You want to feed your guinea pig the best, but do you know what your cavy should actually be eating? Well, now you will. We’ve outlined the ultimate guinea pig food list to help you understand what a healthy guinea pig diet looks like, as well as some safe and healthy treats and snacks. We’ll also share some feeding tips… like, how much you should feed your cavy?
First on the Guinea Pig Food List: Hay!
The first thing that every guinea pig parent should know is that guinea pigs need lots and lots of hay. Hay isn’t just for horses or bunnies. Guinea pig hay is the most important part of your cavy’s diet; it provides the fiber they need to keep their digestive systems moving.
Guinea pigs will eat lots of different types of hay, but the most popular is 2nd cutting Timothy hay. We call this hay our gold standard because it has the right levels of fat, protein, and fiber. It’s super soft and tasty and is sure to have any piggy popcorning.
Another great cut is orchard hay because it creates variety and can add interest to your guinea pig food list. This is a terrific "lure" hay to get your furry friend interested in eating more fiber. There are many other types of hay that are delicious, nutritious, and help make up a balanced guinea pig diet.
Should You Feed Your Guinea Pig Pellets?
Many guinea pig parents wonder if they should feed their little cavy pellets, and the answer is: it depends. Many pet store pellets are filled with artificial fillers, dyes, preservatives, and other junky ingredients. Guinea pig pellets can be a great source of nutrition, as long as they are all-natural and hay-based. For example, our Premium Guinea Pig Pellets are made with Timothy hay as the very first ingredient.
Ideally, your guinea pig’s food list should be 80% hay and 20% healthy pellets and veggies, with the occasional snack. Honestly, you don’t even have to worry about overfeeding your guinea pig hay. You should give your piggy an unlimited amount of hay (as long as it’s not a fattening legume type).
Safe Fruits and Veggies for Your Guinea Pig
Speaking of veggies, it’s important to know what’s safe to offer. According to The Humane Society, “fresh vegetables can be offered once a day and should be equivalent to about one cup total per guinea pig per day.” But remember, not all veggies are created equal, and what works for one cavy may not work for another.
- Romaine Lettuce 🥬
- Carrots (and the carrot top) 🥕
- Sweet Potato 🍠
- Cucumber 🥒
- Broccoli 🥦
- Bell Peppers
In addition to the above vegetables, you can also occasionally treat your guinea pig to some fruit. Just be sure to watch how often you add fruit to their diet; lots of fruits are super high in sugar, and this is unhealthy in large doses. Here are a few of our favorite fruits to add to your guinea pig’s food list:
- Oranges... guinea pigs need lots of vitamin C in their diets 🍊
- Pears 🍐
- Strawberries 🍓
- Kiwi 🥝
- Peaches 🍑
Other Safe Guinea Pig Treats
Guinea pigs are so sweet and loveable, it’s no wonder we want to give them some special treats every now and then. But, be careful which treats you’re adding to your guinea pig food list. Many commercial treats are super high in sugar and can have potentially dangerous chemicals and fillers. So, if you want to give your guinea pig a treat, make sure you choose an all-natural one.
Look for treats that are made with human-grade ingredients and only have the good stuff, like hay, fruits and vegetables, and healthy grains (like oats). Our Healthy Snackers are made with clean, human-grade pumpkin, pears, blueberries, bananas, carrots, apples, and oats, all mixed up with our own farm fresh hay.
What NOT to Feed Your Guinea Pig
Now that you know some of the most delicious and nutritious things you can feed your fuzzy, let’s talk about some of the things to NOT feed your guinea pig. This guinea pig food list can be potentially toxic to your little guy or gal:
- Chocolate 🍫
- Candy 🍭
- Onions 🧅
- Garlic 🧄
- Mushrooms 🍄
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Avocados 🥑
- Nuts 🥜
- Potatoes 🥔
- Corn Kernels
- Peanut Butter
- Bok Choy
- Dairy 🥛
- Bread 🍞
- Meat 🍖 🥩
Need a little more guidance? The ASPCA shared other “people food” you shouldn’t feed your pets (except for citrus fruits for guinea pigs). You should also be aware of toxic houseplants, herbs, and flowers for guinea pigs.
Guinea Pig Feeding Tips
We’ve shared our comprehensive guinea pig food list, but we also want to share some tips on feeding your guinea pig in order to keep them as happy and healthy as possible:
- Mix up your piggy’s hay game so they don't get bored. As we mentioned earlier, in the wild, guinea pigs have access to countless different types of hays and grass. By adding in new things to their diet, you can avoid hay fatigue and keep them guessing.
- It’s also a good idea to add in guinea pig herbs and supplements to make sure they’re getting as much goodness as possible. These herb blends might include dandelions, rosemary, nettle leaf, chamomile, hibiscus, and much more. Yummy!
- Even though our mothers always taught us not to play with our food (and we probably did it anyway), guinea pigs can actually be encouraged to play with their food to stimulate their brain. All-natural toys and chews are a great way to entertain your little friend and give them a little exercise.
This guinea pig food list should help you understand what your little one needs to thrive. Remember, hay is the majority of any guinea pig’s diet, followed by high-quality hay pellets and delicious leafy greens. Fruits and all-natural treats can be given once in a while for interest and as a special treat. Expect lots of boops and jumps with a diet this good!