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Natural Guinea Pig Food

Guinea pigs aren’t from Guinea (they’re from South America), nor are they related to pigs. Nobody is quite sure where the name comes from, but they’ve been domesticated so long (at least 3,000 years) that we no longer know exactly what a ‘wild’ guinea pig would eat. So experts have had to study their biology and the habitat and diet of their nearest wild cavy cousins to discover what constitutes natural guinea pig food.

What do Guinea Pigs Naturally Eat?

Unlike other rodents, such as hamsters and gerbils who may eat the odd insect, guinea pigs are herbivores, like rabbits. So they exclusively eat plant-based foods: grasses, grains, leaves, shoots, flowers, herbs, and some berries and vegetables are all suitable and often included in natural guinea pig food.

Their digestive systems are not equipped to deal with dairy or meat-based foods and they must eat plenty of tough, fibrous foods to ensure they wear down their teeth, which grow continually, in a healthy way. Unlike most other mammals, guinea pigs can’t make Vitamin C naturally, so they need plenty of Vitamin C in their diet.

Natural Guinea Pig Food Should Be:

Plant-based. Broccoli, spinach, celery, carrot, apples and pears are all suitable for guinea pigs, although go easy on the fruit; it’s high in natural sugars and could cause tooth decay and obesity. They also enjoy hay, alfalfa, oats and wheat.
Free from added sugars. Guinea pigs should get all the sugars they need from the vegetables and fruits in their food, so you shouldn’t see it on the ingredients list of a natural guinea pig food product.
Free from artificial additives. There are no artificial fillers, colours, flavourings or preservatives in the wild and they may cause issues for your guinea pig. They have no place in natural guinea pig food!

The Right Food for your Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs can be choosy about what they eat, and if they are only given mixes, they may pick out their favourite parts—and leave behind some ingredients that are included to give them essential nutrients. So when you’re choosing natural guinea pig food, ensure at least some of their meals are in pellet form, where all the nutrients they need come in one tasty package!
For a change, guinea pigs may also enjoy some of the plants that may grow in your garden, such as dandelion leaves or chickweed, but never give them mown grass—always pick a clump by hand, as mowing can taint the grass cuttings and make your guinea pig poorly. For a healthy treat for guinea pigs, see our range of small animal treats.

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