Guinea Pig Diet to Ensure a Long and Happy Life for Your Pet

Feeding the right guinea pig diet will help to ensure a long and happy life for your pet. While the guinea pig's diet is fairly simple, there are a few special needs that you'll need to meet. Remember that the guinea pig is a strict vegetarian; it will eat fruits, vegetables and bread but no meat.

  • Water: Healthy guinea pig diets begin with plenty of fresh water. A guinea pig's water should be changed at least once a day. Be sure to wash the bottle or bowl out thoroughly. If you use a bottle, make sure to rinse the feeder stem and the ball inside.
  • Hay: Hay is a staple guinea pig food. Even if you feed pellets, you must also feed hay. New hay should be placed in the pig's cage every day. The best hay for a guinea pig is Timothy hay. Alfalfa has too much calcium and can lead to bladder stones.
  • Pellets: Choose a pellet with the proper balance of minerals, nutrients and vitamins. Pellets should be fed every day, as they are the main source of protein for your guinea pig. Do not use guinea pig mixes that contain nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are high in fats and oils and can cause weight gain. Avoid nuts and seeds that are still in their shells; this is a choking hazard for the guinea pig.
  • Vitamin C: A guinea pig's body does not manufacture Vitamin C, nor does it store it. Without enough Vitamin C, your guinea pig is at risk for Scurvy. Feed an adult guinea pig 10mg of Vitamin C every day. If your guinea pig is pregnant or nursing, it should have 20mg of Vitamin C every day. Even if the pellets have Vitamin C, you should supplement, because the Vitamin C in the pellets breaks down quickly while the pellets are stored. It's best to add a Vitamin C supplement to your guinea pig's water to ensure the pig gets its daily dose.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: Eating the same thing all the time gets boring, so supplement your guinea pig's diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially beneficial for pregnant and nursing sows, as fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C and water. If you notice runny droppings, cut down on the fresh greens; they act as a laxative if you give a lot at one time. Be sure to clean up any uneaten fresh food from the cage so that it won't decay and cause disease.
  • Foods to avoid: Do not give a guinea pig celery or iceberg lettuce. These both act as a laxative in large amounts and have little to no nutritional value for pigs. Also avoid raw beans and rhubarb, which are poisonous to guinea pigs.
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