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Do Guinea Pigs Burp?

Have you ever heard your guinea pig burp? Do you wonder ‘do guinea pigs burp?’

After all; all animals develop gas so it should not be too surprising to know that rodents like guinea pigs can also burp. 

Before you buy or adopt a guinea pig, it is important to research the answers to common questions you may have about the species.

“ Do guinea pigs burp” is one such question and we have its answer for you in this guide.

Do Guinea Pigs Burp?

Guinea pigs could burp but the way they do is a lot different than human burps. This is due to the difference between human and guinea pig digestive tracts.

The way the guinea pig’s digestive tract is designed is that it can pass the produced flatulence or gas, only in one direction. This means that your pig’s body will either absorb the gas or send it out through farts.

In short: a guinea pig cannot voluntarily burp. If your pet’s body produces or traps air bubbles while eating, then the bubbles might voluntarily escape upwards after traveling up the esophagus.

This is also the reason why guinea pigs cannot vomit. Scientists have even studied this inability to vomit and burp in laboratory guinea pigs.

They attribute this inability to the presence of a one-way valve in their stomachs that prevents them from regurgitating their stomach contents. Moreover, guinea pigs also lack other mechanisms that are required for animals to vomit and burp.

Bottom-line – a guinea pig cannot burp voluntarily.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Burp?

There are several reasons why guinea pigs may pass gas through the mouth. Some of them include: eating too fast, swallowing too much air, indigestion, etc.

Eating too much too quickly

There is no doubt that guinea pigs need to keep eating to keep their sharp teeth toned down. Unlike other ruminating animals like horses and cows that have several chambers in their stomachs, guinea pigs do not have chambered stomachs. Their large cecum occupies nearly 65% of their gastrointestinal tract volume. They often tend to eat fast and rapidly trapping gas in the process.

Just like humans tend to swallow air when they eat too much or too fast, a guinea pig could swallow air while munching on hay or vegetables. The excess bubbles could come up involuntarily causing burping.

Eating large objects

A small piggy might try to eat large pieces of hard food (vegetables like carrots) which could result in choking and subsequent burps.

Indigestion

According to Lori Hageman, DVM, these small animals are very susceptible to bloating. Bloating is a serious condition in cavies and it could be fatal sometimes.

Indigestion in guinea pigs occurs when a pet eats something it is not supposed to eat. The food then rots and causes gas to be trapped in the cecum. If a pig is unable to fart, this could result in discomfort and pain.

Remember: cavies cannot vomit. So, indigestion from eating bad or toxic foods can result in farts, diarrhea, and other painful symptoms.

Is it Bad for Guinea Pigs to Burp?

If trapped gas bubbles come out from your pet’s mouth while eating fast, then it sounds like a burp. As explained, this burping is different than regular burping that humans are capable of.

In most species, burping is a sign of indigestion, gastric issues, or gastrointestinal disorders.

A guinea pig burping, on the other hand, may not always be a sign of a stomach issue. Sometimes, it is simply the trapped air being released from the upper part of the food pipe – food that has not reached the stomach yet. 

So worry not: any ‘burp-like’ sounds usually are not a matter of concern. Remember: Your guinea pig does not HAVE to burp – burping is an involuntary action that happens on its own.

Also, you might have misunderstood other sounds that your guinea pig makes for burps. Let us study these in the subsequent section:

Other Noises That Could Be Mistaken For Guinea Pig Burping

Guinea pigs are noisy little critters. They make many noises and sounds which indicate different things. If you’re a new guinea pig owner, you may not have heard these sounds before.

Some piggies are very quiet, others tend to be vocal. Here are some sounds that may be mistaken for burping:

Hiccups

When a guinea pig hiccups, its body will jerk involuntarily. It won’t necessarily make any sounds like humans do while hiccuping. Check out this video to see what a guinea pig hiccup looks like. As indicated in the video, hiccups could be easily mistaken for burping.

Causes of hiccups in guinea pigs are: swallowing food too fast, indigestion, and even pregnancy in female cavies.

Treatment of hiccups depends on the cause. If your pet is constantly hiccuping, appears sick, has lost weight, or appears lethargic, then please see your vet right away.

Growling

According to the experts at the Anti-Cruelty Society, guinea pigs tend to growl when angry, scared, or anxious. Growling or rumbling sounds could be easily mistaken for burps.

Causes of growling in piggies include a sudden or drastic change in the environment, distress due to a threatening situation, hunger,  etc.

Soothe your piggy and pet it to calm it down.

Purring or cooing

Like cats, guinea pigs purr to show they are happy and content. As heard in this video, the low (cute) rumbling sound the piggy is making could be mistaken for a burp.

Guinea pigs purr when they are being petted or sometimes when they are eating their favorite treats.

What Should You Do If Guinea Pigs Burp Regularly?

Burping in guinea pigs may or may not be a gastrointestinal issue. It is usually involuntary. If it happens infrequently, you need not worry about it.

Unlike respiratory troubles that can be fatal, guinea pig burping is not a cause for concern.

However, do keep an eye on your pet. Try to analyze the cause. Perhaps a new pelleted food may be the reason behind the excess gas. Perhaps your pet swallows too much food too fast. Maybe the food pieces are too big for your cavy.

If your pet continues burping, hiccuping, or shows other symptoms (lack of appetite, runny nose, watery eyes, loose stools, weight loss, etc.) then do see your vet.

Can Guinea Pigs Throw Up?

Guinea pigs cannot throw up or vomit. Their body does not have the mechanism required for vomiting or regurgitation.

Laboratory scientists studied several species of rodents including guinea pigs for their inability to vomit. They even gave vomit-inducing meds to these critters. 

Their studies showed that the guinea pig’s stomach is not structured like that of other animals.

This prevents food from coming back into the throat. Moreover, the diaphragm ( the band of muscles under the lungs) is a lot thinner in guinea pigs compared to other species. 

Also, they studied the guinea pigs’ brainstems and saw very little activity in the mouth, shoulders, etc. after being fed vomit-inducing medicines. This proved that guinea pigs may even lack the brain circuitry necessary for vomiting.

Check out our detailed guide on  Can Guinea Pig Vomit? to learn more.

Key Takeaways – Do Guinea Pigs Burp?

Guinea pigs could make burping sounds but technically, they are incapable of burping voluntarily.

Their stomachs and digestive tracts are designed for one-way flow only so they cannot release trapped gases out through their mouth. Any gas that involuntarily escapes from the mouth may come from the esophagus.

We hope this guide gives you a better understanding of your guinea pig’s behavior.

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