|It is important to feed your guinea pig a balanced diet so that they remain fit, active and healthy, and it is vital that your guinea pig has access to fresh water at all times. |
Guinea Pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, so it is vital that it is provided in their diet as without it they can develop scurvy and become very ill. Most guinea pigs need around 30 mg of vitamin C per day and if you feed a good selection of fruit and vegetables that are high in vitamin C along with a good quality guinea pig mix or pellet, you can usually meet the vitamin C requirements of the average guinea pig.
If you feel your guinea pig isn't getting his daily requirement of vitamin C, supplements specially formulated for guinea pigs can be added to their diet. Vitamin C tablets can be either added to their water or directly to their food.
Guinea Pig Food
A range of guinea pig mixes and pellets are sold in our store and in pet shops. They have been designed with the nutritional needs of guinea pigs in mind and they consist of a variety of dried vegetables and grains. You shouldn't feed your guinea pig food that has been designed for other animals as it may not be nutritious enough and it could even cause health problems.
Guinea Pig food is dry and it should be fed to your guinea pig alongside an unlimited amount of hay and some vegetables.
Grass hay, such as timothy or oat hay, should be made available for your guinea pig at all times. Fibre is vital to the normal function of your guinea pig's digestive system and hay is a very important source of fibre.
Young guinea pigs can be fed alfalfa hay as it is higher in calcium and protein than regular grass hay, but grass hay should be introduced into their diet at 6 - 7 months old and they should be weaned off alfalfa hay completely by the time they are a year old. Alfalfa hay is a good supplement for pregnant or nursing guinea pigs, but it should not be given as part of a daily diet to most adult guinea pigs.
You should ensure the hay you feed to your guinea pig is free from dust and mould.
A variety of vegetables should make up a large portion of your guinea pig's diet and they should be introduced from an early age.
Leafy greens are high in vitamin C and they should make up the bulk of the vegetable portion. Good choices include parsley, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and turnip greens. Other fruit and vegetables that can be fed to your guinea pig include apple, apricots, bananas, oranges, grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, carrots, carrot tops, and bell peppers
Some vegetables can cause gas production in the digestive tract and digestive problems in guinea pigs so they should be avoided. These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, and rhubarb. Iceberg lettuce is ok to be fed to guinea pigs, however it has almost no nutritional value so should therefore be avoided.
Any vegetables should be thoroughly washed before your feed them to your guinea pig.
Plants & Flowers
Plants and flowers are a nice treat for your guinea pig but you should ALWAYS make sure that they are safe for your guinea pig to eat. If you are in any doubt about the safety of the plant, DO NOT feed it to your guinea pig. Examples of some safe plants are: dandelion leaves, grass, cow parsley, yarrow and groundsel.
A wide variety of guinea pig treats are available in our store or your local pet shop. Your guinea pig will really enjoy these however, treats should be given sparingly to avoid obesity.
When to Feed
Your guinea pig should be fed twice daily, in the morning and evening, and his hay topped up as often as he requires. When you feed your guinea pig, make sure you remove any leftover vegetables and food from his hutch to avoid them rotting and going mouldy. Always check your guinea pig's water bottle and top up as required.
Changing your Guinea Pig's Food
Guinea Pigs have a very sensitive digestive system, so any changes to their diet should be done gradually.
If you are changing your guinea pig's food to include some new types of vegetables, only add one at a time to his diet and monitor him for any digestive upsets. This way you will be able to identify which vegetable is causing him problems so you can omit it from his diet.