How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

By Dorothy H. on October 14, 2020
Tagged with: nutrition

You want to feed your guinea pig the best, but do you know what your cavy should actually be eating? Well, now you will. We’ve outlined the ultimate guinea pig food list to help you understand what a healthy guinea pig diet looks like, as well as some safe and healthy treats and snacks. We’ll also share some feeding tips… like, how much you should feed your cavy?

First on the Guinea Pig Food List: Hay!

The first thing that every guinea pig parent should know is that guinea pigs need lots and lots of hay. Hay isn’t just for horses or bunnies. Guinea pig hay is the most important part of your cavy’s diet; it provides the fiber they need to keep their digestive systems moving.

Guinea pigs will eat lots of different types of hay, but the most popular is 2nd cutting Timothy hay. We call this hay our gold standard because it has the right levels of fat, protein, and fiber. It’s super soft and tasty and is sure to have any piggy popcorning.

Another great cut is orchard hay because it creates variety and can add interest to your guinea pig food list. This is a terrific “lure” hay to get your furry friend interested in eating more fiber. There are many other types of hay that are delicious, nutritious, and help make up a balanced guinea pig diet.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

Should You Feed Your Guinea Pig Pellets?

Many guinea pig parents wonder if they should feed their little cavy pellets, and the answer is: it depends. Many pet store pellets are filled with artificial fillers, dyes, preservatives, and other junky ingredients. Guinea pig pellets can be a great source of nutrition, as long as they are all-natural and hay-based. For example, our Premium Guinea Pig Pellets are made with Timothy hay as the very first ingredient.

Ideally, your guinea pig’s food list should be 80% hay and 20% healthy pellets and veggies, with the occasional snack. Honestly, you don’t even have to worry about overfeeding your guinea pig hay. You should give your piggy an unlimited amount of hay (as long as it’s not a fattening legume type).

Safe Fruits and Veggies for Your Guinea Pig

Speaking of veggies, it’s important to know what’s safe to offer. According to The Humane Society, “fresh vegetables can be offered once a day and should be equivalent to about one cup total per guinea pig per day.” But remember, not all veggies are created equal, and what works for one cavy may not work for another.

  • Romaine Lettuce ?
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Carrots (and the carrot top) ?
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Potato ?
  • Peas
  • Cucumber ?
  • Broccoli ?
  • Artichoke
  • Bell Peppers

In addition to the above vegetables, you can also occasionally treat your guinea pig to some fruit. Just be sure to watch how often you add fruit to their diet; lots of fruits are super high in sugar, and this is unhealthy in large doses. Here are a few of our favorite fruits to add to your guinea pig’s food list:

  • Oranges. guinea pigs need lots of vitamin C in their diets?
  • Apples??
  • Pears ?
  • Strawberries ?
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi ?
  • Papaya
  • Peaches ?

Other Safe Guinea Pig Treats

Guinea pigs are so sweet and loveable, it’s no wonder we want to give them some special treats every now and then. But, be careful which treats you’re adding to your guinea pig food list. Many commercial treats are super high in sugar and can have potentially dangerous chemicals and fillers. So, if you want to give your guinea pig a treat, make sure you choose an all-natural one.

Look for treats that are made with human-grade ingredients and only have the good stuff, like hay, fruits and vegetables, and healthy grains (like oats). Our Healthy Snackers are made with clean, human-grade pumpkin, pears, blueberries, bananas, carrots, apples, and oats, all mixed up with our own farm fresh hay.

What NOT to Feed Your Guinea Pig

Now that you know some of the most delicious and nutritious things you can feed your fuzzy, let’s talk about some of the things to NOT feed your guinea pig. This guinea pig food list can be potentially toxic to your little guy or gal:

  • Chocolate ?
  • Candy ?
  • Caffeine
  • Onions ?
  • Garlic ?
  • Mushrooms ?
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Avocados ?
  • Nuts ?
  • Potatoes ?
  • Seeds
  • Corn Kernels
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Dairy ?
  • Bread ?
  • Meat ? ?

Need a little more guidance? The ASPCA shared other “people food” you shouldn’t feed your pets (except for citrus fruits for guinea pigs). You should also be aware of toxic houseplants, herbs, and flowers for guinea pigs.

Guinea Pig Feeding Tips

We’ve shared our comprehensive guinea pig food list, but we also want to share some tips on feeding your guinea pig in order to keep them as happy and healthy as possible:

  • Mix up your piggy’s hay game so they don’t get bored. As we mentioned earlier, in the wild, guinea pigs have access to countless different types of hays and grass. By adding in new things to their diet, you can avoid hay fatigue and keep them guessing.
  • It’s also a good idea to add in guinea pig herbs and supplements to make sure they’re getting as much goodness as possible. These herb blends might include dandelions, rosemary, nettle leaf, chamomile, hibiscus, and much more. Yummy!
  • Even though our mothers always taught us not to play with our food (and we probably did it anyway), guinea pigs can actually be encouraged to play with their food to stimulate their brain. All-natural toys and chews are a great way to entertain your little friend and give them a little exercise.

This guinea pig food list should help you understand what your little one needs to thrive. Remember, hay is the majority of any guinea pig’s diet, followed by high-quality hay pellets and delicious leafy greens. Fruits and all-natural treats can be given once in a while for interest and as a special treat. Expect lots of boops and jumps with a diet this good!

Your guinea pigs are family, so you want them to be happy and healthy. Sometimes, simple care mistakes lead to disaster. A review of these common guinea pig care no-nos helps you avoid them so your guinea pig buddies live the good life.

Guinea Pig Feeding Mistakes To Avoid

1. No skimping on plentiful grass hay, fresh water, and vitamin C. The guinea pig diet is mainly hay; we’re talking about 80% hay. Hay is necessary because of its high-fiber content, which helps maintain the guinea pig digestive tract and also wears down constantly growing teeth. Water is vital for life. It must be fresh and clean daily. Guinea pigs need vitamin C from their food because they can’t make it themselves. Many guinea pig pellets include added vitamin C, and you can also offer guinea pig-safe fresh veggies and small amounts of fruits rich in vitamin C. Without this vitamin, guinea pigs develop scurvy and could die.

2. No bad foods or overfeeding of good foods. What are bad foods? Processed, sugary, salty, and fatty foods top the list. Other no-nos include meat, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, or foods that cause gas. When in doubt about a food, ask your guinea-pig savvy veterinarian. Keep in mind that guinea pigs are herbivores. Guinea pigs can eat as much grass hay as they wish, but portion control is needed for pellets, and even healthy treats likes veggies, fruits, and Hey!Berries. Fruit should be offered most sparingly because of its sugar content.

Guinea Pig Housing Or Environment Mistakes To Avoid

3. No free-roaming in unsafe areas. An unsafe area is any space you haven’t guinea pig-proofed. This means any area with toxins, accessible power cords, bite-sized items on the floor, sharp objects, other free-roaming pets, unsupervised small children, and more. Use common sense before allowing your guinea pigs to roam a room. Some rooms should always be off-limits, such as kitchens, garages, and laundry rooms. The outdoors presents new problems, including birds of prey swooping down, disease from scat, insect bites, or standing water, and unknown pesticides.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigMake sure an area is guinea pig-safe before you allow your pets to roam freely in it. summa/Pixabay.com

4. No warm environment. Heatstroke is a major concern for guinea pigs. Temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit bring the possibility of heatstroke; with high humidity, it could happen at lower temperatures. If you’re uncomfortable, so is your guinea pig. Provide cooling options in the cage, such as frozen bottles of water or a guinea pig-safe pet cool plate. And don’t aim a fan directly at your guinea pigs.

5. No exercise balls. The safety of exercise balls for guinea pigs is under debate. Manufacturers of such products believe in their safety, but some guinea pig owners speak against them. The Guinea Lynx website, which focuses on guinea pig health, and visitors to guinea pig forums recommend against them. Avoid them until you discuss with your guinea pigs’ veterinarian about what is best for your pets.

6. No sharing a habitat with other species, even rabbits. Guinea pigs need a fairly large habitat/cage that has space to run around after accessories like food dishes, water bottles, toys, hideaways, and litter boxes are added. For people with more than one pet, the temptation might be to have guinea pigs share their living space with other nonpredator pets. Don’t do it. While different species often can share the same home, they can’t share the same living space. Guinea pigs should only live with other guinea pigs. In addition to possible inter-species aggression, diseases like Bordetella bronchiseptica can be passed between species. This most often occurs with carrier rabbits who look healthy but infect guinea pigs.

7. No poorly ventilated, small, or all wire-floored housing. Guinea pigs need well-ventilated habitats; this means no aquarium-types. The enclosure should allow guinea pigs to move around freely with all cage accessories in place. Hard or all wire-floors might cause painful bumblefoot, so provide an enclosure that has solid sections and bedding or blankets in sections so guinea pigs can rest on solid or soft areas as they wish.

8. No skimping on cleaning. A clean habitat promotes better health and minimizes any odors. If the enclosure has an odor, this means it’s time to increase the frequency of cleaning. Ammonia buildup from urine could cause respiratory disease.

Guinea Pig Interaction Mistakes To Avoid

9. No poor handling. This includes chasing a guinea pig around the habitat with your hands, not supporting a guinea pig’s abdomen and feet while holding, and allowing young children unsupervised playtime with guinea pigs. It’s best if guinea pigs come to you to be lifted out of their habitat; excessive chasing with your hands causes stress. Get your guinea pigs used to your hands by laying them in the habitat for several minutes without doing anything and offering treats on your hand. Guinea pigs always need to be supported when held to prevent injury and to prevent squirming that could lead to being dropped. Young children of about 7 years old or less won’t know how to interact with guinea pigs or have the coordination or ability to know their own strength.

10. No ignoring. Guinea pigs are social and want to be in on your family action. A guinea pig pair or group that has a clean habitat, great food, plentiful water, and lots of toys still won’t enjoy the best life if they spend all their time alone in their habitat. They need the enrichment of time interacting with you and exploring areas other than their habitat.

Guinea Pig Health Mistakes To Avoid

11. No waiting if you suspect illness. Guinea pigs are prey animals who hide any illness as long as possible. This means that by the time you might notice something is “off” with your guinea pig, your furry friend might be hours, days, or weeks into suffering. Outside of obvious signs of illness, changes to the norm are your first clues of possible guinea pig health problems.

12. No under grooming. For guinea pigs, this mainly means keeping current on nail trims and fur brushing. If nails grow too long, they can split, break, get ripped out, or make walking painful. Save your guinea pig from such agonies. Baths are only needed if guinea pigs get into something dirty or are heading for the show ring.

2 thoughts on “ 12 Guinea Pig Care Mistakes And No-Nos ”

Yes. Keep an eye on your guinea pigs when they’re out of the cage! They can get into so many things!!

Posted September 17, 2018 by Osborne Livestock Equipment

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

The most important part of swine production is in knowing the correct way to feed pigs. Whether browsing through a piglet feeding guide or studying swine management techniques, pigs need a high energy diet that is low in fiber that contains ample protein. Pigs will consume enormous amounts of food quickly. To raise and maintain a healthy stock, maximize growth and reproduction, and increase production, it is necessary to feed them the right food and a balanced diet from wean to finish.

What to Feed Pigs

Though pigs will eat just about anything, all kinds of scraps, or leftover food such as bread, other grains, vegetables, and fruits, their growth rates are best maintained when the animals are fed a feed made specifically for pigs.

Foods to Avoid

When creating your own pig food mixture, there are certain types of food you’ll want to avoid for reasons ranging from slowed growth rate to outright toxicity. Here are the general foods to avoid in pig feed:

  • Sweets and high-sugar foods
  • Dog food
  • Cracked corn
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Fruits
  • Potatoes

Foods high in sugars can slow growth rates while milk, meats, and fish can harbor viruses. Pits and seeds of apples, pears, apricots and peaches contain a naturally occurring substance called amygdalin which is a cyanogenic glycoside that is released when chewed causing illness, discomfort, or even death. Potatoes contain natural toxins called glycoalkaloids, which can cause severe stomach ache or even death (though rare), and also contain solanine which destroys red blood cells, causes diarrhea, and heart failure.

How to Formulate Good Pig Feed

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigFormulating a good pig feed will help achieve optimum growth of your stock. Feeds should meet the animal’s needs for maintenance, growth, and reproduction, and contain sufficient energy, protein, minerals and vitamins.

Farm grains are the most common and best source of food to feed pigs. Most typically corn-based feeds are used because they are high in digestible carbohydrates, low in fiber, and cost effective. The feed should be supplemented with other vitamins, proteins, and some antibacterial compounds to their feed to slow the growth of naturally occurring bacteria that may be harmful to the animal or your stock. Feeds mixed with rice bran, broken rice, maize, soya-beans, cassava, vegetables and distillers’ residues have shown positive results.

Pig Food Requirements

A pig’s food and water requirements change as pigs grow.

Piglets (Under 40 lbs.)

Piglets, younger pigs that weigh less than 40 pounds, should be introduced to a solid diet through creep feeding while they are still suckling. Dietary needs will increase daily with a pig’s weight.

Growing & Finishing Pigs (40+ lbs.)

Growing pigs, those weighing 40 to 125 pounds, and finishing pigs, those weighing 125 pounds to market weight (approximately 230 pounds or more) should transition from the grower feeds that are nutrient dense with more protein to the finisher feeds that are less dense.

Expected Pig Growth Rates

Because a pig eats approximately 4% of its body weight per day, they require a number of essential nutrients to meet their daily needs, i.e., water, carbohydrates, fats, protein (amino acids), minerals, and vitamins. With a proper diet, expect weight gains of about 1.5 to 1.7 pounds per day up to approximately 110 pounds. After that, weight gains of 1.8 to 2.2 pounds per day.

Environmental Control for Optimized Growth

To maximize feed intake, a number of other factors need to be considered as well. This includes temperature and environmental control, adequate supply of water, and sanitation control programs.

Temperature

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigPig temperature requirements are important to growth and production. Pigs are a highly adaptable animal and can perform well within a range of temperatures. However, temperatures too low or too high can have adverse effects on stock.

If, for example, temperatures are too cold, a pig will feed more but expend more energy to stay warm, resulting in slow growth. Hot weather can lead to heat stress and reduce feed consumption (and can possibly lead to death), so it is important to keep livestock cool in summer. Consequently, growth and mature rates slow, conception rates fall, and pig flow is reduced, disrupting stock levels. Depending on the season, keep buildings well-ventilated or heated, and provide adequate air space within the pen to ensure pig growth and production rates are maintained.

Water

Provide lots of fresh, clean water. Water is the central part of a pig’s diet. One-half to two-thirds of its body weight is water. Access to clean drinking water is essential to a pig’s growth rate. Newly weaned pigs are especially prone to dehydrate. However water is supplied, water devices must be sanitized and properly positioned. Pigs must have water readily accessible for drinking throughout the day to maintain proper hydration.

Sanitation

Implement sanitation protocols. Poor sanitation can lead to undetected disease challenges that reduces food intake. Properly designed feeders will encourage maximum feed intake.

Automating Your Pig Feeding Process

Osborne has been providing innovative pig feeders and livestock equipment since 1973. Our success has been built on the quality of our products and the increased efficiency and growth rates they make possible. If you’re interested in expanding the capabilities of your hog production facilities, contact the experts at Osborne today!

Your guinea pigs are family, so you want them to be happy and healthy. Sometimes, simple care mistakes lead to disaster. A review of these common guinea pig care no-nos helps you avoid them so your guinea pig buddies live the good life.

Guinea Pig Feeding Mistakes To Avoid

1. No skimping on plentiful grass hay, fresh water, and vitamin C. The guinea pig diet is mainly hay; we’re talking about 80% hay. Hay is necessary because of its high-fiber content, which helps maintain the guinea pig digestive tract and also wears down constantly growing teeth. Water is vital for life. It must be fresh and clean daily. Guinea pigs need vitamin C from their food because they can’t make it themselves. Many guinea pig pellets include added vitamin C, and you can also offer guinea pig-safe fresh veggies and small amounts of fruits rich in vitamin C. Without this vitamin, guinea pigs develop scurvy and could die.

2. No bad foods or overfeeding of good foods. What are bad foods? Processed, sugary, salty, and fatty foods top the list. Other no-nos include meat, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, or foods that cause gas. When in doubt about a food, ask your guinea-pig savvy veterinarian. Keep in mind that guinea pigs are herbivores. Guinea pigs can eat as much grass hay as they wish, but portion control is needed for pellets, and even healthy treats likes veggies, fruits, and Hey!Berries. Fruit should be offered most sparingly because of its sugar content.

Guinea Pig Housing Or Environment Mistakes To Avoid

3. No free-roaming in unsafe areas. An unsafe area is any space you haven’t guinea pig-proofed. This means any area with toxins, accessible power cords, bite-sized items on the floor, sharp objects, other free-roaming pets, unsupervised small children, and more. Use common sense before allowing your guinea pigs to roam a room. Some rooms should always be off-limits, such as kitchens, garages, and laundry rooms. The outdoors presents new problems, including birds of prey swooping down, disease from scat, insect bites, or standing water, and unknown pesticides.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigMake sure an area is guinea pig-safe before you allow your pets to roam freely in it. summa/Pixabay.com

4. No warm environment. Heatstroke is a major concern for guinea pigs. Temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit bring the possibility of heatstroke; with high humidity, it could happen at lower temperatures. If you’re uncomfortable, so is your guinea pig. Provide cooling options in the cage, such as frozen bottles of water or a guinea pig-safe pet cool plate. And don’t aim a fan directly at your guinea pigs.

5. No exercise balls. The safety of exercise balls for guinea pigs is under debate. Manufacturers of such products believe in their safety, but some guinea pig owners speak against them. The Guinea Lynx website, which focuses on guinea pig health, and visitors to guinea pig forums recommend against them. Avoid them until you discuss with your guinea pigs’ veterinarian about what is best for your pets.

6. No sharing a habitat with other species, even rabbits. Guinea pigs need a fairly large habitat/cage that has space to run around after accessories like food dishes, water bottles, toys, hideaways, and litter boxes are added. For people with more than one pet, the temptation might be to have guinea pigs share their living space with other nonpredator pets. Don’t do it. While different species often can share the same home, they can’t share the same living space. Guinea pigs should only live with other guinea pigs. In addition to possible inter-species aggression, diseases like Bordetella bronchiseptica can be passed between species. This most often occurs with carrier rabbits who look healthy but infect guinea pigs.

7. No poorly ventilated, small, or all wire-floored housing. Guinea pigs need well-ventilated habitats; this means no aquarium-types. The enclosure should allow guinea pigs to move around freely with all cage accessories in place. Hard or all wire-floors might cause painful bumblefoot, so provide an enclosure that has solid sections and bedding or blankets in sections so guinea pigs can rest on solid or soft areas as they wish.

8. No skimping on cleaning. A clean habitat promotes better health and minimizes any odors. If the enclosure has an odor, this means it’s time to increase the frequency of cleaning. Ammonia buildup from urine could cause respiratory disease.

Guinea Pig Interaction Mistakes To Avoid

9. No poor handling. This includes chasing a guinea pig around the habitat with your hands, not supporting a guinea pig’s abdomen and feet while holding, and allowing young children unsupervised playtime with guinea pigs. It’s best if guinea pigs come to you to be lifted out of their habitat; excessive chasing with your hands causes stress. Get your guinea pigs used to your hands by laying them in the habitat for several minutes without doing anything and offering treats on your hand. Guinea pigs always need to be supported when held to prevent injury and to prevent squirming that could lead to being dropped. Young children of about 7 years old or less won’t know how to interact with guinea pigs or have the coordination or ability to know their own strength.

10. No ignoring. Guinea pigs are social and want to be in on your family action. A guinea pig pair or group that has a clean habitat, great food, plentiful water, and lots of toys still won’t enjoy the best life if they spend all their time alone in their habitat. They need the enrichment of time interacting with you and exploring areas other than their habitat.

Guinea Pig Health Mistakes To Avoid

11. No waiting if you suspect illness. Guinea pigs are prey animals who hide any illness as long as possible. This means that by the time you might notice something is “off” with your guinea pig, your furry friend might be hours, days, or weeks into suffering. Outside of obvious signs of illness, changes to the norm are your first clues of possible guinea pig health problems.

12. No under grooming. For guinea pigs, this mainly means keeping current on nail trims and fur brushing. If nails grow too long, they can split, break, get ripped out, or make walking painful. Save your guinea pig from such agonies. Baths are only needed if guinea pigs get into something dirty or are heading for the show ring.

2 thoughts on “ 12 Guinea Pig Care Mistakes And No-Nos ”

Yes. Keep an eye on your guinea pigs when they’re out of the cage! They can get into so many things!!

Battling the Bulge
Obesity is a growing problem in our feline population. In fact, over 50% of cats seen by veterinarians are judged to be either overweight or obese. However, with the proper cat food, feeding schedule and exercise regimen, this does not have to be so for your cat. Here are a few ways to begin.

Choose the Best Cat FoodHow to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig
Many factors need to be taken into account when choosing the proper food for your cat. It is important that the cat food you choose be balanced and complete. It is also best to choose a food that is designed for your cat’s life stage. For instance, kittens do better when fed a “kitten food” formulated for growth. Older cats may have slower metabolism and may do better on a senior food, which contains fewer calories but still supplies the right level of nutrients. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian for a recommendation.

Measure the Meals
Feeding your cat free choice can be problematic, especially if your cat has a tendency to overeat. Cats fed two to three smaller, measured meals daily tend to maintain their weight better than those fed free choice. Refer to the guidelines provided on the food level and measure your cat’s food accurately. One cup is 8 ounces and refers to a level cup of food (as opposed to a heaping cup.)

Adjust According to Your Cat’s Needs
Remember that the guidelines provided on a pet food label are guidelines only and may need to be adjusted based on your individual cat’s body condition and activity level. Learn to evaluate your cat’s body condition. Doing so will allow you to determine whether your cat is overweight, underweight or at an ideal body weight, which in turn will help you determine the proper amount of food to be given daily.

For the complete slideshow on cat overfeeding, visit petMD!

Pigs As Pets, Pig Education, Care of Pigs, Preserving Pigs, Protecting Pigs, Pet Pigs

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig
Overfeeding
By Nancy Shepherd and edited by Brittany Sawyer 2016

There are way too many overweight pigs out there. Again, this is not the pig’s fault, but due to the owner actively overfeeding the pig. It’s true that pigs relish food — in fact, pigs are food-possessed. A pig would not be a pig if she didn’t have such an obsession for chow. It is, however, the pig proprietor’s job to see that her pig receives a well-balanced, proper diet in the correct quantity. In the wilds the potbellied pig exists mainly on a high-fiber, vegetarian diet, collecting roots and various bug treats as she snurddles about. Under domestication our pigs ingest a high protein pig ration that most certainly provides more than enough nutrition when fed in very small amounts.

As a pig parent, you must determine the proper ration and amount to feed your pig by following recommended guidelines and paying attention to your pig’s condition . A grown pig generally can sustain herself quite nicely on two cups of pig food per day. Don’t allow your pig to trick you into feeding her more than her prescribed ration. You can make your pig think she is getting more than the usual amount of food by applying some of the following suggestions.

Feed her lots of small meals a day is ideal. Of course, this will depend upon your working schedule; but, if possible, split her daily food allotment into three equal portions and spread the feeding over the course of the day. A good routine would be to feed one-half of the pellets in the morning, a fresh vegetable salad for lunch and the other half of the pig chow at supper time. If two meals suits your schedule better, then feed half of pellets before work and the other half at your usual dining time. A before-bed snack seems to make piggies most content.

You may want to incorporate a treat dispenser into your pigs eating regimen. This is a ball that you can add feed pellets to…an empty milk job will do. As the pig pushes the ball around, the pellets fall out of pre-drilled holes for her to happily lap up. This encourages exercise while your pig eats.

Food sprinkled into a rooting box is another excellent dining option. You can fashion a rooting box out 2 x 4’s with a plywood bottom, or simply fill an oversized litterpan or small children’s wading pool with smooth, river rocks. By using any of these props, your pig satisfies her essential rooting needs while prolonging the eating experience.

If your pig whines around constantly hoping for food treats, don’t succumb. The credo is: No Free Food! What does this mean? It means that your pig is required to complete a task or in some way cooperate with you before a food reward is earned. This is especially indicated at the toddler stage (3 to 5 months of age) when a pig forms the behaviors that will remain with her for her entire life. Use food to train your pig to do either tricks, such as “circle” and “sit” – or obey commands, such as “come” and “stay.” Your pig will be highly motivated and eager to please knowing there is a reward attached to a behavior. You, on the other hand, will not be harassed with a whining, obnoxious house mate, but rather a cooperative, ready-to-please pal.

It is perfectly acceptable for you to feed your pig her complete portion at the designated meal times, but for treats and extras, abide by the no free food rule. For families who have the tendency to feed their pets too many extras, set aside the complete day’s ration of treats in a bowl, away from the pig. As the day progresses, family members may use this food to train their pig. When the tidbits are gone — that’s it. Be prudent and don’t let your pig train you to feed her at her every whim. After all, you are not a human vending machine, much to your pig’s dismay. You are, however, the one who makes the rules, you know – not the pig-a-rooter!

NAPPA offers the following feeding guidelines:
Piglets
Nursing to 6 weeks Free feed a starter ration 6 weeks to 3 months Gradually decrease from free-feeding until each piglet receives 1 to 1 1/2 C of grower per day.

Piglets and Breeding Stock
3 months to adult approximately 2 Cups of maintenance ration per day

Lactating Gilts and Sows raising females can be fed free choice, or follow this guideline:
2 C/day plus 1 C per suckling piglet.
Example: Sow with 5 piglets would receive 7 C/day.

Boars
Feed according to need, from 2 C to 8 C/day depending on level of activity/condition.

Note: This is a guideline only. Individual metabolisms vary and feed levels need to be adjusted accordingly. Check with your vet to determine the appropriate amount of feed for your pig specifically. Remember, once the weight is gained, it is extremely difficult for pigs to lose weight. They do NOT lose weight by exercise, they’re not physically able to do cardio workouts, so you must balance activity with diet and adjust accordingly s your pig matures.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

Cherries are a popular snack because they are sweet and juicy. This fruit is in season during the summer and usually makes its way into treats like ice cream, pies, and tarts.

When you bite into a delicious cherry, you may be tempted to share the treat with your guinea pig. But is it safe to feed guinea pigs cherries?

Are cherries safe for guinea pigs?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat cherries. In fact, they love them as much as humans do. Guinea pigs love sugary foods and cherries are high in sugar. This fruit can even provide several health benefits to your pet.

  • Cherries contain a lot of antioxidants which help your cat’s body stay active
  • Sometimes, the fruit has an anti-inflammatory effect due to its ORAC value.
  • Cherries are a source of vitamin C. Guinea pigs are often deficient in vitamin C, and this is one way to help boost their vitamin levels.
  • Your piggy’s heart can benefit from cherries because they control cholesterol levels.
  • They can boost your pet’s metabolism and help them stay active.
  • Cherries have even been found to lower the risk of cancer in some guinea pigs.
  • Cherries are also a source of thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin K, calcium, iron, and zinc.
  • There is a lot of water in cherries that can hydrate your pet.

With all of these benefits, it might seem like a good idea to feed your cavy cherries all the time. But it is important to remember that too many cherries can cause health problems to arise and make them sick. Just check out my ebook “Before And After Getting Your Puppy Manual” where you can find a list of fruits and vegetables that guinea pigs can and can’t eat.

How many cherries can guinea pigs eat?

You should moderate the number of cherries your guinea pigs eat. Cherries contain high levels of acid that can burn their mouths and hurt their stomachs.

If they damage their mouths, it is hard for them to eat healthy foods later, and this can lead to serious weight loss and a lack of proper nutrition. There is a high amount of fiber in cherries as well. This can cause constipation and upset their bathroom habits. If you notice a change in their bathroom habits, you should stop feeding them cherries and contact your vet for more advice.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

David feeds Loussi Pet fresh cherries

You should never feed them more than one cherry a day, for that reason I recommend you check out my premium ebook to learn some nice tips and facts about the piggies. Baby cavies only need half of a cherry in a single day because their stomachs and bodies are more sensitive.

Cherries should not be given more than three times per week or they will start to experience issues. They love the sugar found in the fruit and will eat too much if left alone.

Always monitor your guinea pig’s behavior before, during, and after feeding them cherries. This is the best way to make sure they stay healthy and that the fruit does not make them sick.

Can guinea pigs have pitted cherries?

Do not feed your guinea pigs cherry pits. Pitted cherries contain cyanide which is poisonous to humans and cavies. It is vital that you remove any pits from the cherries before feeding it to them. In fact, it is never safe to give them pitted fruit of any kind unless you properly remove the pits.

They can easily break their teeth or swallow shards of the pit, I wrote a complete high-quality ebook to help you find lots of information about your guinea pigs! Easy to read and understand!. If either of these things happens, they could experience trouble swallowing or even death. I wrote an article about all the food that can kill your cavy you can check it out.

More advice on feeding guinea pigs cherries

There are a few more things you should know when it comes to giving cherries to your guinea pig. You want to make sure they are properly cared for, and following this advice will keep them healthy.

  • Only feed them organic cherries. Avoid purchasing fruit that has chemicals or pesticides on it.
  • Do not feed them cherry stems. This part of the plant also contains cyanide like the cherry pits, which can kill your pet.
  • If they are not interested in eating the fruit, take the cherries out of their crate. This keeps them from overeating later or making a mess in their bedding.
  • Cut cherries up into small bites for your cavy before serving them. This helps them slow down when they eat and enjoy the sweet treat a little longer.
  • Some guinea pigs love sweet fruits and others do not. There is no reason to be alarmed if they do not seem interested in eating cherries. This could just be their personal preference.

Do guinea pigs eat cherry tomatoes?

Yes, all types of tomatoes are safe for guinea pigs to eat, including cherry tomatoes. You can provide them with an entire cherry tomato since they are much smaller than other varieties of the fruit.

It is still a good idea to cut up the cherry tomatoes though and only offer a small amount at a time. This will give you plenty of time to determine if the cherry tomato upsets their stomach before feeding them more.

Just like with regular sweet cherries, the vines, stems, and leaves of cherry tomatoes are not safe for cavies. You must be sure to remove all of these pieces from the tomato because they can poison your pet. Don’t leave tomatoes in their cage for more than an hour.

Fruits that are softer can collect a lot of germs or bugs overtime. According to PetSmart, no food should be left in their food bowl for longer than four hours.

Cherry tomatoes contain 14mg of vitamin C per 100g and 10mg of calcium. In small amounts, they can actually be healthy for guinea pigs and improve their wellbeing.

Limit feeding them cherry tomatoes to only two or three times a week. Like sweet cherries, cherry tomatoes contain sugar which is not good for them in large quantities.

Conclusion

Sweet cherries and cherry tomatoes alike make great treats for guinea pigs. They will be delighted by the juicy fruits that contain the sugar they love so much.

As with all treats, avoid overfeeding your pet so they stay healthy for a long time. Don’t forget to remove any pits or stems from cherries or leaves and vines from tomatoes.

These are poisonous to cavies. If you follow these guidelines and monitor your pet’s diet, they will have well-balanced nutrition and immune systems.

For more information regarding guinea pigs’ training and care, subscribe to my newsletters to receive updates and new tips. For any questions or queries, feel free to comment below. Cheers!

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

Last Updated: October 10, 2020

If you’ve owned a guinea pig for a while, you’ll probably have noticed that they often prefer what we consider less flavorful foods like leafy vegetables and roots. Radishes seem like the perfect treat for them based on this preference, so you may be wondering, are radishes safe for guinea pigs? The answer is yes, radishes are safe for guinea pigs in moderation. We’ll break down everything you need to know about feeding your cavy some delicious radishes and how to do it safely.

Why Would I Feed My Guinea Pig Radishes?

Radishes are a good source of vitamins and minerals for your guinea pig, so they are a healthy root vegetable that will offer some crunch as well as some health benefits.

Radishes contain a good amount of vitamin C, and according to pet health experts at Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, guinea pigs need to acquire around 90mg of vitamin C on a daily basis to maintain proper health, and even more if they have some kind of health issue already. Like most animals, guinea pigs cannot manufacture vitamin C naturally, so their necessary daily amount must come from their diet. Radishes are a fairly good source of this vitamin.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigCredit: R J M Bishop, Shutterstock

Radishes also contain calcium, which is another essential nutrient that must come from your guinea pig’s diet. Animal medical professionals at Ludington Animal Hospital warn that a diet that doesn’t provide ample calcium can lead to bone and teeth issues, as well as several other health problems like muscle spasms and dehydration.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

Because guinea pigs naturally have a rather limited diet, there are some risks involved with introducing other foods like fruits and vegetables. Although radishes provide healthy and necessary nutrients, overfeeding your piggy radishes can be dangerous.

First, while not enough calcium in your guinea pig’s diet can lead to health problems, too much calcium can lead to just as many issues. Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue notes that an abundance of calcium in your pig’s diet can cause the formation of stones in their urinary tract. Bladder and kidney stones can cause immense discomfort if passed and, of course, be uncomfortable and dangerous even if they aren’t passed.

Second, radishes contain a fairly high concentration of phosphorus. This may not be a nutrient you think about much in your diet, but it’s extremely important to monitor in your guinea pig’s food. Research from North Carolina University notes that phosphorus and other oxalates can cause similar problems to an abundance of calcium — urinary stones and resulting discomfort and complications.

It’s very important to keep both calcium and oxalates in your guinea pig’s diet at a healthy level.

How Often Can I Give My Guinea Pig Radishes?

As long as you offer it to your guinea pig in moderation, radish is perfectly safe in their diet. So, what exactly does “in moderation” mean?

Because of the potential for overfeeding your guinea pig calcium and phosphorus, radish should be given to your guinea pig no more than once a week. You should also take care not to feed your piggy radishes along with other vegetables that are high in calcium and oxalates like phosphorus.

How Can I Feed My Guinea Pig Radish?

If you’ve decided to offer some of this crunchy and delicious treat to your cavy, you may be wondering how to go about it. Like most vegetables, radishes are most nutritious when they are raw. Guinea pigs are meant to eat raw vegetables, so don’t cook radishes before adding them to their food bowl.

To prevent choking, cut the radish into small cubes that your guinea pig can easily chew, and add them to whatever other vegetables you’re serving.

Humans eat the actual root of the radish, which is the meaty part underneath the leaves. However, guinea pigs can eat both the root and the soft leaves, so feel free to give them some chunks of the root along with some fresh, raw radish leaves.

To ensure you don’t overfeed your guinea pig radish, add it to their food no more than once a week, and avoid serving with other vegetables that are high in calcium or oxalates.

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigImage Credit: Pikist

Will My Guinea Pig Like Radishes?

Radish is a polarizing root vegetable for a lot of people, and it likely will be for your cavy as well. Guinea pigs are known for their discerning taste when it comes to foods they eat, so you may find that they pass up the root and go straight for the leaves, or ignore both. It’s really up to their personal taste, so you’ll have to experiment a bit with both parts of the plant.

Don’t worry if your guinea pig just enjoys the leaves; radish leaves have nutrients too! It’s important to note that radish leaves are also high in calcium, so don’t overfeed these either.

The Bottom Line

Radishes are a perfectly safe, crunchy, and nutritious snack for your guinea pig, as long as they are offered in moderation. Both the root part of the vegetable and the leaves are high in nutrients that can be detrimental in large quantities, so keep your pig’s radish snacks to a frequency of about once a week. Remember to avoid serving them with other vegetables that are high in calcium or phosphorus, and always serve them raw.

Featured Image Credit: Pxfuel

How to avoid overfeeding your guinea pig

An avid animal lover, Roland started this blog to help all varieties of pets and their owners on their journey to living their best lives.