The best diet for a guinea pig is unlimited amounts of timothy or other low-calcium hay, supplemented with leafy greens and colorful vegetables. A guinea pig pellet is highly recommended, as it can fill any nutritional voids left by veggies and hay.
Finding the perfect pellet for your pig can be challenging because there are so many unhealthy and unsuitable options. To simplify the process, we’ve collected a list of the ten best guinea pig pellets. Read on to find our reviews of each product and a buying guide to help educate you further on the nutritional needs of your exotic pet.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine||
|Best Value||Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food||
|Premium Choice||Sweet Meadow Farm Premium Timothy Pellets||
|Best for Pups||Oxbow Essentials Young Guinea Pig Food||
|Oxbow Garden Select Adult Guinea Pig Food||
The 9 Best Guinea Pig Pellets
1. Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine Adult Guinea Pig Food – Best Overall
|Bag size options:||5-, 10-, or 25-pound bags|
|First ingredient:||Timothy grass meal|
|Fiber content:||25% min|
The Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine Adult Guinea Pig Food is formulated to provide pet guinea pigs with the diet they’d have in the wild. The pellets are fortified with vitamin C to keep your piggy’s immune system in check. The high fiber content promotes healthy digestion. Because it is made with predominantly timothy hay, it contains the appropriate amount of protein and calcium necessary for adult guinea pigs. There are no artificial flavors or preservatives in this nutritionally complete food. Since this food is entirely pellets with no additional ingredients, it can prevent selective feeding and nutrient deficiencies.
This hay is slightly higher priced than others on our list. Despite this higher price tag, we still believe this to be the best overall guinea pig pellet.
2. Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food – Best Value
|Bag size options:||5-pound bag|
|First ingredient:||Sun-cured timothy grass hay|
|Fiber content:||23% min|
The Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food is made with probiotics and prebiotics to support your piggy’s digestive health. It doesn’t contain sugar-laden fruit or loose seeds to discourage selective eating. The formula features vitamin C to promote a strong and healthy immune system. This high-fiber formula is made of hand-selected timothy hay to give guinea pigs the best quality pellets. This affordable food provides the best guinea pig pellets for the money.
The pellets are fragile and may be easily crushed.
3. Sweet Meadow Farm Premium Timothy Pellets Adult Guinea Pig Food – Premium Choice
|Bag size options:||5-, 10-, or 40-pound bags|
|First ingredient:||Timothy grass hay|
|Fiber content:||28% max|
Sweet Meadow Farm Premium Timothy Pellets Adult Guinea Pig Food offers an extremely high-fiber pellet designed specifically for the adult piggy. It’s low in protein and calcium, making it perfect for older and less active pets. It contains stabilized vitamin C for immune system health. Each bag is packed by hand at a small family farm in America. Though the price is high at first glance, this product is available in sizes up to 40 pounds, so you’re getting a lot of value from your purchase. However, these pellets have an eight-month shelf life, so if you aren’t using 40 pounds of pellets in that time frame, we recommend opting for a smaller bag.
4. Oxbow Essentials Cavy Performance Young Guinea Pig Food – Best for Pups
|Bag size options:||5- or 25-pound bags|
|First ingredient:||Alfalfa meal|
|Fiber content:||18% min|
Young guinea pigs have different nutritional needs than their adult counterparts, so buying pellets made specifically for pups is important if your pet is under six months. Oxbow Essentials Cavy Performance Young Guinea Pig Food is the best option for young piggies as it is formulated to mirror their diet in the wild. This formula is fortified with stabilized vitamin C to boost your pet’s immune system and is made with predominantly alfalfa to ensure his energy needs are being met. This food should not be fed to guinea pigs over six months as it does not contain the nutrients necessary for adults to thrive.
5. Oxbow Garden Select Adult Guinea Pig Food
|Bag size options:||4-, 8-, or 16-pound bags|
|First ingredient:||Timothy grass|
|Fiber content:||22% min|
The Oxbow Garden Select Adult Guinea Pig Food is a complete and balanced pellet containing high-quality garden ingredients that mimic the natural foraging environment of your pet. These pellets contain yellow peas, rosemary, and tomato for variety. This formula combines three types of grass hay to boost your pet’s fiber intake and promote better digestive health. It’s made without artificial preservatives or flavors and contains 100% of your piggy’s daily vitamin and mineral requirement. Unlike some of the other pellets on our list, this product smells great, which may encourage picky pigs to eat.
These pellets are quite thick as other Oxbow branded options, which can be problematic for some pets.
6. Mazuri Timothy-Based Guinea Pig Food
|Bag size options:||5- or 25-pound bags|
|First ingredient:||Ground timothy hay|
|Fiber content:||18% max|
The Mazuri Timothy-Based Guinea Pig Food is a nutritionally complete pellet, so you shouldn’t have to offer additional supplements unless recommended by your veterinarian. This timothy-based pellet provides a boost to your piggy’s gastrointestinal health. This formula features stabilized vitamin C as it remains active longer than traditional vitamin C, reducing the risk of nutritional deficiencies that could lead to health problems. It contains flax seeds as a source of omega fatty acids to boost skin and coat health.
These pellets have less fiber than others on our list.
7. Kaytee Supreme Fortified Daily Diet Guinea Pig Food
|Bag size options:||10-pound bag|
|First ingredient:||Sun-cured alfalfa meal|
|Fiber content:||16% max|
The Kaytee Supreme Fortified Daily Diet Guinea Pig Food is an alfalfa-based pellet for young guinea pigs. This formula is made with wholesome ingredients like oats and wheat and no artificial fillers. It’s been enhanced with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to provide a balanced diet for your young pet. It is a great source of vitamin C to support immune health and has no artificial colors or fillers.
This formula is not suitable for adult guinea pigs as it is alfalfa-based. There is no mention of this in the product description or on the bag.
8. Science Selective Balanced Guinea Pig Food
|Bag size options:||4- or 8.8-pound bags|
|First ingredient:||Alfalfa meal|
|Fiber content:||15% max|
The Science Selective Balanced Guinea Pig Food is a great pellet option for young guinea pigs. These highly palatable pellets are chock full of vitamin C to support your pet’s immune system health. They contain linseed to promote healthy skin and coat. The formula includes ingredients you’d find in your pet’s natural habitat, such as dandelion and fennel.
Since the first ingredient in this food is alfalfa, this formula is not recommended for piggies over six months. Additionally, these are not “pellet” shaped as they have a flower-like design with a hole in the center. Some piggies may run into issues with their teeth getting lodged in the center hole.
9. Sherwood Pet Health Timothy Pellet Adult Guinea Pig Food
|Bag size options:||4.5-pound bag|
|First ingredient:||Timothy hay|
|Fiber content:||26% min|
The Sherwood Pet Health Timothy Pellet Adult Guinea Pig Food is a timothy hay-based pellet free of unnecessary ingredients like soy and molasses. It promotes a healthy digestive system and may even result in less strongly smelling urine. This formula contains fatty acids to promote skin and fur health, and because it is low in carbohydrates, it is a great energy source.
These pellets are only available in a 4.5-pound bag and are priced significantly higher than other 4-pound bags we reviewed today.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right Guinea Pig Pellets
Choose Formulas Containing Pellets Only
If you’ve walked the guinea pig pellet aisle at your local pet store, you know that there are many options out there. Unfortunately, not all of them are ideal for your piggy.
Pellets should consist of pellets only. Some brands include colorful add-ins like seeds, corn, soybeans, and dried beets. While these ingredients make the pellet mixture look attractive to us, they provide no nutritional value for your pet. Feeding such pellet mixes may lead to selective eating, where your piggy will pick and choose certain ingredients in the mix that it prefers and only eat those. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
While alfalfa and timothy hay are both commonly used in the guinea pig diet, they are very different nutritionally, and neither is appropriate for all guinea pigs.
Alfalfa hay contains much higher concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy. It has a sweeter taste and a softer texture. This hay type is best suited for young, ill, pregnant, or nursing guinea pigs.
Timothy hay has a more balanced texture and taste. It’s the best choice for healthy, adult guinea pigs, though it can also be beneficial for young piggies in addition to their alfalfa hay.
Why Feed Pellets?
Your guinea pig needs some pellets to ensure it’s getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain a balanced diet.
Vitamin C is an important component that all pellets must have. Guinea pigs, like humans, cannot make their own vitamin C, so you must supplement their diet to ensure they’re getting what they need to thrive. Vitamin C is important for the development and maintenance of your guinea pig’s joints, skin, and gums. It also plays an important role in wound healing. A vitamin C deficiency can predispose your pet to several diseases and infections.
What Is the Ideal Guinea Pig Diet?
Guinea pigs are strict herbivores that get their energy entirely from plant materials. They have a high metabolic rate and need constant access to food to thrive. As with most mammals, some foods are better for pigs than others.
Grass hay should be the biggest component in your guinea pig’s diet, comprising around 75% of their daily caloric intake. They need 24/7 access to hay. Vegetables should account for 20%, and fruit the remaining 5%.
You might be wondering where pellets fit into this. They should only be offered in limited quantities, approximately one or two tablespoons per piggy. While pellets are typically made of hay, they should never replace actual hay.
The best overall guinea pig pellet is Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine for its nutritionally complete and high-fiber formula. Kaytee Timothy Complete provides the best value option thanks to its affordable price and high-quality formula of hand-selected hay. If you can spend a bit more money, we recommend Sweet Meadow Farm Premium Timothy Pellets Adult Guinea Pig Food.
We hope our reviews and buying guide have helped educate you on the nutritional requirements of your exotic pet. Remember to opt for a timothy-based pellet if your piggy is over six months. Alfalfa-based options are only ideal for piggies under six months or pregnant or nursing sows.
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Featured Image Credit: Julia Mols, Shutterstock