The Ultimate Guinea Pig Food List: What Is Safe
We all love our cute little cavies so much and want to give them the best in everything – but what are the best foods for guinea pigs? Our littlest pets can be confusing to feed. Below, we’ve detailed a list to help you to understand what to feed your furry friend and what a healthy diet for a guinea pig looks like, as well as some safe snacks and treats.
They must have hay
First and foremost, much like horses and bunny rabbits, the most important part of your cavy’s diet is a healthy serving of hay. Guinea pig hay provides them with the fiber they need to maintain a healthy digestive system that keeps moving. Eating hay helps them to properly process and digest food and nutrients. It also helps to keep their teeth clean and to keep them down.
There are lots of different types of hay that they can eat, but one of the more popular ones is Timothy hay, as it has the ideal balance of protein, fat and fiber for a piggy. Top-quality grass hay should be made available to your guinea pig at all times. Quality hay should be green, have pliable stalks and be free of mold and dust.
What about pellets?
Whether or not to feed a guinea pig pellets is a common question. Many pet shops have pellets that are filled with preservatives, dyes, artificial fillers and other rubbish. Guinea pig pellets can be a great source of nutrition, however, so long as they are hay-based and all natural.
An ideal diet ratio for a guinea pig is 80% hay, 20% pellets and veggies, along with the occasional treat or snack. You don’t have to worry about your guinea pig overfeeding on hay – so long as it isn’t a particularly fattening type of hay, they can have access to an abundance of it and remain healthy.
Which fruits and vegetables are safe?
As recommended by The Humane Society, fresh vegetables should be offered to your guinea pig once per day, not exceeding the equivalent of one cup’s worth daily. There are many foods to list when it comes to safe foods for guinea pigs. Whilst your cavy may have preferences, here are the most common fruits and veggies to feed them:
- Romaine lettuce
- Carrots (including the top)
- Sweet Potato
- Bell peppers
- Oranges (Cavies need a lot of Vitamin C)
Are there any other safe treats?
Of course, from time to time we want to give our beloved guinea pigs a special treat, but be careful what you choose. Many of the commercially available treats are very high in sugars and even contain potentially dangerous fillers and chemicals. So, if you do want to buy something from a shop, make sure it’s made with all-natural ingredients.
Look for snacks and treats that are made with only the good stuff – human-grade ingredients – like hay, vegetables and fruits, as well as healthy grains, such as oats.
Which foods are UNSAFE?
Now that you are familiar with which foods are some of the most nutritious and delicious for your piggy, here are some of the foods to avoid – foods that could be potentially toxic to your little furry friend:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Peanut Butter
- Corn kernels
- Bok Choy
These are the most common culprits to avoid. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has published a further list of human foods to avoid feeding your guinea pig, including alcohol, citrus and xylitol.
Some extra feeding tips
Here are some extra tips for keeping your guinea pig healthy and happy with their diet:
Mix it up
Vary the hay you give them to prevent them from getting bored. In the wild, cavies have access to a wide variety of grasses and hays. By keeping it varied, it’s easy to avoid them underfeeding by keeping them guessing and enjoying the most important component of their diet.
Add some herbs
It’s a great idea to add some herbs and supplements to ensure that they are getting all the nutrition they need. These may include rosemary, dandelions, chamomile, nettle leaf and hibiscus, but there are many more to choose from, too. Your guinea pig will love it!
Make it fun
Unlike children, guinea pigs should be encouraged to play with their food, as it helps to stimulate their brain. Toys and chews (so long as they are made from all-natural ingredients) are a great way to keep your furry friend entertained and give them a little bit of exercise.
Whilst there is more that could be added to this list, these are the most common and popular foods to know about when it comes to what is safe and nutritious for your guinea pig. So long as they are getting lots of good quality hay with the occasional all-natural snack and treats, you should have one very happy, healthy piggy!