At What Age Are Guinea Pigs Senior?
The average guinea pigs life span is about 5-7 years, so really once your guinea pig gets to be about 4 years old, they are considered senior.
What To Expect
When guinea pigs age, just like humans they can get arthritis, have mobility issues and just generally slow down. Older guinea pigs can get cataracts (impaired vision), they can lose a bit of weight, have decreased appetites, you may notice they sleep more and you can also notice they may seem uncomfortable (arthritis).
How Can You Help?
Is your cage one level?
A one level cage is best suited for senior guinea pigs. Having a ramp or platform can really aggravate arthritis. Never put the only source of food and water on a top level, this is unfair to senior pigs and you really could be putting their health in danger. If you find your senior pigs use a ramp with ease, I still recommend making the top level a lounge area. This means they don’t have to go up their if they don’t want to.
Is Everything Easy To Reach?
Like mentioned before, make sure all food and water is easily accessible. Never put food or water where it isn’t easy to get at. I don’t recommend having hay racks they need to reach up for and make sure water bottles are at a comfortable level to drink from as well.
Is there soft bedding and snugly beds?
Hard surfaces or uncomfortable areas to lay down on, are not going to be doing senior guinea pigs any favors. You need to make sure they have extra cushion in their cage and lots of warm cozy areas to sleep (all guinea pigs benefit from this). Extra padding in the cage will be more forgiving on sore joints and tired legs.
Are they showing you signs of pain?
Paying close attention to your guinea pigs is always important. As some seniors age, arthritis can become quite serious. In some guinea pigs, it can mean they no longer are enjoying life because of constant unmanageable pain. Seniors with very uncomfortable arthritis need to be seen by an exotic vet because their is plenty you can do to help. Metacam is an anti-inflammatory & pain medication. This is one of the medications a guinea pig can be on daily or as needed to help them cope with the pain. It decreases swollen joints and eases pain. A Skinny pig in pain will not move, eat or be relaxed.
Do they have cataracts or blindness?
If you notice some cloudiness in your Skinny pigs eyes, this could be cataracts. It is a condition that elderly pigs can have and nothing can be done for it. Make sure to take them to the vets if you aren’t sure it is cataracts because an eye injury can also produce a clouded eye. Some Skinny pigs can lose major eye sight as they age, so take notice to whether they seem to be bumping into things, startling more easily and seem nervous after their cage has been changed around.
If you notice this, please make sure to keep their cage the same at all times! Not changing things around will allow them to get used to their set up and make it easy to navigate with failing eye sight. Another great thing to do is make your presence known before entering their room or reaching into their cage.
Are Senior Skinny Pigs Warm Enough?
Senior guinea pigs may have a slight weight loss and sleep more. It is vital that you make sure they are kept warm. A warm environment will help lessen joint pain and keep their thinner bodies at a nice temperature.
As your guinea pigs age, you are there for them to make this stage of their lives as comfortable as possible. Never refuse medical attention because of their age, all guinea pigs deserve treatment and living in pain is not something they should be put through.
No matter how old a Skinny Pig is, they need love care and respect at all times! Make sure you are always doing what is in the best interest of your Skinny. They are your pet, friend and companion and they will treat you the same!