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Tips for preventing obesity in guinea pigs
10 December 2018
A bit of chub on your beloved guinea pig can be endearing but as a responsible pet owner you also need to watch out for signs of obesity- a common health concern among many domesticated pets. Just like humans, obesity in guinea pigs can lead to many other health problems such as fatigue, heart problems, back pain and diabetes if left unchecked.
As guinea pig weights can vary it may not always be easy to tell if your pig needs to lose a few pounds. If you suspect your guinea pig may be overweight or obese, it is always worth paying a visit to the vet to assess your pet’s condition and determine the best course of treatment.
However, there are also a few simple tips you can follow to monitor your guinea pig’s weight and reduce the risk of them developing obesity:
Let your guinea pig explore
An active guinea pig is less likely to put on excess weight so you need to encourage your guinea pig to explore and play. If your guinea pig is housed in a small cage with little equipment there is not much incentive for them to move around and a high chance of them becoming a couch potato. If this is the case, make sure you spend at least half an hour a day playing with them and if possible take them out of their cage and give them free-roam time in a room or larger guinea pig-safe enclosure. By not confining your guinea pig to a cage 24/7 you can develop a healthy, curious and happy pet!
A staple of the guinea pig’s diet is hay but they also need a variety of fruit and vegetables for a well-balanced diet. Discuss an appropriate nutritional plan with your vet. You should also monitor how much your guinea pig is eating and DO NOT under any circumstances give them unlimited pellets as this is a common cause of weight gain.
Guinea pig weights can vary from 900 to 1,200 grams for males and 700 to 900 grams for females. Invest in a gram scale and weigh your guinea pigs weekly to track if there are any significant fluctuations. You can use this guinea pig size-o-meter to gauge if your guinea pig’s weight falls within the normal range.
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