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What to Feed Guinea Pigs Each Day + Food Lists (Safe Fruit & Veg)

Guinea pigs need a daily diet of hay, fresh vegetables (or safe leaves and weeds), optional fruit, and dry food pellets. As herbivores, guinea pigs should only eat plant-based foods.

Not all hay, fruits, vegetables, or pellets are suitable, so it’s important to find out which are best for your guinea pigs. This article provides all the information you need on feeding your guinea pig, including how much of each food to give them daily.

You’ll find plenty of tips and ideas as well as my printable food charts to help you provide your guinea pig with a healthy, nutritious meal every day.

Guinea Pigs Eating Fresh Vegetables
Guinea pigs eating fresh vegetables

What Vegetables Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs can eat many kinds of vegetables, with leafy greens being the most important. Some of their favourite veggies are carrots, celery, cucumber, kale, sweet peppers, romaine lettuce, and spring greens. However, not all vegetables are safe, so please check my safe food list below for more information.

They can also eat herbs such as parsley, coriander (cilantro), mint, basil, and dill.

It’s important to only feed your guinea pigs fresh, raw vegetables that are in good condition to prevent illness or diarrhoea. Make sure you wash them thoroughly first. Frozen, cooked, or canned vegetables are not suitable alternatives for guinea pigs.

Many wild plants and weeds are also safe for your guinea pigs to eat. These can be given instead of or as part of their vegetable portion. You can learn more about finding safe wild plants here…

Guinea Pigs Eating Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Guinea pigs eating fresh fruit and vegetables

Guinea Pig Food Charts

You can purchase my illustrated printable PDF food pack for guinea pigs, which serves as a handy reference and helps with meal planning. It includes food charts with safe fruits & vegetables, a weekly meal planner (for you to fill in), and a fruit and vegetable nutrition table. This pack is designed to help you plan and organise nutritious, healthy meals for your guinea pigs.

Guinea Pig Food Charts
Printable Guinea Pig Food Charts and Meal Planner Pack (pack also includes nutrition table)

Guinea Pig Food List: Vegetables & Herbs

All vegetables and herbs on the following list are safe to feed your guinea pigs, but some should not be fed too regularly or in high quantities as they can cause bloating if too much is eaten.

Vegetable / HerbHow Often?
BasilFew times a week
Beet GreensOccasionally
BeetrootOccasionally
Bok Choy (Pak Choi)A few times a week
BroccoliOccasionally – can cause gas
Brussels SproutsOccasionally – can cause gas
Butternut SquashOccasionally
Cabbage (red/white/Savoy)Occasionally – can cause gas
CarrotsA few times a week
Cauliflower and stalk Occasionally – can cause gas
Cauliflower leavesA few times a week
CeleriacA few times a week
Celery Stalks (and leaves)A few times a week
Collard GreensA few times a week
Coriander / CilantroA few times a week
Cress (garden cress)A few times a week
CucumberA few times a week
Dandelion Leaves (greens) & FlowersA few times a week
DillA few times a week
FennelOccasionally
Green beans (french beans)A few times a week
KaleA few times a week
KohlrabiOccasionally
Lambs LettuceA few times a week
Lettuce (Romaine/Cos/Butterhead/Red/Green LeafA few times a week
MintA few times a week
ParsleyA few times a week
ParsnipOccasionally
PeasOccasionally
Peppers (Sweet Bell – all colours)A few times a week
PumpkinOccasionally
RadichioA few times a week
RadishOccasionally
Rocket Salad / ArugulaA few times a week
SpinachOccasionally
Swede / RutabagasOccasionally
Swiss ChardOccasionally
ThymeOccasionally
TomatoOccasionally
TurnipOccasionally
Turnip GreensOccasionally
WatercressA few times a week
Buy and Download the
Colourful Illustrated Food Chart…
Safe Vegetables and Herbs for Guinea Pigs

How Much Veg Should a Guinea Pig Eat? 

Each guinea pig should have about a cup of mixed fresh vegetables every day, with a significant portion consisting of leafy greens such as spring greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce, cauliflower leaves, celery leaves and herbs.

Provide as much variety as possible in their daily meals, and change it up from day to day to ensure they receive all the important vitamins. Avoid giving excessive amounts of any single vegetable, as guinea pigs can become picky and refuse to eat it.

Serve fresh food in a non-tip bowl, such as this one from Haypigs.

guinea pig eating from a non-tip food bowl
Guinea pig eating from a non-tip Haypigs food bowl

What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs can enjoy a variety of fruits, including apple, strawberry, blueberry, melon, and many others listed in the safe fruit list below.

Fruit should make up a very small part of their fresh food portion and be considered more of a treat. It is high in sugar and can cause diarrhoea or other health issues if given in excess.

All fruit must be fresh, raw, and not past its best. Frozen, cooked, or canned fruit is not suitable for guinea pigs.

Guinea pig eating a piece of watermelon
Guinea pig eating a piece of watermelon

Guinea Pig Food List: Fruit

The following fruits are safe for guinea pigs to eat in small quantities.

Fruit NameHow Often?
AppleOccasionally
ApricotOccasionally
BlueberriesOccasionally
CherriesOccasionally
Grapes (white/red)Occasionally
MangoOccasionally
Melon (all varieties)Occasionally
NectarineOccasionally
OrangesOccasionally
PapayaOccasionally
PeachOccasionally
PearOccasionally
RaspberriesOccasionally
StrawberriesOccasionally
Buy and Download the
Colourful Illustrated Food Chart…
Safe Fruits for Guinea Pigs

What is the Best Hay for Guinea Pigs?

The best feeding hay for guinea pigs is grass hay, with 2nd Cut Timothy Hay being the optimal choice for adult guinea pigs. Timothy Hay is full of fibre and vitamin C, both of which are extremely important for these pets.

The long stems in Timothy Hay help keep their digestive system in good shape, and the abrasiveness of the hay stalks helps keep their teeth filed down and prevents overgrowth.

Alternatively, you can feed them good quality Meadow Hay or Orchard Hay, which are also suitable.

Alfalfa hay, a legume hay, should only be fed to young guinea pigs under 6 months old, pregnant guinea pigs, or nursing sows.

guinea pig eating fresh grass and herbs
Guinea pig eating fresh grass and herbs

Guinea pigs can also eat grass, but they still need an unlimited daily supply of hay.

It is vital to give the very best quality hay to your guinea pigs to keep them in good health. Feeding hay should always be green with long stems and have a fresh smell. It should not be brown, bitty, or full of dust.

The hay must also be clean and not soiled with urine or poop in the cage, as they will not eat it. I recommend using a feeder such as the Small Pet Select Hay Manger or the Trixie Log Feeder, but avoid wire ball feeders as they pose serious safety risks to your pet.

How Much Hay Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Hay is the most important part of your guinea pig’s diet, and since they need to eat it throughout the day, it must be available at all times. Hay should make up about 80% of your guinea pig’s daily food intake.

Provide your guinea pigs with a generous pile at feeding time and replenish it during the day if necessary.

Guinea pigs eat a lot of hay, so purchasing top-quality hay in bulk from a reputable supplier like Small Pet Select is preferable to buying small bags of low-quality hay from pet shops. 

Save Money: When shopping at Small Pet Select, use my coupon code REFER-GPIGGLEUK at checkout to receive a 15% discount on your purchase.

Best Guinea Pig Pellets

Small Pet Select Premium Guinea Pig Food is one of the best pellet foods for guinea pigs. It contains high-quality ingredients and is designed to provide the best nutrition to keep your guinea pigs healthy. Burgess is also a reputable food brand.

guinea pig eating small pet select pellet food from a non-tip haypigs food bowl
Guinea pig eating Small Pet Select pellet food from a mini Haypigs food bowl

Although some guinea pig mueslis and nuggets with added colourful pieces may look appealing to us, they often lack nutritional value and can contain unsuitable ingredients. It’s best to avoid these.

When buying guinea pig food, check the ingredients to ensure grass hay or Timothy hay is the first item on the list. The ingredients listed first are the main components of the pellets.

It’s important to choose the right pellet food for your guinea pigs. They should not eat rabbit pellets or those designed for other animals, as the nutritional requirements and diets for these pets are different.

How Many Pellets to Feed a Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs should have about an eighth of a cup (2 tablespoons) of pellet food each day. It may not look like much, but it’s all they need since most of their daily food requirements come from hay and fresh vegetables.

Never feed your guinea pig a diet of just pellet food, as this will cause extremely serious health problems.

The Non-tip Haypigs mini food bowl holds about the right amount of pellets for two guinea pigs.

Guinea pig food chart and meal planner - printable pdf download in full colour

Guinea Pig Nutritional Requirements

Understanding the nutritional needs of your guinea pig is crucial to ensure they receive the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Fibre and protein

The main components of a guinea pig’s diet are fibre and protein, with fibre making up most of their intake. Fibre ensures the proper movement of food through the gut. Their diet should be low in sugars, carbohydrates, and fats.

Calcium and other minerals

Calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus are vital minerals for guinea pigs. These nutrients are abundant in fresh vegetables, forage, and good-quality pellet food.

Many believe avoiding calcium or providing a low-calcium diet will prevent bladder stone formation, a common problem in these pets. This is not the case. You can learn more about this on our page about urinary stones in guinea pigs.

Vitamin C

Guinea pigs require around 10-30 mg of vitamin C every day since their bodies can’t produce it like some other animals. A deficiency can lead to scurvy, a serious health condition. Therefore, it’s vital to provide them with food that contains vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, strengthening bones. Since guinea pigs have a plant-based diet, sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. Allowing them safe outdoor time with access to shade will help meet their vitamin D needs, supporting overall bone health.

FAQs

How Should I Introduce My Guinea Pig to New Food?

Introduce new foods, including fresh vegetables, foraged food, or dry pellet food, gradually and in small quantities. Guinea pigs might initially resist new tastes but usually adapt over time.

How Often Should You Feed a Guinea Pig? 

Feeding guinea pigs once a day in the morning is ideal and convenient for most owners. Alternatively, you could feed fresh food in the morning and pellets in the evening or vice versa. However, ensure hay is always available and replenished regularly.

My Guinea Pig Has Stopped Eating. What Should I Do?

A guinea pig not eating indicates a serious problem, particularly if they are not consuming hay. Contact your vet immediately for advice. In the meantime, syringe-feeding ground pellets mixed with warm water or a special powdered food called “Critical Care” mixed with water can be a temporary solution to prevent weight loss and digestive issues, but this won’t solve the underlying problem.

Should I Put My Overweight Guinea Pig On a Diet 

You should not put your guinea pig on a diet, as restrictive diets are unsuitable for these small pets. Firstly, confirm with a vet whether your guinea pig is overweight. If so, check you are feeding good quality pellet food and that your portions are correct. Consider reducing the amount of pellets and eliminating fruit from their daily meals.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food?

Guinea pigs cannot and should not be left without food. They need constant access to food, particularly hay, to prevent dental and digestive issues. If you’re away, ensure someone reliable can provide daily care, including ample food and water.

Guinea pig eating fresh, nutritious leaves
Guinea pig eating fresh, nutritious leaves

Why Is My Guinea Pig Eating His Poop?

Eating poop is part of a guinea pig’s natural behaviour. They consume softer caecotrophs, rich in essential nutrients like protein and vitamins, directly from their body. This behaviour is a natural way to replenish vital nutrients.

What Is The Best Guinea Pig Food Brand?

The best guinea pig food brand that I recommend is Small Pet Select for their natural ingredients and ethical practices. Use code REFER-GPIGGLEUK for a 15% discount on your total order. Other reputable brands include The Little Hay Co for hay and Burgess for pellet food.

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