Providing everything their guinea pig needs is the aspiration of every responsible owner. We know and understand, however, that life doesn’t always cooperate with yours and your guinea’s desires.
If you’ve come to the end of your guinea pig’s bag of kibble, and are still waiting for payday or a delivery, we have good news for you: there are plenty of alternatives for feeding your guinea pig while you wait for more of their compressed pellets.
In this article, you’ll discover healthy alternatives to your guinea pig’s regular diet of dried and compressed food that will help safely feed and nourish them. Follow along to discover our favorite options that you can find around the house or with a quick trip to the grocery store, and your guinea pig need never go hungry again.
The 9 Guinea Pig Food Alternatives and Supplements
With all of these nutritional requirements in mind, let’s look at some common foods that can be used to round out your guinea pig’s base diet of hay and water:
1. Romaine Lettuce
Much more nutritionally dense than Iceberg lettuce, the high fiber content in Romaine lettuce (as well as red and green lettuces) can help keep your guinea pig’s digestion working smoothly. Always thoroughly wash your leafy green vegetables to remove any bacteria and harmful residues before feeding to your pet.
High in fiber and low in sugar, every part of the broccoli plant can be fed to your guinea pig. It’s also high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent choice to supplement your pet’s diet.
Low in calories but extremely high in vitamins and fiber content, cauliflower is an excellent choice for guinea pigs thanks to its high vitamin C content.
Recommended by the Humane Society for feeding to your guinea pig, kale is a popular superfood that’s great for your pet’s digestive health. It’s high enough in Vitamin C to warrant feeding on a daily basis, too.
5. Bell Peppers
While every color of bell pepper will provide necessary fiber for your pig’s diet, the brighter red and orange bell peppers contain more of the Vitamin C that’s essential for your guinea’s health. You can feed the whole pepper to them, stem and all, but be careful not to overdo it; bell peppers are fairly high in sugar.
Fruits are generally recommended only as a treat, as their high sugar content can quickly lead to diabetes and obesity in small animals. However, if you’re going to choose one fruit for your guinea pig, orange segments are an excellent choice thanks to their high vitamin C content.
On the sweet side for a vegetable, carrots are still a good occasional food for your guinea pig thanks to their high vitamin C and fiber contents. You can feed the whole plant to your pet, including the green tops.
All of the many squash varieties can be a useful addition to your guinea pig’s diet if fed only in moderation. Zucchini and butternut squash are two common varieties that, while high in sugar, are packed with helpful nutrients as well.
Avoid the stems and leaves of the tomato plant and feed your guinea pig only the flesh. It’s fairly high in sugar but has the benefit of fairly high levels of vitamin C as well, making it a good occasional treat.
Understanding Your Guinea Pig’s Dietary Needs
In the wild, guinea pigs eat a wide variety of foods, everything from fruits and leaves to grasses, herbs, and root vegetables. While none of these is sufficient on its own to provide for all your guinea pig’s dietary needs, they can form a useful supplement to your pet’s usual meals.
Aside from the dry guinea pig food that is so ubiquitous on pet store shelves, your guinea pig should ideally have access to abundant amounts of fresh timothy hay. This hay is essential, not only for keeping their gut bacteria happy and healthy, but also to wear down their continually growing teeth.
In addition to this unlimited access to hay, a balanced guinea pig diet will include copious amounts of freshwater, as well as small amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Like humans, guinea pigs do not produce their own vitamin C. This makes supplementation a necessity for their continued health and well-being, which can be accomplished by feeding them dark leafy greens and brightly colored vegetables like bell peppers.
Related Read: How Long Can a Guinea Pig Go Without Food & Water?
While a guinea pig’s digestion is not so robust as to allow it to eat anything, they’re blessed with an appetite for many different fruits and vegetables. If you’ve ever run out of guinea pig food and have to wait for more, consider supplementing their usual diet of hay with any of the above-listed fruits and vegetables. They’ll stay happy and healthy until you can once again provide them with dried kibble.
You may also want to know: What Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat? What You Need to Know!
Featured Image Credit: enchanted_fairy, Shutterstock