Guinea Pig Diet Guide With Photo Chart: Feeding Your Guinea Pig

Guinea Pig Eating Lettuce

Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they eat only plant matter. They require a well-balanced diet of grass hay, guinea pig pellets, and vegetables to keep them healthy.

In this article, we’ll be going over a guinea pig’s basic diet, what they should eat daily, as well as safe and unsafe fruits, vegetables, and household foods for this pet.

What to Feed Your Guinea Pig: Daily Diet

Hay

Guinea pigs need constant access to grass hay. Grass hay provides your guinea pig with dietary fiber and helps wear down their teeth. It also helps with their digestive system.

Good examples of grass hay include Timothy hay and Meadow hay. Make sure you purchase high-quality hay to feed your guinea pig.

We recommended Kaytee Timothy Flavoured Hay as it comes with additional flavors such as carrots, cranberry, or mango and it’s surprising how affordable it is on Amazon, link here.

Your guinea pig can never eat too much hay, so always make sure your guinea pig always has a constant supply of hay to munch on.

Pellets

In addition to hay, your guinea pigs require pellets each day. You should feed your guinea pig around 1/8 cup (per guinea pig) each day.

Pellets should always be available to your guinea pig, even if this results in feeding more than 1/8 cup.

Make sure you use high-quality guinea pig pellets that are low in fat, high in fiber, and high in vitamin C.

We recommend Kaytee’s Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Pellet Food as it’s from a reputable source and contains and high amount of vitamin C. It also doesn’t have any loose seeds or surgery fruits. Their guinea pig food is very affordable on Amazon, link here.

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Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food 5 Pounds
  • Supports dental health through natural chewing activity
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  • Prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health

Timothy pellets work best for guinea pigs over the age of 6 months. Guinea pigs under 6 months old can be fed pellets that contain alfalfa.

This is because young guinea pigs need more calcium than adults, which alfalfa is rich in.

Adult guinea pigs don’t need as much calcium as younger guinea pigs. In fact, too much calcium in a guinea pig’s diet can cause kidney stones.

Vegetables And Fruits

Vegetables should be fed daily to your guinea pig as they are a vital component in their diet. You should feed around ¾ to 1 cup of vegetables each day.

Make sure vegetables are fed raw and are washed thoroughly before you serve them to your pet.

You should offer a wide variety of vegetables to your guinea pig as this will provide them with lots of different nutrients. Around two tablespoons for each vegetable should be enough.

You should ensure that one of the vegetables you feed your guinea pig each day is a leafy green vegetable, such as kale.

Vegetables provide your guinea pigs with fiber and essential vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy.

Vitamin C

As guinea pigs are unable to make vitamin C, you need to make sure they get it from other sources. Vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits, as well as pellets, are a great way to include vitamin C into your guinea pig’s diet.

However, fruits should be fed in moderation. Once or twice a week is enough as they contain a lot of sugar!

Wash fruits thoroughly and feed them raw to your guinea pig.

If you are worried your guinea pig is not getting enough vitamin C in their diet, then you can use vitamin C supplements. This is especially true for elderly guinea pigs or ill guinea pigs who cannot take nutrients in very well.

Make sure you don’t use gummy vitamin C supplements or vitamin C drops that go in food/water for your guinea pigs. Gummy vitamin C tablets are too sugary, whereas vitamin C drops can cause your guinea pig to eat or drink less due to their unpleasant flavor.

Treats

There’s plenty of treats that you can give to your guinea pigs (scroll down for treat ideas).

When feeding your guinea pig it’s important to give them treats sparingly and not in large amounts.

You should limit their treat intake to only a few times per week. Giving your guinea pig too many treats can make them ill and cause weight gain.

Water

Guinea pigs should always have access to fresh water. You should change your guinea pig’s water every day to stop it from becoming dirty.

Tap, filtered or bottled water is best for guinea pigs. You shouldn’t use rainwater or water collected from puddles, rivers, streams, etc. as it could contain harmful pollutants.

Guinea Pig Diet Feeding Chart:

Below is a helpful feed chart sheet that tells you what you need to feed your guinea pigs.

This chart was sourced from (http://happycavy.com/what-we-eat/) and is a great resource to check out.

What Are Good Treats For Guinea Pigs? 

Treats are great ways to bond with and train your guinea pig. However, a lot of store-bought guinea pig treats are unhealthy and calorific.

It’s best to feed unhealthy store-bought treats to your guinea pigs in moderation, perhaps a couple at a time and only around once or twice a week.

When looking for more healthy store-bought treats for your pet, look for treats that contain no added sugar, are free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, and consist of more natural ingredients, such as Timothy hay.

If you’d rather your guinea pig didn’t eat any store-bought treats or you’re looking for a healthy alternative you can feed more regularly, then vegetables and leafy greens are great snacks for your guinea pigs.

Good examples include kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and green beans.

You can also feed your guinea pigs fruits. However, due to their high sugar content, fruits should only be fed occasionally.

Remember to wash your fruit and make sure it’s clean before giving it to your guinea pig.

Do Guinea Pigs Need Chew Toys?

Guinea pigs have teeth that are constantly growing throughout their lives. To prevent dental problems occurring, your guinea pig’s teeth need to be worn down.

Chew toys are a must for guinea pigs as they help file their teeth down to stop them from becoming overly long.

The best chew toys for guinea pigs are made out of safe wood. Wood is efficient at wearing down your guinea pig’s teeth when they gnaw on it.

Here are a few of the best chew toys for your guinea pig:

Natural Willow Sticks 
Niteangel Natural Willow Small Animal and Bird...
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Niteangel Natural Willow Small Animal and Bird...
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These willow sticks from Niteangel are perfect chew toys for your guinea pigs.

They’re made from 100% willow branches, making them completely safe for your guinea pig to gnaw on.

These willow sticks can be bought on Amazon here.

As well as being great for wearing down your guinea pig’s teeth, these willow sticks are good boredom breakers to prevent your pet from becoming anxious!

The sticks measure around 5 to 6 inches long, which means they’re large enough for your guinea pig and should last quite a while.

Organic Apple Sticks Chew Toys With Grass Cakes 
AUOKER Bunny Chew Toys for Teeth, Organic Apple...
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AUOKER Bunny Chew Toys for Teeth, Organic Apple...
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  • [Promotes Healthy Teeth] - These apple chew sticks help grind down their constantly...
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This chew toy from AUOKER is made from apple sticks and grass. It’s free from pesticides, dyes, and artificial additives and can be found on Amazon here.

Apple sticks are effective at wearing down your guinea pig’s teeth. They also contain roughage for healthy digestion!

This chew toy comes with a metal hook so you can hang it onto your guinea pig’s cage easily. 

Kaytee Perfect Chews
Kaytee Perfect Chews for Guinea Pigs
3,354 Reviews
Kaytee Perfect Chews for Guinea Pigs
  • The Perfect Chew for guinea pigs includes orange slices, wood balls, a wood log and a...
  • A completely chewable toy with a metal attachment hook make it easy to hang in any...
  • Helps reduce boredom in small animals and provide your pet with hours of playtime fun

This chew toy from Kaytee is a vibrant and colorful addition to your guinea pig’s cage.

I was surprised how affordable these Kaytee Perfect Chews are on Amazon.

It comes with a metal hook to make it easy to hang onto your guinea pig’s cage.

The chews are made from natural and pet safe materials, so your guinea pig can nibble on them for as long as they want!

This chew toy is ideal for wearing down your guinea pig’s teeth and it will also brighten up your guinea pig’s cage!

What Fruits Can Guinea Pig Eat?

As vegetables are a main part of your guinea pig’s diet, you’ve probably wondered whether they can eat fruits too.

Guinea pigs can eat fruits, but they should only be fed occasionally, such as once or twice a week. This is because fruits contain a lot of sugar, which is bad for your guinea pig’s teeth! 

Fruits Guinea Pigs Can Eat

Here is a list of some fruits your guinea pig can eat. Make sure you remove any stones from fruits that contain them, such as cherries!

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pears
  • Apricots
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes (seedless)
  • Melons
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Mangos
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Papaya
  • Tomatoes (not the green parts)

Fruits Guinea Pigs Can’t Eat

Here are a couple of fruits your guinea pig can’t eat!

  • Citrus fruit (the acid from citrus fruit can aggravate your guinea pig’s stomach!)
  • Tomato leaves (the fruit is safe, but the green parts are unsafe)
  • Potatoes

What Vegetables Can Guinea Pig Eat?

Vegetables make up the main component of your guinea pig’s diet and should be fed each day. Vegetables contain a lot of vitamin C, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals that your guinea pig needs to be healthy.

Your guinea pig needs around ¾ to a cup of vegetables every day (about two tablespoons’ worth of each vegetable!).

You should offer a wide variety of vegetables to provide your guinea pig with a good balance of nutrients.

Don’t just feed your guinea pig one type of vegetable each day. Instead, offer a few different options!

Remember to wash your vegetables and make sure it’s clean before giving it to your guinea pig.

Vegetables Guinea Pigs Can Eat 

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Beetroot (not the leaves or stalks)
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Celery
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Butternut squash (remove seeds)
  • Pumpkin (remove seeds)
  • Corn on the cob
  • Salad peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Romaine/Cos/Baby Gem lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Watercress
  • Basil
  • Parsley

Vegetables Guinea Pigs Can’t Eat

  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Shallots
  • Iceberg lettuce

How Much Fruit and Vegetables Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs should consume around ¾ to 1 cup of vegetables each day. About two tablespoons of each vegetable should be enough.

Bear in mind that some vegetables should be fed more often than others. Kale, zucchini, and green beans are good staple vegetables for your guinea pig.

Vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are good for guinea pigs but should only be fed a couple of times a week as they can cause excess gas.

Fruits should only be fed in moderation around once or twice a week as an occasional treat.

My Guinea Pig is Eating Their Poop – Is This Normal?

This is completely normal for your guinea pig and is a process called coprophagy. It’s an important part of their health and how they digest their food.

Guineas pigs have two types of poo.

The poo they eat is called ‘caecotrophs’ and is still full of vitamins and proteins. By eating this type of poo (technically it’s not actually poo, it’s just from the same place and looks similar) they are trying to get all the goodness out of their food.

The poo they eat is usually hard dry pellets and can be cleaned up and thrown away when you spot clean or full clean your guinea pigs cage.

Do Guinea Pigs Need Vitamin C?

Guinea pigs don’t produce much vitamin C so it is important to feed them a range of selection of vegetables, fruits, and high-quality pelleted food. This should meet the requirements for an average guinea pig’s vitamin C intake.

If your guinea pig doesn’t get enough vitamin C (which is quite common in guinea pigs) they can get a condition called scurvy.

Systems of a vitamin C deficiency:

  • Low levels of energy
  • Swollen joints that can stop them from walking
  • Spots
  • Small wounds might not be able to heal or bleed more than normal
  • Rough fur/hair coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea

It’s important to treat scurvy as if left untreated it can lead to death. Luckily it is easy to treat by upping their vitamin C intake.

You can do this by feeding them fruit and veg that is high in vitamin C and also by giving them vitamin C supplements.

Vitamin C tablets and crystals that you can sprinkle on top of food are available. It’s best not to put vitamin C tablets or the sprinkles in their drink as some guinea pigs don’t like the taste and will stop drinking.

What Other Household Foods and Drinks Can Guinea Pigs Consume?

Other than safe fruits and vegetables, there aren’t really any other household foods guinea pigs can eat.

Guinea pigs should never drink anything other than clean water.

Cheese 

Guinea pigs cannot eat cheese, not even in small amounts. Guinea pigs lack the enzymes in their digestive tract to process any types of dairy.

Guinea Pigs Gi tract is not meant for anything but plants

Bread

Guinea pigs can eat bread, but only very occasionally. Bread offers no nutritional value to your guinea pig and could cause bloating. There are much healthier snacks to feed your guinea pig.

Meat

Guinea pigs are herbivores and live solely on plant matter, which means they do not need any meat in their diet. You shouldn’t feed your guinea pig any type of meat as they cannot process it.

Guinea Pigs Gi tract is not meant for anything but plants

Brazil Nuts

Guinea pigs should not be fed nuts, including Brazil nuts, as they contain a lot of fat, as well as other things that are bad for them.

Guinea Pigs Gi tract is not meant for anything but plants

Milk

Guinea pigs cannot drink or consume milk. Guinea pigs are unable to process milk or any dairy products as they lack the digestive enzymes to do so.

Guinea Pigs Gi tract is not meant for anything but plants

Guinea Pig’s Diet-Related Health Problems

 If you don’t feed your guinea pig a well-balanced diet, then there are various health problems that can occur.

Guinea pigs need a lot of vitamin C in their diet as they are unable to make it themselves. Vitamin C comes from vegetables/leafy greens and high-quality guinea pig pellets.

A lack of vitamin C in your guinea pig’s diet can cause scurvy.

Symptoms of scurvy in guinea pigs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced appetite or reluctance to eat
  • Rough coat
  • Bruised skin
  • Bleeding of the gums or skin
  • Weakness
  • Stiff movements or “bunny hop” walk
  • Loose stools
  • Sore Joints
  • Swollen legs or ribs

Guinea pigs also need a high amount of fiber in their diets. Fiber comes from vegetables, fruits, and hay.

Fiber is crucial for keeping your guinea pig’s digestive system healthy and working properly. Fiber also helps with dental health.

Without enough fiber in their diets, guinea pigs can develop gastrointestinal ileus. This is when the digestive tract slows down and doesn’t work efficiently.

Signs of gastrointestinal ileus include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Lethargy
  • A bloated or swollen stomach
  • Infrequent or smaller stools

A diet that’s high in fat can cause obesity in guinea pigs, so you should avoid feeding your guinea pig too many unhealthy and calorific treats.

You should also ensure your guinea pig’s nuggets/pellets do not contain high amounts of fat.

Obese guinea pigs are more likely to develop heart, liver, and respiratory disease.

Related Questions:

Can guinea pigs eat eggs? No, guinea pigs cannot eat eggs. Guinea pigs are unable to process dairy and can make them ill.

Can guinea pigs eat garlic? No. Garlic is incredibly toxic to guinea pigs and can be extremely dangerous for guinea pigs to consume.

Can I feed my guinea pig grass cuttings? It’s tempting to feed your guinea pig the grass trimmings after you’ve mowed your lawn, but you shouldn’t. Grass cuttings/trimmings can cause digestive upset.

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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