It is a known fact that guinea pigs, unfortunately, can suffer from a vitamin C deficiency and without a proper daily dosage of this vitamin they can develop serious health problems. Therefore, it is highly important to feed your guinea pig with the right types of vitamin C rich foods or supplements because they cannot produce vitamin C by themselves.
So, what are the most recommended vitamin C rich foods for our guinea pigs? To make your life easier, we have compiled not only a guinea pig vitamin C food list but we also added the proper dosage and serving size for every food on the list.
Vitamin C can be found in nature in the form of fruits and vegetables but even when you are feeding your guinea pig with enough healthy foods, they can still suffer from vitamin C deficiency.
Supplements, in this case, play a vital role as they can instantly boost the vitamin C levels of your guinea pig, this is why we also made a list of the best vitamin C supplements you can buy on Amazon for guinea pigs.
When guinea pigs lack vitamin C, they can develop a disease known as scurvy. The symptoms for this disease are hair loss, bleeding, weakness, pain in the joints, and all-around feeling weak. In order to prevent this terrible disease, you have to treat your guinea pig with special care. There is also scientific research that shows how vitamin C deficiency impairs early brain development in guinea pigs.
Health Problems Caused by the Lack of Vitamin C – Scurvy
The main reason why guinea pigs can suffer from a vitamin C deficiency is that they cannot produce this vitamin by themselves. It is therefore important that they have a correct and balanced diet! Vitamin C deficiency can cause the following symptoms:
- Swollen joints
- Poor hair dullness (mainly dullness and fallout)
- Sores on the lips or mouth
- Difficulty in moving
- Little to no appetite
- Lack of energy (lethargy)
- Wounds take longer to heal
On average, a guinea pig requires from 10 to 30 mg/kg of the vitamin C each day in order to stay in good health. Guinea pigs that are deficient in vitamin C require a daily dose of up to 52 mg/kg.
We recommend that you feed your guinea pig with extra vitamin C in case they get sick. Still, if you are thinking of giving them more than 100 mg of vitamin C daily you should first consult with the veterinarian. Remember that excess amounts of vitamin C are released through urine and is not absorbed within the body.
Ways to Provide Your Guinea Pigs with Enough Vitamin C
There Are Three Ways to Give Your Guinea Pigs Vitamin C:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Formulated pellets
- Supplements in the form of drops or tablets
Tablets usually have 100 mg of vitamin C. This is not a problem as the tablet can be divided into quarters of 25 mg and administered directly to your guinea pig. Vitamin C drops can also be a valid alternative, as long as you follow the instructions on how to dose the drops (do not mix them with water). Also, do not purchase or use multi-vitamin supplements for your guinea pig.
Here Are Some Tips on How to Give Your Guinea Pig a Vitamin C Tablet:
- Make sure you break the tablet so it can release its aroma. Place the piece near your guinea pig’s food so it also understands that it is edible. Otherwise, you can take off a smaller piece and offer it directly to your pet.
- Crush the tablet, place it on a piece of lettuce, and roll it up.
- Cut a groove within a carrot, apple or grape and insert the tablet inside.
Do You Prefer Vitamin C Drops Instead?
- Do not mix vitamin C drops with water and leave it for too long because the bacteria can build up and make the water a health hazard.
- You can, however, mix it with water and syringe feed your guinea pig as soon as possible. The vitamin C will not break down and your guinea pig will still be able to benefit from it.
List of Best Vitamin C Rich Foods for Guinea Pigs
|Food||Weight||Vitamin C||The amount required for 25 mg of vitamin C/day|
|Kale||70 g chopped (1 cup)||80 mg||1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons|
|Broccoli||90 g chopped (1 cup)||81 mg||1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons|
|Cauliflower||13 g (1 piece)||6 mg||4 pieces|
|Green pepper||150 g chopped (1 cup)||120 mg||4 tablespoons chopped|
|Papaya||145 g (1 cup)||87 mg||1/3 cup|
|Peas||60 mg (1 cup)||60 mg||½ cup|
|Cilantro||3 g (1 tablespoon)||10 mg||3 tablespoons|
This list contains the most optimal foods for guinea pigs that have vitamin C. They may not have the highest percentage of this vitamin but the food on this list can be fed often. Fruits that are higher in the vitamin such as oranges and kiwis have high levels of acid and sugar and if fed often to your guinea pigs they can cause health problems. Cabbage, mustard spinach, and beetroot greens are also an option but they must be limited to once or twice a week because they are high in calcium. Too much calcium can lead to bladder or kidney stones.
Review: Best Vitamin C Supplements for Guinea Pigs
There will be times that no matter how much fruits and vegetables you feed your guinea pig, there will still be possible deficiencies. Luckily, science and food are by our side and supplements or pellets are the solution. To help you select the best option, we have made a list of recommended and highly popular Vitamin C supplements found on Amazon.7
Oxbow Natural Science Vitamin C Supplement
- Contains the essential stabilized vitamin C that guinea pigs need
- 2 Packs of 60 count container
- Hay Based, High Fiber
If you are looking for a more “solid” alternative, then these guinea pig pellets are a valid option. They are used as normal food and they do not only have vitamin C but are also rich in fibers. Therefore, your guinea pig will get sufficient nutrition and it will also have a healthy digestive system. Double win!
Supreme Selective Fortified Diet Guinea Pigs
- A Nutritionally Balanced Food For Guinea Pigs
- Helps Sustain Healthy Skin And Coat
- Rich In Natural Ingredients With Zero Added Sugar
- Prevents Selective Feeding
- No Artificial Colors
Another popular choice is this fortified diet product. This product guarantees longer feeding times, which is good for the guinea pig because it mimics their natural behavioral patterns. The flavors are also more natural, consisting of dandelion and fennel to guarantee natural minerals and vitamins. Furthermore, this product claims to enhance the shine of the guinea pig’s coat, which is an indication of optimal health. Fibers are also present to help the guinea pig with their digestion. More importantly, it is rich in vitamin C to ensure that your guinea pig will stay healthy. One more thing, this product is also good for guinea pig’s teeth. Price-wise, this product is also wallet-friendly.
Kaytee Supreme Diet For Guinea Pig
- Natural seeds and grains
- No artificial colors or flavors
- High quality ingredients
- Contains Long Lasting vitamin C
- Naturally preserved for ideal freshness
Are you looking for the most natural product possible? You’ve hit jackpot here. Kaytee offers only natural grains and seeds with no artificial flavors or colors. The ingredients are high quality with long-lasting amounts of vitamin C, which is important for the guinea pig. The packet indicates that it is suitable for everyday feeding, which is perfect for the guinea pig’s needs.
Oasis Vita-Drops Concentrated High Potency Pure C for Guinea Pigs
- Vita drops is a convenient way to assure that guinea pig is receiving the fresh vitamin C they require daily
- Feature supplements the pet's dry diet to assure proper nutrition
- Includes eye-dropper dispenser and detailed instructions
- A fresh dose in the water bottle daily helps to keep guinea pig happy and healthy
- This product weighs 2-ounce
These drops are packed with vitamin C and are to be added to your guinea pig’s dry diet to ensure it absorbs the right amount of nutrition. There are options of either 2 or 4 ounces and the product is also equipped with an eye-dropper dispenser and instructions. However, be aware that the drops cannot be added in water as the vitamin C perishes quickly and can accumulate bacteria. It is, therefore, better to give the drops directly to your pet to ensure the maximum absorption. Please follow the instructions carefully to ensure that your guinea pig accepts the newly added drops.
ChildLife Essentials Liquid Vitamin C – Natural Orange 4 fl oz Liquid
Don’t be discouraged by the name, this product works well with both humans and guinea pigs! Curiously, both humans and guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C. This is why such a vitamin C supplement can be useful for vitamin sources. Please read the instructions carefully before administrating to your pet.
Vitamin C Supplements vs Vitamin C Rich Food for Guinea Pigs
After reading all of this you may be asking yourself “Do I buy fruits and vegetables or opt for the supplements?”. Well, that depends mostly on you.
Fruits and vegetables are the natural and healthy source of all vitamins, fibers, and minerals. They can be purchased or grown at home. There is a large variety of food for your guinea pig to experiment on as well, maybe it prefers sweet over savory or vice versa.
On the other hand, fruits and vegetables, even if given in abundance, will not always give your guinea pig the right amount of nutrients, including the vitamin C. Therefore, there is still a considerable risk when feeding guinea pigs solely with plants and fruits. This is where vitamin C supplements can play an important role and are not to be underestimated. Whether in the form of tablets, drops or seeds, there should be a perfect fit for your guinea pig.
Drops may be beneficial but they can also make the water unappealing for your pet to drink. Use and follow the instructions with caution. Tablets are more feasible and don’t have considerable downfalls. Seeds may be your best bet as they are natural and can tempt the guinea pig into eating them. Plus, they encourage the pet’s natural feeding habits.
The real deal-breaker could be the cost involved in each option. You may want to introduce a balance between foods and supplements, just to be on the safe side. Better safe than sorry!
Are There Any Risks for Guinea Pigs from Taking Vitamin C Supplements?
This depends on you and how you dose or serve the vitamin C supplements to your guinea pig. By putting too many drops in the water you can discourage your pet from drinking, resulting not only in vitamin C deficiency but also dehydration. Tablets and seeds have high quantities of fibers and with the wrong dosage could actually harm your guinea pig and cause internal problems such as bloating and stomach pains. Watch out! With the right dosage, nothing can happen to your cute guinea pig pet.
Remember that guinea pigs are overall very active and playful if you notice your pet is always sleeping or hiding away this could indicate a health issue. Always check up on your guinea pig if you notice a new behavior!