The health of your guinea pigs will be very much a result of what you give them to eat. It is important that they get the correct nutrition to maintain their wellbeing.
Fibre and Protein
The main part of a guinea pig’s diet is of fibre and protein with fibre constituting most of their intake. Fibre is found in pellet food and is abundant in grass hay. A cavy’s diet should be higher in fibre than protein and low in sugar, carbs and rich fats.
Cavies can tolerate fats but should only constitute around 3-5% of their daily intake as excess fat can be converted into glucose and, again, upset the delicately balanced flora of their stomach. Check your pellet food which should have around 1-2% fat included in the ingredients.
Guinea pigs also require calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Again, these should be included in your dried guinea pig nugget food but can also be found in certain fresh vegetables and fruit.
Calcium is an essential component for keeping their teeth and bones healthy but too much calcium can cause the formation of bladder stones.
If you notice any white deposits being excreted in your cavy’s urine they might be suffering from an excess calcium intake. Check the ingredients of the nuggets you are feeding them and consider replacing their grass hay with a brand that is less rich in this nutrient.
Phosphorous is also an essential component of their diet but should always be provided in a ratio of 1:1.5 when combined with calcium. Again, an inverse ratio can cause digestive and urinary problems.
Your guinea pig requires around 10-30mg of vitamin C a day.
They cannot produce this essential compound so it is important that the food you provide your pet with contains vitamin C. If it doesn’t then you will need to provide a supplement.
Ensure that your daily serving of vegetables are rich in vitamin C or by providing it in either a chewable tablet form or by administering drops. It is not recommended that you add it to their drinking water as there is no guarantee they will receive the whole dose and the taste can put them off drinking enough.
In addition, the acid in the vitamin C degrades when it is combined with water making it less potent.
More About Guinea Pig Food
You can find out more about the exact foods your guinea pig needs on our comprehensive Guinea Pig Food page.