Fat Guinea Pig? Should You Worry? Is A Fat Guinea Pig As Unhealthy As People Say It Is?
The short answer is yes, and you should be concerned about your guinea pig’s health. A fat guinea pig cannot walk. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are more health complications like cardiovascular and respiratory issues.
So, how do you find out if your guinea pig is overweight? And how do you counter this? Here’s your guide on what to do if your guinea pig is too fat.
How To Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Fat:
So, how do you officially know your guinea pig is fat? The best way to determine the exact weight of your guinea pig is by using a gram scale. This type of scale will help in tracking smaller weight changes. It’s ideal for a small, lightweight guinea pig. The normal body weight for a guinea pig should lie between 900 to 1,200 grams for males. For females, that range is limited to just 700 to 900 grams. Anything beyond this would be considered overweight.
Besides this, there might be some obvious signs that indicate obesity. If your guinea pig is having trouble walking, it could suggest they’re having trouble carrying their weight. Also, check if the sides are bulging out.
Preventing Guinea Pig Obesity:
What causes obesity in guinea pigs? A surplus of food and an absence of exercise. When your guinea pig eats more calories than it burns, it will gain weight. You can feed guinea pigs as much hay as you want, given it’s not alfalfa. It won’t affect their body weight.
What you should focus on is proper nutrition. Get them Vitamin C-fortified pellet food for guinea pigs. Always research before feeding them anything, even if it seems nutritious, like an apple or vegetable. Avoid high-calorie foods like cookies, ice cream, candy, and other junk food.
Besides this, it also helps your guinea pig exercise. Try placing treats in different corners of the cage so your pet can get exercise.
How Guinea Pigs Can Shed Weight:
Before you begin any weight loss program, you should consult your vet. Everything from your pet’s age to their health status can affect the weight loss program.
Of course, exercise will be a significant component of your weight loss program. But diet and nutrition will also factor on. However, keep in mind that any changes in the diet should be gradual and not sudden. Additionally, your vet may recommend getting rid of unhealthy habits like giving too many treats. Even something as simple as a change in the brand of pellets can drastically reduce your guinea pig’s weight.
Preventing Your Guinea Pig From Getting Fat:
If you want to keep your guinea pig in top shape at all times, then take a few precautions beforehand. First up, ensure your guinea pig gets a good diet. You can feed the guinea pig as much hay as you want, as long as it’s not alfalfa. Avoid feeding them calorie-rich diets like too many treats and sweet foods.
The next thing you must focus on is getting them to exercise well. But only do so while keeping it under supervision, as they can get lost and injured easily.
When To Worry About Your Guinea Pig’s Weight:
You should be concerned about your guinea pig’s weight all the time. Even if your guinea pig is not currently overweight, you should take adequate measures to prevent it from gaining weight. Do weekly weigh-ins and note any increases or decreases in weight. Keep a journal of your pet’s weight and immediately adopt the proper measures when the weight changes significantly.
Feed Your Guinea Pig The Right Food:
The best way to control the weight of your guinea pig is to control its diet. You should only pick out the most nutritious food. Guinea pigs cannot produce their Vitamin C (and it’s absent from their natural diets); they need to acquire it from elsewhere.
Do not feed them food like fruits and candy without researching beforehand. Often, you can give certain fruits and vegetables as treats. But always research beforehand as some foods can be toxic while others can be safe.
Is It Unhealthy For A Guinea Pig To Be Fat?:
Obesity is unhealthy in all animals. Some of the complications that come with obesity include:
- Cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks.
- Respiratory problems as the airways get restricted.
- Flystrike and other infections as overweight guinea pigs are unable to groom themselves.
- The strain on joints will lead to arthritis.
- Movement impairment can lead to even more obesity.
Additionally, a fat guinea pig usually has been eating too many calories. This means that it’s not getting the nutrition it needs. Remember that guinea pigs need fiber more than calories.
What Do I Do If My Guinea Pig Is Overweight?
If your guinea pig is overweight, then you’ll need to do 2 things:
- Increase energy expenditure.
- Reduce energy consumption.
You can start by cutting off any foods in their diet rich in calories. Guinea pigs only require fiber and some nutrients, including Vitamin C and other minerals. Calorie-rich foods like fats and carbohydrates aren’t necessary. Too many of them can lead to obesity. Hence, avoid unnecessary treats and sweet foods. Even some fruits and vegetables can lead to obesity. Then, ensure your pet is getting enough exercise. Play with them and get creative.
Interesting Facts About Fat Guinea Pigs:
- The weight of a healthy guinea pig ranges from 900-1200 grams (males) and 700-900 grams (females).
- Guinea pigs in the wild use up energy to keep themselves warm during the winters.
- Neutered guinea pigs are more likely to gain weight.
- Guinea pigs deposit fat in many parts of their body, including over the backbone and ribs.
- Guinea pigs require a diet that contains at least 60%-70% of fresh grass and hay.
- Fat Guinea pigs cannot groom themselves properly. This can lead to flystrike, a disease in which flies lay eggs in their fur and maggots start to hatch.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Fat From Hay?
No, at least not all the time. Hay mainly contains fiber for maintaining a healthy diet. Trace bits of carbohydrates in the hay can cause your guinea pig to gain weight. But this is rare, and you can usually feed your guinea pig a decent amount of hay.
What Foods Will Fatten Up My Guinea Pig?
Food rich in calories like carbohydrates and fats will fatten the guinea pig. Avoid sugary foods, sweet fruits and veggies, and unnecessary treats. Additionally, stay away from oily food like corn oil and the like, as it contains fatty acids.
A guinea pig that appears to have gotten fatter is a serious concern. If your guinea pig is too fat, you should immediately go to a vet and discuss a good exercise and diet plan.
A fat guinea pig is an unhappy and unhealthy guinea pig. Fat guinea pigs will have many health issues and have arthritis, and limited movement. To keep your guinea pig happy, reduce its calorie intake and increase its daily exercise.
Lastly, check up on your guinea pig every week with a gram scale and ensure its weight remains within the recommended range.