Chances are you've been constipated at least once in your life and know how uncomfortable it can be. The same can be said for your guinea pig. As a responsible owner, you should look for signs that indicate your pet may have gastrointestinal trouble. If you see your guinea pig straining to produce a bowel movement or notice bloating, you need to act right away in order to save your guinea pig's life. Constipation in guinea pigs can be caused by poor food choices, lack of water or more serious internal issues.
You must provide a guinea pig–size water bottle, filled with fresh water. Remove the water bottle daily to scald it, scrubbing to remove any buildup. Refill the bottle with fresh water, make sure the spout is on tight and that water comes out of the tip when tapped before inserting back into the cage. Changing the water daily ensures that your pet always has enough clean water. Without enough drinking water, your guinea pig will become dehydrated and this can cause constipation.
Well-formulated guinea pig diets are available, and while these do provide a balanced diet, you must give your guinea pig fresh fruits and vegetables each day to prevent constipation. If your guinea pig isn't used to eating fruits and vegetables, introduce them slowly to prevent diarrhea. Add a small piece of carrot, green or red bell pepper, cantaloupe or parsley to his food, gradually increasing the amount and variety. Once your guinea pig is eating a diet that contains fruits and vegetables, he'll have less trouble with bowel movements.
In some cases constipation may be caused by intestinal blockage. Intestinal blockage can occur when the guinea pig eats something she shouldn't, or doesn't have enough drinking water. This is a common occurrence with bedding floss. The guinea pig eats the floss and it causes a blockage in her intestine. Signs of intestinal blockage include bloating, abdominal pain, straining to produce a bowel movement and possible discoloration of the abdomen. If you notice these signs, take your pet to the vet immediately.
Constipation in guinea pigs may also be the result of anal impaction. Like rabbits, guinea pigs must eat their droppings in order to be healthy. When producing a movement, guinea pigs have hard or soft pellets. The soft pellets are trapped in what's called the perineal sac and the guinea pig removes them and eats them. As guinea pigs age, the muscles of their anus become weaker and it's harder for them to produce a movement. This means that the harder pellets get trapped and the guinea pig can't get to the softer pellets, which will lead to a reduction in health. It will be your job to clear the impaction. This is something you will need your vet to show you how to do properly.
GUINEA PIG h image by marcio branco from Fotolia.com
Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.