A Medical and Care Guide for Guinea Pigs


Home > Care Guide > Diet > Veg/Fruit Charts (older)

What You Need To Know About The Vegetable/Fruit Charts

Most of the data for the vegetable and fruit charts comes from the USDA Nutrient Database. Some data on the oxalic acid content of select vegetables can also be found at the USDA site (this information was originally printed in Agriculture Handbook No. 8-11, Vegetables and Vegetable Products, 1984).

Keep in mind that all nutritional data is based on averages. Where your food is grown, freshness, and variety all affect the actual vitamin and mineral content. Unless you have tested the food itself, you will not know how much of any nutrient is really there. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) begins to degrade as soon as the vegetable is picked so what is listed in these charts may be very different from the vit C content of your food. And as food matures, the oxalic acid content generally increases, producing increasingly bitter vegetables. Young, fresh vegetables may have less oxalic acid.

Bladder Stones. Some people must tailor their guinea pig's diet due to medical problems like bladder stones. An analysis of the stone can help determine if diet may play a part. The lists below include calcium and phosphorus content and also include the ratio of Ca to P for those who need it. Combine a variety of vegetables (and a few fruits) low in calcium, aiming at an overall ratio of between 1.5:1 and 2:1 (calcium to phosphorus). Read Dawn Hromanik's comments on stone formation and Ca:P ratios in the Reference Forum.

The rule of thumb that I use is that all vegetative parts of plants have a higher Ca:P ratio. This is ideal, you do *not* want the inverse where the phosphorus is higher than calcium. (this can [con]tribute to phosphate stones and bone demineralization) Phosphate crystals embed themselves in the bladder wall and are very irritating. Reproductive parts of plants (seeds and roots) have a higher Ph content. This includes all fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, raisins), seeds (treat mixes, sunflowers, oatmeal etc), and carrots. Just another reason not to feed the above food.

Dietary advice from Becky (who has dealt with stones in several of her guinea pigs) is also provided on the stones page, along with an Excel chart which allows you to calculate the day's calcium/phosphorus ratio.

Remember: Don't feed anything you wouldn't eat yourself (i.e. no spoiled food) and rinse food thoroughly.


Guinea Pigs are for Life