My Dog Ate My Guinea Pig

Photo by shimown on Flickr

It is almost unarguable that cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, another pet that is becoming quite popular in families is the guinea pig. 

According to statistics, the population of guinea pigs in the United Kingdom is approximately 400 thousand. In the United States, the number of guinea pigs was a little over 1.3 million at the last count.

It is common to find families that own both dogs and guinea pigs owing to the growing popularity of guinea pigs are domestic pets in the U.S and the U.K 

This article will answer all your questions about dogs eating guinea pigs and its effects.

Is eating a guinea pig dangerous for my dog?

Guinea pigs are hardly dangerous to your dog because they are like rodents and other animals your dog hunts, consisting of skin and bones. However, if the guinea pig was sick and infected, your dog could catch a disease. Several guinea pigs might suffer several diseases without any symptoms. If such diseases are communicable, then your dog faces a major risk.

On another hand, eating the guinea pig whole poses a choking hazard to your dog, which can be very dangerous, restrict airflow, and cause death if the situation isn’t arrested fast. Be careful and take your dog to the vet immediately if this happens.

Can guinea pigs poison a dog?

Guinea pigs tend to suffer several diseases, but we will focus on two diseases that your dog can contract from guinea pigs. 

Guinea pigs can carry Salmonella bacteria without a visible symptom. You might think your guinea pig is in perfect help, but if your dog happens to eat them, it will become clear that they had the disease in the first place.

The most way to identify salmonella infection in your dog is to look for symptoms like nausea, fever, anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Your dog would lose weight in no time, and a serious or untreated infection may cause shock and death.

Campylobacter infection can also pass from guinea pig to dog, with symptoms that last for a week or more. You will notice watery diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and abdominal cramping. Most times, the health condition fades off without any medical intervention, but when it doesn’t, you can take your dog to a vet who will run tests and offer treatment.

How to deal with the grief when your guinea pig dies?

The death of a pet is always heartbreaking, and it could be worse if it died in the hands of another pet.

Many families, especially children can get upset when their dog eats their guinea pig. Some persons have nightmares, especially if they watched it happen. Others become distant from their dogs and blame them for the act. 

Guilt and grief are two major feelings that result from your pet’s death.

You might feel guilty for not protecting it better or keeping it away from your dog. You will likely feel grief for the loss and painful death of your guinea pig. 

The first thing to do is remember that you didn’t cause the death on purpose, and you couldn’t have helped it. Forgive yourself and determine to do better to protect other pets.

The journey to forgiveness might take several stages, including grieving your pet, talking to other family members and friends about your experience, writing a letter or tribute, and deciding actionable steps to prevent it from happening.

Talk to your kids, help them go through this stage, and love their dog again, knowing that he didn’t know better or he wouldn’t have killed their guinea pig. 

Will my dog kill my guinea pig?

Hunting is an instinctive part of dogs, and many dogs will tirelessly go after small animals until they catch and kill them. Several dog breeds were trained to be hunters, and they will not spare a heartbeat before going after your pig due to their natural inclinations.

Some breeds most likely to kill guinea pigs and other household pets include Bloodhounds, Pit bulls, Golden retrievers, Beagles, Foxhounds, Labrador retrievers, Jack Russel terriers, and Pointers. Generally, hunting dogs are at high risk for your guinea pigs.

Regardless of your dog breed, supervising every interaction between both pets will prevent the unfortunate from happening.

Help! My dog is obsessed with my guinea pig!

Your dog could be obsessed with your guinea pig for any of two reasons; because the guinea pig is an interesting specimen to watch, or it just can’t wait to get its paws and mouth on it. Most times, the latter is the case.

It is not only unhealthy for your dog to be obsessed with your guinea pigs, but it is also risky for the smaller animal. 

Here are some behavioral signs that a dog is a danger to your guinea pigs.

  • If your dog growls continually at your guinea pig, he will likely attack it the one chance he gets.
  • Excessive barking, especially when your dog comes across the guinea pig is a sign of danger to come.
  • You might also find your dog freezing and staring at your guinea pig, which is an attack stance that explains the danger simply with its positioning.
  • If your dog lunges towards your guinea pig when they are in your hands or their cage, your pet has marked a prey, and your piggy is in danger.
  • Teeth clenching also signals an impending attack, which you must never allow to happen. 

Keep your guinea pig away from your dog at all times if you notice any of these obsessive or aggressive behaviors, 

How to stop a dog from eating a guinea pig

Several veterinary doctors believe that dogs and guinea pigs can get along with the proper introduction. However, you must do a lot of things right.

Begin by introducing your dog to your guinea pig in little stages. First, expose your dog to see the guinea pigs’ cage during setup but not the animal. You can share scent between both animals by using a washcloth as well.

Then, introduce your dog to the piggy’s scent by letting it hang around close to the room where you keep the guinea pig. Distract your dog when it gets aggressive at the smell until it calms down.

Allow the animals to meet after a few days and ensure that you have control over the dog and someone handles the guinea pig. Watch the level of aggression, encourage your dog to calm down, and offer a treat for good behavior.

Increase contact over time, and avoid scolding your dog for being nervous; it is simply instinctive. Help your dog link good behavior and reinforcements to your guinea pig.

 Always keep your dog leashed during all encounters and don’t leave them alone to prevent accidents.

How to dog-proof your guinea pig’s cage and run

  • Purchase a guinea pigs’ cage that is tough and dog-proof in case your dog ever attempts to break-in.
  • Add a large nesting box inside the cage as it gives your guinea pig some extra security.
  • Set the cage on a high strong surface where your dog cannot reach, and out of its direct space.
  • Always lock the piggy’s cage, and keep the door leading to your guinea pig cage closed.

What are some of the most guinea pig-friendly dog breeds?

It is difficult to tell with absolute certainty what dog breed will be friendly towards your guinea pig because training and personality differ even among a breed.

However, dog breeds that were raised as livestock guardians or those with low prey drives are most suitable. Border Collies, Great Pyrenees, German Shepherds, and Newfoundlands are some of the most guinea pig-friendly breeds. 

Always seek advice before getting a dog if you plan for it to be friendly with your guinea pig.

Will guinea pig poop poison my dog?

Guinea pig poop is mostly harmless to your dog and would hardly have any negative effect. 

However, we cannot rule out the fact that some guinea pigs can be unhealthy and excrete poop contaminated with bacteria and viruses.

A sick guinea pig might have Salmonella in its poop, which is a bacterium that infects the intestine and causes stomach pain, vomiting, fever, etc.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is a viral infection in guinea pigs that is transmissible through poop.

Observe your pet when he eats guinea pig poop. If your dog shows no side effects, then it is fine for them to eat it. 

Will guinea pig food harm my dog?

Mostly, no because guinea pig food mostly comprises dried vegetables like carrots alongside corns, and other seeds, which are not harmful.

 However, your dog will find it hard to digest these foods, and they don’t often have the right vitamins your dog needs. They might also contain too much fiber for your dog.

Dog food is made to fit your dog’s specific nutritional needs, and it remains the best option.

If your dog eats guinea pig food and suffers vomiting or diarrhea, contact a vet.

Closing Thoughts

At this point, we have established several facts about dogs and guinea pigs, beginning with the fact that guinea pigs are prey to most dogs, which means your guinea pig can get eaten by your dog if you’re not careful.

Dogs can get sick from eating guinea pigs suffering from diseases like ringworm, pneumonia, and other ailments. Guinea pig poop can also be harmful if the animal is sick.

Finally, remember to look for guinea pig-friendly dog breeds like Border Collies and Great Pyrenees if you plan to own both pets. Train your dog to accommodate your guinea pig early, and be okay with accepting that they may never become best buddies.