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Is My Guinea Pig Fat or Overweight? (Diet & Exercise Tips)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: March 6, 2021

At time pet parents, out of love for their little friends, overfeed them, and then keep wondering, whether their guinea pig can be called a fat guinea pig.

Guinea pigs are ubiquitous domestic gilts.

Despite the fact that their second name is “guinea pig”, they have nothing to do with pigs and, moreover, Guinea.

Depending on the breed, the body length of a guinea pig varies between 25–35 centimeters.

Adult males weigh about 1.5 kilograms, while females tend to be smaller.

There are three groups of guinea pigs: short-haired, wire-haired and long-haired.

The differences between them lie not only in the length of the coat but also in other characteristics: for example, the wire-haired have red eyes, the short-haired, as a rule, are quite well-fed.

Is your Guinea Pig fat?

The animals that are contained in the cage are very often overweight.

In addition, guinea pigs have an excellent appetite, they can eat all day long.

Therefore, the best option is to put the animal on a diet.

To reduce the amount of high-calorie foods, it is best to replace them with herbs, hay, raw vegetables and fruits.

Cucumbers help you lose weight very well, they can be given in unlimited quantities.

In addition, once a week, you should arrange fasting days for your guinea pigs, when the animal should be fed only with hay.

Arrange for the animal to walk around the apartment, but just remove all dangerous objects from the floor and do not leave the pet unattended.

Food for overweight Guinea Pig

If the guinea pig is very fat, then it can be put on a diet.

In order for the animal to lose weight without harming its health, it is advisable to reduce the content of high-calorie feed in its diet, replacing them with herbs, hay (it can be given in unlimited quantities), as well as vegetables and fruits.

So, cucumbers are very good for a fasting diet.

Physical activity will help the animal to lose weight faster.

An obese guinea pig should be allowed to walk around the room as often as possible, not forgetting to arrange all kinds of obstacles (mazes, stairs, etc.) in the walking area.

The guinea pig’s diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables.

They should be served raw without undergoing any heat treatments.

But many owners like to pamper their pet with some kind of “tasty treat” and feed the rodent with foods that are not included in the regular diet.

The list of such products is huge, but not all of them are useful for the guinea pig, and some are completely forbidden to feed.

In order not to make a fatal mistake, we recommend that you carefully read the products that should not be given to your pet.

Grain feed and treats

Guinea pigs are unpretentious in food, their main food is plant leaves and grain crops, so feeding your little pet is easy.

The main thing is that the diet contains the necessary amount of vitamins and nutrients, try also to create conditions for the animal to play, otherwise, with a lack of movement, it will fatten.

Any animal sometimes needs to be encouraged with treats; for guinea pigs, juicy fruits, apples, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, pears will be the best sweets.

In winter, guinea pigs should be given hay.

The most valuable is legume-cereal and leguminous hay, it is also worth taking care of harvesting “vitamin herbs”: clover, alfalfa, and nettle.

It is an excellent food for young gilts and pregnant females.

Do not pick grass near roads and in polluted areas, not suitable for pet feeding and marsh hay.

Hay can be included in the pig’s diet 1.5-2 months after haymaking, it must be thoroughly dried, do not give the animals rotten or blackened hay – it must smell good and be fresh.

Nettle leaves are very useful for pigs – they contain ascorbic acid, carotene, protein, starch, carbohydrates and useful organic acids, that help prevent and treatment of vitamin deficiency.

You can dry the nettles and put them in the food as a powder.

Don’t dry your nettles in the open sun – they lose their nutrients, instead, dry them in a barn or attic.

Before giving fresh grass, it is advisable to hold it in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and then chop it thoroughly.

Plantain is also useful – they contain citric acid, potassium, vitamins B, C, carotene.

And the seeds contain fatty oil, oleic acid, carbohydrates.

Vegetables and root vegetables

Leaves and shoots of shrubs, trees, as well as pieces of melons and vegetables can be used as green food for guinea pigs.

You can give rodents lettuce, carrot and potato tops.

A lot of nutrients are found in the young corn, spinach, kale – they can be stored frozen for several months.

Such feeds are introduced in the autumn-winter time when there is no green grass.

You can also give the animals pieces of carrots, turnips, sugar beets.

Rutabaga is also useful – it is a storehouse of glucosides, fiber, ascorbic acid, calcium, potassium, iron and phosphorus.

Sometimes you can give potatoes to pigs – it contains fiber, carotene, vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, and K.

Most of the useful substances in young tubers.

Also, pigs can be given zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

But cabbage and other cruciferous plants should be discarded – they disrupt the digestion process of pigs.

Grain feed

As for cereals, they must be present in the diet of guinea pigs.

These are oats, wheat, barley, corn, sunflower seeds, millet, lentils, peanuts, peas, soybeans, and vetch.

The share of cereals in the animal’s diet should not exceed 30%.

It is not advisable to feed pets exclusively with a mixture, since they are very nutritious and can cause obesity.

In addition, they do not contain all the vitamins and microelements necessary for pigs.

From time to time, guinea pigs can be given cottage cheese and milk, but this is more a delicacy than a necessity.

You can give milk to pregnant females and gilts during lactation.

Sometimes you can offer your pets rye and wheat bread, but often you should not give it, as it can cause the increased gas formation and constipation, it is best if the bread is stale.

What else can you feed Guinea Pig?

As a rule, the guinea pig is quite an active animal, and therefore it will be useful to periodically offer your pet foods with a high fat content: sunflower, sesame or flax seeds, as well as nuts.

If your pet leads a sedentary lifestyle, then it is better to refrain from these products.

Wheat bran is a great addition to your pet’s meal.

Many animals chew with pleasure the fresh branches of fruit trees and bushes.

This healthy treat not only provides animals with a lot of minerals but also helps the teeth to grind.

This component in the diet of guinea pigs is the most natural.

The fibers contained in greens have a beneficial effect on the animal’s digestive system.

Plants replenish the necessary reserves of nutrients, in particular the very vitamin C, which, as we have already said, is not produced in guinea pigs on their own.

Plants must be fed to the animal carefully and selectively.

Do not forget that some plants are poisonous and can cause irreparable harm to the animal’s health.

Exercises for Guinea Pigs

When purchasing a guinea pig, do not forget for a second that these animals are quite active, mobile, like to run, jump and bounce.

Choose the largest cage available.

The required minimum is 1.2 m in length.

Pigs are curious, they love to rush around the cage, learning something, so your task is to help pets in this endeavor.

However, do not forget that pigs are very shy at the same time; even a mere trifle can scare them.

The pig would prefer to wait out the minutes of danger in its own small house, even in the cut of the PVC pipe.

An ordinary cardboard box with holes is also suitable for a house.

In a word, there must be something in the cage, in which they can hide.

Of course, do not allow cats or dogs to get close to the cage.

Sometimes this “friendship” leads to tragic results.

Some people recommend putting various toys in the cages.

We emphasize: guinea pigs are not those pets for which toys are vital.

Of all the toys, choose the ones with the treats inside.

They can be arranged in different corners of the cage.

Given the pig’s love of research, this is the best option.

Guinea pig care

Guinea pigs are not aggressive and rarely bite, and then, as a rule, not for real, but only make it clear that they can bite.

They will not embarrass you even in a not very spacious apartment, and food will not cost a pretty penny.

If you do not forget to clean the cage, then the smell is practically not felt.

In addition, pigs are active in the daytime, which compares favorably with many other rodents, leading to a violent night activity.

All this makes pigs very attractive to keep at home.

A cute rodent gets along well with all household members and with other pets, except that he does not make friends with a cat.

Animals quickly become attached to a person, love to be stroked.

After several weeks of staying in a new house, the pig recognizes the owner, happily goes into his arms and even greets his appearance with joyful sounds.

Do you want to be always welcome?

Then get a guinea pig.

If you take proper care of the pig, pay enough attention to it, create comfortable conditions, then it can live in your house from 5 to 8 years, there are even cases when guinea pigs lived for 15 years!

What does a guinea pig need?

If you decide to get yourself a guinea pig as a pet, then for it you need to get:

Cage, with a minimum size of 70x45x40 cm (length x width x height).

A suspended or stable heavy feeder that the animal could not turn over.

Hanging ball drinker designed for rodents.

Such a drinking bowl is most convenient since water does not spill from it and remains clean.

Coarse sawdust is best for bedding in the cage.

They can be found at any pet store and are inexpensive.

Sawdust well absorbs animal waste products.

It is categorically impossible to use a newspaper as bedding in a cage since printing ink is extremely harmful to the animal’s body.

Clumping filler is also not suitable – it contains substances hazardous to animal health;

Convenient brush and comb for grooming the hair (for long-haired pigs), and scissors for trimming claws.

Hammocks, pads, because guinea pigs sleep with pleasure on the soft.

Guinea pigs are also interested in toys, especially those that can be chewed on.

Therefore, it is better to buy toys specially designed for guinea pigs from environmentally friendly and safe materials, a wide selection of which is presented in pet stores

How to bathe Guinea Pigs?

A guinea pig, which is not yet a year old, does not need to be bathed specifically.

Subsequently, they are bathed only if they are heavily soiled.

In other cases, you can simply wipe them with baby wipes

Bathe the pig as follows:

  • We put gloves on our hands to protect ourselves from claws and teeth. In some stressful situations, the pig may bite or scratch
  • Pour warm water into a bowl, place the animal there, stroking it
  • Wet the fur, apply a small amount of detergent, and massage the body
  • It is necessary to very carefully remove the remnants of shampoo from the coat, otherwise, you can seriously harm the health of the animal
  • Wrap the animal in a towel, and then dry the fur with a hairdryer

If you prepare everything you need for the appearance of a guinea pig, caring for it will not cause inconvenience and unnecessary trouble.

At the same time, you will get a lot of positive impressions and positive emotions from communicating with a living being.

Walking and dangers

The most interesting moment in keeping guinea pigs are communicating with them.

When a guinea pig can be picked up and cuddled, watch it run across the floor, exploring the room with curiosity.

But before you let your pig out for a walk, you should think about the safety of the environment for your pet.

The first rule of such walks is that the guinea pig should always be under the supervision of one of the family members.

Walking on a table, chair or any other object in an elevated position can cause your pet to fall and injure.

In addition to falling from a height, other dangers await a guinea pig on the tables: a plate with burning food, an ashtray with cigarette butts, medicines, glue, felt-tip pens, etc.

During the walk, other pets – cats or dogs, if any, may arrange a hunt for a guinea pig or not calculate the strength during the game, so it is better to limit contact with them.

Make the guinea pig’s walking area safe:

  • Hide electrical wires
  • Remove décor items that can injure the animal with sharp elements
  • Close the spaces behind furniture and other cracks where the animal can climb and it will be impossible to get it
  • Doors to the balcony and other rooms must be closed
  • A cold floor (especially a tiled one) should be covered with a mat
  • Medicines, household chemicals and other unsafe substances should be out of the reach of the animal
  • If a guinea pig starts to chew on furniture or carpets that have been treated with household chemicals, it could be poisoned

Plants deserve special attention, which can cause severe poisoning of guinea pigs.

This applies to both indoor plants and plants on the street, where some owners take the animal for a walk in the summer.

Monitor the health of the guinea pig

Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract

With diarrhea, green juicy food should be excluded from the diet.

Specialists prescribe antibiotics and drugs that restore the intestinal microflora.

Problems with teeth

If the pet refuses to feed, it loses weight, it may have problems with its teeth.

Improper feeding is usually the cause.

Guinea pig teeth grow throughout their life (up to 2 mm per week), so they must be constantly ground.

If roughage is constantly present in the diet (hay, grain, twigs, granules, as well as mineral and salt stone), there will be no trouble with teeth.

When teeth do not grow properly, the specialist will trim them and correct the bite.

Problems with the coat

Factors such as long-term feeding of the pig with a poor-fiber feed or feeding with low-quality hay, keeping the animal at high humidity may serve as prerequisites for the fungus in guinea pigs.

If you notice round bald spots and peeling on the pet’s body, sores under the nose and on the ears, you should show the mumps to your veterinarian.

In case of infection with parasites (ticks, lice), the animal itches, scratches appear, possibly baldness.

If you do not delay and contact your veterinarian at the first sign, all these diseases can be treated quite easily.

Final Thoughts

There is a chance that your guinea pig is overweight, but don’t be scared.

Use all of the answers that you got from this article they will help you for sure.

Control the diet of your guinea pig, give them less and better food which he will like.

Buy some exercise equipment for your pet and you will see how he will lose weight.

Follow the tips if you want your pet to be happy, healthy and to live long.


Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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