To ensure your little rodent friend stays happy and healthy for years to come, it is important to know what goes into the ideal guinea pig diet. You definitely want to replace some of your pet’s diet with plenty of vegetables and fresh fruits for variety, as well as also including their regular guinea pig food. But, you also need to know the best food to feed your guinea pig.
Providing A Varied Guinea Pig Diet
Variety is very important because veggies and fruits provide different nutrients. Small daily amounts of fruits and veggies should be fed, but use a variety of fruits and veggies to ensure proper minerals and vitamins are consumed.
You need to think small. Use fruits and veggies in moderation. The rule of thumb is to give about 3/4 of a cup per day of veggies and about one-third of a cup per day of fruit. Knowing which vegetables and fruits to feed your pet is important, since some of them are beneficial and safe to feed your guinea pig.
Strawberries have vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient your guinea pig needs. Guinea pigs cannot make vitamin C so it has to be in their diet through fruit like strawberries. Just don’t give them too much fruit, because fruit is high in sugar so it needs to be used in moderation. Rotate the fruit in your guinea pig’s diet by putting it in their meals once or twice a week.
If you want your guinea pig to have plenty of vitamin C without the sugar, try bell peppers. This also gives your pet variety. Red, yellow, green, orange – these are all high in vitamin C.
Another fruit that has lots of vitamin C, which makes it a great option for your pet, is kiwi. Make sure to remove the seeds before you give it to your guinea pig, so they won’t choke on them.
Carrots are a good source of vitamin A. The carrot greens and the carrot are both safe for your guinea pig to munch on. Just remember to feed them in moderation because too much vitamin A is not good for them, and carrots are high in carbohydrates. Carrots are higher in carbohydrates than most other vegetables. A lot of carbohydrates can be sugary, so you shouldn’t feed them in excess. Sugar encourages abnormal gas producing bacteria that grows in their intestinal tract and this throws off their intestinal system.
Like butterhead or bibb lettuce, leafy green lettuce is a perfect veggie for your guinea pig. Green lettuce is rich in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Also, deep green lettuce as well as green and red leaf lettuce are great because “the greener the better”. The leafy greens need to make up the majority of your pets’ produce diet. They are also safe to feed them daily. However, avoid iceberg lettuce because it is high in nitrates and low on nutrients which causes diarrhea.
Parsley is rich in vitamin C as well, making it a great snack for your guinea pig. Remember to use parsley in moderation, since it is high in calcium, which leads to bladder issues.Owners love to feed guinea pigs parsley, but when they eat too much calcium, it sediments out in their bladder, and can form stones in their bladder and kidneys. Avoid feeding it to your pet every day. Instead, rotate it in your guinea pig’s diet a few times weekly.
Consult with a vet who feels comfortable with guinea pig diets and husbandry, and make sure your guinea pig does not get an excess of calcium.
Other Thing To Keep In Mind
Guinea pigs are herbivores and their diet needs to be based on high-quality guinea pig hay, pellet guinea pig food and, of course, fresh fruit and vegetables. Introduce new foods to their diet gradually, as making significant or abrupt dietary changes can cause problems. Feed them consistently, twice a day, evening and morning. Guinea pigs overeat if given a chance, so to prevent them from being overweight, remove food that is left uneaten after an hour, and discard fresh vegetables or fruit that are left uneaten after 24 hours. Never add new food before cleaning out the old food.
Filtered, fresh chlorine-free water needs to be constantly available, especially during warm weather, because guinea pigs are susceptible to heat stroke. A daily amount of 5 oz is a goal for their water intake. Rinse their spare water bottle out daily, and clean it with warm water and a bottle brush weekly.
All these tips will help you have a happy and healthy guinea pig!