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Guinea pigs are wonderful furry pets who fill their owners’ homes with joy and amusement. They may be small in size, but they sure do possess big personalities! However, like humans, guinea pigs require the right nutrition that contains all the vital nutrients necessary for their health and development. Selecting the right guinea pig food is not a simple task so, in this article, we explore which products and brands are worth spending money on. Look out for our top pick products as well as the handy buying guide!
The Best Guinea Pig Food
Oxbow Essentials Adult Guinea Pig Food
If you have an adult guinea pig, we highly recommend Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine Adult recipe. While they still need high-fiber food that’s rich in vitamin C, adult guinea pigs need less calcium and protein in their diet. That’s why this timothy-grass hay is perfect – rich in fiber, with stabilized vitamin C and optimal ratio of calcium to phosphorus, the Oxbow Essentials Cavy Adult is literally designed for health and well-being of adult guinea pigs. Thanks to its high fber content, it’s excellent for your pet’s digestive health, while the added vitamin C takes care of the immune system, making it stronger and more resistant to illness. Overall, a healthy and tasty recipe your furry little bud is sure to appreciate!
Another guinea piggie food that will provide your pet with a well-balanced diet is the Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food. Made from sun-cured timothy hay, plus alfalfa meal, oats and wheat, this recipe is rich in fiber, helping bolster your guinea pig’s digestive system health. It’s also lower in calcium and protein, making it perfect for adult piggies. While enriched with a host of tasty ingredients and vitamins and minerals, the recipe is free from seeds and sugary fruits, preventing selective feeding. As a company, Kaytee has a proven track record; for over a century they have been providing pets with healthy nutritional meals, so you really can’t go wrong with this delicious recipe!
Simple yet nutritious and surprisingly delicious, Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass is one excellent-quality grass hay your furry pet is guaranteed to love. Rich in fiber, and naturally low in calcium and protein, this hand selected hay improves the digestive and gastrointestinal systems of younger guinea pigs and helps them to function optimally. It’s good to know that Stanlee’s Timothy Grass is developed in the volcanic region of Idaho which has fertile soil in terms of nutrients. Southern Idaho has abundant sunlight, easy availability of water, and favorable humidity, which yields the best forages. Timothy Grass comes in a dry form though the final product may differ depending on the last day of harvest. Needless to say, it’s additive-free and does not contain any preservatives.
Crude Protein: min 8%
Crude Fat: min 1.5%
Crude fiber: max 35%
Moisture: max 12%
Brand: Standlee Hay Company
Weight: 10 pounds
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Hartz Bonanza 4-Pound Gourmet Diet Supply
Looking for a truly delicious food for your piggie? Check out Hartz Bonanza Gourmet Diet Supply as it’s sure to rock your tiny pet’s world. Made from a host of nutritious and tasty ingredients, including carrots, apple, raisins, peanuts, papaya, banana and more, this blend is something that all guinea pigs love to munch on. It’s no wonder why – consisting of timothy hay pellets, grains, fruits and vegetables, the recipe is bursting with flavor! It’s also fortified with vitamins for optimal health, including vitamin C which will help boost your guinea pig’s immune system. However, because this recipe does contain quite a few sugary fruits, it should not be given in unlimited amounts – we recommend giving it as treats, so in smaller amounts, after your pet has had their usual hay meal.
Timothy hay pellets, guinea pig pellets, fruits, vegetables, grains
Formulated for young adults
Fortified with vitamin C
Enriched with vitamins and minerals
Weight: 4.09 Pounds
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Kaytee Baked Apple Timothy Biscuit Small Animal
If you want to reward your piggie with a completely different flavor from the ones they are used to, the Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Treat Apple ticks all the right boxes. Made of sun-cured timothy hay and baked with apple, plus enriched with a host of nutritious foods like flaxseed, alfalfa meal and dried cane molasses, these treats are crunchy and delicious. You can offer them as a reward to your pet when playing or during bonding sessions. However, we recommend serving them together or after your guinea pig’s main meal. After all, this is not a meal replacement but rather a supplement. This said, for younger guinea pigs, these biscuits can be served as the main staple, but not very frequently.
Hand selected and packed with care, Oxbow Western Timothy Hay is another great choice for hungry guinea pigs. Proudly grown in the USA and harvested right from Oxbow’s family of farms, this hay is of top-notch quality. It’s rich in fiber which is essential for your piggie’s digestive system, but low in protein and calcium, making it ideal for adult pets. Importantly, it contains no artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives as it is harvested directly from the farm – as such, it is natural and fresh. It also comes in different sizes to meet consumer’s needs, so if this is your first time buying from his brand, we recommend starting with a small bag and checking if your piggie likes it.
As the name suggests, Kaytee Fiesta Guinea Pig Food is fiesta-inspired combo of hay, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Its selling point is that it offers a wide variety of ingredients which guinea pigs love yet it has an affordable price. Containing both probiotics and prebiotics, the recipe helps improve your guinea pig’s digestion, while plenty of antioxidants help boost their immune system. While this is a complete diet, it’s best to feed it along with your piggie’s usual hay of choice as it does contain several fruits that are high in sugar. You can either give it as a dessert or occasionally as a regular meal.
Vitakraft Menu are ideal guinea pig treats as they’re made with a variety of high-quality ingredients that taste absolutely delicious to most guinea pigs. Containing fortified pellets, grains, seeds, veggies and fruits, the recipe offers a variety of flavors and textures and is bound to brighten up your piggie’s day. Of course, Vitacraft Menu is more than tasty – it’s also quite nutritious as it contains natural probiotics for digestive system health, as well as plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support your pet’s skin and coat health. It’s an excellent supplement to a healthy hay diet, so feel free to give it to your piggie frequently.
A tasty blend of high-fiber pellets, grasses and veggies including timothy hay, alfalfa, soybean, dried peas and more, Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Diet is an excellent choice for piggies who crave variety in their diet. Aside from tasty bits, it contains minerals, vitamins, and other essential components required for their health and happiness. However, since it’s not mainly composed of timothy hay, it’s best to feed it in small amounts as treats after your piggie’s main meal. It’s good to know that Wild Harvest is made in the USA from quality ingredients and is not particularly high in sugar, so feel free to serve it to your pet on a regular basis.
The final entry onto our list is the Oxbow Cavy Performance for Young Guinea Pigs (Alfalfa Based). This delicious variety is intentionally crafted to offer a high level of protein, energy, fiber, and calcium, which are necessary for younger guinea pigs to properly develop and live a healthy life. Because the vitamins and protein contents are well balanced, this recipe is also ideal for pregnant and lactating guinea pigs who need extra nutrients in their diet. The alfalfa that is used in preparing the Oxbow Performance food is rich in natural juices, which will effortlessly attract your piggie to feed on it.
When purchasing food for guinea pigs, look out for the following ingredients.
Vitamin C: Ensure that your guinea pig food contains enough vitamin C, either added or natural. Guinea pigs are mammals who are unable to produce vitamin C naturally on their own, so it’s essential to provide it to them directly through their diet.
Quality Hay: A good guinea pig food should have plenty of grass hay or Timothy hay. Guinea pigs require hay for their dental health and digestive system, so this should comprise the majority of their diet (75% to be precise).
Pellets: Your guinea pigs’ pellet-based foods should also be high in energy. However, too much of it can result in your guinea pig becoming obese and also may lead to dental issues, so it’s best to search for a balanced recipe. Treats can be an exception, of course.
Natural vs Artificial: When buying food for your piggie, make sure that the food is fresh and natural. It’s best to go for brands that use high-quality ingredients that are grown in the USA. Avoid artificial additives because some guinea pigs can have sensitive digestive systems. This being said, for most piggies, added flavors are fine in small amounts, i.e. treats.
Fruits and Veggies: your piggie should also have access to fresh veggies and some fruits, including spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, cucumber, carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes. As for fruits, you can give them occasionally to your pet as they can be high in sugar. Oranges (which are high in vitamin C!), apples, papaya, pears and other are good choices. Of course, you can also look for these ingredients in commercially prepared foods, but serving them fresh is always the best!
What to Avoid Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Avoid giving your piggie the following foods and ingredients:
Certain vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes, avocado, and lettuce.
Guinea pigs are herbivores and, as such, should not eat meat or dairy items.
Again, avoid feeding your guinea pigs with fruits that are high in sugar. While ok occasionally as treats, fruits high in sugar are not recommended on a daily basis.
Avoid foods that are highly rich in calcium and protein.
Also avoid the obvious offenders such as candy, chocolate, onions, garlic and caffeine.
Types of Guinea Pig Food
There are various types of food for guine pigs on the market. However, depending on the ingredients and composition, they can be classified into three different types – pellets, hays, and treats.
Hay: There are different types of hays available, but the best ones are grass hays and Timothy hay. Hay imitates the forest like or natural surroundings of guinea pigs in the bush, so they are naturally attracted to its texture and scent. Hay is also an excellent source of fiber and should comprise 75% of your pet’s diet.
Pellets: They contain vitamins A to E and minerals like phosphorous and biotin and are a good supplementation to your piggie’s hay diet. Do not feed your piggie with pellets that are made up of nuts or preservatives though.
Treats: Your pig will enjoy treats that delicious and are high in nutrients and minerals. However, treats that contain a lot of sugar should be avoided.
Complete diets: A perfect piggie diet should consist of nicely balanced macro and micronutrients, meaning protein, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins that are important for your guinea pig’s growth. While some commercial foods boast the “complete” label on their packaging, your piggie’s diet should mainly consist of hay, while the rest of foods can be considered supplements.
Best Guinea Pig Food Brands
Some of the best brands that can currently be found on the market include:
Oxbow Guinea Pig Cuisine: This brand of food is made explicitly for older guinea pigs. It consists of fiber and vitamin C, both of which are vital for guinea pigs. It also has no additives and preservatives.
Sweet Meadow Timothy Guinea Pig Pellets: This product is manufactured for guinea pigs age nine months and above. It is also rich in vitamin C and calcium.
Burgess Excel Guinea Pig Food: Burgess Excel has 36 percent of fiber and is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Supreme Selective Fortified Diet for Guinea Pigs: This tasty variety has no sugar content, as such, it helps to prevent obesity.
Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Food Pellets: This brand’s ingredients are fully sourced in the United States, so they’re of good quality. The recipe also consists of healthful vitamins and high-grade Timothy hays.
Best Guinea Pig Food FAQ:
Q: How much should I feed my guinea pig?
A: You should feed your pet once every day with about 1/6 cup – 1/8 cup (medium size) of pellets and supplement it with a small number of vegetables and an unlimited amount of hays. Occasionally, low-sugar fruits are also welcome.
Q: Can guinea pigs just eat pellets?
A: You should serve your guinea pigs with a variety of foods such as fresh hay, vegetables, sometimes seeds and fruits. Pellets are useful for your guinea pigs, but they are supplements and should not be viewed as the major meal of the day.
Q: Can guinea pigs eat dog food or cat food?
A: Most pet foods are made for a specific target audience and are not generic. Thus, before the staples are made, manufacturers take into consideration the nutritional requirements of each pet. For this reason, it’s not recommended you feed your piggies dog or cat food – they simply don’t contain all the nutrients your pets need to thrive.
Our Top Pick
While all the foods reviewed above are excellent products, our top pick has to be Oxbow Essentials Adult Guinea Pig. This quality recipe is highly fibrous as it’s mostly made from timothy hay which is suitable for all adult guinea pigs. It’s also fortified with added vitamin C, which helps boost your piggie’s immune system. You can also rest assured that your pet will be receiving a quality, nicely balanced diet with this product as the calcium and phosphorous levels are not too high. Another plus for the Oxbow is that it contains less protein and calories than other recipes, so it’s suitable even for the chubby piggies out there.