Weigh Your Healthy Guinea Pig Weekly!
By weighing weekly, you are using one of
the best tools available for monitoring your guinea pig's health. What you are watching for is dramatic changes in weight. A good rule of thumb for an adult guinea pig is:
One ounce weight fluctuation is OK.
Two ounces - Go on alert.
Three ounces - Extreme red alert.
Four ounces - Get the pig to a vet.
Guinea pigs weights will fluctuate slightly from one time of day to another. If you see a pattern of weight loss, see a vet! Always be mindful of the signs of illness and read over the signs of malocclusion before you see your vet.
WEIGH YOUR ILL GUINEA PIG DAILY!
Any time you suspect a health problem, be sure to weigh daily!
Salana's Einstein (pictured above) is getting his weekly weighing.
How much should my guinea pig weigh?
Every guinea pig is different. Veterinary reference books frequently cite adult weights of:
900-1200 grams for males
700-900 grams for females
These weights do not seem typical nor representative of pet guinea pigs. Male and female weights are often similar and overall weight is generally higher.
All three of the author's sows weigh(ed) more than the average cited above, ranging from +1000 grams to 1600 grams. See one year charts of the weights of several of Paulo's males and females (shown in ounces and grams) and Mel's one year chart of 3 female guinea pigs. Mel's guinea pigs average about 1200 grams at one year. Paulo's males average slightly more than his females after one year.
Paulo writes that of his 5 males and 5 females, all but 3 came to him at about 4 weeks of age. The first weight in the chart corresponds to week 0. One male arrived at about 11 weeks of age so his weight starts at week 11. One male and one female were born at his home, so age is precise.
The blank weeks for some guinea pigs (Elza, Alice, Aracy, Itamar, and Hermeto) reflect a time when he was unable to record their weights and they were under poor care, not under his control. All lost weight except the pups who gained weight, perhaps at a normal rate.
The sudden weight loss for Alice occurred at delivery. She is also the heaviest of the baby females as she gained a lot of weight during her pregnancy.
See: Paulo's CHART -- females over one year in grams
See: Paulo's CHART -- females over one year in ounces
See: Paulo's CHART -- males over one year in grams
See: Paulo's CHART -- males over one year in ounces
Many guinea pigs over the age of 1 year are now fed timothy pellets rather than more fattening alfalfa pellets. A sound diet and adequate exercise will help your guinea pig maintain a healthy weight.
How fast should my pups be putting on weight?
Caruba recorded a few weeks of weight gain for 4 pups. JHand recorded weight changes for her unexpected litter of pups to get some idea of normal growth rates.
See their weight charts and records here: Sample Pup Weights
What kind of scale should I get?
Any scale that reliably weighs objects of at least 5 pounds should work fine. Just make sure that it is stable and that the tray is large enough to fit your guinea pig or that you can safely place a bowl or container on it to weigh.
Mel's guinea pig (at right) loafs around on the scale.
Many scales have tare features, meaning you can put a container on the scale and zero it out so the weight you read will only be your guinea pig's weight and not include that of the container .
Make sure you weigh on a safe surface so if your guinea pig jumps out, it will not fall to the floor. The floor is a safe place to do your weighing.
Generally speaking, you are not so much interested in completely accurate weights as you are in uniformity of weighing so you can observe and record weight changes. To determine if your scale is accurate over time, look around the house and choose an object of 2-3 pounds in weight and weigh it. Write the weight on a piece of tape and stick it underneath your chosen object. You can re-weigh this object at any time to see if the scale has changed.
More accurate scales that also weigh in grams can be very handy if you are trying to calculate the nutritional value of the foods you give your guinea pig.
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