Guinea pigs are really cute animals that like to eat a lot. There are many things that guinea pigs can eat, but there are also other things that they really like to eat. While the common notion is to feed lots of fruits and vegetables to guinea pigs, your guinea pig might prefer to eat something else.
What do guinea pigs like to eat? Guinea pigs like to eat leafy and green vegetables and also watery fruits. Just like humans, every guinea pig has its own food preferences. Some guinea pigs will like fruits more than vegetables and vice versa, but the most important thing is to keep your guinea pig’s diet fresh and diverse.
A good guinea pig diet will enable a happy and healthy life for your little pets. In the following sections, you can read about what do guinea pigs like to eat the most and also what are the foods that guinea pigs can’t eat. Let’s start!
What Kind of Food Do Guinea Pigs Like?
Food is everything for guinea pigs and they love to eat. If you want to be a good owner to your little pet, you need to learn what do guinea pigs eat the most.
Guinea pigs love to eat vegetables, fruits, greens, and hay. It’s important to give them vegetables every day, but be careful with the serving sizes of some vegetables. Fruits are more like treats for guinea pigs because of sugar content and you can give fruits to them only occasionally.
Guinea Pig Favorite Food
If you feed your guinea pig the following food, they are going to love you:
High-quality hay is an important part of the guinea pig’s diet. Fresh timothy hay is going to be a great option. Not only do they like it, but it also aids in the digestion process.
Alfalfa hay is good for baby guinea pigs or pregnant ones. This hay is rich in calcium, protein, and calories. Because of that, it is not good for adult guinea pigs and it needs to be given in moderation.
Hay is also important for guinea pig’s teeth as they always grow. So, hay is great for preventing the overgrowth of teeth. Guinea pigs can eat hay every day and they can’t get fat from eating it.
2. Vegetables and Leafy Greens
Vegetables are also an essential part of the guinea pig’s diet. As we have said, they love carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, fennel, and kohlrabi. But also, you can give them beetroot, zucchini, tomato, broccoli, aubergine, and many other vegetables.
Among leafy greens, they like romaine lettuce, parsley, kale, spinach, celery leaves, carrot tops, and other similar leafy greens.
All of these vegetables just need to be fresh and thoroughly washed. Also, pay attention to serving sizes because some vegetables and greens can contain nutrients that aren’t good for guinea pigs’ health if you give them every day.
3. Fresh Fruits
Guinea pigs like fruits a lot and they are like a treat for them. One problem is that fruits contain a huge amount of sugar for guinea pigs. So, you need to be careful when feeding them.
It’s important to introduce fruits slowly in their diet. Give them small pieces of fruits and not every day. You can, for example, give them 1-2 blueberries occasionally.
As we have said, they will enjoy apples, pears, strawberries, and watermelon especially during the summertime, as well as grapes, peaches, plums, kiwi, bananas, raspberry, oranges, and so on.
Guinea pig pellets are also one important part of your pet’s diet. Pellets have many good nutrients for guinea pigs, such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
As we know, guinea pigs need vitamin C in their diet and commercial pellets are made with vitamin C. It is important to note that pellets can lose vitamin C if they’re exposed to heat or sunlight.
Practically, any high-quality pellet would be good to go, but it needs to be fresh and served in small amounts. It’s recommended to give guinea pigs around 1-2 tablespoons of pellets per day because pellets also contain a huge amount of fiber and guinea pigs can get overweight from it.
5. Herbs and Grass
Guinea pigs can eat grass and herbs, but you need to be careful. There are many types of grass and herbs that aren’t good for the guinea pig’s digestive system and health.
If you have access to a lawn or any other place with fresh grass, you can leave your adorable guinea pigs to graze on it. Just be sure that no chemicals have been used on the grass. Also, be certain that no other animals are urinating on that grass. Grazing gives them good exercise and reduces the chances of obesity.
With herbs, you need to be more careful and it’s important to introduce a variety of fresh herbs in small quantities into their diet. They love to eat oregano, rocket or arugula, dandelions, mint, basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, and others.
More Information About Guinea Pig’s Diet
It is a good idea to teach your kids responsibility and how to take proper care of pets with adorable animals like guinea pigs. The foremost thing in taking care of any pet is to give them a proper, healthy, and varied diet.
Nutritional Requirements for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs need a well-balanced and diverse diet. Do not stick with only one type of food. Be sure to know what to feed guinea pigs every day by making a guinea pig diet list.
Every day, guinea pig’s diet plan should include vitamin C-rich foods. The underlying reason is that guinea pigs are unable to make vitamin C on their own, just like humans. It is best if you offer them natural foods that contain vitamin C.
While guinea pigs like to eat artificial products, they definitely don’t need them. Keep their diet as natural as you can. Even if you are giving them hay, it is best to arrange some fresh hay instead of getting the processed hay from a pet store.
If you are opting for feeds available in the market, then remember that what they need is a feed that is specially tailored for guinea pigs. Something that might be well-suited for rodents may not be a good option for your guinea pigs. Additionally, guinea pigs definitely don’t need a sugary, artificially-colored diet.
Foods Guinea Pigs Can Eat | Guinea Pig Safe Foods
One cup of fresh vegetables and good-quality hay can be a safe diet for guinea pig pets. While commercial food is safe too, it should not be applied as much as natural foods.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, so there are many plant foods that are safe for them. Timothy hay is the best way to feed them and they can that type of hay every day. Include high-quality pellets, some vegetables, and fruits, and your guinea pig will be happy with its diet.
Also, the safe way is to feed them from a ceramic food bowl or dishes because plastic can be an unsafe option. Guinea pigs might nibble and chew on their plastic dish. Ceramic food bowls for guinea pigs, if not broken or visibly damaged, can be used continuously for a long time and guinea pigs can’t tip them over.
What Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat?
The following are some foods you need to avoid:
- As a general rule of thumb, avoid feeding your guinea pig with processed food or commercial products. Some chemicals and adhesives found in commercial products are deemed to be unsafe for these animals. Only give them a vet-approved diet and supplements.
- Any kinds of cereals, sweets, or sugars are not good for guinea pigs. The same is also true for chocolate or other commercial snacks. Any junk food should be avoided under all circumstances.
- Another point of caution is that guinea pigs like to eat pellets. However, if you do not maintain a proper well-balanced schedule or diet plan, too many pellets are going to make them fat. This, in turn, will cause many problems for them. One more thing, any stale pellets also fall into the unsafe category, so get rid of them as well.
- Too much calcium isn’t good for guinea pig’s health, because it can cause bladder stones and it’s important to know how to reduce calcium in the guinea pig diet. Make sure to give the guinea pig foods that are low in calcium or read our calcium guinea pig guide for more information.
- Some dangerous foods for guinea pigs are all types of meat, dairy products, bread crusts, eggs and other similar things. Also, coconut, iceberg lettuce, wild mushrooms, avocado, seeds, potatoes, onions, and rhubarb should be avoided.
- Guinea pig foods to avoid, giving them in large amounts or every day, are some vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green leaves, and herbs. Any kind of cooked food is also forbidden for guinea pigs.
- It is also not a safe option to prepare vegetables ahead of time. It would be best and safest to give the vegetables while they are fresh. However, if you want to prepare them ahead of time because of your busy schedule, prepare it at least twice a week, and do not feed them anything older than 3 days.
- Do not leave any uneaten food in their cage for more than 24 hours. Guinea pigs love to eat fresh vegetables and tend to eat them within an hour, so it is not advisable to leave any type of food in their cage for too long.
What Do Guinea Pigs Like to Eat as a Treat?
Everything that we’ve mentioned above, like vegetables, fruits, and so on, can be considered a treat for guinea pigs. Especially these things that they love but can’t eat that in a large amount, just occasionally.
But, you can find many different recipes and make treats for your guinea pigs on your own. Also, you can buy commercial treats for guinea pigs. But it’s important to check ingredients or consult with your guinea pig’s vet about some commercial treats that you’ve chosen to buy. Additionally, take a look at our recommended treats for guinea pigs.
What Do Guinea Pigs Drink?
Remember one golden rule: Proper hydration is equally as important as a proper diet. Your pet should have a steady supply of fresh and clean water. It is best to get a guinea pig water bottle to keep the cage from getting wet and dirty.
Guinea pigs drink a lot of water because they are very active during the day and also they eat a lot. Without an adequate supply of water, guinea pigs will develop several health issues.
One more important thing is to not give your guinea pigs milk, yogurt, commercial juice, tea, coffee, or alcohol.
How to Feed Guinea Pigs?
When feeding fruits or vegetables to guinea pigs, it is best to chop them down into small wedges or thin slices. Whenever you are offering them something new, it is advised to give them the serving sizes in small amounts. As their stomach gradually adapts to that certain food, you will slowly be able to increase the serving size.
When you are feeding your guinea pig, keep the food bowl away from the bathroom area. Weekly cage cleaning is recommended to ensure proper hygiene.
In order to satisfy the nutritional needs of small baby guinea pigs, give them Alfalfa hay to fulfill their need for calcium. As they grow, you can gradually add new foods (in smaller quantities). For guinea pigs under 6 months of age, Alfalfa pellets are great. For the ones over 6 months of age, you can start giving them Timothy pellets.
How Much Do Guinea Pigs Eat?
While fresh vegetables and fruits are a great component of guinea pig’s diet, limit them to one cup a day. Provide them with plenty of hay as it does more things for their health. If you are giving them fruits, a thin slice or small wedge is just enough.
When you are looking at your pet every day, it might be difficult to determine changes in its weight and looks. However, by weighing them you can observe if they are growing thin or fat. If you notice any negative changes, you will need to adjust the amount of food accordingly.
The serving size of food of guinea pigs eat in a daydepends on the age, breed, and other factors, but ¼ of a cup to 1/8th of a cup is a recommended dose of pellets a day. You can divide this quantity into smaller parts to make 2-3 serving meals so that they don’t end up finishing the whole recommended quantity in just a few minutes.
How Often Do You Feed Guinea Pigs?
There is no special rule on how often do guinea pigs need to eat. It’s important to establish a proper amount of food that you will give to your guinea pigs for one day. You can divide that amount of food into 3 or 4 meals.
Be sure that they have enough hay and water in the cage during the whole 24 hr. period. Vegetables, fruits, and pellets can be given separately. They will eat every time you give them food if they are healthy.
Can You Overfeed Your Guinea Pig?
Generally, guinea pigs do not overeat, but still, there is a possibility as they don’t know when to stop eating. Gradually, as you and your pet get to know each other, there will be a less likely chance of this happening.
Guinea pigs like to utilize their time by chewing and nibbling on food, so it is your responsibility to keep a watchful eye on how much you are feeding them. While hay should be available all the time, as it helps with digestion, you should not keep other food items available 24/7 in their cage.
It is not rocket science to determine if you are overfeeding your guinea pig. If your pet is leaving a lot of food untouched, either they don’t like to eat that certain food or you should reduce the serving sizes.
If your guinea pig shows a tendency to like only one kind of food, don’t take the easy way out and give them large quantities of that food. It will make them fat and spoil their teeth. Overfeeding a guinea pig might make them happy in the short run, but it is going to cause problems for both the pet and the owner in the longer run.
In the event of overfeeding (if you notice health issues or rapid weight gain), try gradually reducing their daily serving sizes. Also, take them for a run outside so that they can burn those extra calories.
A Vet Will Give Dietary Advice for Guinea Pigs
Consult a vet for any nutritional needs of your guinea pigs. What we said above are general preferences on what most guinea pigs like to eat. However, your guinea pig might have special dietary requirements.
A regular visit to the veterinarian will help you determine the exact menu items that you should give to your pet.
Related: How Much Is Guinea Pig Food?
It isn’t so hard to learn what to feed guinea pigs and with a little research and effort, you will become an expert for their diet.
While a guinea pig can eat most things, most guinea pigs only like to eat certain types of food. Just remember to introduce any new food item in their diet gradually. If you offer them smaller portions of new foods, they will adapt to it with ease and eventually start liking it as well.
With food, you should be careful what to choose. If you are not sure what to feed them but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats, check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas.
We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your guinea pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
List of Sources
Vitamin C Requirements of the Guinea-Pig
Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs
The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig
Some Determinants of Intake and Patterns of Feeding in the Guinea Pig