Being a responsible and caring guinea pig owner, it is your responsibility to know the basic dietary requirements of your pet.
What’s healthy for your other pets, like a cat, dog, and even rabbit, may be harmful to your guinea pig.
This makes it important to know what you should and should not feed to your pet.
Most guinea pigs owners are often confused about feeding milk to their guinea pigs.
Is milk healthy for your guinea pig or should you avoid it at all costs? Let’s find out!
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Milk?
No, adult guinea pigs should NOT drink milk.
It is important to understand that guinea pigs are herbivorous and dairy products are not part of their natural diet.
Therefore, you should keep them away from all dairy products, especially milk.
Your furry friends are lactose intolerant, which means their bodies are unable to digest milk and other dairy products like yogurt drops.
Feeding them milk can lead to upset tummies and a lot of discomfort for your guinea pigs.
When Can Guinea Pigs Drink Milk?
While adult guinea pigs do not drink milk, like all other mammals, they depend on milk as babies.
For a few days after they are born, guinea pig babies rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment until they move on to solid food.
However, sometimes, a guinea pig mother can reject the baby and refuse to nurse it.
If that happens and the baby is still too young to feed on its own, you will have to hand-feed milk to it.
Experts recommend full-fat goat milk for baby guinea pigs.
You can also make a milk mixture for your baby guinea pig by adding one part water to one part evaporated milk.
How to Feed Milk to Baby Guinea Pigs
Baby guinea pigs can easily breathe milk in by accident. This is not only uncomfortable and painful for your pet but it can also lead to choking.
The safe and more convenient way to feed milk to a baby guinea pig is to use a teaspoon rather than a syringe.
It will make sure that your guinea pig does not drink too much milk at once.
Another way is to dip a small piece of brown bread in milk and hold it near the mouth of your baby guinea pig with a teaspoon.
Your pet will suck the milk out of the bread. This is an even safer alternative to offering liquid milk directly through a syringe or spoon.
However, while the piece of bread will get soggy, make sure it does not crumble or breakdown.
This is important because for the first few days of their lives, baby guinea pigs are too young to eat solid foods and pieces of bread – no matter how small – can lead to choking.
Feed milk to your baby guinea pig every one to two hours. Give it as much as it wants.
If it is completely rejected, you will also have to make sure that it stays warm and cozy.
Other Foods to Avoid Giving to Your Guinea Pigs
We have established that guinea pigs should avoid eating all dairy products, including milk, cream, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and butter.
But do you know what other foods can be harmful to your guinea pigs? Let’s find out!
A guinea pig’s digestive system is not designed to digest anything but plants. Therefore, giving your guinea pig meat of any kind can make it seriously ill.
Keep in mind that feeds for cats, dogs, and ferrets also include meaty elements as it is a staple part of their diets.
This makes these pet feeds unsuitable for guinea pigs.
So, if you are feeding your guinea pig pellets, make sure they are specifically designed for them.
Iceberg lettuce is another food item that you should avoid giving to your guinea pigs. It can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea in guinea pigs.
So, instead of adding iceberg lettuce to your pet’s veggie basket, look for healthier options like carrot tops and dandelions greens.
Certain vegetables can make your guinea pigs gassy and lead to bloating.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid all gassy vegetables, including cabbage and cauliflower.
Onions and Leeks
Onions and leeks are extremely unhealthy for guinea pigs.
Excessively feeding on onions or leeks can cause blood disorders in guinea pigs.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid these at all costs.
Garlic is poisonous for guinea pigs. Consuming it in high amounts can have fatal consequences for your pet.
Therefore, make sure you always keep them away from garlic or any other food item that may contain garlic.
While tomato is perfectly safe for consumption by guinea pigs, leaves and stems of the tomato plant can be toxic.
So, the next time you give tomatoes to your guinea pigs, make sure there are no leaves or stems attached to the fruit.
Seeds, Pips, and Nuts
Seeds and pips can be a major choking hazard. It is best to keep them away from your pet guinea pigs.
Furthermore, they are high in fats, which is another reason why you may want to avoid giving them to your guinea pigs.
Nuts are also high in fat, so it’s a good idea to cut down on nuts as well.
Drinks High in Salt, Sugar, or Fat
While you may enjoy having different sweet and fizzy drinks, they are not suitable for your guinea pigs.
In fact, most drinks including coffee, cola, juices, and alcohol are all unhealthy for guinea pigs.
This is because it is unhealthy for guinea pigs to ingest sugar or salt in high quantities.
Chocolate, caffeine, and alcoholic drinks are also bad for your pet and can affect their health.
What Can Guinea Pigs Drink?
It is a no-brainer that, like all other living things, guinea pigs need water. While they get a lot of moisture from fruits and vegetables, they still need water to stay hydrated.
A healthy guinea pig generally drinks about 80 -100ml water daily. However, pregnant or lactating guinea pig mothers may have an increased water intake.
On the other hand, if your guinea pig is not pregnant or lactating, chugging a lot of water can be a sign of a health problem.
They may be suffering from diabetes or some other health problem.
So, if you notice any drastic change in the drinking habits of your guinea pig, it is advisable to consult a vet.
Make sure your guinea pigs always have a supply of clean and fresh water. If you won’t drink that water, don’t give it to your guinea pigs.
In simple words, the water you give to your guinea pigs should be fresh and free from all sorts of contaminants.
Refrain from adding supplements in the water unless your vet specifically recommends them.
Similarly, avoid adding salt, sugar, or any other substance in the water. Installing drink bottles and sippy bottles in the cage or playpen is a good idea.
You can also provide water in a bowl but you will have to change it more frequently as compared to water in a bottle.
Remember, your pets rely on you to provide them with what’s best for them.
So, make sure you give them foods and drinks that are not only suitable but also healthy for them.
Take some time to learn about their dietary needs and offer them the healthiest food options to keep them happy and in good health!
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