Guinea pigs are very popular pets. They look cute, sound cute, and are relatively easy to care for. Ultimately, though, like other pets, you need to put some thought into how you will care for them. Among the most important things you’ll need to do is provide a well-balanced diet. Feeding your guinea pig a well-balanced diet, though, can be relatively difficult. This is because guinea pigs have a variety of demands in order to keep them healthy. In addition, many pre-formulated food mixtures lack proper nutrition. However, with a little thought and some work, you’ll be able to provide your little friend with a great diet.
[Edit]Gathering Your Supplies
- Purchase a bag of hay to feed your guinea pig. Fresh hay is an important element of a guinea pig’s diet and overall health. This is because guinea pigs need hay to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Hay also contains the right balance of calcium that guinea pigs need. In addition, hay keeps their digestive system clean.
- Be aware that a lot of hay sold at large chain stores is not high quality hay. Try to buy fresh hay at pet stores or at farm supply stores.
- Timothy hay is perfect for adult guinea pigs,
- Baby and pregnant guinea pigs will need alfalfa hay, which has a higher vitamin and mineral content in it.
- Buy fresh fruit. Fruit is a great source of vitamins for your guinea pig. However, while your guinea pig might enjoy fruit, you should only use it as a snack or a treat. As a result, you don’t need to buy nearly as much fruit as vegetables. And for many people, fruit you have around the house already may be used. When shopping for fresh fruit, consider:
- Get some fresh vegetables for your guinea pig. Unlike fruit, you can feed your guinea pig large amounts of vegetables every week. When buying vegetables, consider:
- Green peppers.
- Radish tops.
- Brussel sprouts.
- Buy pelleted food. Pelleted foods are a mix of hay, vitamins, and other food sources that can serve as a treat in your guinea pig’s diet. However, pellets should not be a staple food for your pet.
- Focus only on corn-free and seed-free pellets.
- Pellets enriched with vitamins are okay.
- Avoid muesli style pellets with a mix of different textures because your guinea pig will pick out the tasty parts and avoid the healthy ones, which could lead to a calcium deficiency and dental issues. Choose pellets that are all the same type.
[Edit]Feeding Your Guinea Pig
- Provide plenty of fresh hay. Providing fresh hay throughout the day and week is extremely important for your guinea pig’s health. Since hay can accumulate bacteria guinea pig waste, you’ll want to remove old hay periodically and replace it with fresh hay.
- Don’t be afraid of giving your guinea pig too much hay. More is always better than less.
- Make sure your hay has not been sitting around the house too long.
- Put out fresh vegetables. At the start of every day, you should put out fresh vegetables for your guinea pig. And since vegetables are an important part of your guinea pig’s diet, you need to make sure that he or she has plenty of vegetables throughout the day.
- Feed your guinea pig about one cup of vegetables for every two pounds he or she weighs.
- Break your vegetable servings up into at least two. This way, your guinea pig will have fresh and unwilted vegetables throughout the day.
- Whenever you provide new vegetables, remove any old, uneaten, or spoiled vegetables from the previous serving.
- Provide fruit as a treat. While fruit is important and can provide your guinea pig with badly needed vitamins, you need to limit his or her consumption of it. Fruit should be served to your guinea pig as a treat, not as a main course.
- Limit fruit treats to once or twice a week.
- Try to only feed your guinea pig one or two tablespoons of fruit for every two pounds that your guinea pig weighs.
- Only provide fresh and washed fruit to your guinea pig.
- Serve the pellets. At around the same time you serve your guinea pig vegetables, you should also serve fresh pellets.
- Provide 1/4th to 1/8th cup of pellets per day.
- Amount fed will vary based on size and age of the guinea pig. You should not give your guinea pig more pellets than he can eat in 20 minutes. The only exception would be if your guinea pig is addicted to pellets and refuses to eat anything else.
- Feel free to divide pellets up into 2 or 3 servings if your guinea pig tends to overeat or eat it all at once.
- Serve the pellets in a ceramic bowl.
- Refill your guinea pig’s water bowl. You also need to make sure that your guinea pig has plenty of fresh water. Fresh water is essential to your guinea pig’s diet and will help with digestion of hay, pellets, and the other food you provide. As a result, monitor water closely.
- Consider using a plastic drip bottle.
- Provide a water bowl, too.
- Check your guinea pig’s water at least once a day.
- Change and clean your guinea pig’s water bowl and drip bottle a couple times a week.
[Edit]Determining Your Guinea Pig’s Dietary Needs
- Establish your guinea pig’s age. Guinea pigs of different ages have different dietary needs. As a result, when thinking about and formulating a well-balanced diet for your guinea pig, you need to think about their age.
- If you adopted your guinea pig as a baby, then you should have an accurate idea of his or her age.
- If you don’t know your guinea pig’s age, consult a veterinarian or someone with specialized knowledge.
- When establishing your guinea pig’s age, you don’t need to be exact. Just be able to classify your guinea pig in one of several stages of life, including: baby, youth, adult, or senior.
- Consider your guinea pig’s sex. Depending on sex, your guinea pig’s dietary needs will vary. Sex is also important when determining your guinea pig’s age. While for the most part, male and female guinea pigs require the same nutrition, there are a couple things you should consider.
- If your guinea pig is pregnant, you’ll need to alter her food mix.
- If you are trying to breed your guinea pig, you should probably alter the breeding pig’s diets to increase their vitamin intake.
- Think about any special needs your guinea pig may have. Your guinea pig might have special, individual, needs that will impact his or her dietary needs. As a result, you need to consider any special or unique factors that could influence your guinea pig’s health or diet.
- Does your guinea pig have any chronic medical problems?
- Does your guinea pig have any disorders or other unique factors that might impact his or her dietary needs.
- Store your guinea pig’s food in a cereal container. Clean the container out every time it’s empty to cut back on bacteria.
To feed a guinea pig a well balanced meal, make sure it has fresh hay at all times, which is important for its health. You should also serve a quarter to an eighth cup of guinea pig pellets a day to boost its calorie intake. Additionally, provide plenty of fresh vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, and green peppers. Similarly, try to feed it fruit once or twice a week to ensure it gets the necessary vitamins that it needs. As well as feeding your guinea pig a healthy diet, ensure it has plenty of water throughout the day to keep it hydrated. For more tips from our Veterinary co-author, including how to adapt your guinea pig’s diet if it’s pregnant, read on!