Feeding your Guinea Pig

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Feeding your Guinea Pig

Vitamin C Grass and Hay Water Greens Root Vegetables Fruit Nuggets and Pellets Treats Dangerous Foods Your guinea pig will need a balanced diet to keep them happy and healthy.  Guinea pigs need Vitamin C in their food and we have a useful guide to help you choose the best food available for your guinea pig. How much do I feed my guinea pig? Guinea pigs eat little and often but youll soon find out what their favourite foods are as they will squeak with delight when you feed them.  Guinea pigs are normally fed inside their hutches so that their food is kept dry and is readily available.  You can feed your guinea pig in their run if the weather is fine and you may find your guinea pig will take food from your hand. Guinea pigs need a constant supply of good quality hay and grass to maintain healthy teeth and digestion. Feed your guinea pig a tea cup full of different greens every day.  Root vegetables can be fed daily too. Guinea pig nuggets and pellets should be fed daily – follow the guidelines on the packet as to recommended serving amounts.   Guinea pigs are picky when it comes to muesli type foods as they will leave out the bits that they dont like.  These bits are usually the ones that contain fibre so you might find it is easier to feed nuggets instead to make sure your guinea pig gets enough fibre in their diet.   Fruit should be given in small amounts as treats. BackTo Top Vitamin C Guinea Pigs cant produce their own Vitamin C and it must be supplied in the foods that they eat.  Most guinea pigs probably need about 10-30 mg of Vitamin C per day and without it as part of their diet guinea pigs can become ill and die. If you feed a selection of vegetables high in Vitamin C along with a good, fresh guinea pig pellet or nugget, you can probably meet the vitamin C needs of the average guinea pig. However Vitamin C can degrade over time. Keeping the pellets in a cool dark place helps preserve the vitamin C. You can also get pellets with a stabilized form of vitamin C. Vitamin C drops can be added to your guinea pigs water, but there are problems with this method. The vitamin C quickly loses its potency in water (a fresh supply must be made at least daily, if not twice daily). Also, guinea pigs may not drink enough of the water to get their daily dose of Vitamin C.   Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation View our guinea pig Product section for a selection of nutritious pellets and nuggets containing Vitamin C. BackTo Top Grass and Hay A guinea pigs diet should consist of 80 – 90% grass or hay. Your guinea pig needs to eat hay and grass to keep their teeth from becoming oversized and for their digestive system to work properly.   Timothy Hay mixed with dandelions and marigolds is a good staple for your pet guinea pig.  There are also a wide selection of hays and grasses available mixed with chamomile, dead nettle, birch tree leaves and herbs. Only give Alfalfa Hay or Clover Hay as a treat as these are high in calcium and too much calcium in your guinea pigs diet can cause bladder stones. Dont feed your guinea pig lawnmower clippings as these can upset your guinea pig’s digestive system and make them ill.  Be careful when giving your guinea pig fresh handfuls of meadow grass as this could contain buttercups which are poisonous.   View our guinea pig Product section for a selection of nutritious hays and grasses for guinea pigs. BackTo Top Water Always provide fresh clean drinking water for your guinea pig and check the water supply each day. Make sure your guinea pigs water does not freeze in cold weather. Visit our guinea pig In Winter Advice to learn more BackTo Top Greens Guinea pigs can get stomach upsets and diarrhea from eating too many fresh greens so introduce them gradually as a treat.  Greens should never be fed in large quantities as some dark leaved varieties are high in Calcium and too much Calcium in your guinea pigs diet can cause bladder stones.  Make sure any greens have been washed before you feed them to your guinea pigs. Green leafy plants recommended include:  Dandelions (sparingly), cauliflower and broccoli leaves and stems (sparingly), turnip and beetroot tops, kale (sparingly), spinach (sparingly), cucumber (sparingly), brussels sprouts (sparingly), watercress, cabbage (sparingly), celery, parsley (sparingly), mint, chard, endive, radicchio, docks, chickweed and chicory.  Lettuce can be fed sparingly but only use romaine or dark leaf and not iceberg. BackTo Top Root Vegetables Root vegetables can be fed daily such as carrot, parsnip, turnip and radish.  Potatoes should be avoided.   BackTo Top Fruit Fruit should be fed occasionally as a treat but always in small quantities as it is high in sugar.  Recommended fruits include:   Apples, grapes (sparingly), pears, apricots and strawberries. BackTo Top Nuggets and Pellets Nuggets and pellets can provide your guinea pig with vitamins, minerals and fibre.  They also help to keep your guinea pigs teeth trim. There are specialist guinea pig nuggets available that have added Vitamin C.   Visit our guinea pig Health advice to learn more View our guinea pig Product section for a selection of nuggets and pellets for guinea pigs. BackTo Top Treats Some treats are high in sugar and should be given occasionally but there are a wide variety of treats that are based on fruit, vegetables, bark, sticks, leaves and wood that your guinea pig can enjoy on a regular basis.  View our guinea pig Product section for a selection of guinea pig treats BackTo Top Dangerous Foods Never feed your guinea pig chocolate as it is toxic to most animals. Plants which are harmful to your guinea pig if eaten include: amaryllis, anemone, azalea, bindweed, bracken, deadly nightshade, poppies, oak leaves, most evergreens, ragwort, rhubarb leaves, buttercups, daffodils, bluebells, foxgloves, mistletoe, dahlias, lupins, chrysanthemums, delphinium, lily of the valley, tulips, iris, lobelia, juniper, hyacinth, privet, yew, laburnum, ivy, rhododendron, wisteria, clematis, holly. If you suspect your guinea pig has eaten any poisonous plants consult your vet immediately – and if you can collect a sample of the plant that they have eaten to help with the diagnosis. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation BackTo Top