Believe it or not, cavies are pickier eaters than little kids! At a very early age a cavy will develop it’s own food preferences, and once it decides what it likes it is very hard to get them to change their diets. A sudden change in their diet can cause so much stress to your cavy that it may stop eating and drinking altogether. This refusal to accept changes in their diets sometimes results in cavies starving themselves to death. Don’t let this worry you however. You can avoid this type of problem by feeding your cavy a balanced and healthy diet from the time it is young.
Unlike many rodents which are omnivores, cavies are herbivores. They are strict vegetarians. And they have very unique and specific nutritional requirements quite different from other types of rodents. If your cavy doesn’t receive proper nutrition, or a balanced diet, it may suffer from a variety of health problems, and could even lead to early death.
Another important aspect to your cavy’s diet is providing sufficient roughage for aid with digestions, but also to help keep his teeth worn down. Cavies teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, and if they don’t have something to chew on that wears their teeth down they will develop dental problems that could lead to additional health problems. Hay is excellent for both purposes, and should be included in your cavy’s diet.
The majority of your pet’s diet should consist of commercial, pelleted guinea pig food. Their are many excellent cavy foods on the market. Generally speaking, these commercial cavy foods are formulated with all the ingredients required to provide proper nutrition and vitamins for your pet. The exception to this is vitamin C. Although commercial food pellets will contain vitamin C, the vitamin loses it’s potency very quickly once the package is opened.
Cavies are like humans in that they cannot produce their own vitamin C. And vitamin C is essential in your cavy’s daily diet so that it doesn’t get scurvy. You can provide your cavy with additional vitamin C by feeding him dark green and leafy vegetables every day that are loaded with the vitamin, like kale, broccoli, and parsley. Some celery as well as you can see from this article – Is celery safe for guinea pigs on Petsium. You might also need to provide them with vitamin C by adding it to their drinking water. You can’t overdose your cavy on vitamin C, but you can cause harm by not giving him enough on a daily basis.
As a good guideline, an adult cavy should eat approximately 6 percent of it’s body weight in food each day. This works out to be approximately 1 ounce of food for every pound that he weighs. Young cavies that are growing, pregnant cavies, and nursing cavies may need as much as two to three times this amount of food.
Cavies also like fruit, but because these fruits can be high in sugar you need to limit the amount of fruit that you give your cavy to about one-half teaspoon per day. More than that will lead to having a fat little piggy!
The ideal guinea pig food and cavy diet will provide the perfect balance of nutrients, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. A combination of commercial cavy food, fresh leafy vegetables, some hay, and a little bit of fruit will create a diet that will keep your cavy happy and healthy!