Just because you love your new pet as one of the family members does not mean you can give him anything you have on your table. If you are a guinea pig owner, you must know that some human foods are not safe for their pet to eat. When you have a guinea pig in your home, you need to be extra careful about his food instead of giving him table scraps.
There is no doubt that you love your cute little cavies, and you want to give him the best in everything. But, what about the best guinea pig food? Are you aware of what and what not to give your pet?
This little pet can be confusing to feed. Here, we have gathered some of the safe and unsafe guinea pig food list that will help you to understand how to give a healthy diet to your pet.
Hay – Best for Guinea Pigs
When you have a guinea pig, hay grass must be the major priority for his diet. In addition to this, you can also feed some vegetables, along with plenty of vitamin C.
When you have a baby guinea pig, you have to feed him alfalfa hay. This hay contains a high amount of calcium as compared to other kinds of hay. Alfalfa hay is also important for making healthy bone growth.
When your pet is fully grown, you have to feed him timothy hay. Thus hay contains a lower level of calcium but it is a rich source of fiber. The high amount of calcium is not good for a full-grown guinea pig. This may cause various health problems, such as bladder stones.
Always keep in mind that your pet’s diet must include a high quantity of hay. These kinds of hay help in keeping the digestion of your guinea pig working properly. They are also helpful in wearing down his teeth and prevent them from overgrowing.
Other Safe Guinea Pig Food
You must also add some vegetables and fruits to your guinea pig’s diet. It helps vary your pet’s diet and acts as an important source for his overall health. The best guinea pig food includes hay, leaves, grass, fruits, some veggies, and flowers. It also depends on where they live.
Always remember not to give meat or dairy products to your guinea pig. These foods are not a part of his natural diet and can make him sick. The safe guinea pig food list includes:
Go for commercial food for your pet. You must know that these foods are formulated to provide balanced nutrition and provide a suitable amount of vitamin C and other essential nutrients. Make sure to get the pellet food that is approved by your vet. You must follow the feeding instructions carefully.
Mostly, it is recommended to give about 1/4 – 1/8 cup of plain and corn-free and seed-free pellets to your guinea pig each day. Always keep in mind that pellets are not more important than giving fresh grass hay to your pet. It is so because pellets are advised to be given to your guinea pig with the aim to provide additional vitamins and nutrients that are not getting from hay alone. You must choose the pellets that are fortified in vitamin C.
The chosen pellets should have high-quality hay, and the best way to serve pellets is to take a ceramic bowl.
Do you know that your little guinea pig can have up to one cup of vegetables in a day? Make sure to introduce new veggies to your guinea pig at a time. The best option is to give organically grown green vegetables. Have a look at the guinea pig food list that includes the recommended vegetables.
- Romaine Lettuce
- Green Beans
- Green and Red Bell Peppers
- Turnip Greens
- Other Dark Green Veggies
All these vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that are extremely beneficial for the overall health of your pet. Don’t forget to wash all veggies to remove any particle of harmful pesticides. Also, never give cold vegetables to a guinea pig.
Being a guinea pig owner, you must know that you should feed fewer fruits than vegetables to your pet. Fruits have a higher sugar content that is not good for his health. You can give bite-sized portions of fruit to him every day. The main aim is to provide much-needed vitamin C. Have a look at the guinea pig food list that includes the recommended fruits.
These fruits should be given to your pet only as a treat as they contain a high level of sugar. Remember to wash fruits before serving them to your pet thoroughly. Also, avoid giving cold fruits.
Treats and Chews
Always remember that you should not give treats, even including fruits, not more than 10% of your pet’s total food intake. Some commercial guinea pig food contains artificial sweeteners, sugar, or salt. So, you must read the ingredients and instructions carefully before choosing food for your guinea pig.
Since your pet’s teeth are growing continually, you can give him a variety of fun chews. These can be sticks, chew toys, balls, blocks, and can even provide treats that are produced for small animals. These things are not only a fun activity for your pet, but they also help to ease his boredom. You will notice him more active than ever.
In addition to these, you can also provide him with a small animal salt lick. This treat option is a great source of healthy minerals and is considered the healthy way to satisfy your little companion’s desire for salt.
If you want to give a treat to your guinea pig, make sure to get the natural one. You must know which treat is to be added to your guinea pig food list. You must look for treats produced with human-grade ingredients, such as hay, fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains like oats.
Unsafe Guinea Pig Food List
When you have your first guinea pig, you may assume that he can eat almost anything. No doubt real pigs can eat anything they want, but these small guinea pigs are entirely different from them. Though they are huge food lovers, they require limited nutrition and can consume certain plants and vegetables. This list includes the list of guinea pig food that is not safe for your guinea pig.
Any Kind of Meat
The very first thing is never to give meat to your small pet. No matter what kind of meat you have in your kitchen, it should not be included in your guinea pig’s meal plan. Are you looking for the answer why? Actually, the digestive systems of herbivorous animals are meant for plants only, nothing else.
If you give even a small portion of meat to your guinea pig, it may cause some serious health issues. Sometimes, it can also lead to death.
All kinds of dairy products are not suitable for your small pet. Whether you have yogurt, cream, cheese, milk, or any other dairy product in your kitchen, giving even a small portion can cause serious digestion issues. Some guinea pig owners try to put a few drops of yogurt into their pet’s food, which is entirely wrong. Forget to give dairy products to your guinea pig.
It is so because the guinea pig has a complex digestive system, and they don’t have enzymes to digest dairy products.
Sure, avocados are good for humans, but they are not a suitable food option for a guinea pig. Avocados have a great source of fat, vitamins, and minerals that help in losing weight. Again to repeat that, due to a sophisticated digestion system, guinea pigs are unable to take the benefits of avocado.
Many guinea pigs deal with weight problems, so if you give them additional fat, you are going to get bad results. So, don’t try to give avocados to your guinea pig.
Onions are another unsafe option in the guinea pig food list. More interesting is that onions are not safe for even dogs. The main reason is the presence of a substance called disulfide. This substance has the power to damage red blood cells in the bloodstream of your small pet. As a result, your guinea pig will become weak, anemic and may also feel difficulty in breathing.
In severe cases, these conditions can also cause death. Therefore, you must not give onion to your guinea pig.
In addition to being dangerous for guinea pigs, potatoes are something that is entirely useless for them. If you want to give nutrition to your guinea pig, you will find that potatoes are high in carbohydrates. This way, if you give potatoes to your guinea pig, they will make him fat and can also increase blood sugar.
Additionally, the potato skin contains harmful toxins that can be dangerous for your guinea pig. Also, they don’t give any quality vitamins and minerals to your small pet.
Like avocados, nuts also have plenty of fat in them. Whether it is a walnut, hazelnut, or a peanut, they all contain a high amount of fat. Here, we are talking about unsaturated fat. Also, all kinds of fat can make your guinea pig gain weight.
It is to remember that guinea pigs are small animals, so even 10 grams of fat in a day can make them fatter. Apart from this, some nuts can also cause digestion problems.
You should never give seeds to your guinea pig. The main reason is that seeds can easily be swallowed, and they may also choke your small pet. Also, some seeds are high in fat, and you should not give any kind of fat in your guinea pig’s diet.
Some seeds contain arsenic, and this element can be poisonous for a guinea pig. For example – apple seeds contain a good amount of arsenic, so it is an unsafe guinea pig food.
Iceberg and Lighter Lettuce
Guinea pigs should not eat lettuce, a big No to the iceberg and lighter lettuce. There are some types of lettuce that are viable for your guinea pig. If you pick the one, it means you are going to follow a trial and error approach. During this approach, your pet can suffer from diarrhea and several digestion problems. So, make sure not to give lettuce to your small pet.
Guinea pigs can also suffer from a bloating issue, and when this happens, there is no way to release the excessive gas. This condition results in decreasing the appetite of your pet and also makes him less active due to bloat and pain in the stomach.
So, you are advised to stay away from these vegetables and go for the veggies that we have listed above.
Fresh Fruits That are High in Sugar
You can give fresh fruits to your guinea pig, only if they are given as an occasional treat. The fructose in fruits is not good for a guinea pig. It is the least healthy sugar that can convert to glycogen in the liver instead of in the muscles. You must know that any kind of sugar in your pet’s diet is not good.
Some of the fruits contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals. You can give these fruits to them. Just follow the above-given list of safe fruits for guinea pigs. You need to avoid giving too sugary fruits to your pet, such as bananas, oranges, apples, and pears. You can provide these fruits, but occasionally and in less quantity.
If you give fruits to your guinea pig in the right amount, you can give a healthy amount of vitamins to him. Make sure to wash each fruit thoroughly before giving it to them.
After going through safe and unsafe guinea pig food lists, you will be able to give the right and healthy food to your guinea pig. This will make him happy and healthy.
Remember, hay should be in the significant quantity of your guinea pig’s diet. It should be followed by high-quality pellets and vegetables. Make sure that fruits and other treats should be given once in a while.