Guinea pigs are really cute, and they like eating. While there are a lot of things that guinea pigs “can” eat, but there are 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. Keep your guinea pigs’ diet fresh and diverse. Among fruits, apples, pears, blueberries, and peaches always win their hearts. Carrots, green pepper, cucumbers, sweet potato, and Brussel sprouts are other top favorites. Keep a steady supply of hay, and they will never have enough of it. Always have fresh and clean water near them. Make your own treats at home.
Things guinea pigs like to eat:
If you feed your guinea pig following things, they are going to love you:
Fresh timothy hay is going to be a great option. Not only do they like it, it also aids digestion process.
2. Leafy greens
Any fresh option like beetroot, parsley, lettuce, kale, spinach or romaine would serve the purpose.
3. Fresh fruits
They would like to have fruits once every 3-6 days. You can include options like carrot or sweet potato.
Practically any high-quality pellet would be good to go. You can try and see if your guinea pig would like to have rolled oats with the pellet.
5. Fresh plants and grass
Introduce a variety of fresh plants (in small quantities).
6. Sweet treats
These are not good for them, but guinea pigs like them.
How to feed a guinea pig?
Besides any other item that you include in their diet, always remember to keep a steady inflow of hay. All species of guinea pigs love Timothy Hay. You can also try other hay varieties like Alfalfa. Always opt for fresh, soft and green hay if you wish to give your guinea pig something they would like.
To feed fruits or vegetables, it is best to chop them down in small wedges or thin slices; this will help both you and your pet. Whenever you are offering them something new, it is advised to keep the amount very little. As their stomach gradually adapts, then you can slowly increase the feed size if you want.
When you are feeding your guinea pig, keep the food bowl away from the bathroom area. To feed them look for a wide ceramic bowl. Weekly cage cleaning along with food bowl is recommended to ensure proper hygiene.
For small baby guinea pigs who are nursing, you can give them Alfalfa to fulfill their need of calcium. As they grow, you can gradually add new items (in smaller quantities) to see if they can adjust and digest. For guinea pigs under 6 months of age, Alfalfa pellets would be great; for the ones over 6 months of age, you can start Timothy pellets.
If you are anxious about giving your pet good diet, it would be best to mix different fruit to make a fruit salad (or vegetable salad) so that they like it and it gives them the nutritional value they need. You do not have to mash, cut them into small pieces and mix the small chunks together.
Pelleted food can be a great way of including any new item in their diet. Pellet that offers a mixture of vitamins and hay could be a lovely treat as well.
How much to feed a guinea pig?
While fresh vegetables and fruits are a great component of guinea pigs’ diet, limit them to one cup a day. Provide them with plenty of hay so that they can digest the food they ate. If you are giving them fruit to eat, do not think about giving the whole serving. A thin slice or small wedge is just enough.
When you see your pet every day, it might become difficult to determine changes in their weight and outlook. However, if you observe that they are growing thin or fat, you will need to adjust the amount of food accordingly.
Depending on the age, breed and other factors, ¼ of a cup to 1/8th of a cup is a recommended dose of pellets in a day. You can divide this quantity to make 2-3 serving meals so that they don’t end up finishing the whole recommended quantity in a few minutes and end up yearning for more.
What not to give to a guinea pig?
As a general rule of thumb, avoid feeding your guinea pig with processed food or commercial products. Any kinds of cereals, sweets or sugars are a no-no. 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.
It is prudent not to give fruits that will be too-sugary for your pets. Citrus fruits are a big no-no, and carrots should be given in lesser quantity. The same is also true for meats of all kinds; do not include them in guinea pigs’ diet as they are herbivores. Dairy products should also not be a part of their diet.
Beware, guinea pigs might seem to like calcium-high food, but you should keep a check on the intake of such food by your pet. If you give them a lot of calcium, it will be unsafe for them as it will become a cause for bladder stones.
What guinea pigs need in their diet (and what they don’t need)
Guinea pigs need a well-balanced and varied diet. Do not stick with one thing only. Be sure to provide a variety of fresh and natural food.
While guinea pigs like to eat artificial products, but 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 sugary, artificially-colored diet.
Guinea pigs need vitamin C, but they don’t need vitamin C in their water source. It is advisable to fulfill their vitamin C dietary need through pellets or bell pepper (do not give spicy peppers). Any fruits that are starchy or high in sugar are something they don’t need. Popular examples of this category include potatoes, avocados, peas, corn, and lettuces.
Hydration is important too
You might be interested in knowing what guinea pigs like to eat but remember one golden rule: proper hydration is equally important. Your pet should have a steady supply of fresh and clean water. It is best to get a pet feeding bottle to keep the cage from getting wet and dirty. Without an adequate supply of water, guinea pigs will develop several health issues.
Everyday diet for guinea pigs
It is a good idea to teach your kids to take care of pets with some adorable animal like a guinea pig, but at the same time, it is important to teach them how to take proper care of them. The foremost thing in taking care is to give them proper, healthy and varied diet.
Everyday diet for guinea pigs may vary according to their breeds. The common breeds for guinea pigs are Abyssinian, Teddy, Skinny and Peruvian among many others.
An everyday diet of guinea pigs should include one form or the other of vitamin C. It is best if you offer them natural food items that contain vitamin C. The underlying reason is that guinea pigs are unable to make vitamin C on their own.
What to do when you overfeed a guinea pig?
Generally, guinea pigs do not overeat, but still, there can be chances of such an event with your pet. Gradually as you and your pet get to understand each other, there will be least likely a chance of overfeeding.
Guinea pigs like to utilize their time by chewing and nibbling away, 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 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 or you should reduce the quantity.
If your guinea pig shows a tendency to like one kind of food, do not find the easy way out and give them large quantities of that food. It will make them fat and spoil their tooth. 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 event of overfeeding (if you notice health issues or rapid weight gain), try reducing their daily feed gradually. Also, take them for a run outside so that they can burn extra calories.
Fresh grass can be a good idea too
If you have access to a lawn (or any other place with fresh grass), then whenever you find the time, you can leave your adorable guinea pigs to graze on fresh grass. Permitting that the weather is good, and you can keep your pet enclosed in that area, it is a good idea.
Word of caution: Please ensure that no chemicals have been used on the grass. Also, it is advisable to make certain that other animals are not urinating in that grass. Grazing gives them good exercise and reduces the chances of obesity.
It is a win-win situation: your grass will stay small, and your pet will stay healthy. High fiber in grass and plenty of sunshine are exactly what your guinea pig needs.
Safe and unsafe food for guinea pigs
One cup of fresh vegetables can be a safe diet for guinea pig pets. While commercial food is safe too, but you should substitute as much commercial food as you can with natural greens. When we are talking about unsafe food, we caution you that certain foods can cause rapid growth in guinea pig’s teeth, which in turn might cause a problem for you.
The popular concept is that multivitamins and minerals are crucial for your guinea pigs’ health. Well, they are not mandatory as long as you are following a proper diet plan for your pet. Introduce small quantities of fresh substitutes and keep them away from commercial products; both for your own good and theirs.
Plastics can be an unsafe option, so it is better to get a ceramic food bowl/dish for your guinea pig. If it is not broken or visibly damaged, you can continue using it for a long time. You should avoid plastics for another reason too: guinea pigs might nibble and chew on their plastic dish.
Bread crusts and other similar things are not safe to be included as a regular item on their menu. You can offer them once a week, or at most only twice a week. Carrots are sweet and most guinea pigs like carrots but keep it to a minimum.
Remove apple seeds before giving them slices of apples. Generally, coconut, broccoli, and iceberg lettuce should also be avoided. Some food that might be poisonous for your pets includes wild mushrooms, seeds, raw kidney beans, and rhubarb.
It is also not a safe option to prepare vegetables ahead of time. It would be best and safest to prepare them fresh for feeding. 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 anything older than 3 days.
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 stale pellets also fall into the unsafe category, so get rid of them as well.
Any rotten or spoilt leftover food is unsafe for your guinea pig, so you should keep an eye for these leftovers and discard them regularly. 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 them for long.
Making your own treats
Guinea pigs tend to like the sweet commercial products that you give them, but sweet treats are not good for them at all. One safe alternative to satiate their craving for these sweet little nothings can be making your own treats for guinea pigs.
It doesn’t have to be too time-consuming or take up 30 minutes of hard work. You can start with small and easy-to-make treats. There are high chances that your pet will really like the treats.
As with all other things in their diet, remember to introduce home-made treats in small quantities to check for any adverse reactions, to develop good digestion and help them adapt to a change in taste.
Remember to add a good source of Vitamin C in all treats that you make for your guinea pig. Any left-over can be kept in an enclosed container in the refrigerator so that you can re-use them.
A vet will give expert advice
These are general preferences that most guinea pigs tend to like to eat; however, your guinea pig may have special dietary requirements. A regular visit to the veterinarian will help you determine exact menu items that you should give to your pet.
Consult a vet for any nutritional needs of your guinea pigs. Even if you cannot make time to visit a vet regularly, a once in a while visit will help you decide their daily diet.
While a guinea pig can eat most things, they would ‘like’ to eat a variety of food. Just remember to introduce any new item in their diet gradually. If you offer them a smaller portion of a new item, they will adapt easily and eventually start liking that thing too.