Dry food for guinea pigs is likely your most economical option unless you want to grow the necessary grasses yourself. These foods come in a wide variety with different bases, mix-ins, and even complementary treats. The trick is finding the option that fits your guinea pig’s nutritional needs and your budget.
What’s the Base?
Guinea pigs are herbivores, and they evolved to eat a wide variety of grasses. Therefore, it’s best to choose dry food for guinea pigs that uses grasses as the primary ingredient. Hay is the best option for many guinea pigs, but make sure you check for any specific nutritional circumstances like youth and pregnancy. The pelleting process involves drying out the grasses, adding any nutritional balancers like vitamin C, and then compacting the mixture.
Pellets are part of a nutritionally balanced guinea pig diet, particularly for pets. However, make sure to add in a mix of guinea pig safe fruits and vegetables for variety.
Enriched or not?
In general, enriched pellets are a solid idea. In particular, guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C like many animals. Instead, they rely on their food for it. Feeding out an enriched pellet makes sure that your guinea pig is getting the vitamin every day, which in turn helps their overall health. However, these vitamins can deteriorate over time, so you cannot buy in bulk for one or two guinea pigs.
There are two alternatives for enriched dry food for guinea pigs. One is using a water-soluble supplement in a drinking container. Unfortunately, this option means more cleaning of the water container you use. The other option is feeding vegetables and fruits that contain the necessary vitamins every day, which can be a scheduling nightmare.
Items to Avoid in Dry Food for Guinea Pigs
When you’re considering dry food for guinea pigs, it’s vital to avoid certain things in the diet. Many advertise as fun mixes to keep your guinea pig interested in eating them. However, that’s not necessary for guinea pigs and may even cause issues.
Take seeds, for example. They’re one of the common ingredients in guinea pig feed mixes. For starters, hard seeds are a choking and chomping hazard. You don’t want to end up with broken guinea pig teeth. Plus, nutritionally, it’s like putting ice cream in front of your guinea pig every day. Seeds are not a nutritionally balanced option, but your guinea pig may decide they’re the only part of his daily food he likes too.
Dried fruit is also a problem in dry food for guinea pigs. Fruit contains a lot of sugar when it’s fresh, and the drying process concentrates that sugar. Guinea pigs are small, and that amount of sugar can overwhelm their system. Doing that daily is problematic.
Dry food for guinea pigs should also not include corn. Corn is not digestible for guinea pigs, so it must work its way through their systems. It can also get caught in their feet and under their bellies if your guinea pigs are messy eaters. Having it around day in and day out only increases the odds of something negative happening.
Also, you will want to ensure the dry food for your guinea pigs is dye-free. There is no reason for dyed guinea pig food. While guinea pigs are not color blind, color has little to do with them determining what to eat.