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Guinea Pig Nutrition Guide

Chinchillas, Beavers, Cavies, Caybaras, Guina Pigs,Mice, Nutria, Rats Etc.

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GrayWolf
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Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:09 am

Guinea Pig Nutrition Guide

Postby GrayWolf » Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:32 pm

The guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), also called the “cavy”, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. The most important nutrient for any animal is water. The basic diet of a guinea pig should be timothy hay.

Guinea pigs cannot synthesize their own vitamin C and must obtain this vital nutrient from the food they eat. If guinea pigs do not ingest enough vitamin C, they can suffer from a potentially fatal disease called ‘scurvy’. Guinea pigs require vitamin C daily. Most liquid vitamins taste awful to guinea pigs and cause them to avoid drinking water with vitamins added. Foods that tend to have the highest sources of vitamin C are leafy greens. These greens include:
kale
parsley
endive
swiss chard
mustard greens
turnip greens
romaine lettuce
dandelion greens
clover
plantain

from untreated natural sources.

ther sources of vitamin C include:

green peppers
citrus fruits
strawberries
tomatoes
broccoli
papaya
mango
watermelon
brussels sprouts
cauliflower
cabbage
red peppers
raspberries
blueberries

Iceberg “head” lettuce does not contain many nutrients and may cause diarrhea if fed too often.

Guinea pigs require 10 to 30 mg/kg (mg of vitamin C per kg of guinea pig body weight) daily to prevent scurvy. Fresh, cold water, changed daily, (usually provided in a drip bottle to prevent contamination) should always be available. Plain, dye free, high quality guinea pig pellets (mixes with nuts are considered too rich), formulated with Vitamin C can be provided in a small heavy ceramic bowl to prevent tipping.

Ingredients to AVOID in guinea pig pellets:

Animal products including but not limited to animal fat, meat, tallow, animal digest, sterols, bone meal, and eggs
Beet pulp considered low-quality fiber that can clog the villi of the intestine.
Corn products including corn bran, corn germ, corn gluten, ground corn, etc. There is no legal definition of “corn” alone in animal feed, so it may be any combination of products. Corn is not a normal feed for guinea pigs, may contribute to allergies, and can be high in fat and certain sugars/starch depending on the product. Additionally, some corn is contaminated with deadly aflatoxin which can cause liver failure and death.
Seeds, Nuts, or Oils too high in fat and protein, not a natural food source, often present in animal feeds in seed byproducts that have little to no nutrient value
Rice Bran or Rice Flour these are byproducts, no nutrient value in forms defined by the AAFCO
Vegetable Fiber

Sweeteners, Colorings, and Preservatives to avoid:

Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Sucrose
Propylene glycol
Food colorings (include FD&C reds, blues, and yellows)
Propyl gallate
Potassium sorbate
Sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, or sodium metabisulfate
Ethoxyquin
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)/Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

Unlimited high quality, grass hay (timothy and orchard grass are popular) should always be available to each and every guinea pig, no matter what age. Small amounts of fresh vegetables (about a cup a day) are an important additional source of vitamin C and other nutrients.

AVOID:

Avoid mixes or treats with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and dyed pieces.
Do not feed dairy and meat products (guinea pigs are herbivores)
Avoid seeds in husks (like sunflower seeds), which can be a choking hazard.
Do not feed rabbit pellets (they do not contain Vitamin C and some may even include antibiotics toxic to guinea pigs).
Avoid or use sparingly, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, collards, bok choy, broccoli), as they may cause gas in guinea pigs.
Do not use mineral wheels. Never use Tang (which contains dyes, refined sugars, and very little vitamin C) in drinking water.
Avoid commercial treats marketed for guinea pigs (like yoghurt drops) which can even be detrimental to their health. Consuming these empty calories (many contain fat, sugars and even excess calcium) can result in decreased consumption of the basic foods they really need.
No multivitamins! Plain vitamin C is fine, but multivitamins are not. Excessive amounts of fat soluble vitamins like A and D can cause serious problems for a guinea pig.

Here is an example of a daily guinea pig diet, along with unlimited high quality hay and plain pellets:

Grass, between a handful to several handfuls, more in the warmer months
Green pepper, 1/8 to 1/4 of whole pepper
Romaine lettuce, one or two large leaves, sometimes more *
Tomato, wedge of large tomato or small Roma tomato
Carrot (baby), one small

NOTE: Guinea pigs eating a lot of romaine seem to excrete more powdery calcium deposits in their urine.

Occasional vegetables:

Broccoli leaves (tiny) and peeled broccoli stem
Chinese Cabbage (pak-choi), one leaf
Corn silks and husks when in season
Parsley, one or more sprigs
Forages like chickweed, dandelions, and young clover

Fruit (a couple fruits per day from this list):

Apple, thin wedge, no seeds
Apricot, dried, a couple raisin-sized pieces
Banana, 1/4″ round slice
Blueberries, several
Cantaloupe, 1″X 2″piece with washed rind
Grapes or Raisins (not both), one or two
Orange, one slice
Strawberries
Watermelon, 1″ X 2″ piece with washed rind
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BlueBaby1023
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Location: Florida

Re: Guinea Pig Nutrition Guide

Postby BlueBaby1023 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:27 am

I'm not sure if you've ever owned guinea pigs, but a lot of your recommended veggies and fruits are wrong...

Vitamin C veggies: While the ones you listed are high in it, guinea pigs should never be fed large amounts of kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, etc. They are high in Vitamin A and oxalates, both of which contribute to the largest death in guinea pigs: bladder stones. Regular lettuces (green leaf, red leaf, butter leaf, NOT romaine) and other veggies like parsley, cilantro, bell peppers, and chard are good to feed on a daily basis in about 1/2-1 cup per pig quantities but you should not rely on veggies or fruits to provide Vitamin C. Instead, you should feed a high quality pelleted formula made from timothy or orchard grass hays, all of which are fortified with Vitamin C. Oxbow is a good example. No more than 1/8 cup per pig per day.

You should never feed any cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc. They cause gas in guinea pigs just like they do in people, except guinea pigs do not have the ability to burp. The gas, if built up in large quantities, can cause bloat and death.

You should also not feed any fruit in high quantities. 1-2x per week is the most fruit you should feed, and it should not be more than a half cup per pig. Fruit causes diabetes in guinea pigs. Grapes should never be fed to guinea pigs, there is some evidence that they cause kidney disease. Raisins especially should never be fed, they are far too high in artificial sugars than regular fruit, which is already dangerous.

Please don't spread misinformation about good veggies, there is already a lot of misinformation out there about guinea pigs. Their diet should be 90% hay, 5% pellets, and 5% veggies.

If anyone wants information about certain veggies, go to this website and follow their charts. These are veterinarian recommended veggies to keep bladder stones at bay.

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Juska
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Re: Guinea Pig Nutrition Guide

Postby Juska » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:38 pm

This person is just copying and pasting stuff from a site called Zutrition. I highly doubt they're speaking from personal knowledge.

This is the full article here: http://www.zutrition.com/guinea-pig-nutrition-guide/
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: Guinea Pig Nutrition Guide

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:18 pm

Thanks Juska I thought it sounded that way. I just checked their posts and see if they contributed anything that actually came from themselves and I looks like it is all fake and/or just copied info.

That's really weird.

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