What foods do guinea pigs eat?
We have all the information you need about guinea pig food. It might seem complicated because guinea pigs are herbivores and need a mixture of food types to keep them healthy, so just follow our easy guide.
Here are the food types you need to think about offering your guinea pig:
- Hay: a source of long fibre
- Fresh water: essential for life
- Concentrate (nuggets or mix): needed for nutritional balance
- Fresh, leafy green vegetables: good for variety, vitamins, moisture and fibre
- Snacks or treats: useful for bonding and training
Hay – should form most of a guinea pig’s diet. Most will eat a bundle of hay about the same size as their body each day. There’s no real need to restrict hay if your guinea pig would like to eat more. As guinea pigs are also quite fussy about the hay they eat, it needs to be high quality. Fresh, green leafy hay is more attractive and it should be dust free. As a natural and variable product hay might not provide all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients a guinea pig needs, so it is recommended to also feed concentrate to fill this gap.
Fresh water – must always be available. It can be provided in a bottle or a bowl. Make sure to check the sipper of the water bottle at least daily as they can become clogged. Water bowls should be heavy so they are not knocked over.
Concentrate – guinea pig food concentrates provide the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may be absent or present in variable amounts in other foods. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for guinea pigs, meaning it must be provided in food – this isn’t the case for other small pets.
High levels of long fibre provided in a guinea pig food are recommended to wear down their constantly growing teeth and to keep their gut healthy. Nuggets or kibbles provide all the nutrients needed in each mouthful.
A mix (which can contain cereals and vegetables that might be dried whole or flaked) provides the nutrients that are needed overall in each of the components. It is important when feeding a mix to ensure the bowl is cleared before it is topped up, so that each meal provides all the nutrients your guinea pig needs. A high-quality concentrate or mix will contain natural ingredients that guinea pigs like to eat, without the addition of sugary syrups which can result in digestive upset or dental disease.
Leafy, green veg – a small handful of leafy green vegetables provides a welcome addition to a guinea pig’s diet daily and is also a source of vitamin C, which guinea pigs must have as part of their diet. Find a list of safe veggies for small pets here.
Guinea pig treats – hand feeding a treat or snack is an important part of bonding with your guinea pig. Treats like our Selective Naturals are healthy and contain no added sugars. Choose the varieties suitable for herbivores to feed to your guinea pig.