Should I weigh my guinea pigs and how often?
SHOULD I WEIGH MY GUINEA PIGS AND HOW OFTEN?
The simple answer is, yes, you absolutely should! Weighing your guinea pigs is really important as changes in weight can often be the first indicator of a health problem.
Some practical tips for weighing your guinea pigs:
Get into a ‘weigh weekly’ routine that suits your schedule. This could be setting a specific day of the week (Weigh-in-Wednesdays, perhaps?!), or doing it alongside the weekly ‘big clean out’.
Keep a record of the weights in a notebook to monitor any fluctuations.
Try to weigh at the same time of day, to help monitor stable weight results.
Use decent digital scales with a large enough container or tray to safely hold a guinea pig. Place them on the floor when weighing, for safety, in case your piggy tries to jump out. Alternatively, weigh yourself, then re-weigh yourself holding your guinea pig and subtract the first weight from the second to work out how much your piggy weighs.
Rapid, extreme weight loss – or weight gain - is always going to be a cause for concern. Handling alone does not always enable you to pick up on the beginnings of any changes in weight. Guinea pigs are prey animals and as such, they are really good at ‘hiding’ an illness. That’s why it’s important to keep a record and get to know what is the ‘norm’ for your piggies.
Generally accepted weight brackets are (approximately):
Adult male guinea pigs: 900g – 1200g
Adult female guinea pigs: 700 – 900g
However, we all know that piggies, like humans, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! And it’s not unusual for our favourite pet piggies to be outside of these suggested weight ranges (usually out the ‘top’ end!!).
As long as you are feeding a balanced daily diet of at least 80% good quality grass feeding hay, a cup of fresh vegetables (and some fruit, but this is more of an occasional treat) and about an 1/8 cup of dry pellets per piggy, then hopefully you won’t be going too far wrong!
Weight gain could be a sign of obesity/over-feeding, but it could also be due to health issues such as lumps, cysts or tumours. Weight loss could be a result of a multitude of issues…..so that’s why changes in weight should be taken seriously.
OK, so what’s a worrying weight loss/gain??
25g: small changes in weight are OK
55g: sit up and pay attention, start keeping a closer eye on the guinea pig
85g: big change, be on high alert, maybe book a vet appointment
100g+: get to the vet immediately
If you do have a sick guinea pig, it is advisable to weigh daily, as weight changes (losses in particular) will be even more dangerous.
Well, there you have it. We hope our information on weighing your guinea pigs is helpful in our quest for happy, healthy piggies!
If you want to make noting down your weekly weigh-ins that little bit more glamourous, check out our pig-tastic Pig. T. Barnum A5 Notebook to add a touch of circus-themed sparkle to your ‘wheekly chores’!
Squeek soon friends!