Guinea pigs are active pets that are popular in families with young children. They will play all day and night keeping you awake and distracting your sleep.
However, sometimes you can go in to check on your pet and find that instead of being their normal active self they’ve become unusually inactive.
They may seem lethargic, lie around often, be unable to move from one spot to another, stay in their hiding houses, or you may even find that they haven’t eaten the food you left for them.
This is a cause for alarm because something is amiss. Well, let’s find out what the matter could be and what you can do about it.
Why is my guinea pig not playing?
Guinea pigs are small energetic animals and a lack of energy in them means that something is bothering them. Reasons for your pet not playing include being bored, sick, injured, stressed, or it could be that they have become old. There are some things you can do about it like giving them toys, playing with them, providing mental stimulation, giving them time to heal if they are injured, or taking them to a vet.
Reasons why your guinea pig is not playing
Noticing inactivity in your pet is a sign that you should pay more attention to them and know what the matter is. They could be having the following problems:
Guinea pigs are very playful and this trait makes them easily bored too. If your guinea pig is living in a small dull cage or a cage that is lacking toys they will get bored fast.
Guinea pigs need something to play with. They need toys to keep them busy and entertained mostly if they are living alone.
Bored guinea pigs may become destructive and start biting into their cage bars or rattling their water bottles. They get lonely which leads to depression and you don’t want your pet to be depressed.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and this makes them good at hiding their pain to avoid attracting predators if they sense that they are vulnerable.
A sick guinea pig will stop doing things they normally do like eating well, drinking water, pooping a lot, and even playing.
If you notice signs like this, it only means that whatever illness your pet is suffering from is already at an advanced stage. Guinea pigs show symptoms of disease when they’ve already had it for a while so you should take immediate action.
Being in a cage or hutch with accessories doesn’t mean that your pet is a hundred percent safe. They could hurt themselves with their toys, the cage material, and even hay.
They can also hurt each other if they are living with fellow cage mates as guinea pigs do fight now and then. If your pet is injured, they may be unable to move and remain in one place if in pain.
This will keep them from being active and cause them to stop playing.
Guinea pigs are sensitive animals that can get stressed fast. The slightest noise can make them quite anxious.
They have good hearing capabilities that make the smallest of sounds feel deafening to them. Sensing danger around, including seeing your other larger pets nearby, can also stress them up.
When stressed, they lose interest in playing and may instead begin to circle the cage anxiously.
Normally, younger guinea pigs will be more energetic hence playing more. As your guinea pig gets older, their energy levels and desire to play dips.
This makes them play less. Sometimes they even suffer from age-related conditions like arthritis which makes them unable to move much.
What you can do if your guinea pig is not playing
If your guinea pig stops playing like usual, you should not panic because mostly it’s something you can fix yourself. You should first try to find out what the problem is then take the following measures.
Offering toys to your bored guinea pig will make a really big difference. You can buy several toys from a pet store but ensure that they are safe to play with.
You can also use that old trick of stuffing a clean sock with hay and giving it to them. They will enjoy dragging it around with them, using it as a pillow, and taking out the hay.
Change the toys often to prevent them from getting bored by the same thing. Instead of providing all toys at once, you can first offer one then switch it up after a while with a new one.
A stressed guinea pig will need you to distract them from what is stressing them. You can spend time with them and have a bonding session that will make them feel loved, safe, and secure.
Have some lap time or play with them to keep them occupied. Create tunnels in their cage for them to run through or make mazes with safe household items to stimulate their minds as they find their way through.
Remember to keep their cage away from other pets and take them out when your other pets are not around to avoid getting them scared or stressed.
See a vet
If your pet appears lethargic and unable to move while having other symptoms like diarrhoea, you should take them to a vet. They could also show signs of being in pain like refusing to be touched or making painful sounds.
This could mean that they are injured or unwell. Handle them carefully and take them to a vet to ascertain what could be the matter.
New guinea pigs will not be confident enough to run around and play. You should first give them time to get used to their cage, new environment, and your presence.
Once they ascertain that they are safe, they will freely begin to play. If they are injured or unwell, give them time to heal too.
Let them take their time to feel okay and strong enough to play.
Guinea pigs are active and energetic animals that have something bothering them if they become inactive all of a sudden.
It could be that they are bored, sick, injured, or growing older. You should provide them with toys, spend time with them, and see a vet if they are injured or unwell.