Like all animals, guinea pigs need a healthy diet and exercise regime to stay in good physical condition. As cage-bound animals, guinea pigs may need a little extra encouragement to eat right and be physically active. Helping your guinea pig get adequate physical conditioning can be a good thing health-wise, and it can also promote bonding between you and your pet.
Get a Checkup
If you’ve got a very lazy guinea pig, take him to your vet for a full checkup before embarking on any type of new exercise plan. Your pig might have a slow metabolism, be dangerously overweight or have some other underlying health condition that's contributing to his lack of energy and his resulting lethargy. Your vet may recommend changes to your pig’s diet in addition to exercise, and he may also encourage you to start slow and gradually increase your pig’s level of physical activity.
Uncage Your Pig
Get into the habit of taking your guinea pig outside of his cage to play on a regular basis. Make sure he can’t chew wires or escape under furniture. Block off an area of floor where your guinea pig can be physically active and explore, or walk him using a harness leash. Tie a vegetable to a string and pull it around the floor for your guinea pig to run after. This will improve cardiovascular activity and be a form of fun and nutritious play.
Your guinea pig might be encouraged to exercise more if he has engaging, interactive toys at his disposal. While not all guinea pigs take to exercise balls or wheels like their smaller counterparts, hamsters and gerbils, it's worth a try. Also consider increasing the size of your guinea pig’s habitat, maybe even moving up to a guinea pig condo that has a ramp to a second floor that will encourage your pig to be more physically active.
Talk to your vet about a diet formulated to provide your guinea pig with the nutrients he needs while simultaneously increasing his energy levels. Guinea pigs can sometimes suffer from vitamin deficiencies, and getting your pig back in good physical health can encourage him to step up his physical activity as well. Just as it can be difficult for an overweight or out-of-shape person to run a marathon, a guinea pig that is carrying extra ounces or eating too much junk is also less inclined to exercise.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.