Guinea pigs are strict herbivores and hindgut fermenters. A good diet is important to maintain the balance of bacterial flora in the guinea pig. This bacterial flora is quite sensitive to antibiotic therapy.
The natural diet of guinea pigs is a large volume of high fibre foods that helps to naturally wear teeth. As an adaptation, guinea pigs have evolved teeth that continue to grow throughout their life.
Guinea pigs produce 2 types of faecal stools. These are caecotrophs (sometimes called ‘night poos’) intended for caecotrophy (to be eaten), and faecal pellets. Guinea pigs balance caecotrophy with ingestion of food. When food is abundant, approximately 40% of the faeces are reingested, and 90% of this caecotrophy occurs at night. When food is limited, guinea pigs ingest faecal pellets during the day when food is unavailable.
The Guinea Pig Pyramid
Guinea Pigs and Vitamin C
Like humans, guinea pigs cannot produce or store vitamin C, so they need to obtain it from their diet on a daily basis.
Fresh veggies and fruit
Giving fresh veggies and fruit is a good way to provide your guinea pig with a natural source of Vitamin C.
Here is a handy chart to pick the right veggies and fruit for your guinea pig. Don’t forget, just because it is low Vitamin C does not mean it cannot be part of the daily greens, and some high Vitamin C vegetables may have excessive sugar or calcium. Ask a member of our team for advice on balancing the nutrients in your guinea pig’s diet.
|High Vit C||Good Vit C||Average Vit C||Low Vit C|
|Lettuce (not iceburg)
Only rely on top quality pellets like Oxbow Cavy Cuisine for your guinea pig’s Vitamin C requirements. The Vitamin C in pellets slowly degrades from the date of manufacture (not from opening the bag) and you still need to provide Vitamin C in a balanced diet.
Remember, a limit of 1 tablespoon of pellets per guinea pig per day will decrease the risk of obesity and associated health concerns. Pellets are a treat food!