Guinea Pigs loves to eat in fact they live to eat. The daily cycle of a Guinea pig includes Eat, poop, sleep, and repeat. As they are herbivores, their diet should include high-quality plant-like Hay. They need to have food in their digestive system constantly to avoid health problems like Diarrhea.
Now, This task of giving them healthy food can be tough sometimes so here we are to make it simple for all guinea pig owners.
Guinea Pig Diet: Daily Requirement
The basic daily dietary requirements of cavies consist of –
- Hay (70-75%)
- Pellets (20-25%)
Hay prevents obesity, dental disease, diarrhea and boredom in guinea pigs that’s why it is a vital part of their diet. It also provides fiber which helps guinea pigs to properly digest.
Types of Hay:
- Timothy Hay
- Botanical Hay
- Oat Hay
- Orchard Grass Hay
- Clover and Alfalfa Hays
You can give them an unlimited amount and different varieties of grass hay. But, you have to choose high-quality Hay. That means it should be green with pliable stalks and free from foreign particles and fragrant.
Note: Avoid alfalfa hay because it is mainly fed to young guinea pigs who are under the age of 4 months or nursing cavies. Alfalfa has a high amount of calcium that’s why it’s not good for a healthy adult cavy. So opt for timothy or orchard grass hay.
Pellets (comprised of hay) contain vitamins A, B-12, C, D & E as well as the minerals phosphorus, Niacin, Selenium, and Biotin.
How to choose the best quality pellets?
- Avoid pellets that have nuts and seeds in it.
- Choose those pellets which have been veterinarian-tested and approved.
- Alfalfa based pellets are best suited for young cavies as they are high in calcium, fat, and sugar.
- Timothy hay pellets are suitable for all cavies.
1/4 – 1/8 cup per day is recommended to prevent obesity. Timothy hay can be given unlimited.
NOTE: Pellets are less important than hay! High-quality grass hay is a must for overall guinea pig health.
Fresh and filtered (not distilled) water must be available in a water bottle for them especially during summers, as guinea pigs are vulnerable to heatstroke. Give them at least 5 ounces of water daily.
Note: Don’t forget to empty, clean and re-fill the water bottle daily to avoid health problems.
Guinea Pig Diet: Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are less important for guinea pigs daily diet.
Fresh vegetables can be given once a day. Leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale, romaine or parsley.
1 cup (240ml) max of veggies to each adult per day. Also, you don’t have to necessarily give them a whole cup of veggies. You should limit the intake of veggies as some foods contain a high amount of calcium and can lead to bladder stones.
Fruits can be offered occasionally as treats several times a week or fewer than vegetables. Wash all fruits before serving them.
Small bite-sized portions daily or big portions once in a week due to the high amount of sugar.
General Tip: Always include new vegetables or fruits gradually in their diet to avoid bowl problems. If your piggy develops loose stool, lower the number of veggies.
Guinea Pig Diet Chart:
Must Read: WHY DO GUINEA PIGS EAT THEIR POOP?
Guinea Pig Diet: Commercial Treats
These treats are just extras for your piggy. We won’t recommend them because your cavy would be perfectly happy with the high quality of hay, pellets, veggies & fruits. Treats usually contain artificial sweeteners which makes them not so good options. So offer them treats very occasionally and not instead of basic foods.
Overall Health of Guinea Pigs
Your guinea pig can develop health problems due to nutritional or digestive issues. Visit the vet if you notice these problems in your cavy:
- Irregular eating & drinking
- Blood in urine
- Sitting still or hunched
- Sore feet
- Overgrown teeth or drooling
- Bald patches or excessive hair fall
Always remember prevention is better than cure. So keep your cavies healthy.
Always check if your guinea pig has left some food in the bowl or not. If yes, then you need to give them less of it and remove uneaten food. Pellets should be given in adequate quantity so that it doesn’t get wasted as stale pellets have very little vitamin C. And remember to clean their food bowl and water bottle regularly.