Guinea pigs are fun are adorable, personable pets. Though they live in cages and are thus easier to care for than a dog or cat, they do require a bit of special attention when it comes to their diet. Adhere to these guinea pig feeding tips, and your little one will stay happy and healthy for years to come.
Tip 1: Go easy on the iceberg lettuce.
Iceberg lettuce may be the cheapest variety of lettuce in the store, but it's also the least nutritious. If you feed too much to your guinea pig, it will take the place of more nutrient-dense foods. Say no to the iceberg, and feed a darker, more nutrient-dense lettuce like romaine or red leaf lettuce, instead.
Tip 2: Feed a vitamin C-rich food every day.
Unlike rabbits and hamsters, guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C. If they don't get enough of this vitamin in their diets, they'll develop a deficiency condition called scurvy, which causes weight loss, lethargy, and dry skin. Give your guinea pigs a bit of a vitamin C-rich food every day. Foods to try include:
- spinach, kale, dandelion greens, and other dark leafy greens
- raw peas
Tip 3: Feed some grass hay for fiber.
Having some hay to munch on will give your guinea pig something to do when he or she is bored. Hay is also a great source of fiber in the diet, so it keeps your guinea pig's digestive tract healthy. A handful of timothy grass hay every couple of days is sufficient.
Tip 4: Feed a couple of carrot slices per week.
Carrots are higher in sugar than most vegetables, so feeding your guinea pig too many of them can encourage unhealthy weight gain. A couple of carrot sticks now and then, however, are a good idea because they help grind down guinea pigs' teeth.
Tip 5: Spend extra for a quality pelleted food, made just for guinea pigs.
Your guinea pig may happily munch away on inexpensive, bulk pet food, but that does not mean it's the healthiest option. Buy a pelleted food made specially for guinea pigs, as you can count on it containing the particular nutrients that guinea pigs need. Feed it according to the instructions on the package, along with your guinea pig's hay and veggies.
A balanced diet of pellets, veggies, a few fruits, and hay will keep your guinea pig in good shape. Make sure you also supply plenty of fresh water, either in a bowl or bottle.
For more information about pet care, contact Gettysburg Road Animal Hospital or a similar location.