I always encourage people to make big research about a pet they want to get or about pets they already have. Whether you are here because of research or because of your curiosity, you’ve come to the right place.
Can guinea pigs know when to stop eating? The answer to this question is yes they can. This is an unexpected answer, I agree. Most of the animals eat as much as you feed them without having a sense of being full. Guinea pigs actually know when they have had enough and they certainly feel different when they are full. Still, this fact doesn’t mean that if you feed them more than usual, then they would refuse the extra food. No pet will refuse food unless they are sick.
They can eat a lot, but they know when they really need to stop. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I promise this statement will make much more sense later on.
How do guinea pigs know when they are full?
Surprisingly, guinea pig stomachs behave similarly to those of humans. When a human is hungry, the stomach is giving a signal to the brain. This happens when we are full, too, so we know to can stop eating. You probably didn’t expect this, but it’s the same mechanism for guinea pigs.
When they are hungry, their brain receives a signal from their stomach, letting them know it is time to eat. When they are full and satiated, again, their stomachs send signals to the brain telling him “ok, it is enough for now, thank you.”
This is the complicated part. They eat pretty much all the time. They seem insatiable, but I don’t think that’s the case.
I strongly think they just love chewing and biting things, and if you love these kinds of activities, how can you not love eating?
Also, when they receive the “I am full” signal, they will go to sleep. Their digestive system is very fast. This is why after a big amount of food and a small amount of sleep they are still able to eat more. It is normal; it just seems strange to humans because our digestive system is not as fast as theirs.
They are sensitive creatures
Their poo is a very good way of seeing if they have any health problem. This is why very good advice is to treat guinea pig diarrhea by seeing a vet. Any change in their diet may cause something. Any poor choice you make regarding their diet is visible in their poo so be careful about that and remediate the situation as quickly as you observe something wrong.
Their will to stop eating unnecessarily doesn’t depend on their diet at all. But since we are on this topic, we can talk a little about their best regime.
Guinea pigs are rodents: they need food that keeps their teeth and hunger under control. Also, their food needs to be very healthy and plant-based. Every living animal on this planet is healthier if he has a balanced diet.
With that being said, I will tell you what foods are best for your little friend. I don’t like a boring list so I will talk you through them.
A must for any pet is fresh water all the time. Their bottle should be at least rinsed every day. Never neglect the importance of water for animals and also for humans.
The most important type of food for your little friend is hay. But as simple as it sounds, you need to be careful what hay you purchase (high-quality hay is free of foreign particles, green and has a fresh smell). It needs to be high-quality such as timothy hay. Hay delivers fiber to your guinea pig which is essential for their health. Also, hay keeps their teeth clean and fresh, without letting them grow too much.
You should feed your friend ¼ of a cup of pellets. This is not as important as fresh hay, but they supply vitamins and nutrients that hay cannot supply, especially if it is fortified in vitamin C. Just like humans, guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C, so it is administrated. They need it every day, and most guinea pigs get it from their usual diet, but if they don’t, you need to give them powder or a tablet of vitamin C a day. Water-soluble vitamin C drops are not recommended.
Vegetables are thought to be much more important than they really are. Because vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients, people think they can feed their guinea pigs only with vegetables. That is very wrong. They are allowed to eat up to a cup of vegetables a day, and you should limit their intake of vegetables. You need to be precautious about their calcium intake as it can cause bladder stones and other complications.
Lastly, they are allowed to have a little sweet snack. They can be fed a little fruit every day, it is beneficial but never overdo this, their digestive system is very sensitive.
Never feed your guinea pigs things like chocolate, popcorn, spicy food, iceberg lettuce or potato. These things do not do any good for them, they might even harm your little friend.
Also, always avoid commercial treats for your guinea pigs. These contain a lot of unnecessary sugar and chemicals. They are pricey and ultimately, a waste of money.
Do not feed your guinea pig salt wheels. If he has a balanced diet, it should contain enough sodium.
This is something important to say even if it is not about the actual food.
It is best for you and your guinea pig to put their food in a ceramic bowl. They will chew on anything they can get their teeth on. Ceramic bowls are easy to overturn and very hard to destroy. This way you reduce their chance of getting hurt and your time of cleaning after them.
Another very useful tip is to adjust their quantity of food if they become underweight or overweight.
Another obvious but crucial thing to know is to always give your guinea pig fresh food and fresh water. Firstly, it is healthier, but secondly, guinea pigs are picky eaters so they won’t probably eat old food in their cage. Keep this in mind and don’t waste food.
What if your guinea pig doesn’t eat?
This could be hiding a very serious health problem, and you need a doctor to get you through this. First of all, you need to understand how important this is: not eating can cause several diseases and even death.
Your guinea pig’s lack of appetite might mean one of two things: inappetence or anorexia.
This is pretty normal, and it can happen anytime. It is due to changes in diet or external changes. Keep in mind: guinea pigs are extremely sensitive, so any change in their environment will affect them just as much as a change in their body. This lack of appetite can be a symptom of a lot of diseases. Check in with your doctor as soon as you notice something like this.
This condition is not equivalent to “lack of appetite,” it is the same thing as “refusing to eat.” This can happen because of many factors such as malocclusion (misaligned teeth). Guinea pigs suffering from malocclusion cannot physically eat.
You cannot solve this issue alone so don’t be scared to go to a specialist. They will determine their diseases, possible infectious-diseases and anything that can cause this lack of appetite.
If you are a guinea pig owner or if you are going to be, it can be very overwhelming. As everybody knows, guinea pigs are extremely sensitive pets, and they require a lot of time and attention. There are a lot of things that can affect them and there a lot of things you need to do as their owner in order to keep them healthy and happy.
Food-wise, I can definitely say that a guinea pig owner has to spend quite a big amount of money on their food. But always be careful about what you feed them and how much you feed them.