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What To Do When You Run Out Of Food For Your Guinea Pig: 5 Safe Alternatives

safe alternative foods for guinea pigs

Don’t Worry, You Can Keep Your Guinea Pig Alive With These Simple Alternatives

When you open the cupboard, and discover that you’ve run out of pellets for your guinea pig, then you begin to worry. You might be wondering what foods you can give to your beloved pet that will tide them over until you can buy a refill.

Good news! There are various safe alternatives to give your guinea pig! As you read this brief guide, we will show you the following:

  • The dietary needs of your guinea pig
  • What’s needed for supplementation
  • What treats and foods to give for moderation, AND
  • What foods to avoid feeding your pet

Guinea Pigs Dietary Needs

While it’s hard to imagine, guinea pigs do exist in the wild.  They are herbivores by natures and eat a wide variety of fruits, leaves, herbs and root vegetables to keep up a relatively balanced diet.

Your pet pig also has specific dietary needs that should be taken into account.  Food should always be kept fresh and away from your pig’s bathroom area.   You should spot clean their bowl as needed throughout the week, especially if they kick bedding or droppings into it.

Guinea Pigs need a balance of pellets, hay and fresh vegetables in their diet as well as plenty of fresh water to drink.  No matter what your pig should have access to an abundance of timothy hay in order to maintain good digestive health as well as helping to wear down their ever-growing teeth.

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Similar to humans, guinea pigs are unable to produce their own vitamin C. So, make sure that you put supplements in their diet to maintain their health.  Guinea pigs are able to develop scurvy if they don’t get enough in their diet, 30-50mg daily.  They can also develop diabetes and obesity if there is a high level of sugar in their diets.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, you should feed your guinea pig 1/8 of a cup of pellets supplemented with a cup of fresh vegetables a day as well as the timothy hay. Any new fruit or veg you are introducing into your pig’s diet should be done slowly and independently. Like any creature, even humans, a sudden change in diet can lead to issues, like diarrhoea, for your poor guinea pig.

guinea pig enrichment guide 3

Good Foods for Every Day Supplementation

The best choice of food to supplement daily into your guinea pig’s diet is leafy greens which are high in Vitamin C and other important minerals. Romaine Lettuce and Kale are both perfect choices that also aid your pig’s digestive health.  Romaine has a high fibre content and kale has been recommended by the humane society for your guinea pig. Make sure these are washed thoroughly before you feed them to your pet to remove any bacteria and harmful residues.

Broccoli and Cauliflower are also good high fibre vegetables to supplement into your guinea pig’s daily diet that also provide a high level of Vitamin C. Cauliflower has the benefit of being low in calories and broccoli is low in sugar as well as high in antioxidants.

Red and Green bell peppers may be a good option as well as their high Vitamin C content and high fibre levels will provide much needed nutrition to your pig’s diet.  However, these can be fairly high in sugar so be careful not to overdo it.

Treats and Foods for Moderation

Speaking of foods that are good for your pet but may also cause issues with high levels of sugar, carrots, including the tops, are a great treat to provide your guinea pig once or twice a week.

Zucchini, tomatoes (minus stems and leaves) and squash are other good treat options for your guinea pigs given their high Vitamin C when balanced with the high levels of sugar they contain.

When it comes to fruit keep the portions small and frequency low.  The best option to use is a small wedge of orange with their high Vitamin C but small apple wedges, thin slices of banana or several blueberries also provide a good treat for your pig. Also, fruit should not be served to your pig cold and all fruit and vegetables should be deseeded and have the skin removed. And, just be careful not to overdo it and upset your pet’s stomach.

The Humane Society also suggests giving your guinea pig toy-like treats like mineral wheels, as well as multivitamins. These types of treats give your pet the vitamins and minerals that they need to stay healthy.

All in all, keep an eye on any treats you feed to your pet. If the food is left untouched or unfinished after an hour or so of being offered you should remove them before they spoil.

What to Avoid

There are some common-sense foods to avoid for your pig (chocolate, onions, garlic) that have issues with most pets.  Given their herbivore nature you should obviously avoid giving your guinea pig meat or dairy, their bodies are not built for those foods and don’t have the ability to process them.

However, there are some foods that you may not think of as dangerous but can lead to serious issues for your poor pig later.  Some of these are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Seeds
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Corn Kernels
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rhubarb
  • Bread

This list is not exhaustive and before feeding your pet anything you should reference guinea pig care books as well as reputable websites in order to double check if your pet is able to eat a specific food.

Takeaways

Before you look to change up your guinea pigs’ diet, do your research.  Make sure to take your guinea pigs dietary requirements into account and be aware of any health conditions that can affect your pet.  Feed them a cup of fresh vegetables once a day to supplement their food and avoid high sugar fruit and vegetables on the regular.  Keep carrots, oranges and apples as weekly treats.

If your guinea pig is not reacting well to the change in diet reduce the amount you are providing and take your pig to the vet immediately to check that they are ok.  Double check every food you want to give your guinea pig and try not to overdo anything you feed them.

This is a Guest Post – About the Author

Business development manager George J. Newton, Write my personal statement, has been married for 10 years.  As such he has now perfected the art of apology. 

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