A Healthy Guinea Pig’s Diet – Part 1

In its natural habitat, a guinea pig would ideally like to eat small meals regularly, so here at NEPB we try to do the best we can to accommodate this.

Our routine:

Usually, the guinea pigs have a bowl of mixed veggies first thing in the morning, followed by hand picked grass mid-morning. In nice weather, they’ll already be outside and they can help themselves but in winter we’re out in the cold picking it for them 😆

Then mid-afternoon they have either Readigrass, Timothy hay, Ings hay or any treats that they have brought on holiday with them. We like to mix this bit up to keep them entertained, sometimes they’ll get their hay in a paper bag, hidden inside a tube or sprinkled around their bed to make them forage for it. As well as being good for their teeth, it also keep their brains active by making them work for their food. 

At teatime, they have another bowl of veggies and then their dry food at bedtime. They also have access to fresh meadow hay constantly so they have something to nibble on should they need another snack. This keeps their digestive system working and in tip top condition.

Getting the nutrients:

The molar teeth of your guinea pigs are ideal for grinding down their food, just like ours!  They have open rooted incisors which means they grow continuously throughout their lives, so the hay and forage are great for grinding those down too.

Your piggies get nearly all the nutrients they need from the food that you give them. So giving them a balanced diet is really important. Their diet should consist of hay, hay and more hay,  2 balanced meals of veggies and a small amount of dry food (you can even cut dry food out completely if you want to). 

Although this diet triangle is probably quite accurate, it’s not the most nutritious diet!

The remaining nutrients do actually come from their own poo though!  Guinea pigs will reach behind and eats the first bit of poop, this is called coprophagy. There hasn’t been that much research done on this part of the guinea pigs diet but they do it so that they get a second chance to absorb the nutrients from their vegetables. I know it sounds disgusting but it happens and they don’t seem to mind it! You can read more about the process in our article on impaction.