 hours.

2. What to do when I have to go out and can’t feed my guinea pig?

Ask someone to take care of your guinea pig. If no one is available, take it to a good local pet store, vet, or animal shelter. 

Final Words

Guinea pigs are very easygoing and friendly animals. Their adorable looks and amiable behavior make them desirable pets. 

They are known to be easy to provide for when it comes to food. But how long can a guinea pig go without food? No more than 8 hours, these animals would end up with serious diseases if they went without food and water for that long. 

Clean water and food should always be available to them. With proper care of both diet, cleanliness, and overall health can a guinea pig live a healthy life for a long time. 

Lisa G

Meet Lisa G, the founder and author of With over 3 years of experience studying and observing various species of rodents. Lisa has established herself as a credible expert in the field. Her passion for these often-overlooked animals shines through in her in-depth articles and engaging writing style. Follow her blog to learn fascinating facts and gain a new appreciation for the furry creatures that share our world.

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