Why Is My Guinea Pig Sneezing?

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Steward.

Home » Blog » Why Is My Guinea Pig Sneezing?

Why is my guinea pig sneezing? You may wonder if you should worry about this, especially if you don’t normally see it happening. For this article, I’m discussing the reasons why your guinea pig sneezes, as well as how you can make your pet feel better.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Sneezing?

Guinea pigs sneeze due to allergies to dust, aerosols, and even hay bedding. A guinea pig with vitamin deficiency and upper respiratory infections would also tend to sneeze a lot. In some cases, sneezing is how their bodies react to stress and weather changes.

It’s typical for guinea pigs to expel air or unwanted particles from the nose. However, if your pet is sneezing a lot while showing other symptoms, it’s best to take medical actions as soon as possible. Before anything else, it’s important you understand what causes a guinea pig to sneeze.

Close up of a guinea pig's nose

Changes in Weather

Guinea pigs are pretty sensitive creatures. Dry conditions caused by weather changes can irritate their nasal passage. When this happens, they end up sneezing more than usual.


An allergic reaction to certain particles or chemicals is another reason your guinea pig is sneezing.

  • Pollen
  • Aroma of the soap or detergent used to clean their fleece
  • Perfume or body spray
  • Air fresheners and aerosols
  • Dusty or soaked hay bedding
  • Wood shavings

In some cases, food particles or dust stuck in the nasal linings can also cause a guinea pig to sneeze.


Stress can affect a guinea pig’s immune system. Unfortunately, this can make your pet more susceptible to respiratory problems. You may observe sneezing when you’re getting a new pet, as its body adapts to changes in living conditions.

Another cause of stress is the addition of a new guinea pig or overcrowding in a cage. Aggression from other guinea pigs can also trigger stress and anxiety as they may feel like they’re losing dominance.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Domestic guinea pigs experience morbidity because of respiratory bacterial infections. An upper respiratory infection (URI) is another reason why your guinea pig would sneeze. If it’s cold or pneumonia, the frequent sneezing would also come with other symptoms. 

Pair of guinea pigs
  • Coughing with labored breathing: When your pet is wheezing or coughing while sneezing, it’s a common sign of respiratory infection. You may notice heavy breathing along with crackling sounds at frequent intervals.
  • Nasal discharge: Your guinea pig may also experience sneezing followed by a yellowish discharge from the nose.
  • Weight loss: A guinea pig that’s finding it difficult to breathe due to sneezing might also have a loss of appetite, causing weight loss.

Vitamin Deficiency

Sneezing is another sign that your pet cannot fight off disease-causing bacteria. A guinea pig with vitamin C deficiency would sneeze more than normal, lose weight, and have a rough coat. Eventually, it may become weak and lethargic.

Vitamin C is crucial in developing and maintaining a guinea pig’s skin, joints, and mucosal surfaces.

What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig Is Sneezing?

Your pet may sneeze between two to four times a day. However, anything more than that can be a cause of concern. These are the things you can do to treat sneezing and prevent your guinea pig from having severe wheezing in the future.

Create the Ideal Living Conditions 

Caring for a guinea pig involves creating the ideal living conditions that can make them comfortable and healthy. Aside from that, cleanliness is essential because this can stop the spread of respiratory illnesses and other health problems like mite infestations. Likewise, a clean and pleasant environment can prevent your pet from getting reinfected.

  • Clean your pet’s living and playing areas: Urine and moisture can harbor germs that can block your pet’s nasal cavity. Schedule a full cleaning of your pet’s cage at least once a week.
  • Avoid air-conditioned environments: If your guinea pig is sneezing due to sickness, stop using air conditioners in the meantime to reduce the cold temperature.
  • Moisten the environment: Use an air humidifier to moisten the surroundings if your pet is sneezing because of dust particles. 
  • Use fleece liners: If your guinea pig is allergic to hay bedding, try to use fleece liners instead. There are hypoallergenic textiles that are safe to use as bedding.
  • Improve air quality: Keep your pet away from tobacco smoke, strong odors from chemicals, and dry air from wood stoves.

Avoid Stressful Situations

Avoid stressful situations that can cause your pet to lose appetite, weakening the immune system. Overcrowding in a cage is among the most stressful situations for a guinea pig. 

Guinea pig about to sneeze

For this reason, opt for a larger cage if you have several pets. Another way is to separate new ones from your sick guinea pig.    

Prepare Nutritious Meals

Guinea pigs need vitamin C in their meals. Use pellets, and some foods that are good sources of vitamin C. You can add bell peppers, orange slices, parsley, cauliflower, strawberry, kiwi, and dried cilantro to your pet’s diet.

Bring Your Pet to the Vet

If your guinea pig is sneezing and has other upper respiratory infection symptoms, take your pet to our clinic as soon as possible.

In this way, I can conduct a physical exam, chest radiograph, and lab works to determine the severity of the condition. I would then prescribe medication to eliminate the infection and help your pet recover. I can also do oxygen therapy, nebulization, and assisted feeding for extremely severe cases.

Are Guinea Pigs Social Pets?

Guinea pigs are highly sociable animals, so they like playing with humans. They also fair well with the companionship of another guinea pig. However, they may not get along with the opposite sex right away, so be careful in introducing a new pet in the cage.

What’s the Best Way to Groom a Guinea Pig?

Long-haired guinea pigs require daily brushing, whereas short-haired ones can do so within every few days. In addition, you should trim the nails regularly and use a damp cloth to clean the fur. Daily grooming ensures the coat remains in good condition, preventing hair loss while building confidence.


Guinea pigs sneeze due to allergies, weather changes, vitamin deficiency, stress, and respiratory illnesses. To avoid further complications and keep your pet healthy, schedule your pet for a wellness examination at our clinic. We’ll conduct lab work and other tests to recommend the best treatment, supplements, and dietary plan.