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Guinea pigs are natural herbivores, who would spend their time foraging and grazing in small herds in the wild. Their teeth are continuously growing, which is one of the reasons why they need plenty of roughage to chew; this wears down their teeth and helps prevent serious dental problems. Providing sufficient fibre in their diet is also very important for both their gastrointestinal system and general health.
For your guinea pigs to be happy and healthy, they need plenty of the following in their diets:
Make sure that you source grass, herbs and vegetables that have not been sprayed by any chemicals, as these could harm your guinea pig. Lawnmower clippings should never be fed to your guinea pig as these can cause gastrointestinal blockages that can make your pet very sick.
High quality commercial ‘Guinea Pig’ pellets (minimum 16% fibre content) may be offered in small quantities, but these should not form the main part of the diet. Although many contain adequate levels of Vitamin C, this is only when it is very fresh and within just a few months these foods no longer contain Vitamin C.
Guinea pigs must have access to clean fresh water at all times.
Uneaten food should be removed from your guinea pig’s enclosure after a few hours to ensure that these don’t rot or become moldy and harm your guinea pig.
It’s important to also know what not to feed guinea pigs, as there are plenty of items that might seem harmless but can in fact cause significant health issues. Make sure you do not feed your guinea pigs the following foods (this is not an exhaustive list): cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, corn, beans, peas, buttercups, garden shrubs (such as hemlock or privet), lilies of any kind, sweet peas, nightshade, oak, avocado, onion grass, onions, potato tops, beans; beetroot, mushrooms, daffodils, foxglove, rhubarb leaves or human foods such as breads, biscuits, sweets, sugar, breakfast cereals, dairy products, chocolate, pasta, crackers, or pickled foods.
If you need to change your guinea pig's diet, please make sure you introduce any changes gradually over a few weeks.