One reason why guinea pigs are such fascinating pets is that they constantly eat. Their gut works in such a way that if they stop eating and their gut stops moving, they'll get sick and eventually die. This is why your guinea pigs will spend most of their lives eating and sleeping with short bursts of cheekiness. But pets are increasingly at risk of obesity, so how do you stop an animal that constantly needs to eat from becoming overweight?
The simple answer is that you must provide your guinea pigs with the right food, which means plenty of hay, some nuggets and just enough fresh vegetables.
How to recognise an overweight guinea pig
To find out if your guinea pig is overweight, try running your finger down their back. You should be able to feel bumps where their ribs and spine are. These bumps should not be prominent or sharp, these are signs that your pig is underweight. If you can't feel any of the rib or spine bumps, then your pet is probably overweight. It's difficult to tell under all that fluff, so check with your vet if you're worried.
The right food for your guinea pig
Hay—This is the most important foodstuff for your guinea pigs. Good quality grass hay acts as bedding, hidey holes and food for your pigs and they should have plentiful amounts throughout the day and night. Hay will not make your guinea pig fat, so don't be stingy with it.
Hard food—Your guinea pig should have limited access to some form of hard food to ensure they get the right amount of nutrients and help to keep their teeth healthy. While guinea pigs can be fed a blend of muesli, nuggets are actually much better for them as they are high in fibre and vitamin C. However nuggets can contribute to your pig's weight so don't be in too much of a rush to always fill up that bowl.
Vegetables—Vegetables are essential to a guinea pigs diet to provide them with the vitamins and nutrients they need to stay healthy however they are also the most fattening part of your pig's diet. To get the most out of your guinea pig's favourite part of their diet, stick to dark, leafy green vegetables, as well as carrots, broccoli and bell peppers.
Only feed them romaine lettuce, as other lettuce can upset their tummies. Stay away from potatoes, leeks and onions as these contain toxins which can poison your pet. To be safe, always check that the vegetable or fruit is safe for your guinea pig.
Feed your pet right and guinea pig obesity shouldn't be a problem. You can still give your pets treats, just remember to give these treats sparingly and keep an eye on that waistline.
Learn more by contacting resources like Nerang Stockfeed.