Why Is My Guinea Pig Coughing? {When To Visit The Vet}

When my guinea pig first coughed, I thought it was cute. Then it happened again, and again. Why is my guinea pig coughing?

Do I go to the vet right away or look closely at the living situation I have put my cavies in? Let’s start from square one and work our way out the door to the vet if necessary.

Are you ready to go through the steps in this article with me to figure this out?

Why Is My Guinea Pig Coughing?

I will try to give you some potential causes of your guinea pig’s coughing:

  • Infection of the respiratory tract
  • Dust or bedding irritation
  • Allergies
  • cardiac issues
  • Dental issues

Guinea pigs are prone to infections of the respiratory tract. Allergies, environmental irritants, bacterial or viral infections, or both can contribute to this.

Dust or bedding components might irritate the respiratory system of your guinea pig. Guinea pigs may acquire allergies to a variety of items, including dust, pollen, and food, much like people.

Coughing may occur if your guinea pig has dental issues, such as overgrown teeth or tooth abscesses. When your guinea pig starts coughing, it’s crucial to keep a careful eye on them and seek medical advice if the coughing continues or is accompanied by other symptoms I will mention below.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Coughing After Eating?

Your guinea pig may cough after eating for a number of reasons. Here are a few possible justifications:

1. Choking

Guinea pigs frequently eat hastily and improperly chew their food. Choking might result from this, which could induce post-meal coughing or gagging.

2. Dust

Guinea pigs are prone to respiratory problems brought on by dust, mold, and other allergens. After feeding, coughing may occur if their cage’s hay or bedding is dusty or if there are other allergens present.

3. Infection

Respiratory infections in guinea pigs are frequent and can result in symptoms like coughing and sneezing. After eating, your guinea pig may cough if they have a respiratory ailment.

4. Teeth

Dental issues can make it difficult to chew and swallow food, which can cause coughing or choking after a meal.

Guinea Pig Coughing After Drinking

In rare cases, guinea pigs will cough after drinking water. In general, this is not abnormal behavior and shouldn’t raise any red flags, especially if the coughing ceases after a short while.

However, if the coughing continues it could be an indication of a health problems if accompanied by additional symptoms like:

  • lethargy
  • a lack of appetite
  • trouble breathing
  1. One potential reason why guinea pigs cough after drinking is that the water enters their throat incorrectly, which might irritate it and make them cough. Use a water bottle with a ball bearing in place of a dish to avoid this.
  2. An upper respiratory infection or allergies are additional potential causes of coughing. It’s crucial to take your guinea pig to a vet in this situation for a diagnosis and treatment.

Sound of a Guinea Pig Coughing

A dry, hacking sound resembling a human cough can be heard when a guinea pig coughs. It frequently comes with:

  • runny nose
  • head shaking

If you think your guinea pig is coughing, keep a careful eye on them and seek veterinarian care if the cough continues or gets worse.

A guinea pig’s cough may indicate an underlying respiratory infection, allergies, or other health problems.

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Why Is My Guinea Pigs Breathing Raspy?

The main reason why guinea pigs breathe raspy is upper respiratory illnesses.

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • nasal discharge
  • breathing problems  
  • allergies
  • heart illness
  • lung problems

Dust, mold, pollen, and other environmental irritants can cause guinea pigs to develop allergies. Rough breathing and other respiratory problems may result from this.

Guinea pigs can sometimes develop heart disease, which can lead to raspy breathing. Tumors, abscesses, or other lung conditions can be checked out by a vet with experience in caring for tiny animals if they are breathing raspy.

Guinea Pig Respiratory Infection

As a result of their susceptibility to respiratory infections, guinea pigs might develop raspy breathing.  The following are signs of a respiratory illness in guinea pigs:

  • wheeze or irregular breathing
  • runny eyes or a runny nose
  • sneeze or coughing
  • appetite loss or weight loss
  • sluggishness or reduced activity
  • discharge coming from the eyes or nose
  • breathing challenges or mouth breathing only

If neglected, respiratory infections can be dangerous and even fatal. Antibiotics, antifungal drugs, and other medications to aid with symptom relief may be used as part of the treatment for a respiratory infection.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Gagging?

Your guinea pig may be gagging for a number of causes, such as:

1. Hairballs

Guinea pigs constantly groom themselves and ingest a lot of hair, which can result in hairballs that can make a person gag.

2. Illness of the respiratory system

A respiratory illness might make your guinea pig cough or sneeze. Other signs include wheezing, hard breathing, and drainage from the nose or eyes.

3. Dental issues

Your guinea pig may gag as a result of dental problems including overgrown teeth or abscesses, which can hurt and make eating difficult.

4. Digestive problems

Digestive troubles, including constipation or diarrhea, can make you feel uncomfortable and make you gag.

5. Obstruction

Your guinea pig may have eaten a foreign object that is irritating or obstructing him and causing gagging.

Is It Okay if Guinea Pigs Cough?

It’s hard to say. Although guinea pigs occasionally sneeze, persistent coughing may indicate a more serious condition. When neglected, respiratory issues like infections or other difficulties can become dangerous. Coughing may be an indication of these issues.

It’s crucial to send your guinea pig to the doctor for a checkup if they are coughing regularly or exhibit other symptoms of respiratory distress, such trouble breathing or wheezing. The likelihood of a full recovery is increased with early diagnosis and treatment of respiratory problems.

In general, respiratory issues may be avoided by keeping your guinea pig’s habitat clean, giving adequate ventilation, and making sure they eat a balanced food.

Do Guinea Pigs Get Sore Throats?

Yes. Guinea pigs can indeed get sore throats. They have delicate respiratory systems, similar to humans, that may be affected by a variety of things, such as dust, mold, or bacteria.

A few typical symptoms of a sore throat in guinea pigs are:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • sneezing
  • trouble breathing
  • loss of appetite

To prevent sore throats in these animals:

  1. Keep guinea pigs’ living space clean and free of irritants
  2. Avoid exposing them to cigarette smoke or other airborne contaminants
  3. Feed them a balanced and healthy diet.

How Do I Know if My Guinea Pig Has Fluid in His Lungs?

The following signs might be shown by your guinea pig if it has fluid in its lungs:

Labored breathing: If your guinea pig is having difficulty breathing, you may observe that it is exhaling quickly or doing so with its mouth open.

Wheezing: Your guinea pig may wheeze as it breathes, which may indicate that there is fluid in the lungs.

Loss of appetite: Guinea pigs with fluid in their lungs may not be as hungry or thirsty as usual, which can cause dehydration and other health issues.

Lethargy: Your guinea pig may appear weak or exhausted and be less active than normal.

Get your guinea pig to the doctor right away if you think it may have fluid in its lungs. The issue can be identified and treated effectively by your veterinarian, who may prescribe antibiotics, bronchodilators, or other drugs.

What Are Bad Guinea Pig Sounds?

Guinea pigs produce a few noises that might mean something is amiss or that they are in discomfort. Here are some undesirable guinea pig noises to be on the lookout for:

  1. Breathing that is rough or wheezy.
  2. Ongoing sneezing or coughing.
  3. Teeth grinding or chattering may be a sign of pain or discomfort.
  4. Shouting or shrieking at a high level, which indicates agony or terror.
  5. Squealing for a long time or loudly, which may indicate discomfort or distress.
  6. When a guinea pig hisses or growls, it’s indicating that it feels threatened or hostile.

What Does It Mean if a Guinea Pig Sneezes?

Not much. Sometimes guinea pigs may sneeze, although this normally poses little health risk. However, if your guinea pig sneezes frequently or exhibits other respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or wheezing, it may have a respiratory condition that needs to be addressed.

A respiratory illness, allergies, or environmental irritants like dust or strong scents can all cause sneezing as a symptom.

Keep an eye out for any changes in your guinea pig’s eating, drinking, or activity levels while you observe their behavior. Early identification and management of respiratory conditions can help avoid the emergence of more significant health problems.

What Are Guinea Pigs Most Allergic To?

Although most guinea pigs are not allergic, some can react to:

  • bedding
  • environmental elements
  • alfalfa
  • cedar or pine dust 
  • mold

Additionally, some guinea pigs might be sensitive to particular vegetables or fruits, like strawberries or citrus fruits.

It’s crucial to gradually introduce new items into your guinea pig’s diet in little amounts so you can watch how they respond.


A guinea pig may cough for a variety of causes, including respiratory diseases, allergies, and irritants.  Guinea pigs can benefit from a balanced mealplan, a clean living environment, and the avoidance of possible irritants in order to minimize coughing and other respiratory problems. Your guinea pig may live a long, healthy life if you give it the right care and attention.


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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.