Guinea pigs eat a lot. They will eat anything you give them which could easily lead to an obese pet.
You should always ensure that you feed them a healthy balanced diet for an overall healthy pet that’s happy and immune.
A hungry guinea pig will squeak or wheek when it’s time for their food or treats. Sometimes they will stand on their hind legs when they cannot contain their excitement.
You may be wondering if it’s normal for them to have such a big appetite, or not. Well, let’s find out.
Why is my guinea pig always hungry?
Guinea pigs seem to be always hungry because they are herbivorous animals with an instinct to keep eating. Their staple food is hay but they also eat fruits and veggies. Even though they’ll eat anything, you have to ensure that they are eating the right foods. Guinea pigs tend to eat even more when they are shedding, breeding, have parasites, or are suffering from diabetes.
What should guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs should be provided with a lot of high-quality hay, fresh veggies, and occasional treats.
When it comes to hay, there is legume hay (Alfalfa) and grass hay (Timothy). Timothy is more nutritious dense compared to Alfafa which is high in calcium and proteins.
Lots of protein and calcium are harmful to guinea pigs. Make sure that at all times you offer them more than enough hay. According to PDSA, hay should make up 80% of a guinea pig’s food.
Guinea pigs need fresh veggies to substitute their diet as hay alone can become monotonous and boring. Leafy greens like kales and spinach are packed with nutrients and are high in Vitamin C which guinea pigs cannot make for themselves.
Crunchy veggies like carrots and broccoli stems help in wearing out their teeth. However, not all veggies are safe.
Onions, mushrooms, garlic, onion grass, and potato tops are some of the dangerous veggies for guinea pigs. Do not give them to your pets.
We love cooking with herbs and you’ll be amazed to learn that our piggies too enjoy that distinct taste. Give your pet herbs like basil, coriander, and mint with their food and they’ll love it.
Some pet owners are big fans of pellets while others prefer all-natural foods for their pets. Pellets can be good sources of Vitamin C.
Humane Society advises that you should avoid pellets with seeds or dried fruit and that an eighth a cup of pellets a day is enough for your guinea pigs. Since Vitamin C loses its strength fast, pellets should not be their only Vitamin C source. They will need veggies and fruits too.
Avoid muesli foods because they contain a mixture of different foods that guinea pigs tend to nibble through. They choose the foods they like and leave healthy fibrous foods which could bring teeth and gut problems. Opt for uniform pellets that are all the same.
Fruits have high sugar content and if not moderated can bring diabetes and obesity to your guinea pigs. Strawberries, bananas, and apples are all great fruits you can give your pets.
You should provide them sparingly, at maximum twice a week and in low quantities. Try not to give them whole too because apart from a whole fruit being very high in sugar, it can choke your pet.
Always opt for fresh fruits instead of dried fruits because dried fruits have about three times more sugar.
How to feed your guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs should have bowls for their food and water bottles for their water. Bowls should be ceramic and not plastic because ceramic is unchewable and can’t be easily overturned.
For water, bottles are usually preferred to bowls because guinea pigs will not topple them over and pour the water. Feeding bowls and bottles should be cleaned frequently and placed in a different area away from their bathroom area to avoid contamination.
Some feeding suggestions are:
- Putting food in the bowls.
- Filling hay in used toilet paper rolls so that they pull the hay from there.
- Stuffing hay in paper bags to give them a delight when they feel it crinkle as they take out the hay.
- Hiding treats and pellets in hay so that they search for them.
- Handfeeding, which is a good way of bonding. Do it often as they also enjoy eating from your hand.
How many times should you feed your guinea pig
With a pet that is always hungry, you may be tempted to keep feeding them as long as they are still chewing. Feed your guinea pig two times a day while ensuring that their hay is still heaped.
Develop a feeding schedule for your guinea pig and they’ll get used to it because they love schedules. They are crepuscular animals meaning that they are most active at twilight.
So you can feed them at these times, morning and evening, when their energy levels are high. Learn your guinea pig’s eating habits and get to know the amount of food they need daily to avoid wastage, overfeeding, and underfeeding.
Take away foods they haven’t touched after an hour to keep the cage clean. Replace pellets every day because their Vitamin C loses value fast.
If they keep leaving pellets in their bowls, it means that you are giving a lot. Stick to the recommended eighth a day measurement.
Guinea pigs eating more than usual
It’s normal for guinea pigs to be constantly hungry and to eat all the time. But if your guinea pig seems to be eating more than usual, there could be something bothering them like:
- Shedding – they usually shed their hair twice a year and require a lot of energy so they will eat more during these periods.
- Breeding – some females tend to eat more in preparation for pregnancy.
- Diabetes – diabetes is not common but it tends to increase the appetite of guinea pigs if they suffer from it.
- Parasites – weak piggies with a dull coat could have intestinal parasites sucking up all their nutrients. This will make them eat more to regain the nutrients.
Keep a keen eye on your guinea pig to learn more about their eating habits. Let them have as much hay as they can have because it’s high in fiber that helps in digestion.
Provide a variety of food but do not give a lot of sweet foods. Guinea pigs cannot resist sweet foods and they’ll eat more even when they are full.
Also, look at their stool for any inconsistencies. Their stool is usually uniform in shape and brownish in color.
Watery stool may indicate something is wrong. If you cannot tell what the problem is or solve it, seek veterinarian help.