Why Can’t Guinea Pigs Throw Up?

Guinea pigs eat a lot of food. Sometimes food may affect them leading to a bloated stomach or a severe case of diarrhoea.

Guinea pigs are usually at a disadvantage because they cannot throw up which presents them with health problems.

Let’s look at the effects of not being able to throw up in these small pets.

Why can’t guinea pigs throw up?

Guinea pigs cannot throw up because they lack a gag reflex, have a diaphragm with weak muscles, and a tight stomach. Moreover, they lack the required brain coordination to take something out that was ingested. Being unable to throw up can be fatal to guinea pigs and it leads to stomach problems, risks of choking and poisoning, and gastrointestinal blockage. In case they ingest food that brings about stomach upsets, guinea pigs will only have one way of getting it out through their bums.

What happens if my guinea pig is unable to throw up

Mammals have strong digestive systems that can easily bring up foods that are harmful and facilitate throwing up. Guinea pigs however are unable to do that.

Not only guinea pigs, but all rodents as a whole including other herbivorous animals like horses. Inability to throw up leads to:

Gastrointestinal blockages

Guinea pigs eat all the time. Sometimes they may over-eat and the food would have nowhere to go which would lead to throwing up in mammals.

However, if guinea pigs are having all that food without anywhere to take it, it would lead to gastrointestinal blockage.

Another factor that would lead to this blockage is the ingestion of foods that cannot be digested by guinea pigs. Some foods are unable to be digested by their delicate stomachs.

Eating them brings about gastrointestinal blockages which pose a health risk to your gentle pet.

Stomach problems

Guinea pigs have sensitive stomachs that are prone to digestion problems. Ingesting harmful foods like those with high sugar or foods that are being eaten for the first time that have been taken in large amounts brings about stomach problems.

If guinea pigs were able to throw up, it could help in getting rid of the harmful foods through their mouths preventing stomach upsets, and lessening their pain.

It’s always advised to offer sugary foods like fruits and treats in low quantities to avoid these kinds of problems. Also, any new food being introduced to your pet should be given in moderation to avoid overfeeding it for the first time which causes problems to their sensitive stomachs.


Guinea pigs are small animals making them susceptible to being choked by small items including foods. It’s always advisable to slice up their foods into smaller pieces to prevent the foods from getting stuck in their throats.

You should also keep away small items that they could ingest and choke on if they are out of their cages.

If your pet is choked by something, they are going to have problems taking it out because their gut cannot bring something up after it’s swallowed. Choking leads to the blockage of their airway which could be fatal for them.

If you notice your pet choking, you should call a vet right away.


In case of poisoning, throwing up is usually encouraged by inducing a state of nausea. Guinea pigs lack the ability to throw up even if they are nauseated because their brains cannot coordinate it.

This will lead to poisoning in them that could have been prevented by vomiting out the poisonous food they had eaten.

Why does my guinea pig seem to be throwing up?

Guinea pigs usually have four incisors that are well visible and molars that are situated at the back of their mouths. Most of the chewing takes place at the back.

If your guinea pig is having dental problems, they may be unable to swallow food. Instead of swallowing it, they will spit out half-chewed food making it seem like they are throwing up.

They could also make vomiting sounds and seem to be choking. This may be accompanied by other symptoms like excessive salivating and drooling, bad breath, inactivity, loss of weight, or food falling out of their mouth.

These will indicate a dental problem that requires a vet’s help.

Can guinea pigs burp?

Although guinea pigs cannot throw up, they can still burp. In certain cases, they are able to burp out toxic substances, they had ingested, from their stomachs.

What happens if guinea pigs eat something toxic?

As we have seen, guinea pigs lack the ability to throw up putting them in a dangerous situation in case they were to ingest something toxic. These pets eat many foods but they also have foods that are toxic to them that they should never eat.

Some of the toxic foods include:

  • Dairy and meats – guinea pigs lack a complex digestive system and the powerful enzymes required to digest these foods making them unable to break them down.
  • Seeds – seeds can easily choke guinea pigs because they are hard and small. Some like apple seeds are poisonous and should never be fed to them either.
  • Tomato plants – some foods will be safe for guinea pigs to eat while other parts of them will be harmful like tomatoes. The fruit is generally safe while the green parts are poisonous and should never be eaten.

If your pet accidentally ingests foods that they shouldn’t, contact a vet immediately. Your pet may develop diarrhoea but your vet will offer the required help.


Guinea pigs do not have the ability to throw up. This is because they don’t have a gag reflex and the required brain coordination to enable throwing up.

They also have a less muscular diaphragm that cannot facilitate it. Other rodents like hamsters lack that ability too.

You should always ensure that you feed your pet safe food to avoid giving them toxic foods that cannot be vomited.

The inability to throw up can lead to gastrointestinal blockage, choking, and stomach upsets. In case of poisoning, choking, or teeth problems, you should always see a vet.

Sometimes your guinea pig will spit out half-chewed food that wasn’t swallowed making it seem like they threw up.

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