Guinea Pig Diet

Disney’s movie G-Force highlights the adventures of animated Guinea Pigs.  Inevitably, there will be a surge in people choosing to adopt them.  So, I decided to write a blog about these wonderful little creatures.  They are great pets but do require a special diet to maintain their health. 

Guinea Pigs are hind gut fermenters which means they need a diet high in fiber.  I recommend that grass hay be kept available at all times to satisfy this requirement.  Be very careful with pellets!  Pigs who consume large volumes of pellets often struggle with obesity.  I recommend no more than 1/8 cup of pellets per pig per day. 

In addition to fiber, guinea pigs need Vitamin C.  Like humans, they cannot synthesize this important vitamin themselves.  They must consume it in their diet every day to prevent problems including poor hair coat, anorexia and lameness.  If the pig will eat them, green and red bell peppers are high in Vitamin C.  If not, I recommend giving them 25-50 mg of an oral supplement every day.  The chewable form works well once you find a flavor they like.  Mixing vitamin C in the water is not recommended because it degrades rapidly when exposed to heat and light.  

Lastly, I recommend a variety of dark leafy greens and other vegetables to provide some excitement in the diet.  I discourage feeding fruits because of their high sugar content.  Again, guinea pigs are wonderful animals.  With proper care, they can live quite awhile.  I find the greatest challenge people have is understanding the critical elements of their nutritional needs – especially for Vitamin C.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.