In this list, I’ve compiled ten foods that your guinea pig can eat every day. However, this doesn’t mean that these are the only foods you should feed your guinea pigs daily. Variety is essential for guinea pigs.
It’s best to provide different types of vegetables on a rotational basis. It’s a good idea to pick a handful of staple veggies, feed them throughout the week, and then periodically mix in some other vegetables and fruits. This way, your guinea pigs get the vitamins they need from different sources.
You can also find a complete list of foods that guinea pigs can eat along with the frequency to give them here: Guinea Pig Food Chart.
1. Grass Hay
High-quality grass hay should consist of 80% of your guinea pig’s daily diet. Hay should be freely available at all times. Some of the best kinds of hay to feed your guinea pig are timothy hay, orchard grass hay, meadow hay, and bluegrass hay. Any of these hay varieties is a great choice to feed your guinea pig. You can also switch between different types or mix them together for more variety.
It’s best to avoid feeding grain or legume hay as part of your guinea pig’s daily diet.
Grain hay, such as oat hay, is higher in fat than grass hay. This can cause guinea pigs to gain weight if fed in excess.
Oat hay is okay to give your guinea pig occasionally, but it shouldn’t make up the bulk of their forage.
Alfalfa is the best-known legume hay for guinea pigs. Legume hay such as alfalfa is high in calcium and should not be fed to adult guinea pigs at all.
Alfalfa hay contains higher levels of calcium, which can cause bladder stones to develop in guinea pigs. Baby guinea pigs under six months old can safely eat alfalfa, as they can use the extra calcium for their growing bones.
2. Sweet Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are one of the best vegetables to feed your guinea pig every day. These peppers are also known as sweet peppers or capsicums. They are high in Vitamin C, which is essential for guinea pigs. They are also full of nutrients and low in calcium.
Some guinea pigs may not like them at first, but it’s worth being persistent because bell peppers have so many health benefits for guinea pigs.
You can feed your guinea pig all colors of sweet bell peppers, including red, orange, yellow, and green. I like to rotate between different colors every day for my piggies.
Orange bell peppers are the highest in Vitamin C, containing 158mg per 100 grams, closely followed by red, yellow, and green. Guinea pigs should consume 10-50 mg of Vitamin C per day, and bell peppers can easily fulfill this requirement with just a single slice.
Each color contains different types of antioxidants, so it’s a good idea to incorporate all the colors into your guinea pig’s weekly diet. 1/8 to 1/4 of a bell pepper per pig is a good amount to feed daily. Alternatively, you can also feed one whole baby sweet pepper per day.
3. High-Quality Guinea Pig Pellets
If you’re feeding a high-quality pellet food, your guinea pig should only need about 1/8 cup of food per day.
You don’t want to give your guinea pig free access to pellets, as this could lead to weight gain. Feeding too many pellets can also discourage your guinea pig from eating the proper amount of hay.
Pellets provide added Vitamin C, as well as other vital nutrients and minerals for your guinea pig. Be sure to choose a quality food that is formulated specifically for guinea pigs.
Oxbow is a good brand, and that’s what I feed my guys as well. Avoid pellets with nuts, seeds, or colored pieces mixed into the food. These are fattening and can even pose a choking risk.
4. Fresh Grass
Fresh grass can also be fed to your guinea pig daily. If the weather is nice, you can take your guinea pigs outside to graze. You can also hand-pick some grass to bring inside.
If you take your guinea pigs outside, ensure they are safely contained in an exercise pen or enclosure of some sort. Also, stay close to supervise in case of predators nearby.
If you pick grass for your guinea pigs, make sure it’s not treated with pesticides or soiled on by other animals.
Avoid picking grass and dandelions from parks or boulevards. These areas may have been treated by the city. They also may have been exposed to other animals and car exhaust fumes.
Finally, never feed your guinea pig any grass clippings from the lawnmower. These clippings are mixed with fuel from the mower. This can poison your guinea pig or cause severe stomach issues and bloat. If you take your piggies outside right after cutting the grass, be sure to rake up any grass clippings and hose down the area before allowing them to graze.
You can also grow grass indoors in planters. This provides your guinea pig with a small but ever-growing supply of fresh grass. This can be especially great in winter when you can’t pick grass from outside. You can grow grass from seed or dig out a patch of thick grass from your yard and put it in a pot in the window.
Lettuce is a veggie that I feed to my guinea pigs nearly every day and have for years. I like to rotate between green leaf, romaine, and Boston lettuce. Red leaf is also safe but my piggies don’t like it as much as the others.
Avoid feeding iceberg lettuce, as it contains virtually no nutrients and can cause diarrhea more easily than other varieties.
However, feeding lettuce every day is not likely to cause any problems for your guinea pig. It is low in calories, sugar, fat, and calcium.
The high water content in lettuce can also help keep your guinea pig hydrated, especially for piggies that don’t drink much water on their own.
Lettuce can cause diarrhea if fed in large amounts, but this is generally not an issue when fed in reasonable amounts. One leaf of lettuce per day is a good amount to feed. Most guinea pigs love lettuce, and it makes a great treat, especially for hand feeding and bonding time.
Cucumber is low in calcium and sugar, making it safe to feed multiple times a week. However, it is low in Vitamin C, so cucumber should not make up a big portion of your guinea pig’s daily veggies.
Cucumber is also very high in water content. This can be good to keep your guinea pig hydrated and flush out their system, but too many watery foods can also cause diarrhea.
Therefore, you should only feed one thin slice of cucumber to your guinea pig daily. Be sure to add in more nutrient-rich foods, so your piggy gets all the vitamins they need from different sources.
Carrots contain many nutrients, but they are a bit higher in sugar than some other veggies. For this reason, it’s best to feed them in very small quantities.
You should only feed half of a baby carrot, one slice of a large carrot, or about 15-20 shredded carrot pieces per day. If your guinea pig is overweight, you’ll want to feed a bit less or reduce their carrots to 2-3 times a week.
I like to use shredded carrots, as it’s easy to give your guinea pigs little bite-sized treats.
Guinea pigs can also eat carrot tops, but it’s crucial to feed them no more than once a week due to their high calcium levels.
8. Belgian Endive
Belgian endive is another great option to feed your guinea pig regularly. There are a few different types of endive and escarole. All are safe to feed your piggy, but Belgian endive is the best one for daily feeding.
Belgian endive is the lowest in calcium, phosphorus, and sugar. This type of endive can be identified by its small bullet shape and yellow-white color.
Curly endive and escarole are a brighter green color and contain slightly higher levels of calcium. These varieties are popular with guinea pigs and can be fed 2-3 times a week.
Endive is not super high in Vitamin C, so be sure to supplement with veggies high in Vitamin C if you feed endive frequently.
Zucchini, also known as courgette, is another good staple veggie to feed your guinea pig. Zucchini has high fiber and Vitamin C levels, and it’s low in sugar, calcium, and oxalates. Guinea pigs can eat a couple of slices of this veggie per day.
As with most veggies, it can cause diarrhea if fed in substantial quantities, but it generally won’t cause any problems when fed in reasonable amounts.
Guinea pigs can eat zucchini with the skin on or off. Some guinea pigs don’t mind the skin, and others will only eat the flesh inside. The skin contains the highest concentration of antioxidants, so it’s best to leave it on if your piggies like it.
10. Corn Husks and Silk
Guinea pigs can also eat corn on the cob husks and silk regularly. However, corn is often treated with pesticides, so be sure to discard the outer husks if the corn is not organic.
Additionally, corn husks do not have a lot of nutritional value, so you’ll want to mix them up with some more nutrient-rich foods to ensure that your guinea pigs get the vitamins they need.
However, corn husks are very inexpensive and easy to feed your guinea pigs, especially in the summer months when corn season is in full swing.
11. Vitamin C Cookies
Most store-bought treats are generally best avoided. However, Oxbow makes a great Vitamin C supplement that comes in a biscuit treat form.
These treats also provide your guinea pig with extra Vitamin C daily. I generally feed one of these to my piggies daily, as guinea pigs can never have too much Vitamin C. Most guinea pigs love them and get super excited for these treats.
It’s best to avoid any kind of Vitamin C drops that you add to your guinea pig’s drinking water. These lose their potency very quickly.
They also change the water’s taste, which can turn some guinea pigs off drinking from their bottle. Edible supplements or veggies are the best sources of Vitamin C for guinea pigs.
Bonus Foods: 3-4 Times Weekly
A few other great foods you can give your guinea pig 3-4 times a week are tomatoes, radicchio, and celery.
Tomatoes are low in calcium and provide a reasonable amount of Vitamin C. They also contain a wealth of antioxidants that help to fight off infections and prevent chronic disease.
Unfortunately, they are slightly acidic, so they should not be fed daily to your guinea pig. However, they can be incorporated regularly, about 3-5 times a week, into your piggy’s diet.
You can feed one small cherry tomato or an equivalent chunk of a regular tomato per day. Be sure to remove all green tops and leaves as these are poisonous to guinea pigs.
Radicchio is another excellent staple veggie. Low in calcium and rich in Vitamin K and various antioxidants, this leafy red veggie has plenty of benefits for your guinea pig. It’s not overly high in vitamin C, so it pairs well with high vitamin C foods like bell peppers.
In addition, nearly all guinea pigs love radicchio, and it usually becomes a favorite food. This makes it a great treat for bonding and hand-feeding time.
Celery also makes a great weekly addition to your guinea pig’s menu. It is also not a significant source of vitamin C, but it contains a variety of other nutrients that are beneficial to your guinea pig.
Celery contains a small amount of oxalates, which can be harmful in high quantities. However, it’s fairly low in calcium and sugar and makes a great addition to the diet a few times a week.
Guinea pigs can have up to 1 cup of vegetables per day. However, this is a maximum, and it’s perfectly fine to feed a bit less than this. I typically feed between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of veggies.
The two most essential things your guinea pig needs are unlimited access to grass hay and an appropriate amount of Vitamin C in their diet.
Remember to introduce unfamiliar foods slowly to avoid stomach upset or diarrhea in your guinea pig. Offer small amounts, and introduce just one new food at a time.
Even though the foods in this list are safe to feed daily, feeding a variety of different veggies is still vital to your guinea pig’s health. Avoid going overboard with any one food, and try to mix it up when you can.
Also, be sure to check out this list of 45 things your guinea pig should never eat so you know what to avoid giving your piggy.