Can Diabetes Kill Guinea Pigs? (Explained Here)

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from and other affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Wanna read something more boring than watching paint dry? Click HERE for a peek at my disclosure.

If you’ve noticed that your guinea pig has been drinking a lot of water and urinating more frequently, it may be a sign that he or she has diabetes. And if you’ve followed up with a trip to the vet and been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering if diabetes can kill your furry friend.

Unfortunately, diabetes can kill guinea pigs. If the disease goes untreated it can cause dehydration, organ failure, seizures, and even death. However, with early diagnosis and treatment most guinea pigs with diabetes can enjoy a long and healthy life.

a picture of a guinea pig wondering if diabetes can kill guinea pigs

This article explains everything about guinea pigs and diabetes. It tells you which type of diabetes affects piggies, if it kills them, and the symptoms of diabetes in guinea pigs.

So, if you’re worried that your cavies have gotten diabetes, this article will help you understand the disease better.

Can Diabetes Kill A Guinea Pig? 

a tip that explains that diabetes in guinea pigs can be treated if it's caught early enough
Feeding your piggie a health diet is your best defense against diabetes.

Yes, diabetes can kill guinea pigs. However, it usually takes a long time for the disease to become deadly. Mild cases of diabetes are not dangerous to guinea pigs and can be easily treated. However, if it goes untreated for a long time, your cavies may start developing dangerous symptoms.

If the disease gets worse, they may eventually die from it. Severe cases of diabetes on guinea pigs wouldn’t just make them thirsty. Your little friend would start showing hyperglycemic symptoms like twitches, tremors, and extreme thirstiness.

7 secret guinea pig hacks

Hyperglycemic means that there is too much sugar in the blood. This can be very dangerous for guinea pigs and can lead to seizures, organ failure, and death.

But, with early diagnosis and treatment, most guinea pigs with diabetes can be saved. So if you’re worried that your guinea pig may have contracted diabetes, please take them to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

What Are Signs Of Diabetes In Guinea Pigs? 

a fact that explains the signs of diabetes in guinea pigs
It’s helpful to keep some sort of health log of information for your piggies, so that you have a record of health issues if (and when) they happen.

The signs of diabetes in guinea pigs include weight loss (even though their appetite is unchanged), increased thirst and urination, an increase in urinary tract infections (UTIs) and a poor coat condition.

If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems in guinea pigs, including blindness, kidney failure, and even death.

You might be asking yourself: What exactly is diabetes, anyway?

Well, diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body uses sugar. When your cavy (or even a human) has diabetes, their body isn’t able to regulate their blood sugar the right way. This can be dangerous and even deadly if left untreated.

Basically, diabetes is a disease caused when the body does not produce insulin or does not use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas secretes. This hormone helps turn glucose (sugar) into a form that the body’s cells can absorb for energy.

There’s two different forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2

The main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is how they are caused.

  • Type 1 diabetes is often caused by a genetic disorder. Your immune system destroys the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin if you have type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes is mostly caused by the way your cavy eats (yep, you heard me, diet) and by being overweight or inactive. This is yet another reason why it’s so important for you to feed your furry friends a health diet and to give them plenty of exercise.

Most cavies usually have type 2 diabetes.

The symptoms of diabetes in guinea pigs become worse over time. It’s also important to remember that how severe the diabetes is varies from guinea pig to guinea pig. This is because different guinea pigs produce and use insulin differently.

Can Guinea Pigs Live With Diabetes? 

a tip that explains that although diabetes can kill guinea pigs, it's important to do health checks for other harmful illnesses

Guinea pigs can live long, happy lives with diabetes. Diabetes infections vary in guinea pigs. Some can have mild or no diabetic symptoms that are temporary, others can be severe.

Even if your little friends seem healthy, they might have a problem that you can’t see. For example, some cavies may develop bilateral cataracts or poor hair coats without any other real signs of diabetic illness.

Bottom line?

Weekly health checks and being observant of any changes in your guinea pig’s health are important, whether they have diabetes or not.

Even though most cavies can live for a while without treatment, not treating them can lead to more severe cases of diabetes.

What To Do If Your Guinea Pig Has Diabetes?

If your guinea pig has diabetes then you need to begin treatment as soon as possible. Treatment usually consists of insulin injections and a change in diet. Your vet may also have you give your guinea pig some oral medications to help control their diabetes.

It’s important that you always closely follow your vet’s instructions when it comes to the care of your diabetic guinea pig.

1. Dietary Restrictions 

Whether your piggy is diabetic or not, their regular diet should consist of 80% of Timothy hay, 15% of vegetables or fruits, and 5% of pellets.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat junk foods like cookies, chips, and other human snacks. You should also avoid feeding your cavy foods that are high in fat or calories. This includes treats like nuts, seeds, and dried, fruit juices, canned food, or any other type of sweetened or preserved food.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when feeding a piggie that’s severely affected by diabetes:

  • Increase hay in their diet. This low calorie, high fiber food will help keep their blood sugar levels stable.
  • Limit sweet fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to avoid all produce – just the sweeter kinds like bananas and carrots. Berries with a low glycemic index can be fed. The low glycemic index means that the sugar in these fruits is released slowly into the bloodstream – which is less likely to cause a sudden rise in blood sugar levels.
  • Offer a variety of fresh (low sugar) vegetables to choose from. Serve veggie and herb snacks to your cavy instead of fruits. This can include leafy greens, radicchio, fennel, romaine, cauliflower, and other low-sugar vegetables.
  • Provide fresh water at all times. Your piggy needs plenty of fluids to help regulate their blood sugar levels, too.

2. Give Your Guinea Pig Plenty of Exercise 

Regular exercise is important for all guinea pigs, but it’s especially important for those with diabetes.

Lots of floor time and supervised playtime outside the cage will help keep their blood sugar levels under control.

How much activity is necessary?

Typically, at least an hour outside of the cage each day is recommended. But more is always better – especially if your piggie is already pretty heavy.

Here’s some other ways to encourage your little friends to get up and move:

  • Place their water bottle and food bowls in opposite corners of their cage. They’re be forced to move around the cage to get to their food and water.
  • Play with your little friends more often. Tug-of-war, hide and seek, and other interactive games are a fun way to get them moving.
  • Surround their water bottle with flat rocks. Your cavies will have to step up on the rocks to get a drink – providing them with some extra exercise.
7 secret guinea pig hacks

3. Insulin Injections and Blood Sugar Monitoring

There’s a chance that your diabetic guinea pigs might need insulin injections.

Your vet will help you figure out how much insulin your piggy needs and when to give the injections.

It’s important that you always stick to the vet’s instructions when it comes to insulin injections.

Plus, your little friend will need to have their blood sugar levels monitored regularly. This can be done with a blood glucose meter or by performing a urinalysis.

If their blood sugar levels get too high or too low, your vet will need to make changes to their insulin dosage or diet.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to caring for a diabetic guinea pig – but the tips above should help you get started. With a little bit of love and care, your furry friend will be on their way to a healthy, happy life!

What Kills A Guinea Pig Instantly? 

There are different things in your piggies’ home that can harm them. Harmful things can be as dangerous as causing them to die. So, you need to make sure that these objects are kept far away from your cavies’ home. You also need to develop some habits not to cause them any harm. Here are some of the things that can kill your guinea pig instantly:

  • Cleaning materials and other toxic substances: Some materials, like detergents, pesticides, pest poison, and human drugs, can kill your guinea pigs instantly. So if you want them to be able to move around freely, you need to take away any medications, chemicals, or cleaners that are dangerous to them.
  • Toxic Fumes: Car fumes can also kill your cavies. Therefore, never put their cages in car garages or let them wander around there. Instead, an enclosed and well-ventilated area is better.  Carbon monoxide is also dangerous for your guinea pigs and can cause them to die.
  • Mercury And Wires: Batteries and wires are commonly found in homes. They can be dangerous to guinea pigs, especially because batteries contain mercury which can kill them quickly if they touch or taste it. Mercury is also found in some light bulbs, so to prevent your cavies from eating wires or mercury, you need to make sure all electronic devices are inaccessible to them.
  • Small Objects: Sharp objects like needles, pins, and tacks can easily pierce through a guinea pig’s skin and kill them. And if they eat small objects like these, it can get stuck in their intestines and ultimately kill them.
  • Handling Mistakes: Guinea pigs are delicate animals and need to be handled with care. This means not picking them up by their ears or legs, and not shaking them or throwing them around. Teach your children how to handle a guinea pig properly so they don’t hurt the animal.
  • Putting them Under Direct Sunlight: Guinea pigs are very sensitive to temperature changes. If you put your piggie’s enclosure by a window or anywhere in direct sunlight, you’re running the risk of them getting a heatstroke and dying. It doesn’t take long for the sun to heat up an enclosure and make it too hot for your guinea pig to handle.
  • Cold Weather: Just like hot weather, cold weather can also be very dangerous for guinea pigs. Make sure they have a warm place to hide during winter and are not left outside in the snow for too long.
  • Other Animals: Other animals, such as cats, dogs, rats, snakes, and hawks, can also be deadly to your guinea pigs. If they’re in an unprotected area, these predators can easily kill them.

So, as you can see, there are many things in your home that can harm or even kill your guinea pigs. It’s important to be aware of these dangers and take the necessary precautions to keep your furry friends safe.

What Foods Are Dangerous To Guinea Pigs? 

As much as many foods are ideal for piggies consumption, many others are not good for their health. Even though some of these are natural food, they’re dangerous for your guinea pig to eat.

Here’s some foods that you should avoid giving to your little friends:

  • Cabbage
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb leaves and stalks
  • Garlic
  • Dried grains, ie. Dried beans, peas, and corns 
  • Rice
  • Nuts of any kind
  • Seed of any kind
  • Grains of any kind

You must be careful that your cavies do not have access to any plants that may be harmful to them. Some plants, even if they are found in a garden, can be poisonous to cavies. Do not feed these types of plants to your cavies.

  • Lilies
  • Any shrubs
  • Nightshades
  • Ivy
  • Mushrooms
  • Foxgloves
  • Daffodils
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Oleander
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Tulips 
  • Elephant’s ear

Man made foods are a big “no-no” as well. Cooked food, canned food, or any other type of manufactured food can be very harmful to your cavies.

  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolates or anything that has caffeine
  • Potato chips
  • Fruit juices
  • Sugary foods
  • Canned foods
  • Diary products 
  • Bread
  • Biscuits, cookies, crackers, or candies
  • Pickled food
  • Meat

Final Thoughts And Conclusion

Many diseases can kill guinea pigs, but diabetes is not the most common one. It can be treated easily, but you need to make sure that you do it.

You also need to avoid behaviors that could shorten your cavies life – like overfeeding them or giving them junk food. There’s effective treatments for diabetes in guinea pigs, so make sure you use them.

But, that’s now all.

There’s many things in your home that can be harmful to your fur babies. It’s important to be aware of these dangers and take the necessary precautions to keep your furry friends safe.

Plus, there are also some foods that you should avoid giving to your piggies as they can be dangerous for their health. By following these tips, you can ensure that your fur babies live a long and happy life.

7 secret guinea pig hacks


4 ways to avoid poisoning your Guinea pig. (2017, August 14). wikiHow Pet – Expert How To Instructions for Animals. Retrieved February 26, 2022, from

Diabetes mellitus in the Guinea pig. (1976, May 1). American Diabetes Association.

Guinea pigs with diabetes – General information – Patricia’s Guinea pigs. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig.

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Small Pet Select U.S. (2017, September 12). 15 things Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat

What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? (n.d.). Preventive Health Tests & Screening | Life Line Screening.

Similar Posts