A Medical and Care Guide for Guinea Pigs


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What People Say

Guinea pig eating vegetables.What do people really feed their guinea pigs? It's different for everyone and depends on what is in season, whether you are interested in foraging for greens, and what you think is good for your guinea pig, not to mention what your pig is willing to eat. Every pig is different: some have medical conditions requiring special diets. A few pigs don't like cabbage or cilantro. Others hate tomatoes (a staple in my home). Who knows what will turn your pig's head? Whatever you offer your guinea pigs, introduce foods slowly, offer a variety, and be sure to provide unlimited high quality hay (always!) and plain pellets (if your guinea pig is not prone to bladder stones).

Swannie's guinea pig Jubilee enjoys a colorful fresh salad at right.

The lists in the diet section provide nutritional content for a variety of vegetables and fruits. But not all foods are equal, nor should all be fed in unlimited quantities. Here are a few commonly held opinions:

Author's Veg List

* NOTE Guinea pigs eating a lot of romaine seem to excrete more powdery calcium deposits in their urine. Red and green leaf lettuce may be a better choice for your guinea pig, especially if they are prone to stones.

Occasional vegetables :

Fruit (give sparingly, refer to the nutrition chart for sugar content)
Berries are generally lower in sugar than many fruits:

You may not be able to add forages to your pigs diet, but they are a welcome addition for those of us who can. Grass is a major part of my pigs' diet, especially in spring and fall when it is most plentiful and tasty. I try to provide some grass every day but take a break when there is snow cover. Chickweed, young clover, young plantain and especially dandelion (another favorite) are other popular forages, especially welcome when young and tender. If you wish to lower calcium in your guinea pig's diet, chickweed is the best choice (other plants listed are higher in calcium).

Remember: Don't feed anything you wouldn't eat yourself (i.e. no spoiled food) and rinse food thoroughly. And if you choose to provide grass or other forages, avoid areas next to busy roadsides or those frequented by dogs or livestock. Select clean, pesticide-free plants that show no signs of mildew or disease -- the younger, the better.

Guinea Pigs are for Life