Why Is My Guinea Pig Lethargic? {Should I Be Worried}

Has your guinea pig suddenly become tired or lethargic, seemingly for no reason?

This can be especially baffling and concerning if your guinea pig is still relatively young and healthy.

But lethargy could be a sign of a number of things. Some more serious than others. We will once again try to answer all your questions.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Lethargic All Of A Sudden?

Firstly, if your pig is lethargic, it is unlikely that it is a sudden occurrence, but rather part of a problem that has been building for some time.

This could have any number of causes. Most importantly, remember that if you have concerns, visit your vet.

If you think something is wrong, and it turns out to be nothing, at least you made the effort to find out. If a usually energetic and healthy guinea pig presents as lethargic, it is a sign that something is not right.

Just how serious it is, well, that’s another question. But here are some possible causes of lethargy in guinea pigs.

They might have bloating in the stomach due to excess gas. Your vet will be able to diagnose this and provide a remedy. As with foot spurs, vitamin c deficiency might be the cause of your guinea pig’s lethargy.

Make sure to feed them enough green vegetables, plenty of water, and let them get a lot of sunshine and exercise.

Extreme deficiency in vitamin c results in a condition called scurvy, the same thing can affect humans.

Guinea pigs need to eat green fruits and vegetables, like cucumber, cabbage, and lettuce. Apples, melons, and other sweet fruits should be given only as a treat, as they are high in sugar.

Is My Guinea Pig Ill?

Possibly. You would need to get a professional diagnosis to know for sure if they are sick or just vitamin deficient. Your vet will tell you if your guinea pig has any health conditions, and how to treat them.

If there is anything out of the ordinary, or your pet guinea pig is behaving in a way that is unusual, you are best off seeing a vet as soon as possible to rule out anything more serious or to stop a minor problem becoming more serious.

What Are the Symptoms of a Sick Guinea Pig? Some of the symptoms of a sick guinea pig include:

  • Reduced Appetite
  • Difficulty Eating or Holding Down Food
  • Weight Loss
  • Excessive Drinking of Water
  • Change in the Frequency of Their Pooping
  • The Kook and Consistency of Their Faecal Matter
  • Diarrhoea

A sick guinea pig might also have laboured breathing, wheezing, and sneezing. There might changes to their coat. Keep an eye on this.

If you notice any changes to your guinea pig’s coat, fraying, hair loss, it could be a sign of a problem.

If there is any unexplained weight loss, or any of the other symptoms just mentioned, visit a vet as soon as possible.

Why Guinea Pig Lethargic but Eating?

A lethargic guinea pig could be suffering from a vitamin C deficiency, but do not blame yourself for not picking up on it. These cavies are so good at hiding any illnesses.

They are able to express themselves in so many ways, but when they stop being active, there could be so many answers to why this is happening.

If your guinea pig is still eating, the food content may not be providing enough vitamin C or minerals. They may need more sunshine, water and vegetables. A guinea pig that is lethargic may be:

  • Anorexic
  • Weak
  • In pain all the time
  • Experiencing diarrhea or constipation

Increase play time. Get outside together and see if anything changes. Spend more time together and be more vocal with your companion., They will feel encouragement from you. If nothing helps, you will need to visit the vet. Lethargy could be serious.

Why Guinea Pig Lethargic Not Eating?

Lethargy occurs for many reasons. It could stem from stress, poor living conditions, bullying or illnesses. The reasons are plenty, but when it is coupled with a lack of appetite or completely obtaining from eating, there is a serious issue.

Guinea pigs are very good at hiding their symptoms, but not eating and not doing much (lethargy) is enough for you to want to check out what’s going on internally. There are a variety of explanations such as:

  • dental disease
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • cancer
  • toxicity
  • infection

We hate to continuously say something that shouldn’t have to be said, but if this was happening to our guinea pigs, we would visit the vet right away before it’s too late.

How to Help a Lethargic Guinea Pig?

Helping a lethargic guinea pig on your own without the advice or diagnosis from a vet is risky. They could provide you with a reason and medication to make sure your guinea pig can recover.

If you believe the lethargy is being caused by social condition, remove this cavy from the group or pairing.

  1. Let them live alone for a while.
  2. Give them plenty of fresh veggies (one cup a day), clean water and unlimited hay.
  3. The enclosure should be warm and away from heavy traffic, ventilation or loud noises.
  4. Be able to spend time wit your guinea pig.
  5. Increase play time if possible.
  6. Go out in the sunshine.
  7. Add more vitamin C to their diet either through foods or supplementation. 

Lethargy could be due to the loss of a paired companion. Find out more about what to do when one guinea pig dies and if the other will be ok. 

How Do You Check A Guinea Pig’s Health?

The only person who can tell for certain what illness your guinea pig has, or what is causing it, is a vet.

But if you need to know whether to take your guinea pig to the vet in the first place, you should look for some of the signs mentioned above.

Check your guinea pig’s poo for any unusual signs such as change in consistency. But also monitor the frequency that they poop and urinate.

Does it smell different, look different? Is your guinea pig refusing to eat the foods it usually loves? Is it drinking a lot of water, more than is healthy? What does its coat look like? Is it shedding excessive amounts of fur?

Has the look and feel of its fur changed? Is the fur rough and coarse instead of soft and smooth? Is any of this accompanied by other unusual or unexplained symptoms such as difficulty breathing, lethargy and weight loss?

One other way you can check your guinea pig’s health is to take their temperature. If they have a high temperature, they might have a fever. Take them to a vet to rule out any serious problems and to get a proper diagnosis.

A vet will recommend medicine, a regime of vitamins or other solutions to get your pet guinea pig back to its usually happy and healthy self.

What Can You Do For A Sick Guinea Pig?

The most important thing you can do is to take them to a vet to find out why they are sick and how to treat them. In the meantime, you should make a sick guinea pig as comfortable as possible.

You should isolate them from other guinea pigs for a time. Give them enough fresh, clean water.

Keep their cage clean and comfortable, and make sure they have a nice, warm place to rest while they get better.

If your vet has prescribed medicine, you need to give that to your guinea pig as often as advised.

If your vet has diagnosed a vitamin deficiency, you need to give your guinea pig the relevant vitamin supplements, or keep an eye on their diet, making sure to feed them enough fruits and vegetables.

Remember, these should be low in sugar. Preferably feed your guinea pig green, leafy vegetables. You can give them sweet fruits, such as apple or melon from time to time.

But even when they are not sick you should try to stick mostly to lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage.

Feeding your guinea pig healthy fruit and vegetables can help to prevent things like scurvy and other vitamin deficiencies.

If your guinea pig is sick or lethargic, use your common sense and do the best that you can. As soon as it is possible, take them to a vet, who will diagnose any health problems and recommend further treatment.

We all want our pets to be happy and healthy. We can do so much to help prevent them becoming sick, but also to treat them when they are sick.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.