Ratewatchers is a correctly balanced diet designed for guinea pigs, including those with bladder sludge and stone problems.The Ratewatchers Diet contains all foods. There are no ‘Good’ foods or ‘Bad’ foods, just foods fed in the correct amounts and ratios. Whilst it is the Calcium to Phophorus ratio that is being calculated the diet is also looked at as a whole. Vitamins and minerals should be viewed as the cogs of a machine that makes up the guinea pigs metabolism, when one is removed the others are affected.

Hay is the main part of the guinea pig’s diet and the aim is for guinea to eat at least their body mass in hay,  this is followed by fresh food (vgetables and a little fruit) and lastly dry food which makes up the smallest part of the diet.

Key facts:

  • Calcium high foods are lighter than Phosphorus foods, it is easy to feed a diet that is too high in Phosphorus but difficult to feed a Calcium high diet.
  • Guinea pigs can get bladderstones resulting from a diet that is too high in Phosphorus foods too (fruits and roots), ie a low calcium diet will promote these stones. Other problems can result from a diet deficient in Calcium such as dental (guinea pigs have continually growing teeth). Poor condition of nails (also continually growing).
  • Foods that are correctly balanced in Calcium and Phosphorus may still be harmful if fed in the wrong amounts because of the other nutrients they contain or the amount of Calcium/Phosphorus they contain. It is the amount of foods fed that is of primary importance.
  • At first food will need to be weighed, after that it will become second nature to feed your guinea pigs, rather like giving them a health check does.
  • All of the guinea pigs Planet Guinea surveyed over the last year were receiving at least twice as much Vitamin C than they needed (the amount needed ranges from 10-30mg depending on ’state’, eg pregnant/ill, all the diets were receiving at least 60mg and many over 100mg!
  • Mature grass can be fed ad lib except in the spring (when it is not mature unless grown under artificial conditions), take advice on the amount of young/new grass that is in the diet including grass grown indoors- it is the age of the grass that is important NOT the season.
  • The guinea pig bladder can hold about 10mls, in order to ‘flush it through’ an amount in excess of this (or at least equal to) needs to be given at any one time. 15ml x3 daily is advisable.
  • Water and hay are a key part of the guinea pig diet too and affect the overall and general well being of the body.

See: Ratewatchers for the actual diet in pdf format.