A Guide to Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs may look cute and adorable little creatures but they are not easy to feed correctly. This pocket pets need vitamin C in their diet just like humans do. In fact, they are the only animal that needs a daily dose of Vitamin C to keep healthy. Unlike other animals, guinea pigs do not have a specific enzyme that enables them to make their own Vitamin C that is why it is important to check the food that you give your pets in order to keep them healthy.
What to Feed your Guinea Pig?
Like rabbits, guinea pigs only eat plants mostly the one with high fibre. They are herbivore animals that can live with grass or guinea pig hay. Aside from giving them best guinea pig pellets that contain all essential vitamins they need, they also need to have grass and guinea pig hay available at all times. Clover hay or lucerne can be offered to your pet but not as their sole source of fibre since this plant is very high in calcium and protein. Suitable grasses that you can give your guinea pigs are buffalo grass, clover and oat grass. Your pocket pet will also enjoy munching on dandelion, milk thistle and a variety of fresh herbs.
Chewing grass and hay for a long period keeps their teeth in good condition and since their teeth grow continuously throughout the guinea pigs life, it is encourage that you allow them to chew on this kind of plants. The guinea pig hay is best provided to them in a hayrack attached to their cage wall so they can get one when they want one.
You can also offer fresh leafy vegetables and herbs to your pet like broccoli, cabbage, endine, celery, carrot/beet tops, zucchini, capsicum, bok choy, spinach leaves and other Asian greens like dark-leafed lettuce varieties, fresh or uncooked string beans and peas. They also like herbs like coriander, parsley, dill, mint, basil, rocket and dandelion. Offer a variety of 2 or 3 each day to your pet and make sure to make any changes to their diet slowly for them to avoid gastric upset.
Give Them Enough Vitamin C
In order for your pet not to suffer from ‘scurvy’, their diet should include high source of Vitamin C. This can usually be derived from vitamin C-rich fruits such as citrus, strawberry and kiwi fruit. High quality guinea pig pellets that contain a minimum amount of fibre can be offered to your guinea pigs treat. While your pet will surely enjoy chewing on guinea pig pellet, it should not be given as their sole diet as many commercial pellets are high in fats and carbohydrates and low in fibre. You should also make sure to keep them properly because the Vitamin C content of the guinea pig pellet declines once the bag is opened. If your guinea pig is pregnant, you must contact your vet for advice as they have higher requirement for Vitamin C.