The secret to the perfect guinea pig diet is variety.
Unlike some pets that thrive with a bowl of the same food every day, a guinea pig requires a diet that is intricate and varied. However, creating the perfect diet for your pig can be a confusing process.
Check out the answers to some common dietary questions to help keep your pet healthy and his belly full.
Should all guinea pigs be fed pellets?
No, not necessarily. If your guinea pig has problems with recurring bladder stones, you may want to skip the pellets. However, you will need to make sure that the rest of his diet is providing him with the proper nutrients.
Why do some people give their guinea pigs vitamin C tablets?
Guinea pigs do not create their own vitamin C, so it is your job to make sure your pet is getting enough through its food. Pelleted guinea pig feed usually contains vitamin C, but you may want to provide additional vitamin C through tablets or drops to ensure that your guinea pig is maintaining the proper levels.
What does a balanced diet for a guinea pig look like?
An ideal guinea pig diet would consist of cool, clean water changed daily, unlimited grass hay, a cup of fresh vegetables daily (some favorites include romaine lettuce, carrots, and red or green peppers etc.), a pelleted feed and potentially supplemental vitamin C in a tablet or drop form.
Can guinea pigs eat fruit like strawberries?
Yes, in moderation. Guinea pigs also enjoy apples, bananas, apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges and watermelon.
As with all sugary food, guinea pigs will always want more, but remember that a slice or two is more than enough. Too much fruit can cause digestion issues and diarrhea, and, as with humans, can damage their teeth. Be sure to wash the fruit well to remove any pesticides.
Is there anything my guinea pig can't eat?
Guinea pigs are herbivores, so they should not be fed dairy or meat products. It is best to avoid or limit their intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and collards, as they have a tendency to cause gas.
You should also avoid treats with seeds, nuts, dried fruit or dyed pieces, as well as seeds that come in husks, such as sunflower seeds, as these can be a choking hazard. Never feed your guinea pig rabbit pellets, as they do not contain vitamin C, and may contain antibiotics that are toxic to guinea pigs.
With a better understanding of your guinea pig's nutritional needs, you can turn your attention to the best part of ownership -- cuddles and play time!