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Diet of Guinea Pigs

Pet Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs eat fruits and vegetables, but not all vegetables are good for them. Some foods cause allergic reactions in guinea pigs that may result in death. A guinea pig’s body cannot produce its own Vitamin C, so we must give them vitamin C-enriched foods to avoid diseases and infection.

What should you feed?

In the wild, guinea pigs consume plenty of hay. Hay is rich in fiber and helps maintain their body’s health. Likewise, give your guinea pig low calcium content hay, Timothy-hay-based pellets (specially made for guinea pigs). Consult your guinea pig’s veterinarian regarding good food to feed them, too.

Guinea pig teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime. Chewing on hay all the time makes your guinea pig grind their teeth.

You can provide your pet with one cup of fresh vegetables daily. Ensure the vegetables are washed properly before feeding them to your pet (they may contain residual fertilizer). Avoid feeding them cold vegetables; whatever you give them should be at room temperature.

Guinea Pig’s Usual Favorites (Vegetables)

  • Romaine lettuce (never iceberg lettuce)
  • Carrots and carrot tops
  • Peas
  • Broccoli spears
  • Spinach
  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes (not the stems or leaves)
  • Green and red bell peppers
  • Other dark green veggies
  • Cantaloupe
  • Green peppers
  • Parsley
  • Green and red leaf lettuce
Guinea Pig 1

You can provide your pet fruits but they should be fewer than vegetables. In this way, you can balance your pet’s vitamin and mineral contents and also provides the required vitamin C. The fruits which Guinea pigs can eat are,

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Cucumbers
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon

Once in a while, you have to provide your pets treats so that they will become even happier and healthier. Fruits may be provided as treats but make sure that they don’t exceed 10% of the total food intake. Chewable toys make them excited since it helps them grind their teeth.

Cecotropes are essential, too, and play a major role in your guinea pig’s health. Cecotropes are small, soft pellets that contain nutrients absorbed from plants and are uniquely present for guinea pigs.

What NOT to Feed your Guinea Pigs

There are foods that cause allergies or are generally toxic for guinea pigs; whether they contain too much calcium or sugar or simply don’t provide nutritional value, do NOT feed these to your pets as they may cause choking, gassiness, or make your guinea pig bloated:

  • Chocolate (or anything else containing caffeine)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Seeds
  • Corn kernels
  • Peanut butter
  • Rhubarb
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Dairy products
  • Bread
  • Meat
  • Poppies
  • All the type of house plants
  • Citric fruits
  • Commercial Guinea Pig treats

Feeding Schedule

Feed your pet twice a day (morning and evening). Ensure cleanliness of their enclosure by removing all residual food an hour after you give it to them. Make sure you remove the old food before giving them a new serving.

Hay and water should be present in their hutch at all times – regularly check to make sure it is clean. Wash the water bottle daily and provide them chlorine-free fresh filtered water.

Overfeeding

Between socializing and eating, be more mindful when feeding them. Overfeeding leads to obesity, and this shortens their lifespan.

Maintain a schedule and never provide them anything other than hay if it isn’t feeding time.

Canned foods

Avoid giving them foods that you eat, apart from vegetables. Never ever provide them preserved foods like chips, popcorns, biscuits, candies, or any other sugar-content canned foods.

Guinea pigs don’t have the bodily ability to break down the sugars. Never give them milk or curd or any dairy products, either

Consumption of these, accidental or not, will make them suffer from severe diarrhea.

Importance Of Vitamin C

Guinea pig bodies can’t independently produce Vitamin C, hence why we provide supplements.Vitamin C is essential for living organisms to ensure healthy skin, joints, and blood vessels.

Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

  • Swollen Joints
  • Weak
  • Lack energy
  • Rough hair
  • Lose their appetite
  • Lose their weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding of joints

Vitamin C enriched food for your Guinea Pigs

  • Green (bell) peppers
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Red cabbage
  • Turnip greens
  • Kale

Don’t give them any multivitamin supplements. Guinea pigs need at least 10 mg/kg of vitamin C a day, whereas the gravid Guinea Pigs need 30 mg/kg daily.

Force-feeding

Though guinea pigs love to eat, they sometimes refuse to eat fortwo2 days. Being sick robs them of energy to consume food, for example.

Loss of appetite is the first symptom for all health-related issues in Guinea Pigs.

At these times, take them to their veterinarian, and with their guide, you may force-feed your guinea pig. Ask your vet about the frequency and the amount of the Critical care mixture to feed your pet.

You will NOT be force-feeding your guinea pig with fruits and vegetables. Your vet will suggest a critical care powder, and you have to mix that with warm water. Force-feeding this liquid substance requires a needless syringe.

Remove the needle and fill it with the mixture (1 part critical care powder: 2 parts warm water). Never lift your guinea pigs from the round when force-feeding, as this may cause respiratory problems if food goes on the wrong tract.

Guinea Pig Playing

Your guinea pig won’t be comfortable with this process, so use a blanket so that your pet may rest and hide with and hold them gently. Ensure there are no air bubbles in the syringe. Once preparations are done, softly push the filled-up syringe just behind their front teeth.

Don’t completely push the food using the plunger! Give time to chew and get used to the mixture. If they cough or squeak during the process, immediately stop pushing the plunger and proceed after they stop coughing.

Remember to discard any left-over food when feeding. If you suspect that your guinea pig might be ill, constantly check their weight. The continuous drop indicates there might be something wrong – immediately take them to their veterinarian.

Forcefeeding water

Never force-feed water to your Guinea Pigs as they can aspirate into his lungs. Instead, give your pet food with high water content like watermelon and/or soak the vegetables in water before you give them to your pet.

Those options will give them enough water that they will need. Also, make sure that their water bottle is working by squeezing them.

Final Thoughts

Guinea Pigs are beautiful pets who have to monitor while feeding. Always remember that the loss of appetite is the first symptom of any kind of sickness. Always give them low calcium content hay and pellets, specially made for guinea pigs. Ask their veterinarian about the appropriate food proportion for your guinea pig specifically (they have different dietary needs).