Why Guinea Pigs Shake: Is this normal behavior​?

cute guinea pig

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You enter the room and head straight to your guinea pig with a smile on your face, “Hi chubby cheeks! How are you doing?”

But instead of responding like it usually does, you notice something else about your beloved furball. It seems to be shivering, something that it has never done before.

A shaking guinea pig may seem adorable to some people, but for others, it’s a complete nightmare.

guinea pig | why do guinea pigs shake blog

Why do guinea pigs shake? Guinea pigs shake for three main reasons which is a natural reaction for most pets. They will shake if they are cold, scared or sick. A guinea pig shaking is a sign something is wrong.

Is shaking normal behavior? Now, before you panic, please know that it’s not something you should immediately be concerned about. But of course, we understand that no proper pet owner wants to see their pet looking uncomfortable.

To answer your questions, here are a couple of reasons why guinea pigs shake and whether or not you should be worried about it.

3 reasons why guinea pigs shake

  1. It’s too cold
  2. It is sick
  3. It’s scared of something

1. It’s too cold

As a human, what’s the most common reason why you shake?

If you answered, “because it’s too cold,” then you’ve pinpointed one of the most common reasons why your guinea pig is shaking.

Most of the time, when guinea pigs shake, it’s simply because it’s feeling too cold. Perhaps you’ve just turned on the AC in the room where your furball’s cage is in and it’s still adjusting to the change in temperature.

Guinea pigs have small bodies which makes it a lot more susceptible to sudden temperature changes, especially if it’s too extreme.

guinea pig with a green bowl

For instance, you should never put your guinea pig near an open window as the evening breeze may be too cool for them.

At the same time, the sunlight streaming in during the hottest parts of the day could cause its cage to become too warm, as well. Always make sure that the temperature is just right – neither too hot nor too cold.

You might also notice your guinea pig shaking after you’ve just given it a bath. If you’ve been a pet-owner for quite some time now, you’ll know that most pets despise baths. Guinea pigs are no different.

This is mostly because baths are too cold for them.

If you’re going to give them a bath, make sure to only use lukewarm water and keep the bath time short. Afterward, use a blowdryer to gently go over your guinea pig.

Keep the dryer on a low-heat setting and do your best to avoid the ears, as that area is very sensitive for guinea pigs.

2. It’s not feeling well

Another common reason why guinea pigs shake is because they’re not feeling well, in one way or another. It could be that they’re sick, or perhaps they’re just under the weather.

Just like humans, there are several symptoms that show up on guinea pigs whenever they’re sick. Shivering can be a symptom that is indicative of a much more serious illness.

Whatever it is, it’s not something that should not be ignored.


If you notice that your guinea pig has been continuously shivering for quite some time and doesn’t seem to stay at one place for too long, then it’s time to seek out professional medical help before it’s too late.

Other symptoms that you should look out for in your guinea pig include lack of interest in food or drinks, lethargy, drooling, heavy breathing, diarrhea, sneezing, and hair loss, among many other unusual activities.

This makes it extra important to always pay attention to your guinea pig, whether it’s by watching out for physical signs or by deciphering its ways to communicate.

3. It’s scared of something

Guinea pigs are animals too, and one action that’s common in many animal species is shivering when they’re scared.

If you notice that your guinea pig is shivering but is neither damp nor sickly-looking, then it’s probably something else. In many cases, that something else is fear.

The thing is, finding out what causes this fear is much harder than it sounds. Since they’re prey animals, guinea pigs can get scared by the most ‘normal’ of things.

Prey animals are naturally wary of their environment, especially if they’re as small as guinea pigs.

That’s why even something as mundane to you as the sound of your alarm clock ringing or your dog barking in the distance could send your guinea pig scrambling to find a shelter, preferably something narrow and dark, to hide in.

Sometimes though, a guinea pig may become too scared that they instantly freeze on the spot.

In this case, you’ll see it freeze and shiver as it tries to develop an effective escape plan.

Is shaking a normal behavior for guinea pigs?

Shaking is not exactly normal behavior for all guinea pigs, but it’s not something that should be an immediate concern either.

While there are many reasons why your beloved guinea pig could be shaking, the three most common ones are a.) it’s too cold, b.) it’s not feeling well, and c.) it’s scared of something.

Conclusion: Why Guinea Pigs Shake

As a concerned owner, the first thing you should do is determine what causes the shivering in the first place. Does the room have the proper temperature?

Is your guinea pig wet or even just slightly damp? Did your pet Labrador just suddenly start barking loudly outside?

Once you figure out the reason why guinea pigs shake, you’ll find it easier to deal with the issue of shaking. And believe us, your guinea pig will certainly thank you for it!

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