Guinea pigs make excellent pets.
Their cute, chubby, and furry bodies make them desirable for children and adults alike.
Enthusiastic guinea pig caretakers are always looking for ways to improve their pets’ quality of life.
Sometimes this means taking your guinea pig out of its cage and giving it some exercise.
Many owners wonder and fear their guinea pigs injuring themselves by falling and wonder how high a guinea can fall and still be OK?
Guinea pigs should not jump or fall more than 10″ inches. They have fragile bones and long spines vulnerable to serious injury, paralysis, or death from falling. Take special care when carrying your guinea pig or taking it out of its enclosure to ensure it does not hurt itself by falling.
We all want to make our guinea pig enclosures and activities as safe as possible.
To do this, there are some precautions we must take.
It’s also beneficial to know what to do if your guinea pig does fall from higher than 10″ inches. Here is everything you need to know.
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How Far Can Guinea Pigs Fall Without Hurting Themselves?
Guinea pigs are not very athletic creatures.
Because of this, they do not have very strong bones or joints.
Even falls from short heights cause injuries to guinea pigs.
Some guinea pig owners have had their little buddies fall from 4-5′ feet without serious injury, but this is very lucky.
Guinea pigs have long backs and are very vulnerable to spinal injuries from falling or jumping.
It’s very important to keep them from situations where this may happen.
We don’t want our guinea pigs to fall any higher than 10″ inches as heights greater than this may cause serious injury.
Guinea pigs do not jump around unless they are frightened or scared by something.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine just what will make your guinea pig scared and cause it to jump.
Sometimes, guinea pigs will jump around their enclosures because they are very happy or excited.
While this is very cute, we want to ensure they aren’t jumping too high.
Most of the time, your guinea pig won’t jump more than a few inches in these cases as they cannot propel themselves very high off the ground.
Older guinea pigs are more susceptible to injuries from falling from heights greater than 10″ inches.
This is because their bones are more fragile and susceptible to serious harm.
Keeping younger guinea pigs from falling or jumping too high is still important.
Even though the initial fall may not cause too bad of an injury, it may weaken the bones and joints and lead to more issues later on in their life.
The weakened bones and joints may lead to arthritis.
How To Prevent Your Guinea Pig From Falling
Guinea pigs suffer injuries from falling from short heights, so it’s imperative for guinea pig owners to exercise caution.
Preventing the possibility of injury is a great place to start.
By doing this, you’ll reduce the likelihood of your guinea pig falling and injuring itself.
Keep Your Guinea Pig’s Enclosure Safe
Guinea pigs spend a lot of their time in their enclosure.
Keeping the guinea pig enclosure safe means limiting the height of objects, so they do not fall from heights greater than 10″ inches.
It helps to keep your enclosure in a place where your guinea pig has a good view of its surroundings.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and like to know what is happening around them to ensure no threats.
A multi-story cage is an excellent way to provide exercise and stimulation for your pet.
Just make sure there are proper walls to keep them from falling.
Another important thing to consider is the height of the cage walls.
Guinea pigs aren’t necessarily known for their climbing abilities, but some attempt to climb the walls.
If your guinea pig likes to climb the cage walls, consider putting in some barriers to keep them from climbing higher than 10″ inches.
Check out our guinea pig size charts to help you figure out what size enclosure you need.
Have Floor Time With Your Guinea Pig
As tempting as it may be to bring your guinea pig on your bed or couch, it puts them at risk of falling from a 2-3′ foot drop.
These heights are known to cause injuries.
The best way to safely hang out with your guinea pig is by having floor time with them.
This means taking them out of their guinea pig housing and playing with them at ground level.
This way, they won’t be able to jump off of anything or fall and hurt themselves.
Don’t Let Children Carry The Guinea Pig
Children love guinea pigs.
They love how soft and fluffy they are.
Guinea pigs are also the perfect size for small children to hold.
Unfortunately, children often don’t know how to properly handle a guinea pig.
Your guinea pig may jump from their arms, or the child may drop them.
This is not something we want to happen.
Instead of letting children carry the guinea pig, have the child sit on the ground and let the guinea pig sit in their lap.
This reduces the height in case your pet decides to jump.
Make Sure Your Guinea Pig Feels Safe
One of the most common reasons guinea pigs jump from their owners’ arms or high surfaces is fear.
They are easily startled and triggered to flee if they do not feel safe.
As natural prey animals, their instincts tell them to flee at the first sign of danger.
Guinea pigs naturally seek shelters where they will be safe from the potential arrival of predators.
For the most part, your fuzzy pet won’t encounter any predators, but they still get scared.
Before taking your guinea pig out of the enclosure, do a quick scan and make sure there is nothing around to scare them or make them feel like they aren’t safe.
Here are a few things to look out for before bringing your pet out of the safety of their housing:
- Cats or dogs your pet is unfamiliar with. Your guinea pig will see them as predators and jump and run to hide from them.
- Loud noises from music or the television may startle them. Any unexpected loud noises will send them fleeing.
- Rambunctious people your pet is unfamiliar with, especially children. Your guinea pig is very small. They may be comfortable with you, but they won’t trust everyone they meet at first, especially if they are loud.
What To Do If Your Guinea Pig Falls
If your guinea pig falls, you’re likely to be very concerned.
Often, even if your pet is fine, they will be in shock, which is another cause for concern.
We don’t want our beloved pets to be scared or hurt.
Even if we take all the precautions, accidents still happen, and our pets fall.
In these situations, it’s important to take action to make sure your guinea pig is OK.
Take Your Guinea Pig To The Vet
If your guinea pig falls, you must take them to the vet for a body check.
When a guinea pig falls face forward, it is at risk of tooth fracture, which will lead to broken teeth and impede their ability to eat and cause a lot of pain.
Further reading: What happens when guinea pigs break their teeth?
If they fall on their side, they risk internal injuries and hip fractures.
If they fall on their back, they may suffer a spinal injury.
This is why it is so important to bring them to the vet after a fall for a basic health check, even if no injury is obvious at first.
Your vet will take x-rays and check for areas of pain.
Keep Them Comfortable
Whether your vet finds any injury, your pet will likely be sore or in shock from their experience.
It is important as guinea pig caregivers to keep them as comfortable as possible while they get better.
Keep them in a smaller enclosure with soft bedding and a hiding place.
This will help them feel safe if they are in shock and limits the space for them to roam.
Use A Syringe For Food And Water
Many guinea pig owners find their pets in shock after a fall.
This often leads to them not eating and drinking as much as they should.
In these situations, you may need to help them drink and eat to make sure they are well-hydrated and getting all the nutrients they need to heal.
Many people have luck with using a syringe to give them water.
Using a guinea pig water bottle may be too much for your furry friend at this time, and they will appreciate being given water from the comfort of their hiding place.
If your pet is not eating after the incident, you’ll need to give them food another way.
This is especially important if your guinea pig has broken teeth from its fall.
Use pureed vegetables in a syringe to get the food in their mouth.
This way, they won’t have to chew but will still get all the vital nutrients from their food to keep them strong as they continue to heal.