At some point in every human’s life, counting calories becomes a thing. Or at the very least just wondering how much you should be eating at each meal. You might even ask yourself this question all the time! I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to do this with guinea pig food. That is, if you’re giving the right kind of food!
One of the reasons we humans have such a hard time is because of the restaurants we drive past on the way home from work and the cookies we keep in the pantry for emergencies. When it comes to guinea pigs, they don’t have these options that mess with their body communication or at least they shouldn't!
Our days as humans look much different from that of a guinea pig. Wild guinea pigs spend all day grazing and foraging for food. Which is exactly what our pets should be doing! While us humans are a breakfast, lunch, and dinner crowd.
Cavies Know Their Body and Can Regulate Their Guinea Pig Food Intake
There are animals who have a harder time controlling their eating (we’re not alone humans!). For example, if you have horses then you know they’re prone to overeating.
But guinea pigs are actually really good at eating slowly and reading their body. They will stop themselves when they’ve had enough guinea pig food.
So, as guinea pig parents, you don’t need to worry about the amount of food your guinea pig is eating. Just give them plenty of food and they will regulate themselves. So that responsibility is off your shoulders.
But what you are responsible for is making sure you’re giving them the right food. So let’s talk more about the perfect guinea pig diet.
And check out what our guinea pig expert Saskia has to say about restricting guinea pig food on our YouTube channel!
The Most Important Guinea Pig Food Is High-Quality Hay
Many guinea pig rescues come across guinea pigs who are actually being underfed. If your guinea pig doesn’t have access to high-quality hay 24/7 then they are probably under eating.
Guinea pigs thrive on fiber. They need it to keep their digestive system running smoothly. Which keeps them feeling well enough to eat guinea pig food all day. It’s a merry-go-round of happiness but restricting hay puts a wrench in things.
There is actually a lot of variety when it comes to a hay pile!
If your guinea pig doesn’t seem to be eating enough of the hay that you’re offering, then it may be a matter of quality. Guinea pigs know if their hay isn’t fresh. And it’s not very fun to eat when it isn’t.
Provide Vitamin C Rich Green Leafy Vegetables
Guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C. This means it’s essential to provide vitamin C rich foods for your piggies.
A guinea pig should be given at least ½ cup of greens per 1 pound of body weight a day. This means a 2-pound guinea pig would need at least 1 cup of leafy greens a day.
Some great options of leafy greens for guinea pig food are:
red and green leaf lettuce
Other fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, blueberries, cucumbers, bell peppers etc. are higher in sugar and should be given more sparingly as a treat.
While you should never restrict guinea pig food, you do need to make sure you aren’t giving too many treats that could interrupt the usual flow of their digestive system.
Supplement With A Good Pellet Guinea Pig Food
Pellets shouldn’t be the main guinea pig food being offered. But it can be a great supplement to these other foods we’ve mentioned. Make sure you're getting a high-quality pellet that consists mostly of hay and is fortified with vitamin C.
Guinea pig treats are a great way to encourage your cavy to forage. They can also help you bond with your pet. So there’s definitely a place for treats in the guinea pig food world.
You just have to make sure the treats you’re choosing will keep your guinea pig feeling their best! And we all know hay keeps the merry-go-round going so why not try hay treats?
Hay Cubes only have one ingredient, hay! So it’s very hard to go wrong with these. And you don’t have to worry about feeding too many treats when the treats are the same as the free-choice guinea pig food. But they do provide a fun new texture for your guinea pig to chew on!
Healthy Snackers are mostly hay with a few extra ingredients. They use fruit to give the snack a little sweetness.
These treats are high in fiber and go perfectly with a healthy guinea pig diet.
Guinea Pigs Eat A Lot
Don’t let those cute tiny bodies fool you. Guinea pigs eat a lot. And especially for a long time. Their teeth are always growing. Part of the need to eat all day is that they need to chew all day.
This helps them wear their teeth down so that their mouths stay healthy and pain-free. Overgrown teeth are a symptom of underfeeding and especially underfeeding hay.