Guinea pigs are fun and adorable pets, but it is also true that they are a bit delicate, especially in relation to the digestive system. Therefore, if you want to have a guinea pig, you must be clear on how to feed it correctly, so that it grows healthy and without problems. In this article we talk about how to feed a guinea pig in the best possible way.
The guinea pig is a herbivorous animal
Broadly speaking, we can say that The diet of a guinea pig is based on three fundamental pillars:
- I think
- Fruits and vegetables
In this way, you will have a perfect balance of nutrients and will be able to take everything you need: vitamins, fiber, carbohydrates and hydration. Keep in mind that guinea pigs are not able to produce vitamin C by themselves, so you should give it a feed that has this substance as a complement.
Further, always remember to leave fresh water at your disposal. Try to make it low in sodium, since guinea pigs are prone to kidney stones and sodium would aggravate the situation.
Should my guinea pig take alfalfa?
Alfalfa It is a recommended complement in the guinea pig diet at certain times, such as pregnant or breastfeeding females, or young or adults with digestive problems.
If your guinea pig is not among these assumptions, you can give alfalfa occasionally, but Abusing it could cause diarrhea or other problems. Nor is it absolutely necessary.
Do not overfeed your guinea pig
If you really want to know how to feed a guinea pig, you must have one very clear thing: don't give him leftovers from your food. Besides that It can cause diarrhea, you will be at risk of developing obesity and will put your health in serious danger.
For your guinea pig, Only fresh fruits and vegetables should come out of your fridge. Avoid giving eggs, meats, preserves, sweets ...
Can my guinea pig eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables?
The truth is, no. Some of the ones that you should avoid, because your guinea pig could not digest them correctly, they are:
- Any type of cabbage
Some of them could even be toxic to guinea pigs! But There are lots of healthy vegetables that your guinea pig can eat without problems.
Did you know that guinea pigs eat this type of food?
Feeding of young guinea pigs
Although surprising, guinea pigs begin to eat shortly after birth, although they do suck their mothers to receive adequate calcium and immune protection. It is after three weeks (at least) that we can consider separating the parent from the young guinea pig.
Once the young guinea pig enters its new habitat, it must have at its disposal fresh hay 24 hours a day since it develops its teeth and favors the digestive system. In the market you will find hay with dandelion flowers for example, a fantastic option and they love it.
Guinea pigs under 15 months should receive two daily feed rations, fundamental for its growth. Check your usual store for a quality product that is specific to this rodent breed.
It's also time to have your guinea pig tested fruits and vegetables of all kinds, in this way you will discover your favorite foods and you will have no problem incorporating them into your adult diet. We recommend that you offer small portions at the beginning so that it does not cause discomfort in your body.
Some examples of fruits and vegetables:
Adult guinea pig feeding
Once our guinea pig enters adulthood (between 7 and 8 months of age) it will still need fresh hay available throughout the day and is that guinea pigs do not have intestinal motility need to eat throughout the day to stimulate your digestive system and prevent it from stopping.
We will continue to offer fruits and vegetables recommended for guinea pigs on a daily basis and we will greatly reduce your feed intake which will then constitute 20% of your total diet.
Remember that guinea pigs should not eat certain foods such as sugars, coffees or an excess of parsley, find out about banned foods for guinea pigs.
Feeding pregnant guinea pigs
The pregnancy of the guinea pig usually lasts approximately 65 days or so and is a stage in which we must pay attention to their care and also to their diet.
Pregnant guinea pigs they should receive an extra calcium and vitamin C, present in many fruits and vegetables. In the market you will find vitamin supplements that your veterinarian will recommend if you deem it necessary, consult with him this process so as not to have any disgust.
If you want to read more articles similar to Guinea pig feed according to age, we recommend that you enter our Balanced Diets section.
What can a guinea pig eat?
The guinea pig is HERBÍVORA, that is, it feeds on vegetables (grass, vegetables ...) as well as horses, cows, rabbits ...
These vegetables provide the fiber necessary for your digestive system to function properly. If your guinea pig does not eat grass, you are not providing the fiber that your digestive system needs and you will end up having serious health problems.
Hay: the most important food.
He base and essential food Of this species is hay. There are many types, depending on the herb that composes it (alfalfa, oatmeal, fleo ...). Quite simply, the hay is grass from the pasture that is harvested and subsequently dehydrated for conservation.
A quality hay should come from mowed grass just before it begins to glean or at most recently gleaned and must have been properly dried, either in the sun or by heat in a dehydrator, but without spoiling its nutrients.
Hay should be the basis of their diet.
If it has been properly dried, it will be green, never brown and will have a pleasant aroma. Must be free of dust and fungus.
We must have always hay freely available of our guinea pig since it eats throughout the day. The fiber of the hay stimulates the motility of the digestive system and facilitates its proper functioning, also helps your incisors not grow too much due to lack of wear.
Characteristics of guinea pigs
Guinea pigs are very selective herbivorous animals, which prefer the most tender parts of plants, although they also consume small amounts of coarse fodder to favor intestinal motility.
The guinea pigs at birth they are very early, and born with the ability to eat solid foods. It is important to offer a wide variety of vegetables so that you learn to eat them, since after a few days you will reject food that you do not know. If you are with an adult it is easier for you to learn to eat a variety. Guinea pigs are very sensitive and if they notice any change in texture, color, shape or taste they can refuse food or water.
To avoid that the change of diet produces adverse reactions we proceed to do it gradually and systematically (Three day rule). We will introduce the vegetables one by one (In order to distinguish which vegetable causes the problem in the event that one arises). Each vegetable is given over three days consecutive, starting with a very small amount on the first day and increasing the amount on the second and third day. If any symptom of digestive disorder (diarrhea, gases ...), we will stop giving the vegetable that we are introducing, we will wait for the animal to recover and start with a different one, forgetting for the moment that it felt bad. Later, when the introduction of vegetables is complete, we can try again, or simply consider that this vegetable does not suit you. We will start with little problematic vegetables and fruits such as chard, escarole, apple, etc.
Two of the main health problems in guinea pigs are the Intestinal tract problems and tooth and tooth problems.Both can be largely avoided by providing proper food. Guinea pigs have a delicate digestive system that can be altered by the proliferation of harmful bacteria due to foods high in sugars or an insufficient supply of fiber. Digestive problems are one of the leading causes of death.
It's very important control your weight Weighing him weekly at home. A 10% weight loss or gain in a month should not be overlooked. If we see that you are overweight we will reduce or eliminate the most caloric foods: prizes, fruits and feed. If the animal is underweight, the amount of feed will be increased or a more nutritious one will be sought, always being careful not to lower its hay consumption.
Fresh fiber of vegetables.
In addition to hay, it is also advisable to provide fresh fiber from vegetables. The vegetables of the season that we find in the fruit shop are great and can be offered safely: zucchini, cucumber, canons, eggplant, spinach, red pepper, green pepper, celery, carrots, broccoli, chard, green beans, etc ...
There are some exceptions: the tomato and potato plants are toxic to guinea pigs.
On the other hand, lettuce and cabbage are not poisonous but are a bit problematic because they are difficult to digest. An alternative is endive and chicory.
Wild plants can also be collected although they must be well identified and avoid those that can be toxic and poisonous.
It is also advisable to pick them up in places with little traffic, far from factories and roads and that have not been sulfated with herbicides or insecticides.
Dandelion likes guinea pigs
Composition of guinea pig food
In general we could divide the feeding of guinea pigs as follows
- 70% hay
- 20% fresh food
- 10% high end feed
The diet should be as varied as possible, with respect to hay, fresh food and feed.
This will ensure us, on the one hand a variety of necessary nutrients, and on the other, it will make life
of the most interesting guinea pig, since the variety in the food constitutes one of the pillars
of environmental enrichment.
Hay should be the basis of guinea pig feeding. It should always be available in unlimited quantities and we must ensure that you eat enough.
They are suitable for adult guinea pigs having lower amounts of protein and calcium. Some hay of grasses available in the market are: Fleo (timothy grass), Oats, Dactyl (orchard grass), Festuca, Bermuda grass, Poa de los meadows, Bromo ...
They are more suitable for growing animals, pregnant or lactating females and sick or malnourished individuals. In healthy adult guinea pigs, legume hay should be restricted although it is not necessary to eliminate them completely unless there are specific health problems (we can offer them once a week). Some legume hay include: Alfalfa, White clover, Red clover, Esparceta, Veza. Alfalfa is only recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding females, young guinea pigs or malnourished adults.
There are hay in the market mixed with flowers, dandelion, aromatic or dried fruit that can be interesting for guinea pigs reluctant to eat hay since they make it more palatable.
The hay should be fresh, green and smell a lot, this will make it more palatable and will help you consume it in more quantity. Dried and yellowish hay retain their amount of fiber but have lost enough nutrients. It should be stored in a place protected from moisture and heat and never in a container that is too tight as it can develop fungi.
2.- Fresh food
Perishable plant foods should be offered at least once a day and remove what has not been consumed in a few hours to avoid fermentation. Fresh foods should be washed and dried, especially in summer and should not be given directly from the refrigerator.
To ensure the correct supply of vitamin C we will include in the diet of the guinea pig every day at least one vegetable rich in vitamin C such as red pepper, green pepper, broccoli, etc.
Fresh food should be divided in this way.
- 75% leaf vegetable
- 15% other vegetables
- 10% fruit
a) Leaf vegetables (75%)
We will choose especially dark colored leafy vegetables which contain more nutrients (yellow leaves are poor in vitamins and minerals). For this and because it is associated with digestive problems, we will avoid the yellow leaves of lettuce and iceberg-type lettuce.
It is appropriate to make small salads, in which at least 3 different types of raw vegetables are mixed.
Leaf vegetables: chard, chicory, artichoke, watercress, Chinese cabbage, canons, green cabbage, endive, escarole, spinach, turnip greens, grass grasses, rapeseed leaves, raspberry, turnip, cucumber, radish, beet , carrot, cabbage, arugula ...
Aromatic: Aromatic herbs should be given in small quantities. We can highlight basil, coriander, dill, peppermint, fennel, mint, oregano and parsley (not in pregnant women).
b) Other vegetables (15%)
Carrot, Broccoli, Edible flowers (roses, pansies, hibiscus), Celery, Pepper, Green beans (pod only, removing seeds), Brussels sprouts, Cucumber, Zucchini, Tomato (never the plant or leaves). Avoid the flower part of cauliflower or broccoli.
The carrot and pumpkin have a lot of sugar and will be given with the same frequency and quantity as if they were fruits.
Prohibited vegetables: onion, scallion or similar, leek, potato or other tubers, garlic, garlic, beet, avocado, olive.
c) Fruit (10%)
It must be given in very limited quantities. One tablespoon a day per kilo of the animal's weight if there are no weight problems would be an adequate amount. It is a good option as a prize.
Dried fruit can be given but, being more concentrated, the amounts should be one third compared to fresh fruit.
If the fruit is organically grown it can be given with skin (except banana), well washed, since the external part is usually rich in nutrients. If the use of pesticides is suspected, it is better to peel them.
Allowed fruits: apricot, cranberry, cherry, plum, raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, mango, apple, peach, melon, nectarine, papaya, pear, pineapple, banana (small amount), watermelon.
3.- I think
It must be specific for guinea pigs. Feed for rabbits may have levels of vitamin D toxic to guinea pigs, in addition to not containing vitamin C in sufficient quantities
Vitamin C is very volatile and it is easy that the feed, due to storage conditions or age, has lost its vitamin content. Once we open a bag of feed vitamin C begins to degrade. Therefore, it is advisable not to rely on feed as the only source of vitamin C and rely more on fresh vegetables or supplements.
In general, alfalfa-based feeds are high in calcium and more suitable for young and pregnant female individuals. Fleo-based feed is more suitable for healthy adult guinea pigs.
It is very important to choose a high-end feed that is homogeneous, that is to say that the guinea pig cannot choose to eat some things yes and others not, which can cause imbalances in the diet.
Feed composition: minimum 20% fiber, maximum 3% fat and about 15% protein.
Feed should be stored in cool, well-closed places and should be consumed before 90 days of production.
- YOU MUST NEVER EAT
• Nuts, legumes, garlic, onion, leek, potato, avocado, iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, curly parsley, dog or cat food, cooked food, meat, processed oats, cheeses and dairy products in general, canned or syrup fruit .
• Chocolate, tomato leaves, tea leaves, bamboo leaves or stems.
• The poinsettia, asparagus, belladonna, fungi, orchids, rhododendrons, ivy, ferns, cactus, carnation, geranium, castor, mistletoe, primroses, ficus, narcissus, juniper, oak, poppies, cannabis, aloe vera, bulbs, violet and yew.
You should always have clean water at your disposal that should be changed at least every two days. If the tap water is not of good quality it should be bottled.
The guinea pig drinks about 100 ml / kg per day, and usually chew and drink at the same time, so it stains the drinking troughs. They tend to dump the feeders, so they must be stable and heavy.
An increase in daily water intake may appear if the amount of food is not enough or if you have a kidney problem.
If a good amount of fresh vegetables is administered, water consumption can be reduced.
If we follow these bases for the feeding of our guinea pig, we will be able to avoid the majority of non-infectious pathologies that affect this species. Guinea pigs turn out to be excellent pets, due to their sociable and active nature, but we must have some knowledge prior to their acquisition. We recommend a visit to the veterinarian in the first days of your stay at home, for a general exploration, deworming if necessary and, above all, to answer questions about food and handling.
Vegetables and fruits
Unfortunately, the guinea pigs they are not able to produce vitamin C by themselves, so they need to obtain it externally, through a correct diet. To do this, we can give you a wide variety of green leafy vegetables that contain a considerable amount of this vitamin such as chard, canons, lettuce (minus the iceberg) the carrot leaves, parsley (although without passing us because it is very diuretic) or spinach. Other vegetables such as carrots or red pepper (more than green), will also help us with a large contribution of vitamin C. And fruits have oranges, tomatoes, apples or kiwis for example, which are also low in sugars, and that is what interests us for our guinea pigs.
It is possible to say that it is necessary to wash and clean fruits and vegetables that we are going to give our pets so that they do not get intoxicated, and if possible, not give them whole fruits, but in portions and a little every day. If you want to know more about this topic, you can look at this list of good fruits and vegetables for guinea pigs or this other banned food for guinea pigs.
Finally we have the feed, which must be specific for guinea pigs, since they are 100% herbivorous and do not tolerate animal proteins, which other feedstuffs for rodents in general do usually contain. They must also contain an extra supply of fiber and vitamin C, although once opened, this vitamin takes very little time to evaporate, so we must store the feed in a cool, dry and well closed place. And it must be avoided that it contains the least possible sugars, fats and chemicals, so that our guinea pig grows in the healthiest way.
How much should a young guinea pig eat?
It is considered a young guinea pig up to 15 months old. As we have said before, the amount of water and hay is unlimited, but it is recommended that we give them a bit of fibrous vegetables twice a day, once in the morning and in the afternoon. On the other hand, it is recommended that we give them a portion one day if not one day, since if we give them a portion each day, our pet will begin to gain weight quickly. The ideal is to make them a small assorted salad with 2 types of vegetables or a vegetable and a fruit, for example.
As for feed, which has to constitute 10% of the food of young guinea pigs, it is recommended an amount of feed of 20 grams per day (two tablespoons), divided into two batches like vegetables, for rodents weighing up to 300 grams.
How much should an adult guinea pig eat?
After 15 months of age, guinea pigs can already be considered adults, and therefore we must change their amount and percentage of daily food a little. As for the young women, fresh hay always has to be available 24 hours a day and constitutes 70% of your diet, but for adult guinea pigs the daily intake of vegetables and fruits will constitute 25%, Y I think it will go to 5% since it is now considered an extra, thus giving them a single serving a day, usually in the morning.
Even so, the amount of feed will vary depending on the weight of our animal:
- If you weigh up to 500 grams, you will have 45 grams of feed per day
- If you weigh more than 500 grams, you will have 60 grams of feed per day.
It should be said that once the guinea pig has finished the feed, it will not be replenished until the next day.
If you want to read more articles similar to Amount of daily food for guinea pigs, we recommend that you enter our Balanced Diets section.
I think granulated, nothing mixes.
As for the I think for Cobayas, I have to say that, although it seems very appealing for our pet the mixtures of seeds, flowers and grains…. It is not a good food for them since these are not rich in fiber.
They also choose the grains they like best, stopping the others and even hay, which leads to a very unbalanced and inadequate diet.
It is true that the label says “I think for Cobayas”, But in animal stores they are guided more by marketing than by their real needs.
The special feed for Cobayas "really" comes in the form of pellets, which are cylinders of dehydrated and pressed plant material of the same size. Therefore, being homogeneous will eat everything equally without choosing and we will continue providing the fiber that our guinea pig needs.
The guinea pig should not eat more than 2 or 3 tablespoons of feed per day.
Very important: vitamin C
Vitamin C, like us depends on an external contribution in the diet. Other rodents and mammals are able to synthesize vitamin C in their body, but no guinea pig.
The lack of this vitamin is another of the most common problems in Cobayas causing endless diseases.
Therefore, we must supply foods rich in vitamin C (dandelion, blackberry leaves, currants, beets, carrots ..)
We know that citrus fruits are also rich in vitamin C, but not all Cobayas will accept it, yet we must try from small (tangerines, oranges, kiwis ... etc)
There is vitamin C powder and drops but many guinea pigs stop eating the food when they notice the additive.
From time to time, we can reward you with some jelly beans for Cobayas. They really like oatmeal, toasted corn flakes and crumbled crumbled bread.
Foods to entertain: hard dry bread (in small quantities,) thin branches of fruit trees can be offered ... to have fun.
Own foods, the cecotrofos. Cobayas, like rabbits, produce a type of special stool that they eat again, usually from the anus and that gives them vitamins and fiber. It is one of the vital components, if they do not, it can have serious consequences.
As you can see, this diet based on "green" is very far from the diet based on the "feed for guinea pigs" of grain mixture, totally inappropriate.
A proper and balanced diet will help keep your guinea pig healthy and with great quality of life.
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10 comments on “What do guinea pigs eat? Guinea pig feeding tips. "
Hello my guinea pig ate a piece of cardboard that's normal
I would not worry too much, the cardboard has a vegetal nature and will assimilate it. In any case try to avoid it. Regards.
I'm a mess, I read a lot of websites, even veterinarians and there is no agreement, I don't understand:
- Some say that it is better to avoid lettuce, others the opposite.
- others that do not have to give pepper every day and better redoxon
It is the problem of the Internet ... At the moment we did not see any guinea pig with problems from eating lettuce, well understood that the basis of the diet should be hay and fresh vegetables a complement. Regards
Hello also that they can eat snacks and if they can eat lettuce because always where I buy the hay the concentrate or seeds always tell me «if the guinea pig eats lettuce or tomato it can die»
Actually, what they can't eat is the tomato plant, the tomato itself. There is also no problem because they eat lettuce, in any case remember that the main food to maintain dental and digestive health must be hay.
Hello my guinea pig just gave birth to 3 beautiful guinea pigs that I can add to your diet apart from breast milk? Thank you
Our advice is that you do not give them anything, when they are weaned they will learn to eat watching what the mother does. Regards.
I do not know what happens to my guinea pigs. I had many because they raised me. But they are dying. The diet is good. But some are skinny. And they began to lose my hair. I went to my veterinarian. I could give them some nuggets to deworm them, and some of them got their hair out, but others are skinny and hairy. Can you give me some clue. Because they die. Thank you
Hello, I'm sorry but without exploring the animals it is impossible to determine what they have, what you say is too unspecific.
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