Raising guinea pigs is easy and enjoyable. This is because guinea pigs are low maintenance, and their care is straight forward. All you need is to provide them with the right housing and proper nutrition. There are several foods that you can feed your guinea pig that provides them with the proper nutrition.
Generally speaking, you can feed your guinea pig on grass hay such as Timothy hay supplemented with several different fruits and vegetables.
What foods can I feed my guinea pig?
Guinea pigs are strict herbivores. In the wild they feed on grass and seasonal wild fruits and vegetables. You should therefore feed pet guinea pigs on a diet that is as close to this as possible.
Guinea pigs can eat 3 types of food that provide for their nutritional requirements including.
- Grass hay
- Fruits and vegetables
- Commercial pellets
Grass hay is an important food in the guinea pig diet. This is because it has a number of benefits.
First, guinea pig teeth grow constantly throughout their life. Grass hay is abrasive to the teeth. As a result, grass hay helps to keep the guinea pig teeth short and healthy.
Secondly grass provides most of the nutrients that guinea pigs need.
Additionally, grass contains both digestible and indigestible fibers that are important for guinea pigs. Digestible fibers is used by GI bacteria to produce vitamin B and amino acids. Indigestible fibers help to keep the intestinal tract moving at normal speed.
Provide a constant supply of fresh grass or grass hay such as.
- Pasture grass
You should avoid legume hays such as alfafa or lucerne because they have too high levels of calories, calcium and proteins for guinea pigs.
Store guinea pig hay in a cool dry place. This avoids growth of mold and mildew that may make your guinea pig sick.
Fruits and vegetables
Guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for the normal development and maintenance of skin, joints and mucous membranes.
Guinea pigs need 10 – 50 mg of vitamin C per day. Since they cannot produce their own vitamin C, guinea pigs therefore require an outside source of vitamin C.
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C. You should therefore feed your guinea pig on fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Fresh organically grown vegetables and fruits are the best.
Vegetables that guinea pigs can eat
There are several vegetables that you can feed your guinea pig including.
- Carrot and carrot tops
- Broccoli spears
- Green and red bell paper
- Tomatoes (not the stem and leaves)
- Red leaf lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Beet greens
- Other dark green leaf veggies
Fruits for guinea pigs
Fruits are a good source of vitamin C. You should however limit the amount of fruits you give your guinea pig. This is because feeding to much of fruit sugar can cause an imbalance in the intestinal bacteria leading to digestive problems such as diarrhea.
There are a number of fruits that you can feed guinea pigs including.
You should not feed more than 1 cup of fruits and vegetables per guinea pig per day. When feeding fruits and vegetables, remember to wash them so as to avoid introducing germs and parasites to your guinea pigs.
Commercial pellets for guinea pigs
There are several store-bought pellets that are specially formulated for guinea pigs. These provide a balanced nutrition with the ideal volume of vitamin C and other nutrients.
Choose pelleted food that is veterinarian approved. When feeding follow the instructions given on the package as a guide.
Store bought pellets are available in pet stores and online platforms such as Amazon.
Examples of good guinea pig pellets include.
- Oxbow Essential Guinea Pig Food
- Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Diet for Guinea Pigs
- Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food
What foods should you avoid?
There are so many foods that you should avoid feeding to your guinea pigs for various reasons.
Some foods may be poisonous and can kill your guinea pigs.
Other foods contain too much sugar, fat or calcium. Too much sugar, fat or calcium is not good for guinea pigs.
Others are potential choke hazards.
While others have no nutritional value and can cause bloating.
Below is a short list of foods that you should avoid feeding to your guinea pig.
- Dairy products
- Iceberg lettuce
- Corn kennels
- Bok choy
- Peanut butter
Do not feed guinea pigs on human foods such as fast foods.
How much food should I feed my guinea pig?
Guinea pigs do not usually overeat. However, you should ensure that you feed them a proper balance of hay, pellets, fruits and vegetables.
You can feed your guinea pigs on vitamin C fortified pellets supplemented with hay, vegetables and fruits.
Feed 1/8 cup of commercial pellets once daily.
Unlimited amount of fresh grass hay should be made available to guinea pigs daily. Ideally, grass hay should make 70% of the guinea pig diet.
Fresh vegetables and fruits should be made available each day. Feed 1 cup of fresh vegetables and fruits daily to each guinea pig.
What about water?
Guinea pigs require unlimited fresh supply of water daily. Therefore, always provide clean fresh water (chlorine free) to your guinea pigs.
Use sippers such as to provide water to your guinea pigs. Ensure that you clean the sipper bottles daily and check the tubes for obstructions in the tips that could interfere with water flow regularly.
Water bowls are not practical because guinea pigs tend to soil their water and knock over bowls. Therefore, you should avoid water bowls.