If you ever had a Guinea pig as a classroom pet in elementary school, you will know that these little fellas are adorable and easy to take care of.
Their soft and furry little bodies are full of life and personality as they scramble around on the floor. A healthy Guinea pig is a hardy little animal who only wants love and affection, and of course, an occasional cage cleaning every once in a while.
What makes a guinea pig so fun to be around? These animals will eat just about anything from carrots to spinach, hay, and water.
They’re not as fragile as a small gerbil or hamster and are generally more friendly than hamsters and chinchillas. They also live for longer periods of time than any other type of small pet, some even living well into their teen years as I said before.
Guinea pigs are loved and cherished just like any other family member, but this does not mean they can eat the same foods as humans. Like any other domestic pet, these animals have their own specific needs in order to help them live a long and happy life.
If there’s any word, to sum up, a guinea pig’s diet, it would-be herbivores. This means they mostly eat fresh fruits and vegetables– no dairy, meat, or any type of bug or insect.
Most Guinea pigs only eat fresh hay and raw veggies. This helps to control their constantly growing teeth.
I “C” You
Besides needing that extra nutrition from vegetables, Vitamin C supplementation is crucial to good Peruvian guinea pig health. Guinea pigs cannot make Vitamin C unlike other mammals, so they need to ingest it in with their food.
Without receiving Vitamin C on a daily basis, a Peruvian guinea pig can suffer from scurvy which later leads to future health problems. Signs of your Guinea pig not receiving enough Vitamin C includes:
- Not eating
- Sensitivity to being touched
Many of the pet stores supplied pellets do contain a small amount of Vitamin C in them that is formulated especially for your guinea pigs’ needs. This is a kind of food with a high value of Vitamin C that I give to my cavies on Amazon.
Veterinarians will know the best ways to give your Peruvian guinea pig or any other breed Vitamin C and how much of it that they need to consume. Healthy Guinea pigs do not need any other type of vitamin supplement.
Fresh food like fiber
Fibrous foods like hay and raw veggies are essential to guinea pigs’ life. Hay is super important because the tough straw has really strong fibers that help saw down the guinea pig’s teeth. Hard pellets offered by pet stores alone will not do the trick.
Leafy greens like in our typical salad, are the perfect product in a Guinea pig diet. Romaine, spinach, kale, or even parsley are very nutrient-dense and keep the little pigs happy.
Fresh vegetables should be offered once a day and have an equivalent to a total cup per guinea pig.
For a little splash of color in a Guinea pig diet, the starchy type of veggies like carrots, sweet potato, or zucchini can be fed to your Guinea pig about once or twice a week.
Can Peruvian or American pigs eat raisins?
Like any other pet, the ASPCA animal poison control center has warned against the feeding of any fruit and vegetables to our adorable animals. These same guidelines apply to guinea pigs.
Restrain from feeding these foods to your Guinea pig:
These are good fruits and veggies to feed your pet guinea pigs:
- Fresh pepper
- Cantaloupe (in small doses)
Consider fruit to be a sweet treat that you feed them sparingly. It is already high in natural sugar and paired with a smaller sized body, your guinea pig may not be equipped to handle that much sugar. A small wedge of orange or apple will do great.
Perhaps throw a few blueberries into the cage once a week; add a slice of banana into the bowl.
These portions may seem small, but for these sized animals, it’s perfectly adequate.
If your guinea pigs eat raisins may cause issues such as diarrhea, not to mention they will get fat from all the sugar.
If guinea pigs eat grapes or any kind of fruits too much can also lead to them developing sores around their mouths depending on the acidity level of the fruit.
A Guinea pig is still susceptible to any toxic or pesticides on the fruit or veggies (carrots, peas, lettuce…) during their growth process. Wash all of your fruits and veggies with care before your guinea pigs eat them.
After washing, it is good to dry off the food before placing it into the cage. There is nothing wrong with them being moist, but having a soaking wet vegetable will rot much faster and leave the cavies bedding matted and uncomfortable to sleep on.
Slicing the food is also beneficial to the Peruvian guinea pigs as he or she may eat too quickly and choke on it. Stringy vegetables like celery should be treated with care in order to avoid choking.
Guinea pigs eat nuts!
Nuts are not recommended to be fed to guinea pigs. Although their stomachs are strong enough to digest the fiber-filled foods in their typical diet, they are not suited for the large amounts of fat and oils in nuts.
All nuts are not good for piggies with their nutritional values being too much for an animal the size of a guinea pig. In a typical serving size of nuts, that alone is around or even over 200 calories.
For one meal, that is a large calorie intake for such a small amount of food even for a human. The high amounts of carbs also found in nuts are also unhealthy in the same way it is for humans.
Likewise, seeds have the same negative effects on guinea pigs. Their small size can also be a choking hazard, and some even have arsenic like apple seeds.
Taking the time to think of how animals eat naturally and what they would be able to find by themselves in the wild are good cues of what they should eat. Anything process should never be taken into consideration; you love your pets like family, but they can never be fed the same things you eat.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.