Guinea pigs have a delicate digestive tract. Many diseases are caused by incorrect feeding. Here you can find out how much food a guinea pig needs and what species-appropriate feeding of guinea pigs looks like.
Proper feeding of guinea pigs is crucial for healthy digestion. Guinea pigs, like rabbits, are fresh food. If they are given food that is too dry (e.g. only dry food and hay) they will suffer from digestive disorders within a few hours, which can lead to the death of the guinea pig.
It is essential for the health of a guinea pig that the daily feeding is optimally adapted to its needs. A guinea pig’s main diet must always be fresh food. You should offer your guinea pig a large amount of green fodder at least twice a day.
Once you have found out which different types of fresh food the guinea pig tolerate well, you can offer them as varied as possible. Fresh food includes grass, herbs, fruit and vegetables, and fresh twigs. However, care must be taken to ensure that the food is not toxic to guinea pigs.
Healthy guinea pig food for everyday
The following items should be included in the daily diet of guinea pigs:
Fresh hay for guinea pigs
Hay is an important part of the diet for guinea pigs. Good hay consists of different dried grasses and herbs. Its high crude fiber content is essential for smooth digestion, as it keeps the intestines moving. Old hay should be removed from the guinea pig enclosure daily and replaced with fresh. Hay is also important for the guinea pig’s tooth abrasion. Hay should be stored dark, dry, and not in plastic.
Grass and herbs for guinea pigs
In summer, guinea pigs absolutely need fresh grass and wild herbs every day. For example:
- curry herb
- Johannis herbs
- cucumber herb
In winter, guinea pigs need leafy greens and dried herbs. The additional feeding of dry herbs makes sense especially in the winter months when no fresh herbs are available.
Root and tuber vegetables for guinea pigs
It is best for guinea pigs to get at least five different types of vegetables per day. Vegetables should always be fed slowly and the outer leaves should be removed from salads.
- Chinese cabbage
- endive salad
- iceberg lettuce
- celery green
- Lollo Bianco, Bionda and Rosso
- Bok choy
- parsley root
- Jerusalem Artichoke
Steer clear of onions, cabbages in large quantities, legumes, potatoes, avocado, rhubarb
Fruit for guinea pigs
Guinea pigs should be given fruit about once or twice a week. Fruit contains a lot of fructose and can therefore be offered as a treat from time to time. For example, the following are well tolerated:
Steer clear of Stone fruit varieties and exotic fruits
Fresh branches and twigs for guinea pigs
Guinea pigs need fresh branches and twigs for healthy tooth abrasion and for occupation. Well tolerated are, for example, branches and twigs from:
- blackberry leaves
- linden tree
Steer clear of: yew, thuja, oak
Dry food for guinea pigs?
Dry food is always just supplementary food. If the guinea pig is fed too dry, it will get sick. A gentle transition from dry to pure fresh feeding benefits the guinea pig’s health over the long term. If at all, guinea pigs should only be given dry food as a supplement. But you don’t need it.
Freshwater for guinea pigs
Adequate hydration is essential for a healthy guinea pig. Studies have shown that guinea pigs that are offered water in a bowl drink more often than guinea pigs that have to use a drinking bottle. The water must always be clean and should be placed in the bowl on a stone or floor to keep it clean longer. In addition, the bowl should be stable.
This is how much food a guinea pig needs every day
Guinea pigs eat small amounts of food around the clock. They eat about every 15 to 20 minutes. This puts a permanent strain on the guinea pig’s digestive tract and keeps it healthy. It is necessary for the guinea pig to have access to different food options at all times, from which it can freely choose. The old food must also be regularly removed from the guinea pig’s enclosure and replaced with fresh food.
How to change the diet of guinea pigs
Guinea pigs have sensitive stomachs. Feed changes for guinea pigs should therefore only be made gradually. Gradually swap out small portions so that the metabolism can adapt to the new diet. If certain foods cause indigestion, remove the culprit from the menu. When purchasing new guinea pigs, you should always ask about their previous feeding habits and, if necessary, ask them to give you a small food package for the transitional period.
The switch from dry food to green and fresh food is a bit time-consuming, but it is definitely worth it because it saves you a lot of trips to the vet. To do this, reduce the dry food by about one tablespoon per day and offer well-tolerated fresh food. The amount of fresh food is increased daily and the amount of dry food is halved. Feed only one new type of fresh food per week. As soon as the guinea pig tolerates this well, you can add another one.