When it comes to meal planning, everyone gets in a rut sometimes. So we’re here today to help you get a plan and routine down for feeding guinea pig fresh food. Because we all know planning is the hardest part!
Guinea pigs need way more than just pellets. Consider pellets breakfast cereal. You need a lot more in your diet than just cereal but it can be helpful at times.
Today we’re going to talk all about guinea pig fresh food but first let’s talk for a quick minute about fiber and you guessed it, hay.
Because you have to get these basics down before you can move on to the more colorful food!
Are You Feeding Your Guinea Pig Enough Hay?
When it comes to guinea pig food, you need to have hay first and foremost. Hay should be 80% of your guinea pig’s diet. This is for a lot of reasons but here are the top 3.
2nd Cutting Timothy Hay has the best fat-protein-carb ratio for most adult guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs need a very high-fiber diet to keep their digestive system moving as it should.
Their teeth are always growing and they need some tough guinea pig food to be chewing every day to wear their teeth down.
Timothy hay (or Orchard Hay) should be a free-choice food. This means hay needs to be available to your guinea pig 24/7.
Guinea pig food doesn’t need to be restricted. Hay, pellets, and a variety of leafy greens should be available everyday. They won’t overeat. They are excellent at reading their body and knowing when they’re full.
How Much Guinea Pig Fresh Food Should I Give?
If you want to get an idea of what most guinea pigs are eating (or should be eating!), it’s about 1 cup of fresh vegetables per day. However, when you’re feeding a variety of leafy greens then you don’t need to worry too much about them overeating. Because they won’t be getting too much of any one certain food!
Fruits have a higher sugar content than non-starchy vegetables so they should be given as a treat and only occasionally. When it comes to fruit, think a small wedge of apple or a thin slice of banana. That’s all they should be having!
Guinea Pigs Can’t Produce Their Own Vitamin C
One of the reasons providing guinea pig fresh food is so important is that guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C. They must get all the vitamin C they need from their diet!
A guinea pig with a vitamin C deficiency will have a rough coat, slow-healing wounds, difficulty walking, and lack energy. Not something you want to mess with.
Check out what our guinea pig expert Saskia has to say about guinea pigs and vitamin C on Youtube!
What Guinea Pig Fresh Food Is Best?
It’s best to keep a variety going for your guinea pig. This way they don’t get too much of any one nutrient (or oxalates) and they also don’t miss out on another. So, when it comes to vegetables, variety is the spice of life!
Here’s a list of vegetables that are safe for your guinea pig to eat regularly!
- red and green leaf lettuce
- romaine lettuce
- red and green bell pepper
- dandelion greens
- carrot tops
- collard greens
- brussel sprouts
- turnip greens
These next fruits and vegetables are higher in carbs and sugar so they need to be given in smaller amounts as a treat.
Some vegetables are higher in sugar like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. So those are on the list with the fruits!
- apples (without the seeds)
- sweet potatoes
When it comes to lettuce remember the more color the better. Iceberg lettuce shouldn’t be fed to guinea pigs because it has a lot of water (could cause diarrhea) and a lower nutrient content.
Without the nutrients, it’s like your guinea pig is eating nothing. And we don’t want them to fill up on nothing!
Green bell peppers may be the best for guinea pigs as they have a slightly lower sugar content but red and yellow bell peppers are perfectly okay as well! Hot peppers like chili or jalapeno are not okay for guinea pigs.
All of These Foods Should Be Eaten Raw
Just in case you didn’t get the memo, guinea pig fresh food needs to be eaten fresh! Which means you don’t give a guinea pig any of your cooked vegetables.
What About Oxalates?
Calcium oxalate stones can form when a guinea pig has too many foods high in oxalates. Although high calcium levels also play a role. For this reason, guinea pigs should have a low-calcium diet.
Oxalates are not a problem as long as you’re feeding your guinea pig a variety of guinea pig fresh food.
Remember, variety is the spice of life!Some guinea pig fresh food that is higher in oxalates are:
Again, these foods are fine for guinea pigs to eat but if they have a history of kidney stones then you’ll want to avoid them.
If your guinea pig loves these high-oxalate foods make sure you keep them in the rotation but don’t make them the regular go-to.
Fresh Foods Guinea Pigs Should Stay Away From
There are a few foods that guinea pigs especially shouldn’t eat so we’re going to get those out of the way so they don’t get confused with anything mentioned on the “yes” list!
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions are something that finds their way into almost every human dinner. But they need to be completely off the table for guinea pigs. They’re actually dangerous for guinea pigs!
These plants contain a compound that damages their red blood cells. Which can cause breathing problems and weakness.
While some guinea pigs enjoy small pieces of sweet potatoes, regular potatoes are a no-go. Potatoes contain solanine which is toxic to guinea pigs.
The skin, pit, and seeds of avocados are poisonous for guinea pigs. The flesh is high in fat so even that part isn’t a guinea pig fresh food you should be serving.
And just a reminder that guinea pigs need to keep a low-fat diet and should never be given any kind of nut.
High-fat foods can lead to weight gain, heart problems, and digestive issues. Some nuts can also be a choking hazard for guinea pigs!
Don’t Skimp on The Guinea Pig Fresh Food
Guinea pig fresh food is something you need to put a little more thought into! But you can make it easy. First, think about which of these foods you also eat.
Because a lot of these foods probably spend some time in your fridge even without thinking about your furry friend.
And if they don’t… maybe they should…
So don’t skimp on the vegetables for you or your guinea pig! Guinea pig fresh food gives them important vitamins. And happiness.
We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.
Before adding any new product, please consult your exotic veterinarian. If your pet is acting unwell and you have concerns for their well being, please contact your vet immediately.