Guinea Pig diet should consist mainly of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. It is important to limit their consumption of foods high in calcium or oxalic acid as these could cause digestive upset; additionally it would be prudent to minimize exposure to cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) that cause gas in their digestive systems.
Daily treats should include banana slices, sugarless orange citrus fruit wedges, blueberries and strawberries as tasty daily snacks.
Guinea pigs need a variety of vegetables in order to remain healthy. Being predominantly herbivorous, they require plenty of leafy greens (spring greens, kale and cabbage) in their diet as a source of vitamins and minerals; in addition, carrots, celery roots and even fruits that we typically consider vegetables such as blueberries can all play a vital role.
Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuces, mustard or turnip greens, cabbage, kale, endive carrot tops cilantro mint silver beet should form the majority of a guinea pig’s diet. Other items to add occasionally to their meals might include red/green peppers kohlrabi radish zucchini red/green peppers peppers red/green peppers peppers kohlrabi radish zucchini
Guinea pigs require fresh foods as part of a varied and complete diet, alongside high quality pelleted food. Vegetables should also be consumed regularly as part of this plan, which helps satisfy their natural desire to chew while providing important nutrition. Without enough vegetables in their diets, health issues like weight gain, stress or diabetes may arise.
Romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuces, mustard and turnip greens, cabbage and kale make excellent daily choices. Other beneficial choices are fennel, parsley and both curly-leafed celery varieties.
Fruit is essential to guinea pig nutrition as they do not produce their own vitamin C and must obtain it through their food source. Orange citrus fruits such as satsumas, tangerines and clementines contain particularly high concentrations of Vitamin C while other sources include grapes (remove seeds before consumption), melons and mango.
Fresh herbs provide another means of fulfilling nutritional requirements, with two or more servings being recommended per day. Natural and pesticide-free sources include dandelion leaves, flowers and roots; mallow leaves and flowers; red deadnettle; and cleavers.
Fresh herbs can add variety and cost-efficiency to the diet of your guinea pig, especially mint, dill, parsley rocket salad leaves and chives which are very popular with them. You can purchase these at garden centres or grow your own at home in pots.
Farm shops or farmers markets provide another economical option for purchasing fresh produce at lower costs, or you could grow your own veg and herbs on your windowsill – Guinea pigs particularly enjoy nibbling on dandelion flowers and leaves, plantain leaves, red deadnettle stalks, chickweed, mallow, cleavers and chamomile!
Fruit should only be provided as treats on rare occasions, as their higher amounts of sugar and acidity could cause sores around the mouth. Some fruits are calorically dense so should only be fed small quantities at one time daily. Vitamin C is an essential element in their diet as they cannot produce it themselves.
Grass hay should make up at least 80% of a healthy guinea pig diet. Its ingredients help promote oral and digestive health as well as encourage natural behaviors like chewing and foraging. Guinea pigs need high fibre food sources in their diet in order to remain healthy digestive systems and avoid issues like bloat or gut stasis.
Hay is also great for wearing down your guinea pig’s overgrown teeth and leading to serious medical issues, as chewing requires them to constantly chew their food rather than dig through bedding that can quickly become damp, dirty and mouldy.
Ideal hay choices should include high quality timothy and orchard grass hay that has been dust extracted, offering sweet aroma and soft textures like orchard hay for those guinea pigs that suffer from allergies to timothy hay. Nuts, seeds and fruit should also be avoided due to being difficult for guinea pigs to digest; an addition such as vitamin C fortified pellet without seeds or dried fruit could also be added for optimal care – feeding should occur once daily for optimal care.