This is so far the complete guinea pig food informative article that I have come across. What can guinea pigs eat? Read this article!
Ever since I have made up my mind that my niece will receive a guinea pig from me, I got quite heavy with my research, and now I would like to share with you my findings. Because I have found numerous bad advice online on how to feed your guinea pig, I will share with you a list of foods that are great for them and which you have to avoid and much more.
I hope that if you are reading this and you have a guinea pig, that you are aware that they are herbivores. Based on that knowledge, you should know that most of their diet should be based on HQ guinea pig hay. Also, pelleted guinea pig food, and you can give them fresh fruit and veggies, but only in limited amounts each day. If they are suffering from an imbalance in their diet, you will find out quite quick. The most common symptoms of lousy guinea pig diet are chronic diarrhea and other illnesses like obesity or heart, kidney, or liver diseases.
Ok, this is enough for a brief introduction. Now you should know that it is essential what foods guinea pig eats. Unlike cats and dogs, guinea pig food has to be just for them. Cat and dogs will eat almost any leftovers, and they will be fine. Don’t get me wrong, the guinea pig will also eat almost all leftovers from you, but there is a good chance that it will die quite quick. And we want to avoid that!
Guinea Pig Food Care 101
If you read this whole article, you will become an expert on the guinea pig food diet.
How many times per day should Guinea Pig eat
This is one of those little known facts. Even when I was in the pet store, they got it wrong. The guinea pig should eat twice a day. Which is not that hard to achieve, but where it gets tricky. Guinea pigs should be eating around the same time each day. The best way to feed them is twice a day, preferably in the morning and in the evening. But you have to be careful because these animals like to overeat. And they should not. If they did not finish their “meal” within an hour apart from serving, take the all uneaten food and do not give them any new one until it is “eating time” for them again.
Why should one do that? If you want to have this pet for as long as possible, it is crucial to do this. If not, they could quickly get obese and get illnesses that go hand in hand with being overweight.
What and how much should Guinea Pig drink
The best water for a guinea pig would be freshwater, which is already filtered and preferably chlorine-free. A widespread mistake that most owners do is that they give them water in the morning and the evening with their food. But that is the wrong idea. These animals have to have 24/7 access to a liquid. Especially when the weather is quite warm like today, it is quite common for guinea pigs to die because of a heat stroke. So to prevent this, their water intake is very crucial. They should drink at least 4-6 ounces of water each day.
If you genuinely like your pet, you should change the water to clean one each day. And at least every week or two, you should clean their water bottle thoroughly.
What can Guinea Pigs eat on daily basis
What do guinea pigs eat? Here is what any guinea pig diet should be consistent with
Hay is a significant portion of their diet. They need to hay each day to have enough fiber to digest all the food they eat each day properly. Also, if they do not consume hay, their teeth grow out of control. Each guinea pig should eat hay to break down their teeth, which are continually increasing. To prevent their teeth from overgrowing, they need to chew a lot. When it comes to buying hay for your pet, you should make sure it is not only fresh and high quality. But you should also make sure if it is clean and dry enough. And also make sure it is mold-free. Lately, I have bought by mistake hay with mold; you do not want that!
If you are looking for hay for your pet, I can recommend getting this one.
Also, a viable option to serve your balanced pet nutrition is pellets. This is, of course, not the best option possible, but there are high-quality pellets out there. Just make sure, when you are choosing one, making sure that veterinarians tested this pelleted food, and it was approved. Other than that, make sure you are following instructions that are on the packaging. One of the perks is that these have the ideal dosage of vital vitamins and other essential nutrients and of course, fiber.
Are even vegetables healthy for them? From the research I have found. It is recommended to give them up to one cup of veggies each day. The best veggies to feed them are organic and fresh greens. For example, fresh organic Romain lettuce might be the best choice, but also carrot tops are right for them, peas, cucumbers, spinach, and even broccoli spears. You can also give them artichokes and kale. If you can think of any other dark green vegetable, you can probably feed it to them too.
All of these vegetables that are mentioned here are great for their health and overall being. These veggies provide them with minerals and vitamins they need. But don’t be lazy, you need to wash all of the veggies thoroughly before giving them to your guinea pig. You need to wash down all the pesticides from the vegetables before feeding them to your pet. Also, you should keep in mind that yes, you can give them up to one cup a day of veggies. But if you have never fed your pet with them, don’t start with one cup, increase the number of vegetables each day. Maybe start with one eight of a cup and go from there.
Also, one thing you should avoid 100% of times: Do not feed your guinea pig with cold veggies; do not ever do that.
What fruits can Guinea Pigs eat
You can give fruit to your guinea pig. But truth to be told, it is far better to feed them with veggies rather than fruit. And it is due to the high sugar content in fruits. So yes, you can feed fruits to your pet. But make sure you are only giving them small portions. Maybe like a bite-size portion of fruit each day, just as a treat for your pet. A little piece of fruit will provide them with Vitamin C, which is very crucial for them.
Quite favorite fruit for guinea pigs are oranges, pears, apples, strawberries, blueberries, papayas, kiwi, and peaches. And the same applies here as it has referred to veggies. You need to make sure that you have correctly washed down all the pesticides from the fruit before serving it to them. And also, make sure the fruit is not cold when serving!
Can I give my guinea pig treats
Yes and no. You can give them small treats. But if you decide to do so, it should be within their “eating time.” So if you want to provide them with a treat, do it during the morning or the evening. Also, you should keep in mind that the treats should not contain more than 5-15% of guinea pig’s total food intake for that day. The best option as far as treats go, are fruits if you are not sure which ones, read the paragraph before this. Other than that, you can also give them, for example, tomatoes, but leave the stems and leaves in that thrash. Also, they quite like carrots or green or even red bell pepper might be a tasty treat. Also, there are a lot of options other than fart as commercially produced treats. But you should keep in mind, when buying those, that they contain artificial sweeteners and a good chunk of salt and sugar and in some cases, even sodium. So you might read the label first before you buy the treat.
If you genuinely like your pet, you should never give them these foods, which I am about to list.
Anything containing caffeine
Products containing dairy
A lot of these foods can’t be eaten by guinea pigs, because they contain a way to much sugar or fat. These foods can cause gas issues and even bloat your pet. Also, it is a good idea to never feed your pet with any plants, grass, or flowers that may contain pesticides or other chemicals.
Why Guinea Pigs need vitamin C
The main reason for this is that guinea pigs cannot synthesize vitamin C. With that being said, and they have quite a significant chance of developing quite a quick vitamin C deficiency. To keep your pet healthy, you should give him 25-55 mg of vitamin c each day.
If you have the right pellet and treats for your pet, you should be fine, but you might double-check the packages if there is enough vitamin c, for your pet.
Can I supplement Vitamin C for my Guinea Pig
Yes, you can. But it is not very common to do that. It is far more common to give them treat, which contains vitamin C, or many people are just feeding them with citrus fruits and veggies, which include a lot of vitamin C.
Guinea Pig Foods with Vitamin C vs. Vitamin V supplement
I always prefer to advise you to feed your pet with foods that are rich with vitamin C, rather than supplementing with vitamin C directly. If they eat enough food with vitamin C during the day. It will get absorbed throughout the day. And not only in one big spike from the vitamin C supplement. Also, it is quite hard to find vitamin C supplement for such small pets like this one is. Because they only need 25-55mg of vitamin c each day. So if they eat at least a bit healthy diet, they should get 5-25 mg of vitamin c each day. So you are looking for a supplement that has 30-50 mg of vitamin C per serving. And the most common once in-store have around 250 mg of vitamin C. Also, there is a good chance if you “overdose” your pet with vitamin C, they will get dehydrated, and they can die from heatstroke.
Should I take my guinea pig to a veterinarian?
Is something out of the norm happening with your guinea pig? If you have ever heard him sneeze or if your guinea pig has crusty eyes, you should go with him to a veterinarian right away.
In case their food/diet was unchanged, and they are experiencing weight loss or diarrhea or even hair loss, you should go immediately to your veterinarian.
If you take good care of your pet, your guinea pig can live eight years or more. And I feel like this should go without saying, but your guinea pig should get annual check-ups.
Most Common Questions About Guinea Pig Foods
Here are some most common questions that I have received from my readers. Most of them are about how much of a specific food can GP eat.
Can Guinea Pigs eat Grapes?
Also, can guinea pigs eat green or red grapes? There is no such difference for guinea pigs when it comes to red or green grapes. But could they eat them daily?
They can eat them in minimal quantities. No research would support that grapes are toxic for them, as they are for some other animals. But truth to be told, they are some risks involved when you are feeding your guinea pig with grapes.
The biggest issue with feeding grapes to your pet is that grapes contain a lot of sugar. Even though that grapes seem small for us, there are almost equivalent of an enormous melon for us. If you do not want to shorten your guinea pig’s lifespan, make sure you are feeding him with grapes only once in a while. And when you do, it is only 5-15% of his total food consumption of that day.
Also, do not feed them with a whole grape. Make several slices from each vine and give them just a slice or two. And keep in mind that there is also a vitamin C in grapes. Which is healthy for your pet, but do not overdo it due to the high sugar content of this fruit.
Yes, guinea pigs can eat grapes; it does not matter if they are red or green grapes. But make sure you are not overfeeding them with this fruit because there are far better fruits to give to your pet.
Can Guinea Pig Eat Apples?
Yes, Guinea Pig can eat apples. But I would do not overfeed them with this fruit, or with any fruit for that matter. You should never give them a whole apple, provide just a few slices to your pet, or maybe even just one. You should make those slices as small as possible. Not only for the proper digestion and more natural chewing for them, but there is also quite a reasonable risk that your pet might choke in a big chunk of an apple.
My Guinea Pig has diarrhea after eating an apple
Well, there are two reasons why your pet has diarrhea. You have either give way to much fruit to your pet that day. Or you have given him away to much of an apple with a peel. The most amount of fiver that is within an apple is in the skin. So next time, give your pet a smaller portion of apple and peel the skin off the apple. Also, if you are trying to get rid of diarrhea, do not give your guinea pig fruit and veggies for a few days.
Can guinea pigs eat strawberries
Yes, your guinea pig can eat strawberries regularly. And they can also eat the tops and leaves of the strawberry. The top and leaves might be even better for them than the strawberry itself. But it has to pesticides free.
Strawberry is one of the best fruits to give to your guinea pig. Not only that it contains a lot of Vitamin C. But strawberries is one of the lowest calories fruit out there. This is the reason why is strawberry an excellent choice as a treat for your pet. But you should still not give them the whole strawberry but just a slice or two. And of course, regularly, I do not mean on a day to day basis. And the same rules apply even for strawberries. You should not give your pet more than 5-15% of their total food intake of that day!
What do Guinea Pigs like to eat?
Strawberries are just one of those fruits they love to eat every day. But as a responsible pet owner, you should not feed your guinea pig with strawberries every day, even though they like it!
Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat tomatoes, but not regularly. Also, you should never feed that with stems or leaves from tomatoes, because these are toxic for them. The only reason why you should not feed them regularly with tomatoes is because of the acidity of tomatoes. The acidity of the tomato can make their mouth sore if given more often than you should.
Can guinea pigs eat broccoli
Yes, they can. Broccoli is an excellent food choice for them. First of all, unlike the other fruits and veggies, they can eat any part of the broccoli. Also, broccoli is high in vitamin C and also calcium, which is perfect for your pet. You can give them broccoli only in moderation, but they will eat leaves and even the head, so you don’t have to waste anything. The only thing you need to make sure is that the broccoli is fresh. They can’t eat cooked broccoli!
Can guinea pigs eat bananas?
Yes, they can eat bananas. It was mentioned in the list at the beginning of the article. As said earlier, they do contain a lot of sugar. Your pet should not be consuming them daily. If yes, then only in small portions. Bananas are very caloric dense food. Even for us human beings, they are quite nutritional. And we are numerously bigger than guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat celery?
Yes, they can eat celery. But it should be consumed daily. Celery contains oxalates, and also spinach, Betts, green beans, and chard contain oxalates, which hare not that healthy for guinea pigs. It can lead to developing urinary tract stones if there are too many oxalates in their diet.
If you want to feed celery to your pet, you can. But it should be given to them only as a treat on a few occasions per year.
Can guinea pigs eat watermelon?
Yes, they can eat watermelon. You can feed them with watermelon in small portions almost every week. But make sure you give them only small pieces of it. Watermelon is an excellent choice due to the low calories it contains. But it is still quite sugary food for a pet like this.
Can guinea pigs eat zucchini?
Yes, guinea pigs cat eat zucchini, and they can do it almost daily. It is very low-calorie dense food, and it does not contain as many oxalates as other green veggies do. But what I have found out is that they are quite picky and they usually do not care about zucchini. I have tried so many things to make them eat zucchini.
My last thoughts
Now you should be an expert on the topic of what can guinea pigs eat. Within this article, I have shared with you my best advice and experiences with guinea pig food choices and their diet. Now you should know everything there is to know about their nutrition. If there is something I did not cover within this article. Please reach out to me, and I will “fix” this article.