Perhaps you are considering getting guinea pigs and have heard through the grapevine that guinea pigs are little poop factories. Or maybe you’re a new owner and are shocked by the volume of poop produced by just one or two tiny potatoes.
Regardless, you’re not alone in your disbelief. Guinea pigs do, in fact, poop a lot. Guinea pigs average about 80-100 poops a day in most cases, far more than most other animals. The good news, however, is that guinea pig poop is not smelly or sticky to clean up like many other animals.
While a large volume of poop can often correlate to a large volume of mess, there are some easy ways you can reduce the mess and cut back on the time you spend cleaning the cage. I’ll cover several ideas on this further down the page.
Is It Normal For Guinea Pigs to Poop a Lot?
Guinea pigs poop a lot. So much that you may start wondering to yourself, “Is there something wrong with my guinea pig? Am I feeding too much?”
However, it is perfectly normal for guinea pigs to poop a lot. In fact, it can indicate a problem if they don’t. Any less than 50 poops a day could mean there is an underlying health issue.
A single guinea pig can poop anywhere from 80-100 times a day, meaning a pair can produce a whopping 160-200 pellets daily. They usually do multiple at once, several times an hour. It can seem never-ending, I know, but such is life with piggies. Guinea pig people affectionately refer to these little potatoes as “poop machines” or “poop factories.”
Skinny pigs (hairless guinea pigs) poop even more (yes, it’s possible) than regular furred guinea pigs since they eat more to keep their metabolism up. Since they have no fur, they need more energy to regulate their temperature, especially as the weather gets cooler.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Poop So Much?
Guinea pigs are grazing herbivores. Their bodies have evolved to be constantly grazing and eating. They even wake up frequently throughout the night to eat. Guinea pigs can actually get sick if they stop eating for a period of time. Their digestive systems are designed to be constantly moving, so any extended gap of time without food can lead to a condition called GI stasis.
GI stasis is where the digestive system starts to shut down. This can occur in as little as 8 hours without eating, so it’s crucial that your guinea pigs always have a fresh pile of hay in their cage to munch on.
Since guinea pigs are constantly eating, they are constantly pooping as well. A lot in equals a lot out.
Guinea pigs actually poop even more than you see. They produce two different types of poop. The first time food passes through their system, they do not absorb the full nutrients or healthy bacteria they need.
Thus, guinea pigs eat their poop the first time to re-absorb the vitamins that were missed in the first round. However, guinea pigs usually do this before you even see it. The first type of poop is lighter in color and softer than the final product.
Guinea pigs also have a small bladder, meaning they can pee quite frequently as well, particularly after eating watery vegetables. If you ever notice your guinea pig start fidgeting suddenly on your lap, it’s a good idea to put them down to relieve themselves.
Do Guinea Pigs Poop Everywhere?
Guinea pigs can and they will poop everywhere. They poop while eating, sleeping, relaxing, running around, or sitting on your lap. Guinea pigs are about the closest things to living poop machines that you can keep as a pet. However, the pellets are typically dry and easy to sweep up.
It’s a good idea to hold your guinea pigs with a fleece pad or towel on your lap to protect against any accidents. Even though guinea pigs can poop everywhere, there is some good news. You can definitely contain and limit the mess by being proactive and optimizing your cage setup.
Tips to Keep a Guinea Pig Cage Cleaner
First of all, it’s important to recognize that guinea pigs will poop wherever they spend the most time. This includes the areas where they sleep and eat. They also seem to prefer to poop in corners or covered areas of the cage. Knowing this, you can arrange their cage in a way that catches much of the mess and reduces the time you have to spend cleaning.
One great way to do this is by using a litter tray. Guinea pigs do not seek out the litter box like a cat or rabbit would, but they will use it quite a bit if you draw them to it. You can do this by placing the litter box in a darker, cozy corner of the cage and putting lots of hay inside. I also like to put their food bowl and water bottle in there to give the guinea pigs even more reasons to go in.
If you don’t have any nice corners of the cage for your litter pan, you can make a more secluded area by draping blankets over the box or zip-tie some wire grids above to make a little covered canopy. It helps if you place the litter box in a corner that the guinea pigs already like to use as their favorite bathroom corner.
My personal favorite litter boxes that I use are these puppy litter boxes because they are sturdy, chew-proof, and have low sides for the piggies to jump in easily. They are a bit pricy, however, so you can use other options too. Cheap cat litter pans can work well, but you will probably need to cut and file the sides down a little or make a ramp so the guinea pigs can get in and out.
Spot cleaning can also help keep the mess under control. I use a mini handheld broom and dustpan for this, but some people use a small handheld vacuum too. It’s a good idea to spot clean at least once a day, but some people like to do it twice a day.
Do Guinea Pigs Poop All Over the House?
Guinea pigs can poop all over the house if you give them free access for floor time. They often poop a lot while out running around outside of their cage. However, you can greatly limit the mess by using an exercise pen to keep them contained or block off areas that are hard to clean. I also like to use these waterproof floor mats to protect the floors and make cleanup easier.
Guinea pigs poop a lot, and they can poop absolutely everywhere if you’re not diligent about their cage setup. However, despite the large volume of poop, their excrement has much less smell or grossness than most other animals. With a good litter box system and a daily sweep-up, you can still keep your piggy’s cage fairly clean and under control, even at a rate of 100-200 pellets a day.