Guinea pigs are herbivorous animals, so their diet should be based on a bunch of healthy plants and fruits.
However, not all natural produce is suitable for their G.I system.
What Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
Cavies tend to be picky about their food, which can lead to insufficient nutrient intake.
Therefore, it’s essential to serve them items they like and that are easily digestible.
Typically, guinea pigs respond best to fresh veggies and fruits but providing them a combination of different species is a must to keep their gut function working.
Guinea pals have an ultra-sensitive digestive mechanism as they don’t consume a variety of food products, such as meat and seafood.
Since their internal system becomes used to digesting only one type of food, it doesn’t respond well to other food groups.
Resultantly, their diet gets restricted.
But while cavy companions can only eat plants, they can have a mix of veggies and fruits to take a well-balanced diet.
As pet parents, choosing the right eatables for a piggy pal can be tricky because you can never be sure how they will react to a particular feast.
On top of that, if you feed them a vegetarian meal that happens to have an unsuitable component for their gut, they may develop an illness.
Simply put, drafting a diet chart for cavies is not easy; in fact, sometimes it can get overwhelming, especially for new piggy parents.
That said, there are some rules and food choices to consider when planning a meal for your cavy companion to make matters straightforward for yourself.
Guinea Pigs And Food
Cavies love nothing more than an endless supply of dry and utterly appetizing hay.
They enjoy gobbling down their crunchy fodder so much that if you don’t give them anything else, they will not complain.
However, that’s not a healthy option for your fur child’s gut. Therefore, providing them with an assortment of vegetables and fruits is vital.
Vegetables Guinea Pigs Can Eat
As discussed earlier, not all fresh produce is good for guineas. This means you cannot serve them just about any vegetable available in the pantry.
You must consider your little one’s internal mechanism and, of course, flavor preferences (as long as their choices are limited to only a few plant varieties).
Cavies tend to stick to familiar food tastes, which is why they often reject any new flavors pet owners try. But that shouldn’t stop you from making changes to your fur pal’s diet.
You need to remain persistent and give them small servings of a new item to get them used to it.
Once they get accustomed to the taste of a plant, they will begin consuming it without fuss.
One of the easiest rules to remember when feeding cavies are opting for leafy greens. Those vegetables are not only good for a guinea pal’s health but also suit their palette.
Yet, other options are also available that you can include in your tiny friend’s diet.
- Romaine lettuce (but never iceberg lettuce)
- Bell peppers, particularly the yellow ones
- Butternut squash
- Brussel sprouts
- Collard greens
- Celery stalks and leaves
- Most dark green veggies
The list mentioned above contains all the veggies suitable for your fluffy baby. Though don’t feed too much of those to your pet.
Too many veggies in a day can overwhelm your little fellow’s tummy and cause diarrhea. Therefore, avoid overfeeding them. Stick to a cup (or a maximum of two) of vegetables per day.
But if you notice that your cavy companion doesn’t finish the serving you give them, reduce the quantity. Also, don’t reuse a batch of veggies left by your pet because that can be harmful.
Renew the food you give your piggy pal every day to keep their gut working right.
Word OF Caution
If your friend seems disinterested in eating and keeps leaving food behind even after you have reduced the serving size, take them to a vet immediately.
Loss of appetite is more often than not a sign of an underlying health issue.
Guinea Pigs And Fruits
Fruits for guineas are like candies for kids; too much of either is bad for health.
The pulpy fruity goodness is loaded with sugar, which is why too much of it can be harmful to cavies.
That said, you can offer one piece of fruit as a treat to your pet every 2-3 days. Daily fruit intake is unhealthy for guinea pigs.
Just as with vegetables, cavies cannot have all kinds of fruits.
If you want to treat your fuzzy friend once in a while, stick to the fruits mentioned above. Or consult your vet if you wish to go for a different fruit.
Guinea Pigs And Scurvy
Cavies are susceptible to developing a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C known as scurvy, which is characterized by weak bones/joints and skin lesions.
The adorable little pets are likely to develop vitamin c deficiency as their bodies do not make any.
So, naturally, if they don’t get it orally, they will not have sufficient vitamin C, resulting in scurvy.
To save piggy pals from getting scurvy, parents should feed citrus fruits and veggies to their little ones.
Generally, a natural diet is enough to make up for the lack of essential nutrient. But sometimes, supplements may be needed.
To determine whether you need to put your pet on pills, consult your veterinarian.
Fruits and Veggies Rich In Vitamin C
- Bell peppers
- Tomatoes (only the fruit)
Guinea pigs require anywhere between 10 to 50 mg of vitamin C daily.
So when preparing your fur friend’s meal, make sure that you don’t exceed the recommended dosage of the vital nutrient.
Foods Not Suitable For Guinea Pigs
Like humans, guineas can have allergic reactions to certain foods, or some eatables may be too high in sugar or fats, leading to obesity.
In simple terms, calorie-dense foods are not the best choice for your pet’s meals.
- Dairy products
- Iceberg lettuce
- Peanut butter
- Sweet peas
- Products containing caffeine
Fresh Food Is The Way To Go For Guinea Pigs
Packaged or canned foods can often seem like a convenient solution to satiate a hungry guinea pig. However, that’s not the case.
As mentioned earlier, cavies have a delicate digestive system and cannot absorb any food with additives.
Additives and other synthetic compounds are mixed to preserve food items, making them harmful for guineas.
On top of that, many packaged products contain artificial sweeteners that are a big no-no for small animals. Therefore, stay away from all canned or preserved goods.
Change Pellets Daily
Pellets are guinea pigs’ droppings that are packed with nutrients and a food resource for cavies.
As off-putting and disgusting as this concept may be, it is a natural process to provide piggy pals with sufficient nutrition.
So, don’t stop your fur fellow from consuming their pellets, but remove the leftovers after 24 hours.
Stale droppings don’t have enough nutritional value as the fresh ones.
If you feed your cavy companion right and stick by the do’s and don’ts of feeding a guinea pig, you can spend happy and healthy eight years with your pet.
And whenever you begin to doubt your choices, reach out to your vet to make the best food choices for your little one.
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