What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

I got my first Guinea Pig when I was 12. When I first brought it home I was unsure what to feed him other than pellets. It didn’t take too long for me to learn his food preferences. Guinea Pigs love to eat and I learned that giving them access to a variety of foods keeps them healthiest and happiest.

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea Pigs are herbivores. They can eat a variety of raw vegetation, pellets, and hay. Experts recommend that Guinea pigs eat 80% Timothy Hay, 10 % pellets, and 10% leafy greens such as Arugula, Kale, and Spinach. Timothy hay should be available at all times to snack on. Experts recommend that store-bought treats be avoided or kept to a minimum.

Most raw green vegetables can be eaten. It’s best to try a variety of vegetation to see which ones your Guinea Pig prefers. I know my Guinea Pig loves Romaine Lettuce. That’s one of his favorites and he goes after it no matter what else I put in front of him. Each Guinea Pig will have different preferences.

How To Find Out Which Food Your Guinea Pig Likes

As an experiment, you could do what I did and set out 5 or 6 different types of leafy green vegetables to see which ones he gravitates to. To do this, just go to your local supermarket and pick up some of the food on the list below. See if he gravitates towards one over others. Pay attention to any foods that he avoids and seems to not like. 

With some experimentation, you should be able to identify 2 or 3 preferred foods. This helps know the best type of leafy greens to have on hand. Conduct this experiment often and add in new foods to keep things interesting.

Safe Vegetables For Guinea Pigs

If you can afford to, buy organic vegetables. The pesticides used in non-organic vegetables are known to be harmful to humans and animals. Guinea Pigs are no exception. If you do buy vegetables that were sprayed with pesticides then be sure to soak them in water and give them a good rinse. 

  1. Arugula
  2. Basil
  3. Beet Greens
  4. Bok Choy
  5. Cilantro
  6. Collards
  7. Curly Endive
  8. Dandelion Greens
  9. Dill
  10. Green Leaf Lettuce
  11. Kale
  12. Mustard Greens
  13. Parsley
  14. Romaine Lettuce
  15. Spinach
  16. Broccoli
  17. Carrots
  18. Zucchini

How Much Food To Feed a Guinea Pig

Unlimited Hay

Guinea Pigs like to munch all day. They seldom have a problem with weight gain, but the truth is, they like having food available at all times. If you maintain a balance of the foods discussed above, then you should keep an unlimited supply of Timothy hay available. They will munch on this off and on throughout the day.

Pellets

©Guinea Pig Owner

If you will be incorporating pellets into the diet you should feed no more than 1/8th cup per day, per guinea pig. You should choose pellets that are fortified with vitamin C. Guinea Pigs can run into health issues if they become deficient in Vitamin C as their bodies don’t naturally produce this important vitamin. If you don’t want to use pellets many vets recommend feeding 2 tablespoons of bell peppers each day, in addition to nonfortified pellets, as bell peppers are high in vitamin C.

Vegetables

Guinea Pigs can be fed up to one cup of raw vegetables per day. This can be given in the morning, the evening, or split between the two. Leafy green vegetables should be the most dominant vegetable in your Guinea pigs diet but other vegetables are ok occasionally.

How Often To Feed a Guinea Pig?

Most Guinea Pigs only need to be fed once per day. You can feed the pellets and vegetables at the same time but hay should always be available. Using pellet dispensers that offer an unlimited amount of food can be used for Guinea Pigs that don’t over-eat. If you find your Guinea Pig eating more than 1/8th cup per day then you should avoid using one of these.

How Much Water Do Guinea Pigs Need?

Water should be available to your guinea pig at all times. It’s best to use a water bottle as they will spill any bowls you place inside their cage. The bottle should be at least 6 oz and changed daily. If possible, use filtered water or spring water. Try to avoid any hard water or non-filtered water. The water bottle should also be cleaned each weak to prevent the build-up of bacteria. You can let it soak in a mixture of vinegar and water to clean.

Avoid Mineral Wheels

A mineral wheel is advertised as a block of salt for Guinea Pigs to gnaw on and to supplement their diet. Mineral Wheels are, mostly, a marketing gimmick and aren’t necessary for a guinea pig to have. The adhesives and chemicals used to hold the salt wheel together may be harmful to your Guinea Pig. It’s best to skip these altogether.

How Much Do Guinea Pigs Weigh?

Guinea Pigs are furry and look chubby by nature, but they can become overweight if they are consistently allowed to eat too much food. Since Guinea Pigs vary in size it’s difficult to come up with an exact figure but a healthy weight for an adult Guinea Pig should be between 1.4 and 2.5 lbs. This will depend on the type of the Guinea Pig and its corresponding size.

How To Tell If A Guinea Pig is Overweight

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a Guinea Pig is just naturally big in size or it’s overweight. If you are trying to figure this out a good thing to pay attention to is the Guinea Pigs mobility and if he has any trouble getting in and out of any elevated areas in his cage (such as a bed or platform). Another, thing to look for is if he has trouble reaching his backside when grooming. If you notice something is out of the ordinary, and he is noticeably bigger, then he may need to be placed on a diet, to lose weight. Your vet should be able to give you a plan to follow.

Guinea Pig Temperament

Guinea Pigs love to be around people and other Guinea Pigs. Once they are conditioned to be held and touched by humans they oftentimes can’t get enough! They are social creatures that enjoy interacting with others. They prefer the company of other guinea pigs as opposed to being alone, so if you want to get one you should consider getting a pair.

Why Do Guinea Pigs Make Noise?

Guinea Pigs are known to make some gnarly noises! They squeal, they purr, and they even growl! What do these noises mean, you might be wondering? Well, it really is their way of communicating. They communicate to humans and other Guinea Pigs by making certain sounds.

If a Guinea Pig is making a high-pitched squeak or squeal then it could be their way of letting you know that something isn’t right. They may need food, water, to have their caged clean, or they may be in physical pain. Once you learn the personality of your Guinea Pig and what he likes and dislikes it becomes easier to interpret these noises. In some cases, he may just want to socialize and be held for a bit.

©Denise Conner

Did you know that Guinea Pigs can also purr? That’s right! They make a noise, similar to cats when they are happy. If you are holding your guinea pig when he does this it’s a sign that your guinea pig is bonding with you. It’s an involuntary reaction to pleasure and contentment.

Why Does My Guinea Pig Chatter His Teeth?

Teeth chattering can be alarming. I know, when I first saw this I thought something was seriously wrong. It turns out it’s just their way of communicating anger. It can be a sign of aggression but is usually nothing to worry about. It’s your Guinea pig telling you (or other Guinea pigs caged with him) to back off. He’ll do this when he’s agitated and in a bad mood.

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

In this article, we learned what guinea pigs eat, how much to feed them, and the importance of Vitamin C supplementation. If you have any more questions please search the site to see if we have covered it.

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