A Healthy Guinea Pig’s Diet – Part 2
Each and every day your guinea pig needs you to provide unlimited fresh hay, fresh vegetables and fresh water, at the very least, to maintain a healthy guinea pig body.
A well-balanced diet should consist of:
Water: Fresh water needs to be changed daily, we advise you don’t add vitamin C drops or powder to the water as it can put some guinea pigs off drinking the water.
Be aware of temperature changes in the weather too, so on a hot day maybe change it twice a day so that it doesn’t get too warm…do you like to drink lukewarm water on a hot day? Piggies don’t either!
There are a lot of different hay types to choose from, here at NEPB we use meadow hay for the bed area and the main hay source, meadow hay is a favourite with most piggies! We also use Ings hay and Timothy hay to provide a different taste and variety, you might need to try a couple of different types until you find one your piggies like – not everypig likes the same things.
It’s also important to make sure the hay you provide is high-quality. Try to avoid hay that is a yellow colour and has thick sharp stalks. Guinea pigs prefer soft thin hay that’s more green than yellow!
It can be difficult to source super nice hay all year round, especially in the colder months. Try to aim for somewhere between the two pictures to get a nice balance, most piggies will leave the yellow hay behind anyway.
Vegetables: Guinea pigs love fresh veg and because they can’t produce their own Vitamin C like we can, they need regular meals of nice fresh salads and veggies to provide a reliable Vitamin C source.
If they’re not used to eating fresh food, it’s best to introduce small amounts to your guinea pigs’ diet. Starts small and eventually lead up to a cup per day per piggy, too much in one go can cause upset stomachs and bloat so it’s best to introduce a new diet nice and slowly.
Offer a wide variety of veg, as this will allow them to get all the nutrients that they need, so the more variety on their plate, the better. See our post here for what not to feed your guinea pigs.
Dry food/Pellets: An adult guinea pig can have timothy grass based pellets with added vitamins and minerals to ensure all needs are met. Some piggy slaves prefer to give more veg and a wider variety of hay and forego the pellets which is fine. After all, you wouldn’t find the guinea pigs popping down the shops for pellets in the wild, would you?!
If you are going to feed your guinea pigs pellets, then please make sure that you buy pellets made especially for guinea pigs – some rabbit pellets contain antibiotics that can be toxic to guinea pigs.
Treats: Guinea pigs don’t need shop bought treats, especially ones with dried fruit, dyes, and covered in honey, also avoid chocolate drops, yoghurt drops, and popcorn as these are filled with sugar, fats and high in calcium and can lead to serious health problems in the future.
If you really want to give them a special treat, you can buy healthier options like ReadiGrass or just give them a piece of their favourite food like carrots or cucumber.
So, lets recap:
If you want your guinea pigs to be fine, healthy specimens they need access to fresh water, lots and lots of hay, and fresh veg, every single day!