For some odd reason, it’s the littlest people that seem to eat the most food out of anyone. Why does my small sister seem to have her plate heaped full of food yet she still has room for dessert?
Why is my golden retriever eating noticeably less than my tiny black pug? These phenomena from human beings to dogs are only carried on in the world of Guinea pigs.
Essentials to a guinea pigs diet
As most people know, guinea pigs can and will eat anything they find insight. As the owner, it is your job to make sure your cavy is eating the proper foods to maintain good health and nutrition. The main staples to a cavies diet are:
- Timothy hay: it’s more than just forage and has specific qualities that make it a premium feed option for a variety of feed programs.
- Fresh vegetables: Bananas, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Green peppers, Parsley, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon. I wrote a post for each nourishment if you want more details about each one to check it out.
- Pellets: Grain pellets, Gluten-free, Heat-pressed, Cold-pressed, Fresh/natural.
A common mistake that people make when taking care of a guinea pig is giving them too many pellets over any other food, so to avoid all this kind of mistake check out my guide from here, very helpful for new guinea pig owner. The pellets, although a vital source of Vitamin C, should not be treated as the staple to their diet.
Commercial food, such as pellets, should be given to guinea pigs in small doses. About a ⅛ cup will do, once every day, to ensure that they are getting the proper minerals and vitamins.
Timothy hay can be given in abundance to your furry friend. Most people will refill the cage with hay whenever they see the stocks going low.
These little creatures love their hay, and for all the right reasons. Guinea pigs need those hearty fibers to help their digestive system break down their other foods. Hay is also crucial for another reason: it limits the growth of their teeth.
Guinea pigs teeth
A Guinea pig’s teeth will never stop growing and feeding them hay is the best way to keep those things short and as far away as possible from your hand. I’ve owned a lot of piggies over the years and this was a great resource when we had questions.
Fresh vegetables can be offered to your Guinea pig once a day and should end up equaling about a cup in total. Leafy greens such as romaine, spinach, kale, or parsley, are a guinea pig’s favorite and they will eat these in abundance.
Try to refrain from giving your cavy too many of the starchy or sugary vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, or zucchini. These types of foods should only be offered once or twice a week.
Can you overfeed a guinea pig? Time for Treats
Guinea pigs will only eat as much food as their bodies need them to. You will never see a guinea pig overeating, however many owners can overfeed their cavies by offering them too many treats.
Many owners will tend to go heavier on the treats more so than the nutritious foods that the cavy actually needs. Treats are called treats for a reason.
Never overfeed a guinea pig with these types of foods because it will cause severe stomach problems and can make them sick.
Treats essentially include any type of fresh fruit. Even natural sugar will be too much for the guinea pigs’ bodies to handle. Their digestive systems are designed to break down fibers, not sugars and starches.
Fruit should be given to guinea pigs in small quantities and no more than once or twice a week.
Like any other human, no guinea pig would ever want to fast for a day, let alone skip a meal. Cavies need access to plenty of food in their cage in order to keep their intestines, liver, and other organs running.
As it is not exactly a common thing to test how long your pet will last without food, some owners have forgotten to feed their pets. It is clear to all owners though that cavy is not made to go long periods without food.
A guinea pig will most likely last only a day without food. The general rule of thumb is that they should avoid keeping their pets going for more than 12 hours without food.
Of course, the right thing to do is make sure that they constantly have some type of nourishment in their cage.
But why does my guinea pig eat so much?
Living in a tiny body is hard! Just like how we need x amount of calories to support our body systems and energy levels throughout the day, a guinea pig’s small body takes more energy to keep things running thus the need to eat 24/7.
And it’s not like they eat unhealthy food which will make them fat. Leafy greens and hay have been scientifically proven to burn as many if not more calories than the food contain itself.
If you as the owner yourself are trying to lose weight, try the “Cavy Cuisine” meal plan instead.
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.