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How to get a guinea pig to lose weight

Species: Other
Breed: White Crested/Americ
Age: 1-2 years
Hi Dr. Marie:
Recently I took my sow guinea pig Squeaky to have her nails trimmed. The vet tech said that Squeaky was overweight at 2.66 lbs.

Is there a "best practice" you'd recommend, so I can help Squeaky go back to 2 lbs?

Thanks!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I can't say that I have ever put a guinea pig on a weight loss plan. But, just like any other animal, being overweight is a health risk.

The first thing I would do is try to measure how much guinea pig pellet food she is getting in a day. If you don't give her a specific amount but let her free feed then measure out how much you give her for a few days and then how much is left at the end of the day. Do this for several days so that you can get an idea of what she is getting now. Then, you can cut this down by 10-20% and see how things go.

I would also recommend buying an accurate kitchen scale so that you can weigh her every couple of weeks. The best way to do this is to get a bowl that she will fit in and tare the weight of the bowl and then put her in it.

Obviously, you need to keep an eye on her treats. High sugar fruits or veggies should be cut out or greatly reduced.

If she is not getting guinea pig hay then this is highly recommended as well. Many guinea pigs thrive on a diet that is primarily hay and just a little bit of guinea pig food. However, you do need to make sure that you are giving vitamin C supplements if she is not getting her full ration of guinea pig food.

Hope she slims down soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.