I have always been fond of little guinea pigs. Recently I purchased three piggies, two of them look good and fluffy, but one is small. The seller told me that all three are of the same age, and now I am anxious about the third one.
I want to know how I can make my piggie gain weight to match the other two piggies. I contacted one of my friends, a veterinarian and expert in rodents, and told him the whole story. He advised me of a diet plan and tips to take better care of my piggie.
Your guinea pig doesn’t overeat, and therefore, they need a balanced diet full of all the essential nutrients in an adequate amount. You can provide a proper balance of pellets, hay, and fresh vegetables. Guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C, and they need it from outside in their daily diet. You should provide an unlimited quantity of fresh timothy hay every day to aid digestion.
How to Help Guinea Pig Gain Weight?
You can help your guinea pig gain weight by doing two things. First, you should eliminate the problem that is causing your piggie to lose weight. Second, you need to provide your piggie with a balanced diet having all the essential nutrients in an adequate amount.
To do this, you need to visit your veterinarian for a proper physical and clinical examination to find out if there is any problem your piggie is suffering from. Next, he will advise a diet plan to gain weight. His instructions will likely be the same as follows.
To help your guinea pig gain weight you need to change the diet, but be careful changing the diet drastically. If your vet has prescribed a change in your previous diet plan, you need to do it gradually. A sudden change in diet can develop many other problems.
You should let your piggie change its habit slowly in weeks. You should provide a mixture of previous and new diet in a ratio and gradually increase the proportion of new diet till your piggie gets used to it.
Foods That Can Help Gain Weight
Your piggie is not going to gain weight in days or weeks. He will be taking months to gain proper weight, and therefore you should be patient. You should provide your piggie free access to hay whether he is sick or healthy because it helps digestion. Furthermore, the following foods help your piggie gain weight.
- Hay: There are certain varieties of hay that are beneficial for your piggie in sickness because they contain more calories to help maintain weight and fight the disease. These are alfalfa, readigrass, and oat hay.
- Vegetables: If you are not giving your piggie vegetables and want your piggie to gain weight, it is best to start giving veggies to your little pig. However, you should very carefully which vegetable to offer and which not to offer. Vegetables are full of vitamins, and your piggie needs vitamin C for living a healthy life.
You should focus on giving leafy vegetables to your guinea pig and avoid giving cruciferous vegetables because they can gas. In addition, you should also avoid giving iceberg lettuce and potatoes. Certain veggies having lots of sugar are not healthy for your piggie, and you should avoid them.
- Pellets: You should offer your guinea pig a good quality pellet diet. Not all pellet diets are made equal, so you can consult your vet to have a better-quality pellet diet for your pet. For malnourished pets, you should use alfalfa-based pellets instead of hay-based pellets. It would help to add some water and make a mush to encourage your pet to eat.
- Vitamin C: Guinea pigs are not able to synthesize their vitamin V in the body. Therefore, they need supplements of vitamin C in their daily diet. You can provide vegetables or certain supplements to make up for the deficiency of vitamin C.
Do Guinea Pigs Lose Weight as They Get Older?
It is pretty reasonable for your guinea pig to lose weight as it gets older. There can be more than one reason for losing weight, but there is only one solution. Following are the possible reasons for your older guinea pig to lose weight.
- Age-related illness/diseases
- Decreased appetite
- Slower food processing and organ functioning
As I mentioned, there is only one solution. You can do much, but you can take better care of your older piggie and decrease aging. Here are some tips to take better care of your guinea pig.
- Take care of their food and water; provide them healthy food and clean water.
- Regular groom your piggie; avoid baths and massage him with pet wipes or wet cloth.
- Observe the environment and maintain the optimum temperature where they live.
- As senior piggies reduce flexibility, you should redesign their cage, removing any barrier to avoid jumping. Add some extra bedding to relax their joints.
- Keep their nails and front teeth trimmed. They can cause problems.
Do Guinea Pigs Lose Weight in Summer?
Guinea pigs grow hairs during the winter and shed in the summer. The obvious reason for growing and shedding is temperature maintenance. However, when they shed hair in summer, some guinea pig owners think they are losing weight. In reality, change in season has nothing to do with weight gain or weight loss.
Moreover, there can be other causes of weight loss, but it does not relate to the season. Your piggie may suffer from a disease and lose weight in summer. But the primary cause of weight loss is the disease, not the summer.
Guinea pigs are adorable pets, and they need your attention and care to stay healthy. To summarize, you should prevent your piggie from any disease that may lead to weight loss. In addition, you should provide your piggie with a balanced diet along with your affectionate care to maintain weight, health, and wellbeing. However, senior piggies need some extra care and affection that you should provide.