Can A Guinea Pig Eat Too Much Food?

If you have ever kept guinea pigs, then you will know that all they seem to do is eat and sleep. They may play for a few minutes in between, but basically their life is all about eating, and then eating some more. Considering that they are so small, it is difficult for some people to understand why they have to eat so much, but the explanation is simple.

baby guinea pig photo
Photo by Keren_

They have a high metabolism, and so burn energy quickly. They process food through the digestive tract quickly, usually it takes around 20 hours from mouth to bottom. Most of what they eat is fiber, and so has no health benefits at all, apart from keeping their digestive system working.

A guinea pig must have food constantly passing through it. If a guinea pig struggles to eat, then their digestive system will slow down, and can result in gastric stasis. When this happens, the guinea pig’s life is on the line. This is why ill guinea pigs need to see a vet quickly, and be syringe fed if they are not eating, so that digestion continues.

So, can a guinea pig eat too much food? The answer is no. It may appear to us humans that they must have a huge stomach, but food passes quickly into the lower intestine, usually in 1-2 hours. For their size though, they do actually have a large stomach. One thing that they do have in common with humans is that they get the same sensation of fullness as we do, and that prevents them from overeating.

So a guinea pig can be put in the garden, and graze on the grass until it is full, and this may take a while. It will then sleep for 1-2 hours, wake up, and then start eating again. It is a hard life for guinea pigs, all that eating and sleeping. It is a good job they do not have to go out to work, as they would not have the time!

Do Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Need A Run?

pet rabbit photo
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When humans sit around all day, they can put on weight, and over the long term, health can suffer. It is no different for animals. This is why it is essential to take dogs for a walk. Cats get plenty of exercise outdoors, and by running around the house. Hamsters, and other rodents often have wheels (NEVER use a wheel for rabbits and guinea pigs, they break legs).

Rabbits and guinea pigs also need plenty of exercise. If they are outdoors, then they should be given a run for them to play in. This should be big enough for them to run a reasonable distance. For home based rabbits and guinea pigs, these are usually kept in a cage. However, a C&C construction can give them plenty of room to play in. The tools for this can be purchased online in places like eBay.

These animals are fine for allowing free run off the living room. They at pee and poo on the carpet now and again, but this is more an accident than habit. Besides, as they are herbivores, what comes out the backend is safe.

The best way to allow free run for these pets in the home is to setup the main living area, and a smaller area on the other side of the room. After a few days, they will tend to just run from one to the other. This is great fun to watch. Block off escapes for the first month, and hide wires. Once they have learnt what is ‘home and safety’ to them, these can then be removed.

Always make sure the animals are locked up when leaving the house, do not let them run free with no one there.

What Is The Correct Metacam Dose For Guinea Pigs?

vet photo
Photo by mattymatt

Having kept guineas pigs for nearly twenty years, a common question that comes up on the internet is what is the correct Metacam dose for guinea pigs?

One problem with vets is that many are either dog/cat specialists, or work with mainly farm animals. There are not that many who specialize in guinea pig treatments. When a guinea pig is ill we want the best treatment for it. Sometimes they are in pain, and this is often treated with Metacam. This drug is fine to use on guinea pigs, and can be used for the long term without an issue.

The problem is that most vets side with caution, thinking that because of the size of the animal, it only requires a small dose. Metacam comes in two types, Metacam for Cats, and Metacam for Dogs. Most vets go with the former, and recommended 0.1mg a day.

What they do not take into account it the fast metabolism of guinea pigs. They tolerate Metacam for Dogs very well, and this is twice the strength of the car one.

Having had many dealing with Suzanna, at Birch Heath, Tarporley, an exotic pet specialist, and Simon Maddock, at the Cat and Rabbit Clinic in Northampton, it is perfectly safe to give an adult guinea pig of 1kg or more, 0.25mg-0.3mg of Metacam for Dogs twice a day.

However, this should only be given to animals who have chronic pain, such as long term dental issues, bladder/kidney issues, etc. For other problems with pain, then short term guinea pig doses should be 0.1-0.2mg twice a day. Start on the lower end, and see how the guinea pig settles down.