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Feeding Your Guinea Pig

Updated on March 13, 2011

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my first guinea named Twister
my first guinea named Twister

What and When Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?

If you're a new guinea pig owner, one of the most important decisions you will make is what you feed your piggy. There is a wide variety of food that guinea pigs are able to eat, but there are also many foods that could potentially harm your guinea. Even feeding your guinea too much healthy food could have adverse effects. Fortunately, choosing the right nutrition for your guinea isn't hard. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules.

Rule #1: Don't Overfeed Your Piggy

Guinea pigs are cute little animals, and sometimes it can be hard to resist giving them a treat whenever they stare at you with those big eyes. They also tend to squeak every time they hear anything that sounds like their food bag or the fridge being opened. But you definitely don't need to feed your piggies every time they beg for food. Guineas tend to eat constantly, even if they are full. So if you give them too much food, then they will eat too much food. Keep their diet to about a cup of dry food a day (per guinea), some hay, and a serving or two of fresh fruits or vegetables. (You should also make sure your piggies get plenty of exercise so they don't become obese!)

My piggies prefer the more colorful staple foods.
My piggies prefer the more colorful staple foods.

Rule #2 Pick the Right Dry Food

When picking a dry food for your guinea pig, always choose a food that is labeled specifically for guinea pigs. Don't feed it rabbit food or hamster food or any other small animal food. Guinea pig staple food has vitamins and nutrients that your piggy needs, and other small animals foods may contain seeds or other things that could possibly harm your guinea pig.

There is no "right" or "wrong" brand of food to feed your guinea. It is suggested that you switch the brand of food every now and then while your piggy is young, so it won't become picky. I've found that my piggies prefer the more colorful staple foods rather than the simple pellet food. Just try different types of food to see what your piggy likes best!

Rule #3: Give 'em Hay

Hay is a very important part of your guinea pig's diet. Piggies should have unlimited access to hay at all times. It not only aids in keeping your guinea's digestive system healthy, but it also helps keep the piggy's teeth worn down (as they are constantly growing). Timothy hay is the type of hay you want for your guinea under normal conditions. Only feed Alfalfa hay to guinea pigs who are pregnant or nursing (it has different nutritional values that are important for mommy and baby guineas). When you buy hay, try to pick the freshest, greenest bag of hay possible. 

Food Overview

Good Foods
romaine lettuce
red/green peppers

Rule #4: Feed Your Guinea Fresh Food

Guinea pigs need a daily helping of fresh vegetables, and they need enjoy some fruits on occasion. As with the dry food, it is important to feed your guinea a variety of different fresh foods when it is young. This will help prevent your guinea from becoming too picky when it grows older. If your piggy still doesn't seem to like certain fruits or vegetables, that's ok. Guinea pigs have taste preferences just like humans. So feed your piggy more of what it likes and less or none of what it doesn't like.

There are many different fruits and vegetables you can feed your piggy. I have made a list of some of these foods on the right. You should feed your guinea a couple different vegetables once or twice a day and give it a piece or two of fruit for a treat every so often.

If you feed your piggy some of the more acidic fruits (such as apples), only give your piggy a small slice. Large quantities of these fruits can be harmful to your piggy. Also, if you give your piggy a slice of a large tomato, make sure to remove the seeds. If you have a baby tomato, remove the toxic green leafy part.

Food Overview

Bad Foods
dairy products
iceberg lettuce
tomato seeds
any liquids other than water

Rule #5: Be Wary of These Foods

Some food should NEVER be fed to a guinea pig. Guineas are strictly vegetarian and should not be fed meat of any kind. You should also never feed your guinea any dairy products or human snacks. Doing so could severely harm your guinea pig and may even cause death.

Other foods such as iceberg lettuce can cause severe digestive problems in your guinea. So it is best not to give them any.

Some research shows a link between grapes and kidney stones in guinea pigs, yet some claim that grapes are harmless and even recommend them as part of a guinea pig's diet. It is up to you as the owner to decide wether or not to feed your piggy certain foods, but it would be best to avoid any foods that may be harmful.


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    • profile image

      Elspeth 5 years ago

      GOOD!!! I love it! Thanks so much! It helped me a lot!

    • ifeedmyfriends11 profile image

      ifeedmyfriends11 5 years ago

      Timothy hay is what you should feed your guinea pig on a regular basis. Alfalfa hay should only be fed to guinea pigs that are pregnant or nursing. Don't worry, the fact that you have been feeding your guinea alfalfa is ok. But if you continue to feed it alfalfa instead of timothy, your piggy might become obese.

    • profile image

      Astro Kay 5 years ago

      This is a great guinea pig hub with awesome information! . The only thing I'm worried about is he hay I feed my piggie which is Alfalfa. It wasn't clear as to why this isn't good to feed him daily though... Can someone explain that to me?

    • Eve Foss profile image

      Eve Foss 7 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub!