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How Fat Should a Guinea Pig Be?

Updated on January 17, 2018
When an animal normally is round, it's hard to tell when they are overweight.
When an animal normally is round, it's hard to tell when they are overweight.

When I had my first guinea pig, I was surprised to learn that they can get too fat. Since they are built like a Tribble from Star Trek, how can you tell if they are too fat? Do you weigh them? The average weight for a female guinea pig (technically called a sow) is one and a half pounds. The average weight for a male guinea pig (called a boar) is about one and a half to two pounds.

Yet, there are always piggies that never read the guinea pig books. Boars weighing four pounds are not uncommon. In Peru, where guinea pigs are a major (and often only) source of protein, they purposefully breed "Superpigs". Genes apparently have not been tinkered with - which means any baby cavy has the potential to be a Superpig.

So, weighing the guinea pigs to determine if they are too fat is out. What can you do?

Looking Down From Above

Although guinea pig adults are mildly pear-shaped when looking down on their backs from above, the bottom part of the "pear" should not be significantly bigger than the smaller part. Baby cavies are shaped like a Tic-Tac when looked down from above. Until they are about three months old, the biggest parts of the babies will seem to be their ears. They will lack any butt development whatsoever.

If your female guinea pig suddenly gets really fat, she might be pregnant. Sexing baby guinea pigs is difficult at best. Most pet stores do not separate the sexes or wrongly sex them and so unplanned piggies are often conceived. Take her to the vet to be sure. If she's not pregnant, then she is fat.

Where Are The Feet?

Although it sounds like a Garfield joke, a guinea pig is too fat when you can't see their feet when they waddle. These guinea pig heavies usually have loose rolls of fat you can feel all throughout their body. When a guinea pig walks, their bellies are entirely lifted off of the ground and do not drag. If they drag their bellies, they most likely need to lose weight.

But if you are still not sure, please take your guinea pig to a vet who often sees guinea pigs in his or her practice. Overweight guinea pigs are in danger of dying early from sickness and disease just like overweight people are. Feed less and make sure your guinea pig has a good scamper around a safe play area for at least ten minutes a day, preferably an hour. Treats like yogurt drops are loaded with calories. Cut back on them.

Your guinea pig will complain when put on a diet, but after a couple of weeks, the piggy should be more active as well as slimmer.


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