What Is Hand Feeding a Skinny Pig?
Hand feeding is when you are forcing your Skinny Pig to eat or drink because they are not doing this on their own. This is usually done when a Skinny Pig is feeling ill.
Why Hand Feed?
When a guinea pig is ill, they often will not eat or drink. Guinea pigs need to have water to stay hydrated, keep their organs functioning and food to keep up their strength. Guinea pigs can go into GI stasis, which is when their digestive system shuts down. This is incredibly important to prevent from happening and you must force feed them to keep their tummies full.
When Do I Force Feed?
- Your Skinny Pig is not eating or drinking on their own
- They are not eating or drinking enough
- They are exhibiting severe weightloss
- They are recovering from surgery
What To Do First
If you are at the point where you are hand feeding your Skinny Pig, you shoul have a Vet appointment already made. It means that something is seriously wrong with your friend. You should be seeking professional help immediately. The only time this is not the case is when they are recovering from a surgery and you are feeding them to make sure they recover properly. Any other issue that requires hand feeding your Skinny Pig is a serious issue that a Vet needs to properly Diagnose. Force Feeding will help your Skinny Pig make it to the appointment, but will not cure them.
Hand Feeding Supplies
What Type Of Syringe?
You will need to use a syringe that has a large opening to push out the Oxbow Critical Care, or Pellet Mash you have made. The small 1cc style syringes usually used for medications will be too small and get clogged up if you try to use them for force feeding. I like to use this style syringe. It is always a good idea to have one of these handy in case of Emergency. Amazon is great, but time is of the essence and even 2 days with Amazon Prime won’t be fast enough.
The syringe is a good size and it makes pushing through critical care very easy. it has a tapered end that will fit into your Skinny Pigs mouth easily and allow them to gingerly eat. You should be giving them about 10ml every few hours.
What Can You Force Feed?
Using a product such as Critical Care, Supreme Recovery is what is ideal. All these products contain important vitamins and mineral your Skinny pig requires. All Skinny pig parents should have a packet on hand even when you don’t need it because when you need to force feed you don’t have time to run around trying to find it at a vet clinic.
You can also use pellets to force feed if you are in a crunch, you would need to soak them and make a mash. All packets will say how to mix up the food. I’ve always found more water than what is asked for to be easier. It was easier for the guinea pig to swallow, easier to get out of the syringe and great to know you are getting more water into their system.
How Do I Hand Feed?
You need to hold your Skinny pig securely or have someone hold it for you. You will need to load your syringe and then slip it into the side of your guinea pigs mouth (they have no teeth on the side) and squish in some food. Don’t overload their mouth, you don’t want to make them choke. Switch between food and water, they need some water to wash it down and to keep hydrated.
Some Skinny pigs will not mind getting the food but others will fight you!
Don’t give up, you must get them to eat. If you are having troubles keeping your Skinny pig still, you can always wrap them into a towel to limit their movement.
For Skinny pigs who are not eating or drinking at all, you really need to do this every few hours and get a good amount of food and water in.