If you recently discovered your female guinea pig is pregnant, you likely have many questions.
One is most likely how much weight to expect your pregnant guinea pig to gain.
After all, all pregnant animals tend to gain a bit of weight.
Weight gain also tends to be a good indicator of an animal’s overall health as it goes through its pregnancy.
So how much weight does a pregnant guinea pig gain?
When a guinea pig is ready to give birth, she will be nearly double her pre-pregnant weight. The sow will gain weight weekly throughout the pregnancy. Half this weight will be the weight of the pups themselves. It is important to keep the sow at a healthy weight for safe delivery.
Guinea pig pregnancies tend to be tricky, especially if they are over 7 months old.
Let’s look into more details about guinea pig pregnancy and weight gain.
How Much Weight Will My Guinea Pig Gain During Pregnancy?
Healthy guinea pigs will gain quite a bit of weight during their pregnancy.
Towards the end of gestation, the pregnant sow will weigh nearly double its pre-pregnancy weight right before birth.
While most of this weight gain will be the weight of the litter itself, it is important to track her weight weekly to make sure she is on a healthy path.
Tracking the weight weekly is very helpful for your veterinarian to look at as well.
On average, a female guinea pig weighs about 26 ounces before becoming pregnant.
For more info, head on over to our guinea pig size chart.
It is not unusual for a pregnant sow to double its weight during pregnancy.
If it is her first time carrying a litter, she may not quite double her weight but will reach about 35 ounces or more at the time of birth weight.
The first time a sow carries a litter of pups, she will gain a good bit of weight but not as much as subsequent litters.
The more litter a sow has, the more weight she gains.
What Are The Signs Of Guinea Pig Pregnancy?
Weight gain is an obvious sign of your female guinea pig becoming pregnant.
There are some other tell-tale indicators of pregnancy to look out for if you feel your sow may have become pregnant.
Has there been a chance for male-female contact?
Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity very quickly.
Three-week-old males can impregnate females, and females get pregnant as early as 7 weeks.
For this reason, it is crucial to separate males and females as quickly as possible before 3 weeks of age.
If you don’t want baby cavies, check out our article on neutering guinea pigs.
Here are some other signs of guinea pig pregnancy.
As the babies grow, you’ll notice a larger abdomen on the sow.
This is partially from an increased dietary intake but is also from the growing guinea pig babies.
Most litters of guinea pig pups are between 2 and 4 babies, but litters range from 1 to 8 pups total.
The gestation period for guinea pigs lasts between 59 and 72 days.
If you see abdominal growth in guinea pigs, she may be pregnant.
Keep an eye on these other signs of pregnancy.
Increased Water and Food Intake
Many guinea pig owners also notice an increased intake of drinking water and feed intake when their sow falls pregnant.
If you notice the water bowl emptying quicker than usual, or you find yourself refilling the water bottle more often, this is another sign of a pregnant female.
Increased daily food intake is another sign of your cavy looking to get more nutrients.
Widening Of Pelvis
Before your guinea pig gives birth, her pelvis will widen to prepare for delivery.
This is often a noticeable change, especially if you handle her often.
Once the pelvis widens to about 2 fingers wide, your sow will quickly give birth.
This will help to ease the reproductive performance of delivering the babies.
What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig Is Pregnant?
If your guinea pig falls pregnant, there are a few next steps to take as a responsible pet owner.
If you start to notice a few of the signs of pregnancy, it is a good idea to take them in for some x-rays and a general health check to see if they are pregnant.
Once the pregnancy is confirmed, there are a few crucial steps to keep both mama and babies safe and healthy.
Take Your Guinea Pig To The Vet
You must take your pregnant guinea pig to the vet.
This is especially true if this is her first litter or the sow is over 7 months old.
As guinea pigs age, there is a higher chance of complications during pregnancy.
You don’t want any pain or risk to your guinea pig, so make sure you take her to the vet to get a health check.
They may even recommend special diets for pregnant guinea pigs or a dietary vitamin to make sure any chronic vitamin deficiencies are addressed.
Provide High-Quality Food And Fresh Water
While providing high-quality food and fresh water is always a good idea, it is even more important for a pregnant sow.
Your cavy will need to keep her strength and health up to have a smooth delivery and healthy litter.
Providing constant access to clean water will help satisfy the increased thirst common in guinea pig pregnancies.
This is one of the requirements of guinea pigs to have a healthy gestation.
Separate Males From Female Guinea Pigs
When you get close to birthing time, it is imperative to separate male guinea pigs from female guinea pigs.
Females immediately go into heat after giving birth, so they may fall pregnant quickly again after delivery.
This will take a toll on her health and is generally not considered safe for the female.
Fathers may also attempt to be with the baby guinea pigs, which could cause death.
Our article at the link has more information.
Is It Dangerous For Guinea Pigs To Get Pregnant?
A domestic guinea pig does not have the easiest deliveries.
About 20% of pregnancies lead to the mother dying during the birth of baby guinea pigs.
This risk increases as the female ages, especially over 7 months.
There are ways to help set her up for success.
Here are some tips for keeping the mother’s strength up to prepare her for delivery:
- Make sure she doesn’t gain too much excess weight. A fat guinea pig will have a much more difficult delivery due to increased dietary intake. She should get good exercise and eat well to keep her strength up.
- Switch from timothy hay to alfalfa grass as it has more calcium which helps with bone strength. The added dietary calcium helps their overall health.
- Keep older females away from intact males to prohibit an unwanted pregnancy when the sow is past her prime birthing years. Males will quickly get a mature female guinea pig pregnant.
- If a male gets your female guinea pig pregnant, take her to the vet. They will easily determine any vitamin deficiency in guinea pigs who are pregnant. Some females experience vitamin C deficiency and vitamin E deficiency during pregnancy.