Guinea Pig Nutrition

Your guinea pig is an herbivore, which means he eats only plant material. Herbivores need to have food moving constantly through their digestive systems. A diet of mostly hay provides the fiber necessary to do this. Add fortified pellets daily to round out your guinea pig’s healthy diet. Your guinea pig must have the right mix of hay, nutrients and treats to avoid health problems.

Hay
Hay is absolutely vital to the digestive health of your guinea pig. It prevents obesity, dental disease, diarrhea and boredom. Unless the hay in your pet’s habitat is soiled, do not replace it. Replacing it could encourage picky eating!

Hay Selection

  • Hay should make up the majority of your pet’s daily diet.
  • Resist offering the same type of hay. Offer a variety of hay for optimum health.
  • Hay is a product of nature, so it’s normal for each bag to look and feel different.

We recommend keeping on hand at least two of these Oxbow varieties of all-natural farm-fresh hay: Western Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay, Alfalfa Hay, Brome Hay and Botanical Hay.

Pellets
A complete fortified pellet helps you make sure your pet is getting all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet. A high-fiber pellet made from hay is best for your guinea pig.

Pellet Selection

  • Choose a pellet designed especially for guinea pigs.
  • Select an age-appropriate pellet for your pet.
  • Avoid mixes with nuts, corn, seeds and fruit. Guinea pigs cannot digest and metabolize these rich ingredients. Also, providing these tempting foods in abundance along with healthy foods could encourage your pet to choose tastier, less healthy foods over healthy hays and pellets.

Treats and Veggies
Treats are a great way to bond with your guinea pig. You love giving treats and he loves eating them! However, the main purpose of a treat should be to encourage interaction between you and your guinea pig. Offering too many treats can encourage your pet to refuse basic foods and rob him of nutrition. Offer all-natural treats only after your guinea pig eats basic foods. Greens and vegetables also are tasty, enriching supplements, because they are a good source of water and offer a variety of textures. Avoid iceberg lettuce and limit the following foods: spinach, collard greens, parsley, kale, dandelion greens and mustard greens. As with any new food, be sure to introduce new vegetables slowly to avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach and causing diarrhea.