The guinea pig diet must be viewed overall if any difference to health might be made. Adjusting fresh food intake without addressing the dry food may make the whole exercise a waste of time.

Also included in the ‘guinea pig diet’ is water, water is, along with hay, of major importance to the well being of guinea pigs. Water contains vitamins and minerals too and whilst it is important not to get too hung up on this and keep things in proportion there are circumstances where water is a major factor in the health of the guinea pig. This is often where guinea pigs are being given bottled waters which may contain vitamins and minerals, another factor is hard water areas, this is remedied by using a filter jug.

Guinea pigs frequently have urinary tract problems for a variety of reasons, some dietry, some hereditary others unknown. Whilst there is no certainty as to what will have the ‘desired effect’ feeding a balanced diet will go some way to at least minimising incidents of urinary tract issues.

If only one change is made in a guinea pigs diet after a bladder stone operation it should be to increase fluid intake. Depending on the stone type found (there are several) will affect whether or not the condition can be treated, another factor affecting this is the cause of the stone/calculi occuring in the first place.

For example, if the cause is:

  • Hereditary then there is probably no hope of cure, only limiting the incidences, depending on stone type and treatment (ongoing post op treatment) the guinea pig may live for years afterward.
  • If the cause is related to the guinea pig’s metabolism then once again the prognosis is limited to minimising effects that may be caused by incorrect diet.
  • Poor fluid intake (probably more likely to be a contributing factor than a cause) can be changed. Many guinea pigs that have bladderstone issues are noted to be poor drinkers. Water must be renewed daily so it is ‘drinkable’.
  • Diet related causes have a better prognosis but diagnosis is virtually impossible without lots of expense and no definite outcome. Even where diet may be identified as the causing factor and the diet is worked out to be nutritionally correct there is no control over the metabolism which has the last ‘say’ over what will ‘happen’ to any food!

Mimicking the natural diet of dried mature grasses and a little selected herbage is the desirable way to feed guinea pigs,  this can be achieved by feeding a diet that is mostly hay, followed by leafy vegetables and then dry food and possibly a little fruit. The type of mature grass hay fed is irrelevant providing it is of good quality.

Each guinea should have access to hay to play in in addition to their body mass ‘amount’ of hay for eating. Hay is also a great natural boredom breaker and promotes the correct action for wearing down those continually growing teeth.

In addition care should be taken to select an appropriate dry food for the diet, not forgetting to include it (and everything else that guinea pigs eat) as part of the overall diet. Registered & Protected