Don’t we all like treats? Well, even guinea pigs love treats, too. In fact, you will likely enjoy feeding a guinea pig with some small treats every now and then.
Some people use treats to build relationships with their guinea pigs. Treats can also be a positive reinforcement while teaching your companion.
You are probably wondering if all treats are suitable for your guinea pig. Do guinea pigs prefer some treats over others? Can some treats cause health issues?
Well, we have rounded up a list of best and bad food for your guinea pig.
One thing you should note is that guinea pigs rarely overeat, and they don’t produce their own vitamin C. With that said, let’s dive right into our list of treats that are best for your piggy.
Good Treats for Guinea Pigs
As alluded to earlier, guinea pigs don’t produce vitamin C, so it is important to provide these nutrients in the diet. Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. To prevent this condition, provide your guinea pig with at least 30mg of vitamins daily.
Some pellets and foods fortified with vitamin C can provide your animals with the required daily intake. But several other all-natural options can also provide the required nutrients.
You can feed your little one with about a cup of the following vegetables each day. These vegetables have high levels of vitamin C, so they are great daily options:
The above list is not exclusive by any means, but they are usually the main go-to veggie for regular diets.
The good thing with most vegetables, such as bell peppers and romaine lettuce, is that they are great for regular training sessions. In fact, your guinea pig can consume these vegetables daily without major complications.
Preferably, you can mix them, probably 2 – 3 treats, to improve their appeal and nutritional value. Alternatively, you can switch between these vegetables to add variety to your pet.
This will also decrease the likelihood of your guinea pig developing food preferences, refusing other food options.
Besides vegetables, add a variety of fruits into your piggy’s diet. But make sure to introduce new fruits or on a gradual basis to reduce cases of diarrhea.
If your pet develops loose stool, you can limit the number of fresh treats for a couple of days, and then reintroduce them in smaller amounts.
Here are some good choices of fruits to try:
- Pear without seeds
- Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
- Grapes, but make sure to remove seeds
While fruits have lots of vitamin C, you should consider them as occasional treats. They are not ideal for training sessions. You can offer them a few times a week.
Most fruits have high sugar content, so you chop them in small portions. A piece of apple or orange, a piece of banana, or several blueberries are enough to satisfy your guinea pig.
Greens & Flowers
As with vegetables and fruits, piggies love a variety of greens. Unfortunately, not all greens are safe for your pet. Here are a couple of greens that you can include in your guinea pigs diet:
- Mixed greens
- Dandelion leaves
- Swiss chard
- Red/Green leaf lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
Common flowers that guinea pigs love include dandelion flowers, marigolds, roses, rosemary, and lavender. Be careful when it comes to the choice of flowers, as some of them are toxic. Avoid feeding your pet with sunflowers, nasturtiums, sweet peas, mallow, and goldenrod.
Vitamin C Tablets
Supplements such as human chewable 100 mg tablets and Oxbow’s GTN-50C are recommended for adult guinea pigs.
Many piggies will take tables just like any other treat and consume them. But sometimes, you may need to crush the tablets and sprinkle on other treats and pellets.
Since vitamin C is water-soluble, you can add the tablet to water. The only challenge is that it may lose potency if it stays too long in the water, not achieving its intended purpose.
Your guinea pig may also refuse to take the water mixed with vitamin C tables because of the unique taste.
Twigs & Branches
Twigs and branches can help sharpen teeth for your pets. During idle moments, these twigs and branches can keep them busy. These treats are also a rich source of fiber, which is essential for maintaining a proper digestive system.
Some safe branches that you can feed your piggy include:
- European beech. This is especially good for managing fevers and respiratory problems.
- Blackberry plant
- Goji berry
- Kiwi plant
- Apple plant
- Pear plant
- Cotton plant
- Willow twigs
- Rowan, but feed them in small amounts since Rowan leaves contain undesirable cyanogenic glycosides.
Bad Treats for Guinea Pigs
There are several treats that you should not give to your guinea pig. Some of them have high-fat content; some have low nutritional value, while others are just poisonous. Here are some foods that are bad for your guinea pigs.
- Chocolate: While chocolate can satisfy cravings and improve your mood, it might do the opposite in guinea pigs. These creatures have sensitive digestive systems. Besides this, chocolates have theobromine, a nutrient that has a similar effect as caffeine.
- Cheese: Guinea pigs eat cheese because they lack enzymes that can digest dairy products. In short, they are lactose intolerant.
- Seeds and Nuts: These treats are fatty and can choke your pet. True, there are a few selected seeds that you can try, but they shouldn’t be part of a healthy diet for these pets.
- Biscuits: They are generally not the best treat for piggies since they have high sugars and fat.
- Meat: Guinea pigs are herbivores or obligate omnivores. Their bodies will reject meat.
Other foods to avoid include potatoes, corn kernel, avocadoes, bread, and peanut butter. Generally, packaged pet store treats are not the best for your piggy.
Your number one responsibility is to make sure that your pets are well-fed and healthy. The good thing with guinea pigs is that they enjoy fresh treats such as fruits, vegetables, and greens, as long as you give them in correct proportions.
Limit packaged treats because they tend to have high sugar content or are deficient in essential nutrients. All-natural food options are the best treats for guinea pigs.