When we treat our guinea pigs as part of our family, we sometimes tend to give them what we have in our tables as well. But do note that our beloved pets have a different diet than ours. As a pet parent, we have the responsibility to provide them with a healthy diet. Here some tips for a healthy diet suited for Guinea Pigs.
Guinea Pigs are Herbivores
This entails that guineapigs or cavies, eat fruits and vegetables, with no meat, eggs, insects, and dairy in their diet. The most common food given to guinea pigs is fresh leafy vegetables and hay. Although most vegetables are safe for them, you should verify its safety and always have a list of food that is safe for guinea pigs as reference. For instance, broccoli may be good for humans but is recommended to be given occasionally to guinea pigs because it can cause bloating and gas.
Think about their Teeth
Guinea pigs continuously grow their teeth. Thus their diet needs to have something fibrous that they can chew on. Hay is recommended as hard pellet feeds are not enough to keep their teeth at appropriate lengths.
For proper digestion, high-quality grass hay such as Timothy hay is recommended. Alfalfa hay can also be given, but only as a treat because its high-calorie content can cause obesity. Also ensure that the hay you give is fresh, clean, dry, sweet-smelling, and is free from moulds.
Commercial food for cavies is formulated to provide them with balanced nutrition. When shopping for pellets, choose one that has the optimal protein content, reduced calcium levels, minerals, and vitamin C. There are also specialised food ideal for the age of your pet or those with probiotics to help for digestion.
A cup of vegetables per day is right for your guinea pigs. You may choose from a wide range of vegetables such as carrots, spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and dark veggies, to name a few. Organic, fresh greens are recommended and must be washed thoroughly before giving to your pet. When introducing new vegetables to your pets, it is advisable to do it one at a time and never to serve frozen or cold vegetables.
Since fruits have higher sugar content as compared to vegetables, it is inherently better to have more servings of vegetables compared to fruits. Fruits are a good source of vitamin C, and a few small pieces will be sufficient. Some fruits good for cavies are apples, pears, strawberries, kiwi, peaches, and cucumbers.
When selecting treats, read the label carefully and choose those with fair amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, or salt. It is also better if it is vet-approved. If still in doubt, you may even make treats for them. You can provide cavies with different types of treats and chews, but ensure that it does not exceed ten percent of their daily meal intake.
Food intake is one of the primary factors that affect your guinea pig’s health and lifestyle. A healthy diet for cavies is easy to achieve as it includes mostly pellets, hay, and fresh vegetables. And do not forget some fruits for their daily dose of vitamins. You may occasionally indulge them with treats and chews, just ensure that preservatives and artificial sugar levels are minimal. Remember to read the labels, do some research, and be wary of foods that are harmful to them.