Syringe feeding

And one more thing: It is clear that the feeding syringe should be used WITHOUT a needle! But that’s it, just in case. 
Some pigs willingly eat from a syringe when necessary, but there are also those who cannot be forced to eat like this, no matter how hard you try. The pig can be so stubborn and stubborn that the task can become almost impossible. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to help you and your pig. 

Syringe feeding

When might you need to syringe feed?

The reasons may be as follows:

  • If your guinea pig has severe diarrhea, you need to use a syringe to water your guinea pig to avoid dehydration.
  • You can give your piggy supplements in this way, such as vitamin C or cranberry juice.
  • Pigs can suffer from many diseases in which they simply lose their appetite and refuse to eat.
  • Your pig may have recurrent infections or complications after surgery and you need to give her medication.
  • The guinea pig may have a malocclusion that prevents it from eating normally.

What should be prepared in advance before syringe feeding?

  • A towel (or several) – to swaddle the pig, so that it does not break out and wriggle, as well as to clean up after the pig, – syringe feeding is not the cleanest procedure, be prepared for the fact that everything around (and you are in including) will be in the mixture for feeding and in pig’s droppings%).
  • Decide which mixture you will use and have everything ready in advance.
  • Prepare your mixer / blender.
  • Have a spare syringe of water on hand to offer to your guinea pig between feeds and to rinse out your guinea pig’s mouth after feeding.
  • I use a mini blender to grind the granules (tablets) into a powder before mixing them with warm water. This method is more effective than dissolving granules directly in water, which leaves undissolved fibers that are more difficult to feed from a syringe.
  • Remember to pre-soak the granules (unless you are going to crush them into powder) so that they knead easily.
  • Syringe: Try different sized syringes. You will probably find it convenient to use a 1 ml syringe for water, cranberry juice, medication; for liquid formula for feeding – 2-3 ml so that you can penetrate deeper into the mouth of a pig that cannot chew or simply refuses to eat; or try a 5 ml syringe for a coarser, coarser, dry mixture to feed a chewable pig. You can try different syringes – different sizes, with or without special tips – as long as you make sure there are no sharp edges to avoid injuring your mumps.

What ingredients should a syringe feed mix contain?

Syringe feeding
When I was feeding my pig with a syringe, I prepared a mixture of pellets from the food soaked and mashed in warm water with the addition of a small amount of vitamin C powder. I also gave her 0.5 ml of Metatone (“human” tonic) per day, and a week later – 0.3 ml. My pig accepted Metatone willingly, but there was a problem with the granules.  

A good basis for a mixture is herbal chinchilla granules and mashed potatoes (in equal parts). The following ingredients can be used as additions to this base: 
(Note: The thicker and more fibrous the mixture, the less chance of diarrhea, so try to add herbal pellets for pigs or chinchillas to each feed mixture, not just vegetable puree, to reduce risk of further digestive problems, while giving your teeth some work at the same time).

  • Various vegetables, possibly steamed, such as carrots, broccoli.
  • Barley with a little oats (boiled). Canned pumpkin – without any impurities – mixed with a little warm water for a thinner consistency.
  • High protein infant cereal or baby porridge.
  • Plain or baby rice, instant oatmeal (can be flavored).
  • Try giving your pig water / cranberry juice from one syringe and then feeding mixture from another.
  • Try adding strawberries or any other fruit that will pique your interest in food.
  • Try sweetening the mixture with honey.
  • Try adding a vegetable mix for children (such as carrots or herbs).


  • Add some live yogurt or a crushed (soaked) roll of healthy pig droppings to restore the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
  • If the pig refuses to take the mixture from the syringe, try first giving her water from the syringe, gradually mixing the necessary cereals into this water until the desired density.
  • If the mixture becomes too runny, add some cereal or bran to thicken it.
  • If you are making your own recipe, make small portions to keep the mixture fresh at all times.
  • It may be helpful to give your pig a try on a new food. it can awaken the appetite and inspire the pig to eat.
  • Continue offering your pig – along with syringe feeding – her “normal” food, such as her favorite parsley, to try to whet her appetite, and stop bottle feeding when she is already able to feed on her own.
  • Pay attention to the mixture you have prepared: it must pass through the syringe, and you must be able to control the amount of the mixture so that it does not flow out of the syringe too quickly and the pig does not choke.
  • Thoroughly stir your mixture in a blender until smooth – this helps with syringe feeding.

Syringe injection!

This is truly the hardest part. The mumps may be too sick and have absolutely no appetite, which makes syringe feeding difficult. However, it is possible, and below I provide tips to help you. Syringe feeding

First fill the syringe with the mixture, then take the pig. Next, consider how you will hold and feed your pig. Give the mixture a few drops at a time to give the pig time to chew and digest the food. Change the syringe with the mixture to a syringe with water from time to time. 

Feeding positions:

  • The resisting pig will have to swaddle rather tightly in a towel – in the style of a burrito 🙂
  • Place the pig on your lap, muzzle to the right, put the palm of your left hand on the pig’s head, gently press on the lower jaw with your thumb and forefinger – for some readiness to receive the syringe.
  • If the guinea pig is shaking its head to the sides and is still struggling, grasp the lower jaw on both sides with one hand while holding the entire guinea pig at the same time. The other hand should be free for the syringe.
  • If you swaddled the pig very well, you can put it between the pillows with its muzzle towards you. This will keep both of your hands free to syringe feed.
  • Try placing a pillow on your lap with a large towel on top of it, then place your left hand on the pig’s nose with your thumb and forefinger next to the mouth to immobilize the head. The right hand holds the syringe, while the left holds the head and mouth in a stationary position.

Syringe injection:

  1. If the guinea pig does not open its mouth, use the tip of the syringe to lift the skin just behind the front teeth (if you lift the guinea pig’s lips a little from the side, you will see a gap where you can insert the syringe – just behind the front teeth) – so you open your mouth, and then then point the syringe inward (but not forcefully) and inject some of the feeding mixture. You can feel this gap if you run your finger along the jaw of the pig. You may need to hold the pig’s head as some do not like touching the mouth.
  2. Inserting the syringe from the side will make the task easier, as the shape of the teeth in the pigs’ mouths does not close tightly.
  3. Insert the syringe deeper as you open your pig’s mouth with the tip of the syringe.
  4. Insert the syringe even deeper – behind the teeth, but not into the cheek pouch (between the teeth and cheek).

How to get your pig to take a syringe / food:

  • Squeeze the mixture out of the syringe as fast as the pig has time to swallow. Once you manage to put the syringe into the pig’s mouth, there should be no problem swallowing the mixture.
  • If you can’t get a syringe into any of them, try making the mixture thicker (like cookie dough), then roll up small balls and try to put them in your pig’s mouth.
  • Put the syringe near the pig’s mouth and squeeze some water or cranberry juice on her lips, then she can withdraw the syringe.
  • Perhaps the pig will lick food off your fingers. Spread some of the mixture on her lips – this may provoke her to open her mouth.
  • Squeeze some of the mixture into your mouth. If the pig does not want to swallow, gently rub its larynx. Cannulas
  • Try feeding in an unfamiliar environment (room), or have someone else distract your pig while you try to feed her.
  • Try offering something sweet in the syringe to the pig first – this may attract her.
  • Try keeping the pig’s head straight, stroking it under the chin, and then dampening her lips with honey-sweetened water to attract attention.
  • Try using cannulas that are screwed onto a syringe. A cannula is a plastic tube that extends the radius of a syringe so that food can be injected through clenched teeth.

Top tip: If necessary, place a mirror in front of the pig so you can see what you are doing.  


  • Don’t squeeze out too much mixture at a time, or your pig may choke. Remember that pigs cannot regurgitate.
  • Do not lift the pig too high – if the head is tilted too back, the mixture from the syringe can go into the wrong channel – into the lungs.
  • Artificial feeding of newborn cubs (if such a need arises) is a completely different story, this procedure is described in detail in the article Caring for weak cubs (chapter “Artificial feeding”).


  • Monitor your guinea pig’s waste to make sure she goes to the toilet. While feeding with a syringe, you may notice that the mumps has diarrhea or droppings that have an unusual shape. The thinner the mixture, the greater the likelihood of problems, in which case you need to contact your veterinarian.
  • Rinse the pig’s mouth with a syringe with water after feeding and wipe the spilled mixture from the fur and around the mouth.
  • Weigh your pig every day to track how much your pig has lost or gained.

How much mix does your pig need?

I have received many different advice on this subject, but the most common dosages were the following two:Syringe feeding

1. For every 100 g of weight, the pig needs 6 g of food per day. Half of this should be in the form of “dry” food, for example, pellets, to get all the necessary fiber (the other half – vegetables or any other food) plus 10-40 ml of water. 

How it worked in practice for my pig: The 
weight of the pig was 784 g.
If there are 6 g of food for every 100 g, then we divide the weight of the pig by 100 and multiply by 6.
784/100 x 6 = 47.04 g of food per day.
We were going to try to feed her 4 times a day, i.e. 47/4 = 11.75 g of mixture each feeding.
(If the weight of the pig was 1176 g, then 70.56 g of food was required per day.)

2. 20 g of dry food + 15 ml of liquid / water 4-6 times a day. 
This is equal to about 80-120 g of dry food and 60-90 ml of water per day.

At either of these two dosages, several syringes of formula will be prepared for each feed. The dosages differ from each other, but the larger the pig, the more feed it needs, so the dosages will be aligned. 

Syringe feeding

So, if you aim for the arithmetic mean of these two dosages, you can’t go wrong. 

Sometimes it took about half an hour to feed my pig, and I was unable to feed her the required amount of formula, but try to give her as much as possible anyway. 

And of course, be persistent but loving, calm and patient and take every opportunity to feed your pig. Your pig needs your love, affection and care. 

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