Guinea pigs are truly herbivores. They develop food preferences in the early stages of their lives and do not have any changes in food types. Sudden changes in their diet may result in refusal to eat.
The most important aspect in their diet is vitamin C. Apart from that, they just need unlimited amount of hay in order to have a healthy diet.
Make sure you also pay attention to these foods we must avoid to give guinea pig.
Besides vitamin C, there are some nutrients that should be present in their food. Most guinea pigs eat everything ranging from fruits to leaves and plants to root vegetables, and also a lot of high fiber grasses.
They are also often fed a dry guinea pig mix with bit fresh of vegetables which is inadequate in fiber and tends tend to be high in carbohydrates. That’s why it is very important to know what essential nutrients that are needed for guinea pigs so that you will get the healthy guinea pigs. Let’s see the essential nutrients that guinea pigs need to stay healthy.
1. High Fiber
Guinea pigs require high levels of fiber in their food as fiber is essential for maintaining a balanced bacterial flora in the gut and for stimulation of a gastro-intestinal motility. Fiber will be beneficial to the normal grinding motion that will preserve the ideal length of the teeth.
The great source of fiber is hay. Hay should be provided and available all the time. Hay can come from many types of plants and remember that not all hays offer the same nutritional value. Another source of fiber is leafy green vegetable. Y
ou should feed fresh daily vegetables at a minimum of a cup per day. The leafy fresh vegetables you can feed are celery leaves, been greens, rocket, kale, basil, coriander, lettuces and many more.
Hay is listed as one of the food that are beneficial for gaining your rabbits weight.
2. Vitamin C
Guinea pigs also require a dietary source of vitamin C. Your guinea pig needs around 10 to 30 mg of vitamin C per day. Many pellets some vitamin C added, but it will be greater if you could offer a supplemental source.
Leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, peppers, and kiwis are great sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C can also be provided in the form of tablets or powder, however, when you think the diet is balanced already, it won’t be necessary.
Get to know these best fruits for guinea pig a guide of feeding. You can start feeding these fruits to your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs can tolerate fats but it should consist around 3 to 5% of their daily intake. It is because the excess fat can be converted into glucose. Check your pellet food and make sure it should have around 1 to 2% fat included in the ingredients.
Guinea pigs also need calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and these minerals should be included in your dried guinea pig food. Calcium can also be found in certain types of fruits and vegetables.
Calcium is important to be included in the guinea pig’s diet as it is beneficial for keeping the teeth and bones healthy. However, don’t feed too much calcium as it can lead to the formation of bladder stones.
You could notice the sign of excessive calcium intake by the white deposits being excreted in the guinea pig’s urine. You need to check the ingredients of the food you are feeding your guinea pig and you can replace grass hay with a brand that has less percentage of calcium instead.
Phosphorus is another nutrient needed by guinea pigs in their diet. However, you should only provide this nutrient in the ration of 1:1.5 when it is combined with calcium. Ensure you feed it with that ration as inverse ration can cause digestive and urinary problems.
Apart from those nutrients mentioned above, there are some things you need to pay attention to while feeding your guinea pig as follow:
- It is not advisable to make a sudden change to your guinea pig’s diet. Doing that will make them very ill, so if you wish to do some changes, do it gradually, suddenly.
- Fresh and clean water must be always available. You can give water to your guinea pigs by using bottles designed for them. Change the water daily too to make sure that it is always fresh.
- A good sign of a healthy guinea pig is when she or he eats every day and passing plenty of dry droppings. Keep an eye on how much your guinea pig eats and drinks. If you suspect any change on the droppings or the drinking/eating habit, then you should contact your vet immediately. You should also explore the causes your guinea pigs does not want to eat.
Guinea pigs are also possibly exposed to some diseases and health problems. Spend time reading about common diseases of guinea pig.