Which guinea pig food is best?
Guinea pigs, or cavies, are small mammals that originated from the Andes in South America and, despite their name, have no relation to actual pigs. These cute rodents are popular pets with plenty of personality. While generally easy to care for, their diet requires a little more effort than your average cat or dog.
Your guinea pig needs a food formulated especially for them, like Oxbow Essentials Adult Guinea Pig Food. In addition, you should offer them fresh leafy greens every day and plenty of hay for proper wear on their teeth.
What to know before you buy guinea pig food
Pellet or muesli food will meet the majority of your guinea pig’s nutritional requirements. Pellet food contains a mix of hay, grains and legumes fortified with vitamins and minerals. Pellets usually are uniform, which means each piece of food contains the same balanced nutrition. Muesli is a commonly available food that contains a mix of dried fruits and vegetables, pellets, corn flakes and dried legumes. A muesli food is not the best choice for your guinea pig food because they will often only eat their favorites out of the mix. This can cause them to miss out on some vital nutrients.
Guinea pigs need lots and lots of hay to nibble on. Hay should make up about 80% of your pet’s diet. It helps wear down their teeth and is also vital to their digestion. Timothy, orchard and meadow hay are all great choices. Avoid alfalfa and legume hay. These are too high in protein and calcium. When offering hay to your pet, make sure to use a feeder. If you place the hay on the floor of their enclosure, it can become soiled.
Guinea pigs can’t create Vitamin C, so they have to get all of it from their food. They need between 30-50 milligrams every day. If you have your guinea pig on a good pellet food, then they should be getting most of the vitamin C they need. You can supplement this with fresh vegetables.
You should offer your guinea pig fresh veggies every day. According to PetMD, leafy greens like romaine, green leaf and red leaf lettuce are all good choices. Make sure to avoid darker greens like kale or spinach. These contain too much calcium and can contribute to the formation of bladder stones. You should also avoid feeding your guinea pig foods that contain sugar.
What to look for in quality guinea pig food
Depending on how many guinea pigs you have, the amount of food you’ll want to purchase at a time will vary. If you only have one or two guinea pigs, a bag between 1-5 pounds will last you quite a while. If you have a whole muddle of guinea pigs, then you can purchase food in larger bags. Buying in bulk can be a cost-effective option, and bags as large as 25 pounds are available.
Quality guinea pig food will have everything your pet needs to fuel a happy, healthy life. Check the packaging of the food you’re considering for your guinea pig to ensure it has proper vitamin fortification. Look for extras, like prebiotics and probiotics, to help your pet with digestion. You can also find foods that contain amino acids and antioxidants.
How much you can expect to spend on guinea pig food
Smaller bags of guinea pig food will cost you $5-$10. Hay and medium bags of food can be $10-$20. If you want to buy in bulk, expect to pay $20-$50 for a large bag.
Guinea pig food FAQ
What should I avoid giving my guinea pig?
A. You should avoid giving your guinea pig anything other than their pellet food, hay and supplemental veggies. Onions and garlic are toxic to them, and cruciferous veggies can cause them to bloat. Fruits are high in sugar and should be given sparingly.
Should my guinea pig be eating its own poo?
A. It is normal for your guinea pig to eat some of its own poo. Their softer poo contains undigested nutrients that they don’t let go to waste. While it may seem gross to you, it is normal guinea pig behavior.
What’s the best guinea pig food to buy?
Top guinea pig food
What you need to know: This top-quality guinea pig food is nutritious and recommended by vets.
What you’ll love: This food has uniform pellets that contain Oxbow Timothy Hay. The high fiber content aids your guinea pig’s digestion, and the food comes in several different varieties, including young, adult and organic.
What you should consider: If your guinea pig is a picky eater, then they may not like this food, though most guinea pigs do like the flavor.
Top guinea pig food for the money
What you need to know: This affordable guinea pig food is healthy and nutritious.
What you’ll love: This food is great for digestive health. It is fortified with antioxidants, amino acids, prebiotics and probiotics, and your guinea pig will love the colorful pellets.
What you should consider: The pellets might be too big for a guinea pig that is not quite fully grown.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a great hay to supplement your pet’s pellet diet.
What you’ll love: This hay is all-natural and does not contain any artificial additives. It is low in protein and high in fiber, which will promote healthy digestion.
What you should consider: The quality can be inconsistent with some bags containing hard stems and others having more leafy hay.
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Morgan Freeman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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