Guinea pigs make all kinds of noises, from squeaks to grunts and gnawing sounds. However, you might have heard another sound that you didn’t expect from your little pet. You can’t be sure, but it sounded like a fart. Now you are wondering whether your guinea pig just farted, and if so, is it normal, or is something wrong?
Can Guinea Pigs Fart? The short answer is yes. Guinea pigs can fart. Surprisingly, these tiny furry creatures have a digestive system quite similar to humans, and farting can occur when you least expect it. Like humans, when guinea pigs eat certain foods, they can react differently, causing bloating and gases. However, they don’t have the ability or pass gas as humans do.
Now you could be thinking, is guinea pig farting normal and healthy? Passing gas for a guinea pig happens occasionally and is quite normal, and most of the time, a bit of gas is nothing to worry about. However, if your pet is passing gas regularly, then there’s reason to worry.
While their digestive system is similar to humans, guinea pigs don’t have the ability to pass gas. This can lead to a build-up of intestinal gases, which can be very uncomfortable and painful.
The gastrointestinal tract of a guinea pig is as follows:
Primary digestion starts in the small intestines, and all essential nutrients are absorbed into the blood vessels. After this is done, the food passes to the caecum where any remnant nutrients are absorbed, and fermentation begins as it moves towards the large intestine.
This fermentation produces intestinal gases, and they are passed from the caecum to the colon. In humans, this gas can be expelled; however, it stays in the colon in guinea pigs, unable to move further.
The connection between gas and bloating
Occasional farting is normal for most animals because they all have a certain amount of intestinal gas that’s produced during digestion. As they breakdown, the food they ingested and the digestive juices get to work gases are produced.
Additional air is also swallowed when eating, so pockets of air are trapped in the food as they chew, and it ends up in the stomach. Combined with the gases produced during digestion, this can amount to a lot of gas, which can quickly become a problem if there’s no way to expel it.
Since guinea pigs can’t pass the intestinal gases produced during digestion whenever they want, the excess gasses can lead to bloating, which is painful and potentially fatal. Intestinal gas build-up is one reason guinea pigs get bloated; however, they can also be bloated because of a blockage or a twist in their guts, hairball impactions, bacteria, parasites, and certain foods.
Even people get bloated sometimes, especially when they don’t pass gas. Holding in this intestinal gas yourself leads to bloating, which can make your stomach hurt. It can also affect your appetite, and the discomfort can cause you not to function normally. This is exactly what happens to guinea pigs whenever they are bloated. However, because they can talk, you might not know what is going on, and they could end up in critical condition or, worse, dead.
Guinea pigs can’t pass gas as humans can. If they continue producing these gases without expelling them, it leads to bloating. So how can you tell that your guinea pig is bloated? Bloating can cause the following symptoms:
- Heavy breathing
- No bowel movements
- Behavioral changes such as increased aggression and a decrease in social activity because of the discomfort and pain caused by the gas.
- A swollen belly, however, this might be hard to see under all that fur.
- Loss of appetite. If your pet hasn’t eaten in six hours, it’s probably time to see the vet.
Normally you won’t smell your guinea pig’s fart unless they let one rip right in front of you. However, if you notice a nasty gassy smell coming from your little pet, it could be an indicator of something worse. It could be a warning of something worse than a simple bad reaction to some food or swallowing air. It could be pointing to problems in their digestive system that might prove fatal if ignored.
Foods that cause bloating and gas in guinea pigs
The biggest cause of gas and bloating for guinea pigs is the food they eat. Digestion is an input-output process. What your pet eats affects what comes out. Guinea pigs are herbivores meaning their diet is entirely plant-based.
You might think that anything green is good for them, but this isn’t the case. All animals have foods they digest easily while they struggle to digest others. While guinea pigs can eat most plants, they cannot digest some plants and vegetables. Most cases of exercise gas and bloating are caused by one of these hard to digest foods.
Leafy greens are great for guinea pigs. They are rich in vitamins and nutrients; however, green vegetables, on the other hand, have a different effect on these creatures.
Take broccoli and cauliflower; for instance, these dense vegetables are quite nutritious, but they are also quite fibrous, making them hard to digest. Other foods you should avoid include cabbages, bok choy, peppers, collard greens.
A good rule of thumb is don’t feed your guinea pig foods that are more dense or stringy than others. This doesn’t mean that these foods are not safe to eat; you just have to reduce and control the amount they eat.
If you periodically feed these foods to your little piggy, always keep an eye on their gas levels. Stop feeding them these foods at the first sign of bloating. Also, avoid gassy foods such as dairy products and beans. Even though guinea pigs feed on milk while they are young, milk products start giving them digestive issues as they grow.
Other causes of gas
Besides food, there are other reasons why your little furry pet might be bloated, such as swallowing food too fast, dehydration, and stress.
How fast your little piggy eats is just as important as what they eat. As they hurriedly gulp down food and water, they might swallow some air that gets trapped in the food.
This air cannot be digested, and since it cannot be expelled easily, it sits in the gastrointestinal tract, causing discomfort and bloating. Guinea pigs could eat hurriedly for several reasons, such as excessive hunger, stress, and palatability. Palatability is choosing and eating the same food which they find pleasurable.
To prevent your pig from gulping down food, ensure you feed them regularly with hay and small servings of tiny veggies or leafy greens. Guinea pigs have a dominant-submissive hierarchy. If there are several guinea pigs in the same cage, the submissive ones might try eating as much food as they can in fear of it being snatched away. Serving them in different bowls regularly can help.
Stress affects guinea pigs the same way it does humans. Many situations, such as losing a cagemate, might be stressful for your pet. Try and make your little piggy’s life as enriched and fulfilling as it can be through good experiences, love, and care.
Dehydration can also cause gas build-up in guinea pigs. Water is an essential component of the body. It helps maintain electrolyte balance in the body and assist in the digestion process. If you notice your pet avoiding drinking the water in their cage, there must be something wrong with it. It could have a funny taste or be contaminated, especially if you use a water bowl instead of a sipper bottle.
Relieving gas in guinea pigs
A huge chunk of a guinea pig’s diet is made up of hay. They love this stuff because it is high in fiber. However, hay is far from exciting, and you might want to switch up and add some snacks to your little piggy’s diet to keep them healthy and happy.
Change up their diet by including less dense and fibrous foods such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash. Alternatively, you can feed your pet leafy greens because they are easy to digest, and the piggies love them for their freshness and crunch.
The occasional fart is fine, however in cases of regular or excessive farting, schedule a visit with the vet because there could be something else going on. A professional can help determine what’s wrong, but most of the time, the diagnosis is diet-related. Not to worry, most bloating and gas issues are easily relatable, and in a few days, your guinea pig will be back to its old cheerful self.