Guinea pigs make a great pet for people who are looking for a low-maintenance animal to bring home.
The best thing about having a guinea pig as your pet is that they don’t require fancy meals or lots of space.
As long as you offer them healthy food meant specifically for guinea pigs and a clean, warm cage, they will live happily as your animal companions.
That being said, here are some things you should keep in mind with regards to feeding your guinea pig. Let’s get right to it!
What Can Guinea Pigs Eat Daily?
Here are some of the most common and nutritious foods that you can offer your guinea pig.
All of these foods, in the right amounts, will keep your guinea pig healthy, happy and satiated.
Timothy hay should make up most of your guinea pig’s daily diet. Hay is a vital part of their nutritional requirements and helps guinea pigs stay healthy and fit.
Hay is the foundation of a guinea pig’s diet as it offers ample amounts of fiber. This ensures perfect digestive health for your little pet.
Additionally, chewing on hay will also help maintain your guinea pig’s teeth.
Since guinea pigs have continuously growing teeth, they require something to wear them down.
Otherwise, it can get painful for your pet to chew and cause dental problems. Chewing on hay solves this problem quite effectively.
So, make sure that around 80% of your guinea pig’s diet is hay.
While guinea pigs enjoy all kinds of hay, Timothy hay offers them the most benefits in terms of nutrients and wearing down teeth.
Ensure that your guinea pet has an unlimited quantity of fresh Timothy hay available at all times. You can purchase high-quality, sweet-smelling hay from your local pet store.
Commercial Food Pellets
Commercial guinea pig food is also a good option to offer your guinea pig daily. These commercial pellets are specially formulated to offer your pet a balanced diet.
Commercial guinea pig pellets are fortified with essential minerals and vitamins that your guinea pig needs.
They also contain vitamin C in ideal dosages so your guinea pig can enjoy the best health.
When you are picking out the best commercial pellets for your pet, make sure that the brand you pick has been tested and approved by vets.
The commercial pellets should have no seeds or dried fruit added, as it can lead to kidney stones and digestive issues in guinea pigs.
Additionally, the pellets you offer your guinea pig shouldn’t contain animal by-products, oils, cornmeal, sweeteners, or colorings. These are all harmful to your guinea pig and can result in poor health.
When offering commercial pellets to your guinea pig, follow the feeding guidelines given on the packaging.
In general, 1/8 cup of pellets along with Timothy hay and other foods mentioned below makes up an excellent daily diet for guinea pigs.
Along with the unlimited supply of Timothy hay and commercial pellets, you should also offer your guinea pigs some vegetables.
This brings variety to their diet and ensures that they don’t get bored of their food.
It is important to keep in mind that adult guinea pigs require raw, fresh veggies to be healthy.
If you haven’t been feeding your guinea pig some greens, start slow from today and introduce them to new vegetables.
Your guinea pig will need some time to adjust to the changes in its diet, but soon enough, you will find it happily munching away on the veggies.
Guinea pigs should get at least 10% of veggies in their diet, which is around one cup. This helps them maintain their body weight and improves digestion.
If your guinea pig has never eaten veggies, you can start by offering it a small piece of carrot.
Carrots are the easiest vegetable to digest, so you can ensure that they don’t suffer from an upset stomach.
You can slowly introduce them to other vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini. Try to keep away from watery vegetables at the start, as they can cause bloating and diarrhea.
Once you notice that your pig has taken well to veggies, you can bring in cucumbers, lettuce, and other watery vegetables.
Here is a list of the most beneficial vegetables for your guinea pig:
- Carrots: great source of energy.
- Bell peppers: rich stores of vitamin C (remove the seeds before feeding your pet).
- Celery: feed both leaves and stalk as they are rich in fibers.
- Zucchini: offers various vitamins and minerals.
- Chicory: high in vitamin C and calcium (remove outer layers before offering it to your pig).
Lastly, you should also make fruits a part of your guinea pig’s regular diet.
However, due to having high levels of acids and sugars, fruits should be given in very little amounts and only twice a week.
When introducing new fruits to your guinea pig, follow the same rules as offering vegetables.
Start slow and see how well its sensitive stomach tolerates different fruits.
You can start with a small piece of apple and closely observe your pet for bloating or diarrhea.
If everything seems clear and your guinea pig enjoys the food, you can offer a little more during the next meal.
You can also experiment with different fruits. However, it is important to give your guinea pig time to adjust to each new fruit.
If you notice any signs of illnesses, stop offering the fruits and schedule a visit to the vet ASAP.
Here are some safe fruits that you can include in your guinea pig’s diet:
- Apples: guinea pigs love to munch on apples, but you should only offer sweet ones and make sure they aren’t sour. Sour apples are highly acidic and will cause stomach upset.
- Bananas: your guinea pig can feast on the fruit and peel both. Only offer bananas in small quantities, though, as they have high sugar content.
- Berries: these are tasty treats for your guinea pig, and it will gobble them right down. Berries offer essential antioxidants that improve guinea pigs’ heart health and work to prevent cancer.
What Treats Can You Offer Guinea Pigs?
Heading off to the pet store to find treats for your guineas pig?
You might be teaching them a few tricks or simply wish to reward your little pet for being such a darling.
Unfortunately, most commercial treats for guinea pigs are packed full of artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
When you turn to the back of the package, you will notice high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and other harmful ingredients.
Not only are these terrible for your guinea pig’s health, but they can also cause them to refuse their usual food. Your guinea pig will start to demand treats at every meal.
Therefore, these commercial treats are a waste of money and bad for your pet.
Instead, you can offer your guinea pig berries and other fruit that it likes as treats. Since berries offer nutritional benefits and have high vitamin C content, they will improve your pet’s health too.
You can also offer your pig some rolled oats occasionally.
If you want to do something truly special for your precious little pet, just stuff some Timothy hay into a cardboard tube and offer it to them.
They will love the play and treat combination, and you will notice your pet being happier and healthier than ever!
You can also make feeding time fun by making hay balls for your guinea pig to chew on and play with.
What Food Should You Not Offer Guinea Pigs?
While there are lots of different kinds of human foods that guinea pigs can enjoy safely, some fruits and vegetables can cause them to get seriously sick.
These kinds of foods must be avoided at all costs. Your guinea pig has a sensitive stomach that can easily become bloated and upset if offered the wrong food.
Below, you will find a comprehensive list of human foods that should never be offered to guinea pigs.
All of these are either poisonous to your pet, too high in fat, contain a high sugar content, or are a choking hazard.
Some food must also be avoided as it offers no nutritional value and will fill up your guinea pig, stopping them from eating the food that is good for them.
- Caffeine (in any form)
- Bread and other wheat-based products
- Peanut butter
- Nuts and seeds
- Dairy products
- Bok choy
- Iceberg lettuce
- Onion, garlic, and other aromatics
You should also be careful in not offering your guinea pigs any home-grown plants.
These include any veggies, grass, or flowers that have emerged from your garden or indoor plant pots.
These plants contain high levels of pesticides as well as other chemical hazards.
Numerous houseplants are also proven to be toxic to your guinea pigs and can be severely detrimental to their health.
All the best in feeding your guinea pig a nutritional and healthy diet!
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