We all know how important Vitamin C is for our own health - it boosts our immune system, helps our bodies absorb iron, and even promotes healthy skin. Vitamin C for guinea pigs is just as important!
Vitamin C plays a huge role in the creation of collagen which isn’t just important for skin but lots of tissue in the body.
Similar to humans, guinea pigs can’t produce their own Vitamin C, which is why it’s so important that their diet provides them with Vitamin C-rich nutrients on a daily basis.
Our guinea pig expert Saskia is talking all about vitamin C for guinea pigs on Youtube!
How To Get Vitamin C For Guinea Pigs
Vitamin C for guinea pigs comes in the same form it does for us humans! Fresh foods!
It’s important to provide your guinea pig with fresh food everyday. Some fresh foods are powerhouses when it comes to Vitamin C. And luckily these foods also seem to be favorites among guinea pigs!
Vitamin C Foods For Guinea Pigs
A lot of fruits are very high in sugar. And some vegetables as well! But as you know, fruits are a great vitamin C source. When it comes to your guinea pig though, keep fruits as a treat. A delicious vitamin C-rich treat!
Low sugar vitamin C-rich foods:
sweet bell pepper
Vitamin C foods that are higher in sugar and should be given as a treat:
tomatoes (not the leaves)
apples (without seeds)
Guinea pigs are prone to developing bladder and kidney stones so it’s important that their diet stays low in calcium and oxalates. Some vegetables like kale, parsley, and thyme are high in calcium.
This doesn’t mean you have to avoid these vegetables entirely, it just means you need to rotate through a variety of different vegetables so that your guinea pig isn’t getting overloaded with too much calcium and oxalates.
When it comes to fresh food, you’re looking for variety!
It’s also important to introduce new foods slowly. You need to watch out for any signs of digestive upset so that you don’t continue offering foods that don’t agree with your cavy.
Some vegetables like cabbage and Brussel sprouts are known for causing gas when a guinea pig has too much. So keep portions very small while your guinea pig tries and adjusts to new foods.
Pellet Food Supplemented With Vitamin C
Pellet food makes for a great multivitamin. A quality pellet food made for guinea pigs will be fortified with vitamin C. While pellet food can’t replace fresh foods or hay, it’s not a bad thing to include in your guinea pig’s diet. As long as it doesn’t become the main dish!
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What Happens When You Have A Vitamin C Deficiency In Guinea Pigs?
A lack of vitamin C for guinea pigs causes problems throughout their whole body. Connective tissue starts to break down causing a guinea pig to be lethargic due to painful joints, skin sores, and dental disease.
Other symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency are:
a rough coat
These symptoms can be a sign of scurvy which is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. Scurvy needs to be treated by an exotic vet as this can be life-threatening. Your guinea pig will need treatment immediately which will include a high-dose vitamin C supplement.
Are Vitamin C Drops Good For Guinea Pigs?
Vitamin C drops should only be used if prescribed by your pet’s vet. Adding vitamin C drops to your cavy’s water could stop them from drinking enough because the drops change the taste of the water.
Besides, if you use a dropper instead of fresh food for vitamin C your furry friend is missing out on lots of other nutrients, fiber, and delicious taste!
Can My Guinea Pig Get Too Much Vitamin C?
It’s unlikely that a guinea pig will get too much vitamin C from natural sources (without a supplement). This is because excess vitamin C (short term) can exit the body through a guinea pig’s urine.
Excessive amounts of vitamin C over a long period of time could contribute to bladder and kidney stones and other health issues. So keep rotating your vegetables and get your cavy’s vitamin C from natural sources.
Which is great news for fresh food lovers. And most pellets have a safe amount of added vitamins for guinea pigs.
However, it’s important that you don’t give your guinea pig an actual multivitamin because there are other vitamins that you don't want them to have too much of.
So, bring the list in this article with you the next time you go to the grocery store and stock up on Vitamin C-rich foods. For you and your guinea pig!
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.