Guinea Pig Food List: What Do They Eat?

If you are looking forward to bringing a little guinea pig home, one of the most important things you should know is what it eats. Well, these gorgeous chubby-cheeked fellows are herbivores, meaning they mainly eat plant matter.

It is crucial to ensure they get balanced nutrition to keep common concerns like obesity, chronic diarrhea, and kidney, heart, or liver disease at bay.

Your guinea pig needs foods that are high on fiber, such as pelleted guinea pig foods and hay. However, they only need small portions of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dive in, and ill share with you a detailed guinea pig food list.

Proper Feeding Schedule

Your little cavy needs to be fed on a consistent schedule. Make sure it eats at least two meals each day, in the morning and evening. In case you need to introduce new foods, do so gradually because abrupt or significant changes in their diets cause digestive problems and diarrhea.

Guinea pigs, just like cats and dogs, can overeat if offered the chance. Some tips can help reduce the risk of your furry friend becoming obese.

Always empty the pellet bowl of leftovers after an hour. Also, discard any vegetables or fresh fruits the pet has not eaten after every 24 hours. It is moreover good practice to clean out old food before adding new food to the feeding bowls.

It is crucial to ensure your cavy has adequate supplies of clean, chlorine-free water. Guinea pigs consume about 5 ounces of water each day, and they could consume more during warmer seasons.

Guinea Pig Food List

Guinea pigs need diets that are rich in fiber for proper digestion. They also need plenty of Vitamin C because this is a vitamin that their bodies cannot synthesize. 30–50 mg of Vitamin C each day helps to keep scurvy and other health concerns at bay.

Your cavy needs proper nutrition to live a long and healthy life. The right diet can see your furry friend live for 8 years or more. Here is a list of what cavies eat.

Hay

One of the vital parts of your guinea pig’s diet is hay. The pet needs plenty of fiber to keep its digestive system functioning at optimal levels. Additionally, chewing hay helps to manage the size of their ever-growing teeth by subjecting them to some degree of wear.

It pays to select the right kind of hay for your cavy. Timothy hay is my personal favorite because of its overall quality. Some hay brands are not adequately dried, so they develop mold and a nasty smell.

Pellets

It’s hard to ensure your furry friend gets a balanced diet without depending on commercial guinea pig foods. These foods are uniquely formulated to have just the right dosage of essential nutrients and vitamin C.

Apart from ensuring that the product you choose is safe and approved; you must also follow the recommended feeding instructions to the letter.

Vegetables

According to the (HSUS) Humane Society of the United States, each guinea pig needs at least one cup of veggies daily.

You can feed your furry friend a range of organically grown greens, including cucumbers, spinach, carrot tops, Romaine lettuce, kales, peas, artichokes, broccoli spears, and other dark green vegetables.

You ought to introduce one vegetable at a time to avoid upsetting the digestive system of the pet. Wash all fresh produce carefully to remove pesticides and other farm chemicals. Also, it is best not to serve cold vegetables.

Fruits

Fruits have higher sugar content. Even though they are rich in Vitamin C, it is better to serve more vegetables than fruits.

Guinea pigs have an insatiable appetite for pears, kiwi, peaches, papayas, apples, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries. Again, wash all fruits to remove farm chemicals and do not serve them cold.

Treats

Treats, fruits included should not exceed 10% of the overall food your guinea pig eats each day. Be careful of commercial products that contain artificial sugar, salt, or sweeteners. Before buying any product, read its label and know which ingredients it contains.

There are commercial treats that make fun chews for guinea pigs. Cavies love chewing on things, including blocks, balls, toys, and sticks to control the growth of their teeth. Chewable treats and guinea pig salt licks also help to boot out boredom.

Cecotropes

Guinea pigs have unique nutritional needs. Cecotropes are tiny, soft droppings containing a host of nutrients from plants. When guinea pigs consume these droppings, they are instantly digested to provide an immediate nutrient boost.

Foods to Avoid

Feeding a guinea pig is fun, and it’s easy to go a little crazy on your food selection. Well, there are certain foods your pet would rather not eat for good reasons.

Some foods can poison your cavy while others have too much fats or sugar. Then again, some foods are choking hazards, cause bloating, or have zero nutritional value.

A summary of the goods you should not feed your guinea pig includes seeds, cabbage, peanut butter, and chocolate because it contains caffeine.

Your pet should also not eat mushrooms, garlic, onions, avocados, corn kernels, iceberg lettuce, nuts, rhubarb, meat, bread, bok choy, or any dairy products because they contain high levels of calcium.

The need to wash your fruits and vegetables before feeding them to your cavy cannot be emphasized enough. Also, do not give your guinea pig flowers, grass, or any plants from a garden that was recently fumigated with pesticides or other farm chemicals.

Anytime you let your pet loose to exercise and explore your outdoors, supervise what it eats because most houseplants can poison it.

What Happens When Guinea Pigs Do Not Feed Enough?

When you fail to give your cavy a balanced diet or adequate food, the ramifications are likely to be apparent in two weeks or less. You may begin to notice limping, lameness, poor coat quality, joint swelling, and shuffling.

Some of these symptoms escalate into pain any time the pet is touched. It could also show signs like abnormal bleeding beneath the skin, loss of appetite, and depression. The longer the pet stays without getting proper diets, the more severe the symptoms it will experience.

Eventually, the immune system of a cavy suffering from malnutrition shuts down. The animal begins to bleed internally, and it dies in a miserable and inhumane way. You should keep their cage clean too.

How to Keep Guinea Pig Food Fresh?

Guinea pigs need at least two meals each day. They also need a range of foods in their daily diets, so you have to meticulously remove uneaten vegetables, fruits, and other perishable foods each day before they go bad.

Any unfinished or uneaten treats should be removed at least an hour after they are served.

Pellets should, on the other hand, be replaced after 24 hours. After all, they have little or no nutritional value once they go stale. Additionally, guinea pigs are playful creatures, and they are likely to kick substantial amounts of bedding material into their food bowls.

This and any droppings they leave inside the food bowl will leave the pellets stale within a day.

Pellets are expensive, and it can be a little frustrating to throw away significant amounts of leftovers. In case you find too many pellets in the food bowl daily, consider reducing the serving to an eighth of a cup.

Final Words

As a responsible pet parent, you cannot take lightly the need to guarantee that the nutritional needs of your cavy are met. When a guinea pig does not get adequate Vitamin C, its body is unable to form connective tissue, so the immune system is unable to work correctly.

Guinea pigs are finicky eaters. They choose what to eat and will not have a bite of what they don’t like. To make things even more interesting, their dietary preferences can change overnight. In case you need more nutritional guidelines, consult a licensed exotic animal veterinarian.

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