Guinea pigs have a huge appetite that contrasts with their small body sizes. They will eat anything you give them.
You will find them chewing endlessly whenever you go nearby. They also have a fast metabolism that makes them poop as much as they eat.
These traits may make you wonder if the little beings even know their limits and when they should stop eating. So, do they? We shall be looking into that.
Can guinea pigs know when to stop eating?
Guinea pigs know when to stop eating. This is because they are smart animals and they can be able to tell when their stomachs are full and they should take a little break from food. This is usually evident when you give them food and find that they have some left over when you come back. Their fast metabolism, however, makes them eat constantly with few breaks making them seem like they never stop eating.
How often should guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs can eat every time which may confuse you on when exactly you should feed them and how often you should do it. Guinea pigs are nocturnal animals.
This means that they are most active very early in the morning and in the evening. Because they use up most of their energy during these times, that’s when you should feed them.
Create a daily feeding schedule of the times you’ll be giving them food. Guinea pigs love schedules and because they are smart little creatures, they’ll be able to learn soon enough the times to expect their food.
A schedule is a good way to avoid overfeeding them. Lack of one may lead you to offer food each time they finish it which can easily lead to an obese pet.
It’s good to learn about your guinea pig’s eating habits and get to know how much food they require daily, what they enjoy eating and how much water they need too. This will help you avoid food wastage and overfeeding.
Guinea pigs will tend to wheek excitedly and popcorn when they sense their food or treats on the way. Provide enough food amounts and have an extra water bottle in case the one you leave leaks water.
Their eating bowls and water bottles should be cleaned often to avoid the accumulation of bacteria. Make sure the bowls are made of heavy material to prevent your pet from toppling them over and always pick ceramic over plastic as it is hard to chew on.
You can also put water in bowls as long as they are heavy enough because some guinea pigs have trouble drinking water from a bottle. Provide what is most convenient for your pet.
What makes guinea pigs stop eating?
Guinea pigs are big eaters and they will have an insatiable appetite at all times. However, sometimes they may lack appetite and stop eating altogether.
This is always a cause for alarm as it’s not normal guinea pig behavior. A normally healthy guinea pig will eat continuously, make joyous wheeking sounds, and play around their cage.
On the other hand, a guinea pig that has something bothering them will:
- Lack appetite.
- Become lethargic.
- Have pale skin.
- Develop rough hair.
- Look depressed.
- Lose weight.
They will also poop less. Their poop is a good way to look out for illness because guinea pigs are very good at hiding sicknesses.
If a guinea pig is sick you will notice from the look of their poop. For instance, it could be watery if their stomach is upset or very little if they are not eating.
All these are signs of an ill pet. If your guinea pig stops eating it could be due to:
- Environmental changes.
- Extreme temperatures.
- Food changes.
- Dental problems.
Lack of appetite in guinea pigs should be taken seriously and a vet consulted because it could lead to other conditions like liver problems and it could even be fatal.
Why do guinea pigs eat their poop?
Guinea pig eating habits may be disturbing to new owners as they eat everything including their poop. However, this should not be something to lose sleep over as it’s a normal thing for not only guinea pigs but also other animals.
The process of animals ingesting their poop is known as coprophagia. Not all poop is eaten but only softer poop pellets called cecotropes or caecal pellets.
These pellets are usually very nutritious containing twice more protein and half the fiber in normal poop. Guinea pigs will ingest back the poop to get the nutrients that weren’t broken down during the first round of digestion.
So the next time you see your guinea pig bend over as if sniffing her bottom then come back up chewing, do not get frustrated. It’s natural and healthy behavior.
What should guinea pigs eat
So with all that knowledge up your sleeve how about we touch a little on the best diet for guinea pigs?
As a rule, hay is the most important part of all guinea pig diet. Guinea pigs have a delicate digestive system that requires a lot of fiber to enable smooth functioning of the process.
Hay is a good source of fiber. It’s also good for guinea pig’s chewing needs.
Guinea pigs need to chew constantly to wear down their teeth that keep growing non-stop and may become painful if not shortened.
Veggies and fruits
Fresh veggies and fruits are great foods for guinea pigs too. They are good sources of Vitamin C which guinea pigs cannot produce for themselves.
They provide great treats for your pet and you should expect them to wheek excitedly when it’s treat time no matter how full they are. They should be fed in moderation though because they can lead to weight gain and some have high sugar content which is harmful to their health.
Guinea pigs have a really friendly relationship with food. That’s why you should always use food to your advantage to bond with them as they will come to you and like you more the more you give them food and treats.
Give enough food quantities at all times, not too much and not too little. Ensure you remove all food leftovers after an hour to prevent flies, mold, stinks, and bacteria that could make your guinea pigs sick if they eat contaminated food.