ISSN 2398-2985      

Nutrition: overview

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Diet

General nutrition

  • Commercial guinea pig feed with 20% crude protein and 16% fiber is recommended.
  • Timothy hay should be provided ad lib daily.
  • Cavies require a dietary source of supplemental vitamin C Vitamin C:
    • Many vegetables are high in vitamin C so feeding fresh vegetables on a daily basis and offering guinea pig pellets/mixes should ensure they receive adequate amounts of vitamin C.
    • Vegetables high in vitamin C include cabbage, kale, parsley, broccoli.
    • Guinea pig mixes/pellets generally contain about 1 g of vitamin C per kg. Even when fresh mixes/pellets are properly stored in a cool, dry place, about half of the vitamin C content is degraded and lost within 6 weeks of manufacture. Advise owners with one or two guinea pigs to buy smaller bags so that the food is used up within a few weeks.
    • Vitamin C is highly unstable in water and degrades in sunlight, so it is not advisable to add vitamin drops to water.
  • Limit treats, such as green vegetables, carrot tops, apples, etc to no more than 1-2 tabespoons in a 24 h period.
  • Cavies have sensitive intestinal tracts; sudden alterations in diet, including change in food brand, may result in serious gastrointestinal upset Enteritis Gastrointestinal stasis and anorexia Anorexia.
  • Guinea pigs have predominantly Gram-positive gastrointestinal tracts.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Feeding your guinea pig, Plants poisonous to guinea pigs, Poisoning and Routine health care to give to your clients.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Johnson-Delaney C (1996) Guinea Pigs. In: Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians. Eds: Jonhson-Delaney C & Harrison L R. Wingers Publishing, USA. pp 2.

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