Guinea pigs might seem like simple creatures, but they do feel sadness and melancholy from time to time, and you may not even notice it unless you know exactly what to look for.
However, there are some signs to look after, if you’re suspecting that your guinea pig is feeling sad and/or depressed.
In this article we’ve listed some of the most important signs that tell if your guinea pig is sad.
1. Lack of Appetite
You’ll quickly learn that guinea pigs are ALWAYS hungry. They’ll even wheek of excitement five minutes after they’ve been munching on veggies, if you happen to rustle a bag and make a sound similar to when it’s feeding time.
If your guinea pig feels sad, one of the first indicators is a lack of appetite. If your guinea pig isn’t excited about its food anymore and doesn’t eat as much as it use to, there’s a good reason to worry.
Lack of appetite is a serious matter, so make sure you monitor your guinea pig closely.
2. Losing Weight
This is somewhat correlative to the lack of appetite, but it doesn’t always go together. Guinea pigs can lose weight for multiple reasons, and it can very well be caused by sadness and/or a depression.
For instance, if your guinea pig loses its life companion, it will be mourning over the loss for a longer period of time, causing it to lose weight because it doesn’t eat as much as it used to.
Make sure you keep track of the weight by weighing all your guinea pigs regularly. That way you can always see of something is wrong.
A sad guinea pig is a lazy guinea pig. If your guinea pig is alone because of a recent loss of its furry friend, or it has been alone for multiple years, it may not be as active as it used to.
Inactivity can be caused by many things, but sadness is one important reason.
If your guinea pig lives in a small cage, this can also cause it to become inactive and therefore sad.
Guinea pigs can explore large areas, and therefore need as much space as possible. The bigger the space, the better.
4. Doesn’t Respond as Usual
If your guinea pig is usually bubbly and energetic whenever you approach the cage and it suddenly acts the exact opposite, there’s reason to believe it’s feeling sad or depressed.
This could be caused by many things, so it’s important to always consider the context. If your guinea pig is alone due to a recent loss of a cage friend, or something else happened recently that may affect their happiness, this is typically a sign of your guinea pig feeling sad.
5. Stopped Being Curious
Guinea pigs are usually very curious by nature, and will always explore anything new in their cage. If you put in a new house or top up their hay pile, they’ll most likely feel inclined to explore and see what’s going on.
Curious guinea pigs are often seen sticking their noses up in an attempt to “sniff up” what’s going on, and this is a great sign.
If your guinea pig acts the opposite and isn’t naturally curious, it’s a good reason to believe it’s feeling sad or depressed.
Why Are Guinea Pigs Sad?
Guinea pigs are usually happy creatures, and you’ll see them walking around loving their life most of the time.
But events do occur sooner or later, that’ll knock them out of their happy zone and make them sad or depressed for longer periods of time.
One of the reasons we’re coming across most often, is the loss of a guinea pig. When one guinea pig in a pair passes away and the one alive is left alone, it can get severely depressed.
These are some of the most common reasons why guinea pigs are sad:
- Loss of a companion. If your guinea pig loses its cage buddy, it can get severely depressed.
- Being bullied/abused. If you haven’t bonded your guinea pigs properly and aren’t aware of the obvious signals such as fighting and drawing blood, the submissive guinea pig can become severely distressed and develop a depression from it.
- Living alone. Guinea pigs are natural herd animals, and they don’t do well on their own. Being with a life companion if crucial for their well being.
- Cage is too small. Guinea pigs require ample space to unfold on, and a small cage can simply make them frustrated and inactive.