19 Apr 2023

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Discover everything you need to know about guinea pig sleep patterns! Learn about their nocturnal habits, how much sleep they need, and what you can do to ensure your furry friend gets enough rest.

Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

Among the different types of pets today, guinea pigs are possibly one of the best choices, and with good reason.

These adorable critters do not require as much maintenance as some other pets. And they have an active nature, which makes them great pets.

On that note, we have come across many people who have asked us about the sleep habits of guinea pigs. After all, sleep plays an important role in an animal’s overall well-being, and given the active temperament of guinea pigs, it is even more important.

That is why we have made this guide, which seeks to answer such sleep-related questions in the case of guinea pigs. So, dive in if you are curious!

Guinea Pig Sleep Basics

If you own a guinea pig, you might have heard them scurrying throughout the day and night. It is due to this reason that many pet owners have expressed concerns about the sleeping habits of their piggies.

But there is no need to be alarmed, for there is nothing wrong with your beloved pet. A high activity level is a sign of a healthy guinea pig if anything.

Guinea Pig In Hut With Straw

That said, you will be relieved to know that guinea pigs sleep for about four to six hours daily. It is just that the sleeping habits of guinea pigs are pretty different from the sleeping habits of humans.

Most guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open, believe it or not! Secondly, they usually do not sleep at a stretch like us or other conventional pets.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

We know it sounds weird, but a rational scientific explanation exists for such an odd sleeping habit. In the wild, guinea pigs and other cavies (the biological family of rodents to which guinea pigs belong) are considered prey animals.

Simply put, they are often hunted by other predators, like snakes, large birds, and so on. That is why they need to stay careful of their surroundings 24/7 so they can run away and hide from danger. So, to accomplish that, they have evolved in such a manner that allows them to sleep without closing their eyes.

In that context, pet guinea pigs need not fret about predators like wild guinea pigs. But since this is an evolutionary trait, it is present in them regardless, which is why you will not notice your guinea pig sleeping as we do.

Guinea Pig Being Patted Orange

How And When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?

A pet guinea pig does not sleep at a long, single stretch, as we have stated once before. Instead, it sleeps in several short intervals spread throughout the day. And while it sleeps, it stands still in one place to complete its short power nap.

As for the time, some pet owners believe that they are diurnal, implying that they remain active in the daytime and sleep at night. The rest believe that they are nocturnal, which is the opposite.

This creates confusion among pet owners, due to which they often ask - are guinea pigs nocturnal or diurnal? The answer is that they are neither, which explains their habit of taking short naps throughout the day. These animals are mostly crepuscular in nature, meaning they remain active during the day and the night.

Stick Hut With Guinea Pig Inside

What Are The Signs Of A Sleeping Guinea Pig?

Now you know how guinea pigs’ sleeping habits differ from the sleeping habits of humans. However, these differences make it difficult for pet owners to determine whether their guinea pig is asleep or awake.

Thankfully, certain signs can help you out in this regard. You will know your furry friend is fast asleep if you notice any of the signs below.

1. The Guinea Pig Is Lying With Its Heads Down

Typically, these animals do not lie down on their backs like us when they sleep. Instead, guinea pigs lie prone, with their heads down or burrowed inside their hiding places. Occasionally, they may lie on their sides; in some rare cases, you might notice them lying with their eyes closed. This usually happens when the guinea pig’s cage is extremely cosy.

2. Your Bunny Is Standing Still In One Place

Typically, guinea pigs are very active animals, meaning they will always play around in their enclosure. However, if your guinea pig has been sitting still in one place for a while, then it is safe to say that your pet is napping.

Guinea Pig Eating Food

The Importance Of A Good Sleeping Environment For Guinea Pigs

Just like humans and other animals, guinea pigs love a safe and comfortable environment to sleep in. If you can provide such an environment, they can sleep peacefully. And if the animal trusts you completely, it will let its guard down and sleep with its eyes fully closed. This is something that guinea pig owners relish since it indicates that the pet is happy and satisfied.

Besides, getting a good sleep in a comfortable environment helps to keep your guinea pigs healthy and active. You need to provide a good sleeping environment for your guinea pig to get the adequate amount of rest it needs. That, in turn, will give rise to health problems down the line.

Common Issues That Can Affect Guinea Pig Sleep

As discussed below, different issues can affect your guinea pig’s sleeping habits.

1. Lethargy

If your pet has become lethargic, its natural sleep schedule will be affected. When this happens, it will tend to sleep more than usual and lack energy or interest in doing anything. Too much sleep and lack of energy clearly indicate some underlying health issue that needs to be resolved.

2. Loss Of Appetite

Guinea pigs are usually hungry all the time. Sometimes, your guinea pig may lose its appetite due to underlying conditions. In this situation, it will refuse to eat even its favourite items, negatively impacting its sleep. If this problem isn’t diagnosed soon, it will have serious consequences for your pet.

Guinea Pig With Hat On

3. Difficulty In Breathing

Breathing difficulties are often the result of a respiratory infection. Your guinea pig will have slow, laboured breathing when this problem arises. And if it can’t breathe properly, it won’t be able to sleep properly either.

4. Dehydration

Dehydration is caused when your pet refuses to drink sufficient water and fluids. If your pet becomes dehydrated, it will have difficulty pooping or urinating, which will also become highly erratic. That will affect its sleep cycle and overall well-being.

Expert Tips To Ensure That Your Guinea Pig Sleeps Well

If your pet guinea pig suffers from any of the problems mentioned above, your first course of action should be to consult the vet as soon as possible. Not only will that help to resolve the issue, but it will also ensure that your pet’s sleep schedule remains intact.

You can improve their sleep quality further by following the simple tips mentioned here.

1. Ensure That The Enclosure Is Dark

While these animals are not exactly night sleepers, they like sleeping in the dark. Guinea pigs require a dark environment to feel secure, which ultimately ensures quality sleep.

2. Provide The Correct Bedding

Many piggy parents need to correct their bedding material, affecting sleep quality. Therefore, you must be careful when choosing the bedding materials for your guinea pig’s cage. Make sure you use soft, moisture-free bedding like fleece and hay, which will be comfortable for your pet.

Holding Two Baby Black Guinea Pigs

3. Ensure The Proper Temperature

Besides the bedding, you must also pay attention to the enclosure’s temperature. Ideally, you should keep the temperature between 17 and 24 degrees Celsius. If you make the cage any hotter or colder, the guinea pigs will feel uncomfortable, affecting their sleep.

4. Keep The Noise Levels Low

No one likes to sleep in a noisy environment, including guinea pigs. That is why you should ensure the ambience is quiet and peaceful, allowing your pets to sleep peacefully.

Guinea Pig’s Sleep Habits

Now, we have arrived at the end of this discussion about the sleep habits of guinea pigs. We hope that you found this information helpful.

That said, if you have a new guinea pig, it will naturally have trouble sleeping initially. But after it adjusts to its new environment, its sleep schedule should become normal. In that context, if you follow the tips mentioned here, you can accelerate this process.

At the end of the day, though, it comes down to using proper supplies for your guinea pigs. Your guinea pig will have trouble sleeping if you do not use high-quality bedding, cages, or other equipment.

Thankfully, we can help you out in this regard. Here at Planet Pet, we offer nothing but the best for your furry friends. So, if you buy your pet supplies from us, you can rest assured that your guinea pig will get the rest it deserves.

Subscribe to Planet Pet Newsletter

Get Planet Pet top blog posts in your email

Subscribe to our Newseltter

Get the best deals! Hear first about our exclusive offers and pet care advice.