With holiday travel and summer vacation amongst other reasons to leave home for an extended period of time, many people consider boarding their pets while they are away. So let’s talk about pet guinea pigs, otherwise known as cavies.
Guinea pigs are very sensitive to stress. For instance, a dietary change may cause stress. Even though certain guinea pigs can get used to a variety of foods, others may simply stop eating with an abrupt change in diet. Guinea pigs are also at risk for stress due to environmental changes and again may stop eating.
For these reasons, guinea pigs should not be boarded anywhere outside their home unless absolutely necessary. If you need to go away, it’s best to let the cavies remain in their home with a pet caretaker. If you move them from their home while you are away for any period of time, there is a chance they may stop eating due to the stress they are suddenly experiencing in a new environment.
If they are not eating in their home environment, please arrange a veterinarian visit right away; they can be force-fed at that time and brought back to health while discussing any changes in diet or environment, especially if the owner is or must go out of town.
Be sure to instruct pet caretakers to pay close attention to your guinea pig’s eating habits while you are away. Three or four days without eating is cause for concern, and an emergency visit to your veterinarian is in order.
Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital