What to feed your guinea pig

A guinea pigs diet should consist of unlimited hay, grass and water. Since guinea pigs are unable to synthesis their own Vitamin C then they must rely on obtaining it from the foods they eat. The best way to contribute towards this is through vegetables. Guinea pigs love their veggies! It can be confusing as a new owner to know which foods to feed their Guinea Pigs and how often.  Below we will outline the basics which are discussed further in our  nutritional requirements article. 

Hay

The best type of Hay for your guinea pig is grass hay more specifically Timothy Hay. Guinea pigs need hay to wear their teeth down and to keep the digestive system healthy. A cost effective way is to provide a cheaper hay as bedding and to keep the more expensive grass hay to fill hay racks and containers. Guinea pigs refuse to eat soiled hay so hay racks and containers are essential.

Grass

Grass is another type of food that can be fed in unlimited supply.  A guinea pigs digestive system is designed to eat foliage and grass is a great source of nutrition. 

If you do not have access to fresh grass (they should never be fed lawn mower clippings!) then providing plenty of grass hay is essential.

Vegetables

Vegetables form a very important part to your guinea pigs diet – they provide essential vitamins and minerals whilst also wearing teeth down. Not all vegetables can be eaten daily and some are even limited to monthly due to the high sugar content.

Some owners fall into the trap of feeding the exact same combination of vegetables daily and guinea pigs can often get bored. Guinea pigs are very similar to us humans, they like a wide variety of food to keep things exciting! The recommended amount is between three and five different types of vegetables per day to ensure your guinea pig doesn’t get bored eating the same foods day after day.

Portion size is important even with vegetables. The recommended amount is to provide each guinea pig a matched boxed size portion. This would be a single lettuce leaf or a small floret of broccoli. 

Below are the vegetables suitable for daily consumption:

Daily

  • Peppers any color – 1 Slice
  • Celery – 1 – 2 slices
  • Cucumber – 1 slice
  • Coriander – 1 – 2 springs 
  • Green Beans – 1 bean
  • Gem Lettuce – 1 leaf

These are the quantities for one pig and should be adjusted if you have more than one piggie.

Two to Four times per week

Whilst the above are recommended for daily consumption by your guinea pig, those with a varied diet will be much happier and healthy than those subjected to the same meal day in and day out. The above is a great sample diet to use as a starting base. All the foods listed below can be eaten more frequently:

  • Artichoke
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Parsnip
  • Savoy

Fruit

Guinea pigs can also eat certain types of fruit, however this shouldn’t be a daily treat. Fruit has a much higher sugar content that vegetables and should only be given once or twice a week as a treat. Guinea pigs that eat too much sugar suffer from obesity. Some types of fruit also contain high levels of acidity levels and this can cause sores around your guinea pigs mouth. 

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Bananana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Remember these are a treat and shouldn’t be fed to your guinea pig on a daily basis. 

If you have any questions about your Guinea Pigs Diet please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us!

The Ultimate Guinea Pig Meal Planner Guide

Choosing your guinea pigs food each day can often seem rather complicated! We frequently get asked how to plan out a guinea pigs meals to ensure they are eating healthy without being bored. The internet often offers a variety of conflicting information.

This is why we have decided to put together our “Ultimate Guinea Pig Meal Planner Guide” Before reading this guide its useful to read our other articles on Guinea Pig Nutritional Requirements along with What to feed your guinea pig.

The Wheekwell Guide is our version of “The Eatwell guide” which is a document produced in the UK that shows how much we should eat everyday. It also includes the different food groups humans should be eating from.

The Wheekwell Guide shows what your guinea pig should be eating everyday and which vitamins they require.  Its a simple, easy to use guide for new owners and a reference point for guinea pig veterans owners!

The Wheekwell Guide Overview

This chart shows your guinea pigs general daily requirements. These quantities are what you should aim for daily.

Wheekwell guide

As you can see 80% of your guinea pigs diet should come from Hay. Grass hay in particular is the best for wearing down teeth and aids a healthy digestive system. 

10% Should come from dried guinea pig pellets. Not all pellets are equal so aim to buy the ones that are not too high in calcium as this can lead to kidney and bladder stones. An easy way to check if your guinea pig has too much calcium in their diet is to watch out for milky white deposits in their urine.

Choose pellets that also have vitamin C added since guinea pigs are unable to make their own like us! Our favourites (and the ones we have used for all our guinea pigs) are Excel Burgess Nuggets

Its important to remember that fresh water should also be included for your guinea pig! 

The remaining 10% of the Wheekwell Overview chartsis for vegetables and herbs which we will cover in greater detail below:

The Wheekwell Daily Plate

We have created the Wheekwell Daily Plate to show how to choose your meals for your guinea pig friends. There are also suggestions included as to what to choose for each category.

The below is the recommended amount each day for one guinea pig. We feed our guinea pigs vegetables and herbs twice a day.

One Vegetable High in Vitamin C

Guinea pigs need to be fed Vitamin C rich foods daily in order to keep healthy and ward off disease. If your vet has advised you that your guinea pig has a Vitamin C deficiency then its especially important to provide them with foods rich in Vitamin C. One portion is one chunk, slice or several leaves for the leafy vegetables.

  • Celery Leaves – Chop into small chunks and remove “vein” to avoid chocking
  • Collard Greens
  • Swiss and Red chard – Can cause diarrhoea
  • Spinach – Use caution as too much can cause kidney and bladder stones
  • Kale (curly or plain)
  • Brussels Sprouts – Introduce slowly as may cause bloating
  • Peppers – sweet or bell. Any colour – 
    Introduce slowly as may cause bloating

One herb rich in Minerals

Minerals are essential for healthy guinea pigs and the best way to provide these for your piggy is using herbs. Never feed your guinea pig dried herbs or frozen. Fresh is best and they are very easy to grow. One portion is a sprig or two.

  • Parsley (curly or plain) – It is high in calcium though
  • Coriander
  • Dandelion Greens – Ensure these are free from animal urine if collecting from the wild.
  • Mint
  • Thyme

One portion Mineral and Vitamin C rich vegetable

Cabbage type vegetables are great for this requirement! They contain both magnesium and Vitamins however they can cause bloating. Below are a selection of vegetables for this category. One portion is one slice, chunk or a few leaves.

  • Broccoli  – Stems best to feed opposed to florets. Can cause bloating.
  • Cabbage – Can cause bloating.
  • Cauliflower – Can cause bloating.
  • Corn on the cob
  • Radishes
  • Spring Green – the mildest of the group and able to be eaten almost daily. 

Other Green Stuff

The last guinea pig requirement is just some plain old greens to keep it interesting! Its vital to get your guinea pigs used to a wide range of foods when their young as they tend to get rather fussy when they are older! 

  • Cucumber
  • Courgette
  • Lettuces – Red, green, butter, romaine but NEVER iceberg as it has no nutritional value.
  • Carrots – Contain high amounts of Vitamin A which can cause liver problems
  • Turnip
  • Parsnip

We have also created The Wheekwell Daily Plate Printable for your use. Its great to have on the fridge or somewhere else that you will see it. Simply click to download!

The Wheekwell Daily Plate

Introduce dietary changes slowly and always with other food, never on its own. Keep a close watch over your guinea pig and during its health check to watch for any changes. 

Remember to consult your vet immediately if you think something may be wrong with your guinea pig.