Did you know that 80% of a guinea pig diet is something humans cannot eat?
This is a surprise to most, but today, we’ll show you how to get the best guinea pig food for a proper diet.
The secret to a good guinea pig diet is balanced meals and here is the full breakdown of the recommended daily diet for your pig:
- Approximately 80% timothy hay
- 10-15% snacks such as vegetables and fresh herbs. Shoot for the equivalent of 1 cup-full, which will weigh ~2oz (50 grams)
- 5-10% pellets of guinea pig food. One eight of a cup or a little less than an ounce is all they need. If they are fast growing pigs up to the age of 4-6 months, you can double this ratio.
If you are in a hurry we have listed our top picks for the best hay, best treats and best pellets you can get for your guinea pig and below that, we go into much more detail.
Best Guinea Pig Food (Go with Pellets)
When it comes to finding the best guinea pig food for your little cavy there are 3 important things to know:
- Go with pelleted guinea pig food as a musli kind can lead to selective feeding and a sub-optimal diet
- Guinea pig pellets are high in calories and as such, your guinea pig should only be fed. Usually, this means they should be fed a little less than an ounce a day.
- Finally, you should buy proper guinea pig food and not settle for hamster, rabbits or other species which are also fed pellets.
Based on these criteria, as well as the overall nutritional value of the food and how well it is received by the guinea pigs themselves, we have hand-picked the three best types of food for your guinea pig below.
If you have two guinea pigs a 10-pound bag will last approx. 2 months.
Pellet based food should be given to guinea pigs. D epending on their age or status (if nursing or pregnant), they should have access to it or and be given at least 1/8 cup of pellet food at all times.
Timothy Hay based pellets, like the Small Pet Select, are best for adult guinea pigs. It contains just enough calcium for them to stay healthy. Too much calcium can cause kidney stones and may require surgery to remove. Also, it has higher fiber content to help with digestion.
This product is made from the finest ingredient and is for fortified with the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your pet needs to prosper. In addition, it is produced in small batches to ensure that freshness is kept in every bag. That tells a lot about the manufacturer – that they really are concerned and is driven to provide only the best for our pets.
Produced in small batches to ensure freshness in every bag
Timothy-hay based – the most recommended for guinea pigs aged 6 months and above
Made from the finest ingredients and is fortified with vital minerals and vitamins for your pet to thrive
Just like the Small Pet Select Pellet, the Oxbow Essentials Adult Guinea Pig is also a timothy-hay based pellet. It is all-natural with vitamins and minerals and is fortified with stabilized vitamin C.
Vitamin C is important in a guinea pig’s diet because their body cannot make vitamin C on their own so they rely on the foods they eat to fill that up.
There are people who suggest that fortifying your pet’s water with vitamin C is a good way for them to intake the vitamin. The downside is that, there will be a possibility that the taste of their water will change to something they don’t like. They will eventually associate that taste with water and may drink less. That is why it is better if their pellet, like this one, already contains the essential vitamins they need to thrive.
Timothy-hay based pellet food
All-natural with vitamins and minerals
Fortified with stabilized vitamin C
The Kaytee fiesta is a mix of alfafa hay pellets, ground corn, soybean, oats, sunflower seeds, peas and a lot more.
Alfafa-hay pellets should be given to younger guinea pigs aged 6 months and below. It has a higher calcium content which they need for development. If adult guinea pigs are given alfafa hay pellets, there is a risk that they will develop stones.
We love that this product offers a maximum variety. However, experts say that pellet mixtures that contain seeds, nuts or dried fruits have high carbohydrates and are too fatty. Guinea pigs cannot tolerate those kinds of food. Aside from that, it may cause obesity and there is a possibility that your guinea pig may become a picky eater if there are too many choices on their plate.
Alfafa-based pellet mixed with ingredients such as ground corn, soybean, oats, sunflower seeds, peas, etc.
Has prebiotics and probitics to support digestive health
Naturally preserved to maintain freshness
Best Guinea Pig Hay
We’ll start with something not all people know…
Guinea pigs are rodents which means their teeth are always growing.
For both that and dietary reasons, the most important item in the cage is hay, which the guinea pig should always have access to. Here’s why:
- The teeth in the back of the mouth of a guinea pig are ground down through the silica in grass and hay.
- For that reason, hay should make up approximately 80% of the daily food intake
Now, the million-dollar question becomes: What kind of hay should you feed your guinea pig?
- The short answer is a type of hay called timothy hay
- The slightly longer answer is to feed more alfalfa hay when they are up to four months of age as this contains more calcium, and then switch to timothy hay afterward
In addition, you need to feed your guinea pig hay that is soft and more grass-like as compared to stiff hay that is more straw-like.
With these considerations in mind, as well as the reception the different types of hay get from guinea pigs, we have found the three best options below when it comes to guinea pig hay.
Best Guinea Pig Treats
Guinea pigs are rodents and as such, they have ever-growing teeth. As they are not that good at handling a toothbrush, they constantly need something to chew on to keep their teeth short.
Having some good guinea pig hay goes a long way, as they’ll spend a lot of time chewing this, but for variety, a guinea pig also enjoys some treats.
Some of these, you’ll have around the house and include:
- Green beans
- Bell pepper
In general, try to feed them greens rather than fruits, which are high in sugar.
Besides the things you have around the house, a lot of guinea pigs enjoy treats that are specially made for them. Below we have collected our top 3 picks for guinea pig treats. These are all safe to feed and will keep your guinea pig occupied for some time.
Keeping A Fresh And Healthy Guinea Pig Diet
When giving your guinea pigs treats (they’ll spoil quickly) you need to be conscientious about removing uneaten fruits, veggies, and other perishable foods. Ideally, you should check for untouched or unfinished treats an hour after having offered these to your pig.
As for the pellets, these should be replaced daily. Guinea pigs often kick bedding material or droppings into their food bowls, and stale pellets will have little if any, Vitamin C left in them.
If there are many pellets left in the food bowl every day, you’re probably giving your pig too much. An eighth of a cup is all that's needed.
Finally, the hay should be placed in a hay rack and your guinea pig should always have access to hay.
Guinea Pig Food List (Fruit And Veg List)
In addition to the timothy hay and pellet food diet of your guinea pig, you should look to add fruit and vegetables to its diet (mostly the latter).
Below we have listed common household items that are used to supplement your guinea pigs diet.
- Excellent: Kale, Parsley, Sweet red and yellow peppers, Broccoli, Guava
- Very Good: Green peppers, kiwi, strawberry, mustard greens, cauliflower
- Fair: Red cabbage, peas, cantaloupe, oranges, snap peas, turnip greens, kohlrabi, papaya
- Poor: Beet greens, collard greens, bak choi, asparagus, lettuce, carrots
Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs
Your guinea pig needs vitamin C and although there is vitamin C in the timothy hay recommended on this page it is not enough to satisfy the demand of your guinea pigs.
For that reason, you should supplement its hay diet with food that contains vitamin C. These can be:
- The food pellets recommended on this page all have vitamin C in them. However, be aware that vitamin C degrades quickly so make sure to change your guinea pig’s food pellets every day.
- Add leafy greens to the diet. Dark greens such as parsley, kale, cabbage, and dandelion provide good sources of vitamin C. These should be the main supplement to your guinea pig’s diet.
- If this is not enough, try feeding your guinea pig vitamin C supplement. These are designed to mimic the look and feel of a treat for your guinea pig.
Feeding Guinea Pigs Every Day
Why do I need to feed my guinea pig every day?
Let’s start by asking a question: If you had a cat or a dog would you feed it every day?
You would, of course, feed it every day, and the same goes for your little piggy – the fact it is smaller and lives in a cage doesn’t change that.
This will also lead to another advantage: You’ll be able to monitor the intake of your piggies.
If one suddenly stops eating or drinking this is a potential sign of a disease and if it happens, we recommend seeing a vet.