Overweight guinea pigs

Guinea pig lying down
Photo by Eden Kaye

Overweight guinea pigs are at risk from many health issues. They must have daily exercise and the correct diet. Having the right sized cage and being out of it everyday is crucial, to get that much needed space to run about in. By feeding a diet that is high in sugar and calcium will make them gain quite a bit of weight. A guideline that is always used in books and by professionals, is the average weight for female guinea pigs is 700 to 900 grams and males 900 to 1200 grams. But they can be perfectly healthy out of these ranges, it depends on their body structure. Although it is good guideline to go by.

It is worth purchasing or using kitchen scales to weigh them every week. Keep a record in a diary and observe whether the weights are going down too much, which may indicate health problems or weighing too much, to indicate they need to lose it. Encourage exercise by placing tunnels and wooden castles with a ramp inside their home or playpen.

Ginger haired guinea pig
Photo by Eden Kaye

Use vegetables as a bribery for them to move. Of course, they do love lounging around a lot, if you have tried everything to get them moving and they need to lose weight, then making them move. Just by moving your hands above them, it does scare them a little bit. But there are no other ways to get them to exercise unfortunately, just don’t it too much and let them have a drink and clean or scratch when they need to. If you do this everyday for about 20 minutes and when they have lost the weight, decrease the time.

To give you an idea of what to look out for, with an overweight guinea pig and even an underweight guinea pig, I have included the link to a chart from the pet food manufacturers association in the UK.

Guinea Pig Size-O-Meter

So I hope the chart helped you, overweight guinea pigs is certainly a concern for a lot of vets. It can really affect guinea pigs, for example being lethargic and being at risk of diabetes, yes you read that right, guinea pigs can get diabetes. Bumblefoot can happen, where painful sores occur on the bottom of their feet. We want them to live long and healthy lifes and be happy. Please do not worry if your guinea pig is overweight, this can be simple to reverse to a healthy weight. Remember to feed the correct type of hay, the main being timothy. Feed very little alfalfa hay if at all, as more of it, is meant to be fed to the very young and pregnant sows.

Feed very little or maybe better to not feed them chicory, as it is very high in calcium and is known as a root vegetable. Very little carrot and fruits. Once you start keeping to a routine of feeding the right amounts and the healthier vegetables then it makes it easy. Getting the correct nuggets that again are high in fibre and low in calcium, also including no artificial flavours.

You will find when your guinea pigs starts loosing weight, along with the usual benefits, bloat or finding it uncomfortable may have been an issue for them. Because, of feeding too much of the veg that can cause added weight. They will find it more comfortable when going to the toilet and having better feces. By cutting down on veg amounts and nuggets, as well as increasing exercise, it will promote a better functioning digestive system. Eating unlimited amounts of hay will help in having that healthy and controlled diet. So if needs be cut down the veg amounts by 50 per cent or more, but always do your research and maybe even talk to a vet, to see what they advise on the information you give them.


Photo by Eden Kaye

Yes it can be hard to get guinea pigs moving about, as they love lying in their comfy places. My tip is in their playpen move out all the items and sit in with them. They may move about a bit when there is nothing to go into. Although it may sound like it stresses them out a lot and is unkind, if it is the only way to make them exercise. Then just move them along with your hands, do not do it for ages. It does scare them as it is their natural instinct, but you do not want them to be overweight. If you do it in the right way, it won’t stress them out that much. Another tip is to spread veggies around an area so they have to go around to get them.

Please if you have any comments, place them below. Thank you for reading.





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6 comments found

  1. Hi Eden, that is really useful advice. Having a pet is good because it teaches you how to care for other living creatures. Sometimes we can think we are being kind to our pets, when, in fact, we are not helping them, but shortening their lives. Guinea pigs need exercise and they need gentle encouragement, along with the right diet. They are lovely animals. I’d like to keep them myself. Thanks for all the points on keeping them in good shape.

    1. Hello Dom, yes by caring for guinea pigs correctly, it gives them a happy and healthy life. They certainly are fantastic creatures that you learn so much about. I hope to keep informing people on guinea pigs through this website.

  2. I’m not sure why, but I never thought a guinea pig could even be overweight! I suppose it’s because they’re so fluffy that they look fat and round anyway so I always figured they were all fat and that this was just a characteristic of the guinea pig.

    Thanks for helping me learn something new!

    1. Yes guinea pigs do have that roundness and are fluffy, which sometimes makes it difficult to see whether they are overweight or not. But you will see slight bulges at the sides of them. The best way for owners is to weigh them and to check them against the guinea pig o meter chart. Its my pleasure Aria.

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