What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?
Just because you consider your pet guinea pig a part of your family, it does not mean you can feed it anything from your plate. The foods that are safe for humans to consume might not be safe for guinea pigs to eat. This is why you need to have complete knowledge about what guinea pigs eat and their proper food chart.
In this post, we have included a complete detailed guide on guinea pig food and the toxic foods for them to consume.
What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs are herbivores; in simple terms, they only eat veggies and fruits- no dairy, meat, egg, or insects for these little boys. Fresh leafy vegetables and hay make up the bulk of their diet.
A guinea pig owner needs to be aware of these two important things when picking food for them:
- Vitamin C – Guinea pigs cannot make their own Vitamin C, which makes them vulnerable to scurvy. Your guinea pig treats and food chart must include foods that are rich in Vitamin C to keep them healthy.
- Ever-Growing teeth- teeth of a guinea pig keep growing as long as they live. They need something fibrous to chew on; this is why giving them fresh hay is important.
- Another important point to remember is not to transition your guinea pig’s diet quickly. If required, start slow when transitioning from her pet store diet to a healthy diet at home.
- Also, you may catch a guinea pig eating his own poop. Do not worry. Guinea pigs produce two types of poop- soft and nutritious, which they consume, and hard poop, which has been digested twice.
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When Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?
Like any other herbivores, guinea pigs are gazers. They keep munching on hay and veggies all day. You have to make sure they have access to fresh hay in their cage at all times.
You can feed your guinea pig on consistent schedules in the morning and evening. If given a chance, guinea pigs can overheat. To prevent obesity, remove the pelleted food after one hour and discard veggies and fruits which are not eaten after24 hours.
It is important to dump food and water every day and clean the bowls to fill them back with fresh water.
Feeding Guinea Pigs Store-Bought Food
If you wonder what kind of store-bought food guinea pigs eat, then we have your back. Most pet owners like to feed their guinea pigs store-bought hay and pellets formulated for guinea pigs.
Orchard, oat, and mix of timothy make the best hay. Alfalfa hay can also be used. However, it contains too much calcium. Store the hay in a cool and dry place to prevent any mildew or mold.
Supplement the hay with a small number of superior pellets. You can choose plain pellets than a mix to prevent your guinea pig from neglecting healthy treats over tasty.
Fresh Foods For Guinea Pigs
Fresh vegetables and fruits make the best guinea pig treat and supplements. These can be used as occasional extra offerings to improve your bond or when you are training them.
Some great fruit and veggie options for guinea pigs are:
- Green peppers
- Green and red leaf lettuce
Offer more veggies than fruits because fruits work like candies to guinea pigs. Once she is done eating, clean any uneaten food to avoid rot or mold.
Toxic Foods for Guinea Pigs
Just because fruits and vegetables are healthy, it does not mean that you can feed anything you have in store to your guinea pigs. There are certain food items that are toxic for guinea pigs, such as:
All these above-listed foods are also toxic for many other pets like parrots, cats, and dogs. Do not feed salty or sweet human fast foods to your guinea pigs. Also, home-cooked food is also off-limits to guinea pigs.
It is best to stick feeding hay and pellets diet to your guinea pig along with occasion, veggies, and fruit treats.
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Guinea Pig food chart
- Vitamin C is an essential supplement to guinea pigs as they are not able to make their own as we humans do. Without a Vitamin C-rich diet, they can become ill and scurvy. The daily average Vitamin C content for guinea pigs must be anywhere between 10-30 mg/day. A young, nursing, or pregnant guinea pig will require more vitamin C content.
- If you feed vegetables with high Vitamin C content along with fresh pellets, you will be able to meet Vitamin C requirements.
- Vitamin C is highly unstable. Make sure to store pellets in cool dark places to preserve the vitamin content.
- Giving vitamin C supplements is the best way to provide additional nutrients. One-quarter of a 100 mg calcium tablet is a recommended dose for adult guinea pigs.
- Guinea pigs can easily chew on vitamin C supplements. You can also crush and sprinkle vegetables.
- You can also add Vitamin C to water; however, it loses its potency quickly when mixed with water. Also, your guinea pig might refuse the water consumption with the added taste of Vitamin C supplements.
- The best way to ensure enough vitamin c is by adding veggies high in vitamin c along with fresh hay and nutritious pellets in their diet.
A commercial guinea pig must be fed pellets daily. Most guinea pigs do not overeat, but it is still best to restrict the number of pellets served. Always buy good quality pellets because unstable vitamin C loses potency very fast. Hence look for pellets with a more stabilized form of Vitamin C or buy in small quantities. Remember to store them in cool and dry places.
If you have a growing guinea, alfalfa pellets work fine, but Timothy-based pellets work best for adults. When buying guinea pigs to eat pellets, avoid seeds or nuts, corn products, dried fruits, beet pulp, animal by-products, or any fillers. Watch out for high sugar content and added chemicals or preservatives in food items.
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Hay should make the majority of a guinea pig’s diet. Always have a fresh supply of hay available at all times. Orchard or timothy hay is best for adult guinea pigs. Alfalfa has a higher content of calcium and makes a great supplement for a pregnant or nursing guinea pig. However, it should not be included in adult guinea pigs.
Fresh Vegetables and Fruit
There are plenty of fruits and vegetables which guinea pigs eat and are good for their health. Leafy greens should make the bulk of their vegetable diet. Other vegetables and fruits are best offered in small quantities. Avoid feeding the iceberg because it has less nutritional value. Some good leafy green choices include turnip greens, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, and parsley.
Avoid feeding broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables because it can cause bloating. Starchy vegetables like potatoes should also be avoided.
Carrots, bell peppers, apricots, apples, blueberries, bananas, grapes, cantaloupes, strawberries, oranges, and tomatoes can also be fed. If you know any pesticide-free grass, dandelion, chickweed, or clover source, it can also be offered, especially when the grown is new as it is the most nutritious. Introduce fruits, vegetables, and greens gradually as it may cause digestive problems.
How long can guinea pigs live without food?
Guinea pigs should not be left hungry for more than 6-8 hours and, in some extreme cases, for not more than 24 hours. They may face extreme blockage and complications of the intestine.
We hope this article was able to solve your concerns and doubts regarding what do guinea pigs eat. Not very vegetarian food or the food we eat is good for our pets. It is extremely important to practice precautions when it comes to a guinea pig food chart and treats. If you find this post informative, don’t forget to leave comments down below.