What can Guinea Pigs eat? Food, unsafe food and dietary requirements

The best food for your Guinea Pig is hay. Hay and/or grass should make up the majority of your Guinea Pig's diet. They need this to help maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. They also need it to help grind down their teeth, that continually grow.

Best Guinea Pig food | Sources of vitamin C for your Guinea Pig - fruit | Sources of vitamin C for your Guinea Pig - vegetables | Unsafe food for Guinea Pigs | General advice about your Guinea Pig's diet | Calcium to Phosphorus | Oxalate acid and calcium and your Guinea Pig | Do Guinea Pig's eat their own poop? | Can Guinea Pig's drink from a water bowl? | Vitamin C in your Guinea Pig's diet | Guinea Pig treats | Can you mix Guinea Pig and Rabbit food together?

Best Guinea Pig food

You should ensure that the majority of your Guinea Pig's diet consists of hay and/or grass. Without this, your Guinea Pig could develop serious dental disease and digestive issues.

Pelleted foods can also form part of your Guinea Pig's diet. You should ensure that its high in fibre, contains protected vitamin C, and helps avoid selective feeding.

Vitamin C should form a significant part of your Guinea Pig's diet, and can be found in pellets and also in fruit and vegetables.

You can buy guinea pig food from Jollyes and other good pet stores.

Read on to find out what fruit and vegetables contain vitamin C, how often you should be feeding it, and what else you should know.

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Sources of vitamin C for your Guinea Pig - fruit

Fruit is a valuable source of vitamin C, however it should only be fed in small amounts, as it's high in sugar. Our list below details what fruits you can feed your Guinea Pig, along with additional guidance.

FruitFrequencyGeneral dietary advice for your Guinea Pig
Apples...Occasionally Do not feed apple seeds
Banana...Rarely High in sugar and can cause constipation
Blueberries.. FrequentlyBlueberries are a good source of vitamin C.
Grapes...Frequently High in sugar
Oranges... Occasionally Citrus can cause a sore mouth
Orange peel... Occasionally Citrus can cause a sore mouth
Pears... Occasionally Can provide a good source of vitamin C
Pineapple... Occasionally Pineapple contains a lot of vitamin C. However, its acidic and too much can cause mouth sores.
Plums...Occasionally Guinea pigs enjoy these, however they're high in sugar
Strawberries... OccasionallyMost guinea pigs enjoy strawberries. They can also eat the green tops

Sources of vitamin C for your Guinea Pig - vegetables

Different vegetables contain different levels of vitamin C, Phosphorous, Oxalates and Sugar. Our list below details the vegetable type, how often you can feed it to your Guinea Pig, and general advice about the vegetable.

VegetablesFrequencyGeneral dietary advice for your Guinea Pig
Asparagus...OccasionallyAsparagus contain some oxalate and phosphorous. It also contains vitamin C. You can feed occasionally.
Beetroot...OccasionallyBeetroot contains vitamin C, however beetroot also contains some phosphorus and calcium. They're low in oxalates. You can feed occasionally.
Broccoli...OccasionallyBrocolli contains vitamin C, however it also contains high amounts of vitamin A so should be fed occasionally.
Cabbage...FrequentlyCabbage contains high amounts of vitamin C. However, don't over feed it to your Guinea Pig as it can cause gas and bloating.
Carrots...OccasionallyCarrots are loved by Guinea Pigs, however, they contain sugar, which can lead to tooth problems and diabetes. They also contain oxalate which can lead to oxalate stones. They also contain high amounts of vitamin A.
Cauliflower...OccasionallyCauliflower contains vitamin C, however it can also give your Guinea Pig gas.
Celery...FrequentlyAlthough celery contains vitamin C you should be cautious as the stringy texture can present a choking hazard
Courgette...FrequentlyCourgette contains a lot of vitamin C, and can be fed to your Guinea Pig in moderation.
Corn on the cob...OccasionallyCorn on the cob contains vitamin C, however it's high in starch so don't feed too often.
Corn husks...FrequentlyCorn husks contain vitamin C and they also have a high fibre content
Cucumber...FrequentlyGuinea Pigs can eat both the flesh, seeds (not too much) and skin.
Green beans... OccasionallyGreen beans contain vitamin C, and can be fed in a raw state. However, be cautious as they also contain calcium and phosphorus.
Lettuce...FrequentlyOther than Iceberg, which has no nutritional content, lettuce is a delicious salad vegetable for your Guinea Pig
Mushrooms...RarelyThere is very little nutritional content in mushrooms.
Peas...OccasionallyAs with most vegetables, these contain Phosphorus and Calcium. However, it does also contain vitamin C. You can feed in moderation.
Parsley...OccasionallyParlsey can make a good snack for your Guinea Pig
Parsnip...FrequentlyA delicious vegetable for your Guinea Pig
Radishes...RarelyAlthough radishes containt vitamin C, they also contain oxalic acid, you should feed sparingly.
Raw beetroot...OccasionallyRaw beetroot contains no oxaltes, but do contain a small amount of calcium and phosphorus.
Sprouts...OccasionallySprouts contain phosphorus and oxelate acid. They may also may cause gas
Spinach...OccasionallySpinach can cause stones if mixed with calcium, due to high oxalate levels
Squash...OccasionallySquash can be fed to your Guinea Pig in moderation.
Sweet potato...RarelySweet potato is not very good for your Guinea Pig as its high in oxalates and starch
Tomatoes...FrequentlyThe green stalk is poisonous - do not allow your piggy to eat
Turnip greens...OccasionallyTurnip greens have a low phosphorus and high calcium ratio. They also have a reasonable amount of vitamin C.
Watercress...OccasionallyWatercress is good for your Guinea Pig, and contains high amounts of vitamin C
Red cabbage...FrequentlyRed cabbage contains high amounts of vitamin C, and a hint of calcium. You can feed it frequently.
Red pepper...FrequentlyRed peppers contain high amounts of vitamin C
Turnip greens...OccasionallyTurnip greens contain vitamin C, they also contain calcium and a hint of phosphorus. You can feed occasionally.

Guide to frequency of eating:

Frequency = 2-4 times a week

Occasionally = 1-2 times a week

Rarely = 1-2 times a month

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Unsafe food for Guinea Pigs

You should avoid:

  • Cereals - avoid cereal, as a variety of types are not good for Guinea Pigs
  • Meat - Guinea Pig's are herbivores and cannot process meat
  • Cooked foods - Guinea Pig's cannot digest cooked food
  • Anything to do with the potato plant - potato contains toxins that can be harmful to your Guinea Pig
  • Unripe tomotoes - these contains toxins that can be harmful to your Guinea Pig
  • Tomato leaves and stems - these contain toxins that can be harmful to your Guinea Pig
  • Rhubarb - these contain toxins that can be harmful to your Guinea Pig
  • Avocado - the skin is toxic, and although and although the flesh is not toxic it's high in fat. This can slow down digestion
  • Fruit cores, pits and seeds - many of these cannot be eaten, so its best to avoid
  • Buttercup - these contain acrid poison which can cause intestinal irritation
  • Dairy products - these are derived from animals and should not be fed to your Guinea Pig
  • Garlic - there is much debate about the safety of Garlic. It's probably best to avoid it
  • Juice - Guinea Pigs should only drink water
  • Onions - these are part of the onion family and can cause gas and intestinal disturbances
  • Leeks - these are also part of the onion family
  • Nuts - these can cause digestive problems

General advice about your Guinea Pig's diet

Fruit tends to contain a lot of sugar, so these should be fed in moderation, as the sugar will be bad for your piggies teeth.

Vegetables however are a valuable source of vitamin C, which is an essential part of your Guinea Pig's diet. You should ensure that you provide a range of vegetables, to ensure that your piggy doesn't receive too much oxalate, phosphorus or calcium.

Don't ever feed your Guinea Pig cooked food, as he is unable to digest it. It will upset his tummy.

You should also never feed your Guinea Pig lawnmower clippings as these can also upset his tummy.

Calcium to Phosphorus

Foods should contain more calcium than phosphorus as a ratio. The opposite ratio can lead to phosphate stones.

Oxalate acid and calcium and your Guinea Pig

High levels of Oxalate acid and Calcium in a Guinea Pig's diet can lead to calcium and bladder stones. The oxalate binds with the calcium to form the stones. These can be very painful for your Guinea Pig. You should ensure that food that contains high levels of oxalate acid and calcium are fed in moderation.

Do Guinea Pig's eat their own poop?

Yes, Guinea Pig's will eat their soft droppings called caecotrophs. These are an essential part of their diet, and help them to absorb the full goodness of their high fibre diet. Guinea Pig's also produce a hard shiny poo, which they do not eat.

Can Guinea Pig's drink from a water bowl?

Yes, they can, but they can become contaminated easily with food, poo or urine. A water bottle may be better, as your Guinea Pig's water source will remain clean. If your Guinea Pig is ill, he may find it easier to drink from a bowl, and some Guinea Pig's are used to only drinking from a bowl. However, if you can use a water bottle, its probably better.

Vitamin C in your Guinea Pig's diet

Guinea Pigs, like humans, don't produce their own vitamin C. Therefore its up to you go provide it in their diet. Pelleted foods should contain the vitamin, as should fresh vegetables and limited quantities of fruit.

You can also add vitamin C supplements into their diet. This shouldn't be added into their water though, as it can degrade quickly, and you won't know how much of the vitamin your Guinea Pig has drunk.

Without adequate vitamin C, your Guinea Pig could develop Scurvy.

Guinea Pig treats

You can give your Guinea Pig vegetables as a treat. Even if your Guinea Pig eats these regularly, you can still put these into a bowl chopped up into bite size pieces. Ensure that you remove them after a few hours, as they will begin to go brown.

You can also hide some hay inside a toilet roll. Your Guinea Pig will have fun trying to get the hay out!

If you prefer to buy guinea pig treats Jollyes offer a selection that you can buy online.

Can you mix Guinea Pig and Rabbit food together?

In a word, no. Guinea Pig's need an adequate form of vitamin C. Rabbit food may not contain sufficient quantities of vitamin C to meet your Guinea Pig's requirements. Therefore ensure that you only feed your Guinea Pig food that's suitable for him.

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