Your guinea pig eats a balanced diet to begin with. However, every guinea pig deserves a treat. As a bonus, these treats can help your guinea pigs end up with the right levels of various vitamins and minerals. It’s merely a matter of picking out the proper guinea pig treats and rotating the selection.
Guinea Pig Digestion
Guinea pigs have a similar set of digestive organs to other mammals, including stomachs, intestines, livers, kidneys, pancreas, rectums, and so on. Where they differ is a cecum, which allows the guinea pigs a second opportunity to obtain nutrients out of a specific food. However, humans find the idea of re-ingesting something that’s already gone through the digestive tract disgusting for the most part.
What to Look for in a Treat
Since guinea pigs are so small, their nutritional balance is crucial. Treats cannot upset this balance. Therefore, it’s in your guinea pig’s best interest that their treats be whole foods. Vegetables and fruits make the best guinea pig treats.
In general, commercial treats are not suitable for regular guinea pig consumption. Many of these treats contain items like seeds, which can injure your guinea pig, or are high in sugar. Additionally, commercial guinea pig treats are not made with an eye to nutrition and have empty calories.
Popular Guinea Pig Treats
Greens are among the most versatile guinea pig treats. When selecting a green, select darker greens for the nutrition content. Your guinea pig can have greens by the handful once a day or used as a training treat one leaf at a time. Most greens have many vitamins like A, C, and potassium your guinea pig needs to stay healthy.
Squash is also an excellent treat for your guinea pigs, though on account of the water content, you’ll need to only feed it 2 to 3 times a week. Squash is a low-calorie treat, and you can feed guinea pigs the skins as well.
Fruits should only be given in small quantities. A wedge of orange or apple, a few strawberries, and a couple of slices of banana are all sufficient for little piggles. Overdoing it can cause your sugar highs in guinea pigs, which taxes their whole system. Tomatoes do fall into the fruit category, and you should portion them appropriately.
Carrots and Bell Peppers
Carrots and bell peppers are easy treats to keep on hand. Both offer supplemental vitamin C, which guinea pigs need since they cannot make their own. You can dole these treats out a couple of strips at a time and watch your guinea pigs go crazy.