Feeding Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are small rodents that have a lot of energy and need a lot of food to fuel their high-octane lifestyles. They should be given a diet that is comprised primarily of hay, vegetables, and fruit.
Best food for guinea pigs

Guinea pigs, like rabbits, are true herbivores, though the physiology and performance of their gastrointestinal system just isn’t as properly understood because the rabbit. Guinea pigs develop meals preferences early in life and don’t take to modifications in meals varieties, appearances, or presentation simply. Sudden modifications can lead to a refusal to eat. Any modifications to the food plan needs to be made regularly. Essentially the most essential side of the food plan of guinea pigs is their requirement for vitamin C. Other than that, the important thing to a nutritious diet in a guinea pig is limitless quantities of hay.

The wild guinea pig, in its native habitat of the South American forests, eats quite a lot of meals, every little thing from fruits to leaves and crops to root greens, however particularly lots of high-fiber grasses. Pet guinea pigs are sometimes fed a dry guinea pig combine with the occasional little bit of recent greens, which is insufficient in fiber and customarily too excessive in carbohydrates. Hay is essential not solely to assist put on down their repeatedly rising enamel, but in addition to maintaining the micro organism of their intestinal tract that ferment their meals wholesome.

Reading: Best food for guinea pigs

What ought to I feed my guinea pig?

The popular fundamental food plan for guinea pigs is limitless quantities of Timothy or different low-calcium hay, supplemented with smaller quantities of a industrial, high-fiber, Timothy-hay primarily based guinea pig pellets. Vitamin C (see under) needs to be given every day. Hay needs to be supplied free-choice all through the day. Hay and pellets needs to be supplemented with quite a lot of recent, well-washed, leafy greens or coloured greens (particularly these excessive in vitamin C, comparable to bell pepper, tomato, and asparagus).

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Different good decisions for greens embrace inexperienced and pink leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, endive, kale, carrot tops, beet greens, cilantro, carrot, and squash. Iceberg or head lettuce has little dietary worth and is generally water, so it shouldn’t be supplied.

Fruit also needs to be restricted, as feeding an excessive amount of of their excessive sugar content material could result in an imbalance of intestinal micro organism and should trigger severe and probably life-threatening diarrhea. Some most well-liked fruits to supply sometimes embrace these excessive in vitamin C comparable to small quantities of orange (citrus) and kiwi or excessive fiber fruits comparable to pear and apple. Oats, seeds, nuts, and dry cereals needs to be prevented, as they’re too excessive in carbohydrates and fats.

Contemporary, clear water needs to be freely obtainable. Sipper bottles have to be cleaned every day, and their tubes needs to be checked for obstructions within the suggestions. Water bowls are sometimes not sensible, as guinea pigs typically soil their water with meals or feces or knock bowls over. Meals bowls needs to be heavy sufficient such that they’re arduous to tip over.

Why do I would like to offer my guinea pig Vitamin C?

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Guinea pigs and primates, together with people, can not manufacture their very own vitamin C, due to this fact it’s important to complement their food plan with vitamin C. Vitamin C is significant for the traditional improvement and upkeep of pores and skin, joints, and mucosal surfaces, like gums. It additionally performs an necessary position within the therapeutic of wounds. An absence of vitamin C makes the physique extra vulnerable to different illnesses, together with infections and predisposes guinea pigs to pores and skin issues. A guinea pig that has a tough hair coat, is off meals, has diarrhea, is reluctant to stroll, maybe seems to be painful, has swollen ft or joints, or has hemorrhages and ulcers on its gums or pores and skin, is more likely to be poor in vitamin C and needs to be seen by your veterinarian as quickly as doable.

Guinea pigs want 10-50 mg vitamin C per day, relying on the situation of the animal (younger, outdated, careworn, wholesome, pregnant). Your veterinarian can inform you precisely how a lot vitamin C your guinea pig requires. Whereas vitamin C is available from recent fruit and inexperienced or coloured greens, guinea pigs can not eat sufficient produce every single day to get the vitamin C they want. Additionally, whereas guinea pig pellets include vitamin C, it’s a comparatively unstable compound that breaks down or oxidizes rapidly. Subsequently, ensure that your guinea pig pellets are used up or changed inside 90 days of the date of manufacture, or the vitamin C in them could also be degraded. All guinea pigs ought to obtain a vitamin C pill or liquid vitamin C instantly by mouth every single day, somewhat than of their consuming water, because the vitamin additionally breaks down quickly in water and loses its efficiency.

In abstract, a vast amount of hay, a smaller quantity of vitamin C-fortified pellets, plus quite a lot of recent produce is extraordinarily necessary to take care of your guinea pig’s well being. Have your guinea pig checked yearly by your veterinarian with whom you possibly can focus on your guinea pig’s particular dietary wants.

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