Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they only eat plant matter. They can eat quite a wide variety of foodstuffs, but be a bit careful as they often don’t know what’s good for them. Many a pet has had a very upset stomach (or worse!) after eating something they shouldn’t.
Lush green grass is a favourite food of guinea pigs the world over. If you ever keep your guinea pigs indoors, pushing a handful of this into their hutch will produce the most excited sounds you’ll ever hear. A nice handful of lush, thick grass is a great addition to your guinea pigs’ diet, but be sure to check it for dangerous plants, and not to give them mowings. Mowings can contain fungus and well-disguised poisonous plants, as well as having the capacity to cause the potentially fatal condition known as bloat.
Grass is often a favourite
It’s important to be careful when giving your guinea pigs grass, as lots of very common plants are really poisonous for them. Buttercups and daisies are especially problematic, so have a good look around if you’re seizing some grass for your guinea pigs to munch on, or if you’re seeking a spot to put their outside run on. Have a look at ‘What Guinea Pigs Shouldn’t Eat’ for more information.
This should always be freely available to your guinea pigs, in their special bottle. It’s wise to use a proper guinea pig water bottle rather than a loose bowl, for reasons both of hygiene and clumsiness - if you try to give your guinea pigs a water bowl, they’ll either sit in it or tip it over and get it all over their nice dry house.
Their bottle will need to be cleaned often, as food from their cheeks often goes back up the spout and mills around in the water. You’ll need to rinse it out and give it a scrub regularly.
Hay is incredibly important for guinea pigs and they should never be without it. Not only is it a comfy bed but they eat a lot of it every day in order to give their stomachs some roughage for digestion.
Hay is very important for a healthy digestive tract
These are essential to any guinea pig diet. You’ll need to give them plenty of fresh vegetables so that they can get all the nutrients they need, like the all-important vitamin C. Salad vegetables should be given in moderation, as these are mostly water and don’t contain enough energy and nutrients to be a staple of your pets’ diet. Each guinea pig will need about a cup of fresh vegetables a day, with the occasional piece of fruit on the side. Be a little sparing with fruit, as it’s quite acidic, and too much can cause sores to form around your guinea pig’s mouth. For more information, have a look at our ‘Guinea Pig Foods List’.
- Sweetcorn (the leaves can be given, too)
- Pea pods
- Beetroots (skinned)
Be a little sparing with fruits such as apples
There are lots of excellent options for your guinea pigs available in any good pet shop. If you’re worried your guinea pigs aren’t getting enough vitamin C then there are dry food options that have some supplements, but this has a short shelf life so it’s not a substitute for lots of fresh veg. You'll need to give your guinea pigs fresh dry food every day, and you’ll likely need to clean out their bowl once a week – otherwise it can get a bit mashed, wet and dirty.