What All Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs spend much of their time foraging for fresh grass and vegetation in the wild, which keeps their teeth strong by chewing up these foodstuffs.

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Dr. Stern suggests switching to plain pellets instead of food blends that contain seeds, fruits and grains that could contribute to obesity in guinea pigs, as they contain additional sources of nutrients like seeds. She suggests offering treats such as kiwi fruit slices for an additional dose of vitamin C.

Contents

Hay

Guinea pigs require high-quality, dust free hay as the staple diet item. Each day they should receive approximately the size of their body in hay; supplemented by several leafy vegetables and herbs suitable for guinea pigs such as romaine lettuce varieties; red or green leaf lettuces; cabbage; collards; kale; dandelion greens, turnips endive silver beet and dark greens as well as herbs such as parsley basil marjoram borage nasturtium etc; fruit should only be given in small portions in order to prevent intestinal upsets.

Fiber is essential for maintaining the health of any guinea pig, since wild ones spend much of their time chewing hay to wear down their constantly expanding teeth and keep their digestive systems working normally. Select a pellet mix containing Timothy Hay, high in fibre content and with plenty of calcium-rich foods as this will meet their dietary requirements.

Pellets

Feed your guinea pig pellets daily as part of their diet, but avoid making this the primary focus. Too many pellets may lead to obesity while some contain excess sugar or fat that could increase health concerns.

Guinea pigs should have access to low-calcium grass hay such as Timothy or Alfalfa; baby, pregnant and nursing sows may benefit from adding alfalfa for extra calcium content. It’s best to steer clear of cheap bedding hay which often lacks nutritional value.

Fresh vegetables, herbs and a small portion of fruit should be provided each day for your pet to consume. Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, green or red leaf lettuce, turnip greens, mustard collard greens and cabbage make excellent options; in addition to herbs like parsley, cilantro and basil and vegetables such as carrots and zucchini as well as fruit such as apple or pear for treats that may contain high levels of sugar.

Fresh Vegetables

Guinea pigs are naturally herbivores, so they need plenty of fresh hay and vegetables in their diet. Since these creatures love exploring their yard, giving them access to safe weeds such as dandelion leaves, plantain leaves, red deadnettle leaves, chickweed leaves, mallow and cleavers can also keep them active and engaged with life!

Guinea pigs do not produce their own Vitamin C and therefore depend on food-grade sources to get enough. A lack of this essential nutrient can result in scurvy, which weakens immunity, disrupts bone and tooth development and delays wound healing processes.

High-quality hay such as timothy, meadow or orchard hay should form the basis of any guinea pig’s diet. Young guineas should receive alfalfa hay to provide additional calcium for growing bones; other options for adult guinea pigs include wheat, barley or oat hay. Fruit can also provide treats but should only be given occasionally due to its high sugar content and low calcium to phosphorus ratio; spinach strawberries and parsley contain high amounts of oxalates which should also be avoided.

Fruit

Guinea pigs are adept natural foragers and spend much of their time exploring and nibbling plants to absorb all the necessary vitamins from their food sources.

Diet should include unlimited timothy hay and pellets supplemented by 1/2-1 cup of fresh vegetables each day, such as leafy green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, dandelion and mustard leaves, endive, carrot tops cabbage collard greens or kale as great choices for daily feedings.

Other nutritious veggie choices for toddlers may include bell pepper, red and green tomatoes, zucchini and raw sweet potato. Fruit should only be offered once or twice every week due to its high sugar content.

Many guinea pig owners find it beneficial to purchase vitamin-fortified pellet mixes that can be combined with hay and vegetables for a complete diet. Kaytee’s Food from the Wild blend for guinea pigs includes Timothy Hay and Rose Hips as well as other vegetables to provide all essential nutrition.