Guinea Pig Care
3. Diet, Nutrition - Staples, Treats, Vitamin C
80% of a Guinea Pig's diet should be hay. At the L.A. Guinea Pig Rescue we recommend Timothy Hay. Orchard Grass, Bermuda Grass, Bluegrass and Meadow Hay are also good alternatives for people with severe allergies. Air Purifiers can help. Small Pet Select is one of the best places to get high quality hay.
Small Pet Select was kind enough to reach out to me and offer this 15% Off Coupon for Scotty's Animals viewers! Click the image for coupon to be automatically applied or enter: ScottysAnimals at checkout. They're a great local company that really cares about small animals!
This Sampler contains: 2nd cutting "Perfect Blend" Timothy, 3rd cutting "Super Soft" Timothy, Oat Hay, and Orchard Hay!
In addition to high quality hay, fresh vegetables should be offered daily. These include lettuces (red leaf, green leaf, romaine and baby greens. Iceberg should be avoided because it lacks nutritional value, as should broccoli and cabbage. Other acceptable veggies include cucumber, bell peppers, parsley, kale, cilantro (coriander) carrots, celery, tomatoes, fresh grass (untreated) and mint, to name a few.
Some veggies should be given daily while others less frequently. Fruit also should be given sparingly as a treat.
The #2 MUST- HAVE Guinea Pig Item in this video is the Snak Shak. At the L.A. Guinea Pig Rescue we think of it as a glorified hay rack. The snack shack is chewable, but more importantly it's a great way to keep hay off the bedding. It keeps it fresh longer, and it's also a tunnel!
Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue Food Diet Guide
Our recommended daily amount of veggies is 1 1/2 - 2 cups per piggie per day. Make sure you are providing a diverse variety of vegetables everyday to keep them interested and it's always important to remember to feed everything in moderation.
Daily Staples: Mix it up!
Green Leaf Lettuce
Red Leaf Lettuce
Bell Peppers (all colors)
Kale (1-2 X a wheek)
Fresh Grass (untreated)
Sweet Treats: Feed in Moderation
Do Not Feed:
Broccoli (can cause bloat)
Cabbage (can cause bloat)
Spinach (too much calcium)
Iceberg Lettuce (no nutritional value)
Guinea Pigs should also have access to high quality Guinea Pig pellets. These pellets include vitamins and minerals that may not be present in their diet otherwise. But remember, pellets are NOT a substitute for Hay! Nor are pellets a substitute for fresh veggies. They are a supplement to these foods. Hay is #1 because it is the main way guinea pigs wear down their constantly growing teeth, and it provides the fiber that keeps there digestion moving. Not all pellets are equal. Keep Reading to learn more. Below I've included links to some pellets we recommend at the Rescue.
Fresh clean water must be available at all times. Never put Vitamin C IN the water! Scroll Down to find out why. At The L.A. Guinea Pig Rescue we prefer water bottles as opposed to water bowls. They stay cleaner and are easy for most guinea pigs to use. Glass or plastic bottle are fine, I have my favorite glass and plastic water bottles. I'll put a link to them here.
No matter which you choose, your water is only as fresh as the bottle, so it is important to keep your guinea pig's water bottle clean. A bottle brush is essential for keeping the water bottle clean and the Lixit water bottle cleaning brush is the one I use because it was made for pet water bottles and it just works. There's a spout cleaning brush in the handle and it's durable and inexpensive. I smell the inside of the water bottle every time I change the water. In my experience a good shake with some water can free debris that is stuck, but after a few fills, the sides get slimy, it smells funky and it needs to be cleaned with the water bottle brush.
Here's the link to the Lixit Water Bottle Brush and a video I made about why it's so important, and how I use it.
Guinea Pigs also need a bowl full of high quality Guinea Pig Pellets every day. These are Timothy or Alfalfa based pellets without seeds, dried fruits, grains or other additives. There are many high quality pellets on the market. Do your research, talk with your vet if you have concerns or your guinea pigs have specific dietary needs.
Some of the Guinea Pig Pellets that we recommend are from these trusted brands:
Besides veggies, here are some healthy treats you can feed your piggies. Too much wet veggies can cause soft poops. Hay based cookies and treats are another way to enrich your guinea pigs life.
NEVER Put Vitamin C in the water!
Guinea Pigs NEED Vitamin C. Without it they can develop scurvy and mobility issues. But you never
put vitamin C drops in their water. There is a video below that explains why guinea pigs need vitamin C and why you shouldn't put it in their water. The other video is about Vita Drops
Vita-Drops are a concentrated liquid vitamin C product based on the average guinea pig's water consumption. They change the flavor of the water. They are not
always used as directed and lose potency fast. There are EVEN MORE reasons why this product can be HARMFUL to your pigs. Watch both videos to learn the best way to give your pigs Vitamin C.