A chubby guinea pig looks cute at first glance, but it’s no reason to smile. As with humans, obesity can have serious health consequences in small animals. If you have one or more little fat ones at home, you should definitely help the little ones lose weight. Because the guinea pigs are not responsible for their excess weight, but the person who feeds them.
Are Guinea Pigs Overweight?
If a guinea pig is too fat, there can be several causes. Often a combination of different factors is responsible. Before letting the pig slim down, obesity due to illness should of course be ruled out by the veterinarian.
The vet is also the right contact when it comes to changing the feed. And this is definitely recommended when the pigs are healthy but are getting bigger and bigger. A lack of exercise and improper nutrition are usually mainly responsible for the animals’ obesity.
Simply halving the daily food ration is not a good idea: Guinea pigs have what is known as a stuffing stomach and must therefore have permanent access to food. Otherwise, it can lead to serious digestive problems. You can leave out treats that you also feed without a guilty conscience. A good guinea pig feed should primarily consist of hay, fresh herbs, and fresh food.
Stress Can Lead to Obesity and Make Guinea Pigs Sick
Stress is seldom the sole cause of obesity, but incorrect feeding can lead to weight gain. While some guinea pigs tend to reduce their food intake when stress persists, others eat more to calm them down.
Possible stress factors for guinea pigs:
- Disputes in the group
- New animals in the group
- Constant touching (apart from the daily health check)
- Other animals that get too close to guinea pigs (dogs, cats)
- Individual housing or housing with rabbits
- Constantly loud noises near the enclosure (e.g. in the living room)
Exercise Fun: This Is How the Guinea Pig Loses Weight
Exercise also sheds pounds in guinea pigs. Of course, it is not as easy for rodents as it is for dogs: there is no typical guinea pig sport. And you can’t do a few extra laps on a leash with your guinea pig either. Leashes and harnesses for guinea pigs are available in specialist shops, but are absolutely unsuitable and not recommended for fearful rodents. Additional exercise and small hours of play are much more suitable to help the guinea pig lose weight. The guinea pig can be animated, but should never be forced to move.