Best Guinea Pig Food -
things you want (and need) to know

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There is a lot of healthy food for guinea pigs in the market to choose from, which means that you'll have an array of great choices—which can ease your worry if you're a first-time guinea pig parent.

Fortunately, it's also not that hard to find the best food for your guinea pig because they're not exactly picky-eaters when it comes to time to chow down.

Regardless of their need (or lack thereof) for an elite section, there are still so many different brands of guinea pig foods to pick from which vary in nutritional value, taste, and price.

To help you sort out which are best for your growing guinea pig, this guide will go through the various features of everything you need to know.

cute guinea pig

Guinea Pig Diet – Guinea Pig Food 101

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

To help you pick out the right brand, you got to learn about the right type of food.

Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means that they only eat vegetables and fruits—they'll say pass to any other types (no matter how tantalizing it looks) including insects, meat, eggs or dairy.

Your guinea pig's diet should be colorful—green and maybe a slight bit of yellow—stocked up with fresh, leafy vegetables and hay.

Before you dive in and just choose anything guinea pig-related at the pet store, there are two things to consider for their diet, their:

  • Constant-growing teeth: Guinea pigs should always have something fibrous to chew on because their teeth are always growing. Adding hay to the hard pellets will help their food go a long way and give them a textural variety.
  • Vitamin C: You should include vitamin C in your guinea pig's food since their bodies are incapable of producing it themselves, which can make them vulnerable to getting scurvy.

There are a few other things to note when approaching the details to your guinea pig's diet.

Depending on what type of food your guinea pig was eating before they came home with you, there might have to be a transition period between different brands of food.

If you are making the switch from one brand name to another, you'll want to do so slowly, incorporating the new food with the old a little bit at a time.

Another interesting fact to know about guinea pigs' eating habits? If you catch your guinea pig eating their own feces, don't be alarmed. 

They actually produce two different types of feces, the soft and nutritious feces, which they actually may re-ingest for more nutrients and the hard poop which you clean up. Although this might sound strange, it can happen in various other animal species, like rabbits, who do this as well.

Types of Food for Guinea Pigs

Depending on their previous ownership, you might want to do a little bit of a "history" research on your pet on what they're most accustomed to. This can play a part in which type of food to choose from at the beginning of your ownership with your guinea pig.

When it comes to choosing which food to invest in, a guinea pig can either feed on

  • store-bought food or
  • fresh food. 

To help you choose which is best for your pet, here are a few details of each type:

Guinea Pig Hay and Pellets - Store-bought food

For a convenience factor and because of open-guided nutrition information, most guinea pig owners choose to feed their pet store-bought hay and pellets.

When it comes to hay products, a blend of the orchard, timothy, and oat hay is preferred.

Alfalfa hay is also acceptable, but it should not be the main part of your guinea pig's diet because it contains too much calcium. To help stay clear of mildew and mold, guinea pig hay should be stored in a cool and dry place in between feeding times.

It is important to supplement your pet's hay with small amounts of pellets that are high-quality, plain, and healthy. The pellets you purchase should also be specifically made for guinea pigs since there are so many different kinds.

Guinea pig eating fpellets

Fruits and Vegetables for Guinea Pigs - Fresh food

Fresh veggies and fruits are great supplements and treats for your guinea pig if you're deciding to go au naturale with your pet's diet.

You can use these fresh foods as treats when training or bonding with your pet.

The following are examples of the fresh foods that are safe to feed your guinea pig:

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Green peppers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumber
  • Bananas
tomato vegetable and lettuce are safe for guinea pigs

When it comes to ratio, there should be more vegetables than fruits in your guinea pig's diet. This is because fruits are more of a sweet treat to your pet.

If you're giving fruits as a treat, check the cage at the end of the day and remove any leftovers to help prevent rot or mold development.

How Much Food Do Guinea Pigs Need?

Generally, guinea pigs don't tend to overeat, but it is important always to feed them a healthy and balanced diet comprising of hay, pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

  • A 1/8 cup of pellets with fresh vegetables and an unlimited amount of fresh hay is enough for the day. Guinea pigs need to continuously feed on fresh hay all day because it is necessary for their digestion and to limit their teeth-growth.
  • One cup of fresh vegetables per day is also recommended for your guinea pig. Leafy greens such as kale, parsley or romaine lettuce should be the bulk of your guinea pig's fresh food. Add sweet potato, zucchini, and carrots to their diet once or twice in a week.
  • Fruits should be used as occasional treats which can be offered in small portions once a day or a few times in a week. Since fruits are high in sugar, give them a smaller portion. A thin slice of banana, several blueberries or a small wedge of apple or orange is enough.

When introducing new vegetables and fruits to your guinea pig, do it slowly to avoid diarrhea. If your pet develops loose stool, then decrease the quantity of fresh food for a few days until the stool changes, then re-introduce it slowly again. You can also ask your vet about your pet to get personal advice on their dietary behavior.

When to Feed Your Guinea Pig

Because guinea pigs are herbivores, they essentially graze all day. 

They munch on vegetables and hay all day. Therefore, it is important to make fresh food constantly available.

The best thing to do is to dump out your pet's water and food every day and replace with fresh water and food after cleaning the bowls.

Foods to Avoid –
What Should Guinea Pigs Not Eat?

Not all vegetables and fruits are safe for guinea pigs. The foods in the list below are considered dangerous for most pets—but especially guinea pigs.

They are labeled as being toxic foods for cats, parrots, and dogs, as well. Also, avoid feeding your guinea pig human 'junk foods' which are normally salty and sweet even if they are not made of toxic ingredients.

Avoid feeding your pet the following fruits and vegetables:

  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Garlic
  • Coconuts
  • Chives
  • Avocados
guinea pig foods to avoid onion garlic

Since guinea pigs don't eat onions or garlic, that eliminates the possibility of feeding most of your cooked food, as well, since most recipes call for either.

However, regardless of this "avoid" list, it's important to feed your guinea pig a diet full of high-quality pellets, hay, and treats of fresh veggies and frequent pieces of fruits.

Things to Consider When Buying Guinea Pig Food

Lastly, to help you finalize a decision on one particular guinea pig food brand, consider the following features to help you pick out the best purchase for your pet:

Ingredients

The different types of guinea pig food are made with different ingredients; therefore, ensure that you purchase the food backed by the healthiest ingredients. 

Foods with high-quality ingredients will give your guinea pig the nutrition they need for their growth. The most suitable food for your guinea pig should be one that is free from artificial flavoring, synthetic colorings, as well as chemicals.

Bag sizes

Guinea pig food normally come in a bag size—which is generally somewhere between 5 lb and 10 lb. Smaller size bags will be easy to store and are generally preferred for younger or smaller guinea pigs. 

However, a larger bag can help decrease the need to head to the pet store as often as you would need to with a smaller size.

Age-related mixture

Just like humans, the needs for guinea pigs change with age.

Depending on where they are in their life cycle, it is important to give your pet the food that they need at their current age. If your guinea pig is 1 year old and above, they actually can be fed adult food.

You should also consider the type of hay that you give your guinea pig. Hay has dry grass in it, but there are different types of grass, meaning they have different nutritional values.

FAQ on guinea pigs eating and feeding

The following are answers to the most frequently asked questions by guinea pig owners—especially first-time guinea pig parents:

Can you overfeed guinea pigs?

Yes, you can easily overfeed your guinea pig. Guinea pigs normally have required amounts of food that they need in a day depending on their age and size. You also need to make sure that you're feeding them the correct types of food.

Can guinea pigs eat bananas?

Yes, it is safe for your guinea pig to eat bananas. However, since bananas are generally high in sugar, you should rarely feed your pet with bananas. It's recommended that you only give them to your guinea pig sliced in small portions as a treat.

Also, make sure that the bananas you feed them are fresh and ripe. Avoid banana chips or dried bananas since they are coated with sugar and are processed. 

Can guinea pigs eat cheese?

No, you should not feed your guinea pig cheese because their digestive system cannot digest dairy products.

Can guinea pigs eat peanut butter?

No, peanut butter is chewy and sticky, and it can easily cause your guinea pig to choke. However, peanut shells, when cut up into tiny pieces, are a possible treat. However, depending on the size of your guinea pig, the shells can be dangerous also because they can be considered as a choking hazard. Speak to your vet first before feeding your guinea pig peanuts.

Can guinea pigs eat broccoli?

Yes, since guinea pigs are herbivores, they can eat the whole broccoli including leaves and the stalk.

However, since broccoli is high in oxalates and vitamin C, serve them as occasional treats since a combination of both in high amounts can lead to bladder stones in your guinea pig.

Broccoli can also lead to bloating; therefore, give it to your pet in small amounts. However, do not feed them cooked broccoli since guinea pigs should be eating raw veggies.

Can guinea pigs eat apples?

Yes, all types of apples are suitable for your guinea pig. 

Make sure that they do not have a sour taste and are fully ripe. Do not feed your guinea pig the apple seeds because they contain cyanide, which is dangerous to their digestive system and can also be a choking hazard.

Can guinea pigs eat cucumber?

Yes. Even though cucumbers are not very nutritious, guinea pigs love them and are safe for them to ingest. You can feed your pet small amounts of cucumber a few times in a week. Since cucumbers have high water content, they are also suitable and most desired during hotter weather. The seeds, flesh, and skin are all safe.

Conclusion

Finding the right food for your guinea pig is important for their health and growth. 

Since there are so many different types and brands foods in the market for guinea pigs, we hope that this guide has helped you make a decision. 

Make sure that the ingredients are safe and nutritious for your pet. Feeding your guinea pig the right amounts of food is also important. Following the above guide will enable you to choose the best food for your pet and follow the dietary regulations to keep them healthy.

 

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