Guinea pigs are a bit bigger than hamsters, but they also belong to the rodent family. With their care, a little mistake can lead to a disaster.
One of the most important needs of any living thing is food, but when not given in the right amount, food can pose a lot of problems for your beloved pets.
But can you overfeed a guinea pig? Well, the simple answer is yes, you can overfeed a guinea pig. But we’ll get into details about how below.
Can You Overfeed A Guinea Pig?
Yes, a guinea pig can be overfed. Although herbivores like guinea pigs can eat as much grass hay as their little heart’s desire, portion control is needed for veggies, fruits, and pellets because of their sugar content.
If you are confused and scared about overfeeding your guinea pig, here’s how to prevent overfeeding your guinea pigs.
Grass hay should constitute about 80% of your guinea pig’s diet. This is extremely important because the fiber of the hay helps to digest their meal and keep their teeth trimmed snd sharp.
Talking about hay, you cannot just feed any type of grass hah to your pet; Timothy, bluegrass, meadow grass, and orchard grass hays are all good options to feed your guinea pig, while options like alfalfa hay are only recommended for use in guinea pigs below six months of age.
This is due to the high content of calcium in alfalfa, making it only suitable for pregnant or nursing sows and pups under the age of 6 months.
When feeding your guinea pig pellets, try to go for plain pellets and only give your guinea pigs only 1/8 cup of pellets each per day. Using colorful treats can result in selective feeding. And they also have high sugar content.
Try serving the pellets in separate bowls if you have more than one guinea to prevent only one guinea pig from eating it all up.
Try to feed your guinea pigs at least one cup of fresh vegetables and herbs. Recommended vegetables include lettuce, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, carrot, spinach, kale, coriander, basil, brussel sprouts.
Avoid feeding your guinea pigs avocado due to its high-fat content and cabbage, which is high in calcium and can cause bloating.
Before feeding any vegetable to your pet, you have to be mindful of its nutritional value because while some vegetables have high sugar content, some have high calcium content, and feeding your guinea pig too much calcium could lead to health problems with their liver and urine.
Although giving treats is a great way to show love to your pet, most of these treats are loaded with artificial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, fructose or sucrose, and have no nutritional value with lots of empty calories.
Avoid feeding your guinea pig bread crust; this is very bad for them and can throw off their nutritional balance.
For treats, try giving your guinea pig fruits such as strawberries and apples but keep it to the barest minimum because you do not want to overfeed your pet with sugar, which can result in obesity.
When feeding your guinea pig, you might find it difficult to know the exact amount. So you can acquire some measuring utensils like a kitchen scale and a measuring cup so that you can monitor the quantity of food your pet eats.
Try to take the weight of your guinea pig every month; this way, you can tell if they are putting on too much weight or if they are losing weight. Weight is a major indicator of a guinea pig’s wellness.
The average adult sow (male) should weigh anywhere from 900 to 1200 grams, while the females, on average, are about 20% lighter than the males and weighs anywhere from 700 to 900 grams.
Factors like sex, age, and breed all have an effect on the weight of the guinea pig and must be taken into consideration. If your guinea pig is just slightly over or under the average weight, do not be worried.
This will simply tell you if you need to reduce their pellets portion or cut back on the treats or increase it.
You can use a normal kitchen or bathroom scale that fits your guinea pig’s whole body to take the weight measurement.
Read Also: How Much Coriander is Good for Guinea Pig?
Can Guinea Pigs Die From Overeating?
Overfeeding your guinea pig can have really adverse effects on the animal. They have a susceptible digestive system, and overfeeding can make guinea pigs immobile and sedentary chubby, and also causes health issues and problems.
Overfeeding your guinea pig with certain foods can cause diarrhea and upset stomach with impaired digestion in your guinea pig. Grass hay and pellets are the recommended food for your guinea pig, but even with that, you still have to mind the quantity your pet eats.
Veggies and fruits should also be given to your guinea pig but in proper dosages.
What Happens If You Overfeed Guinea Pigs?
There are various things that can happen to your guinea pig when you overfeed it, and these are some of the issues;
1. Tooth Decay
Overfeeding your guinea pig with sugary items such as fruits and treats can cause teeth decomposition. This is because guinea pigs need the fiber of grass hay to groom their teeth.
2. Gastrointestinal Stasis (GI)
This condition is very life-threatening for guinea pigs because the pig’s digestive system completely shuts down. Not giving your pet the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fibers increase the chances of this happening to your guinea pig.
Overfeeding your guinea pig on grass hay, pellets, fruits, and veggies can lead to obesity in your pet. You want to be very mindful of the amount of food your pet eats.
Allowing your guinea pig to become obese is very cruel, as it makes it difficult for the guinea pig to be active or even take care of themselves.
4. Heart Problem
Overfeeding can cause congestive heart failure in your guinea pig, which is a very life-threatening situation. Aside from heart failure, other heart and blood vessel disease problems, like atherosclerosis, can also be caused by overfeeding.
5. Urinary Tract Infection
Feeding your guinea pig too much calcium can cause urinary tract infection, and the first sign of this problem is colorless or cloudy urine (bladder sludge).
6. Imbalance Of Gut Bacteria
Feeding your guinea pig too much a sugary item can cause an imbalance of stomach bacteria, which can lead to constipation or diarrhea.
7. Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Make sure your guinea pigs have a constant supply of grass hay 24 hours a day, and they are of good quality; dry, sweet-smelling, and does not contain mold, mildew, or fungus, making sure to feed them the appropriate type according to their age.
This is very crucial because providing a complete diet and encourages the guinea pigs to chew for long periods of time. And This helps to wear down their teeth, which is always growing, maintaining good dental and gastrointestinal health.
Try placing the hay in a hayrack or basket to prevent it from sitting on the enclosure floor, becoming damp, dirty, and moldy, and can also become contaminated with your guinea pigs’ waste. Feeding your guinea pig like this can make it sick.
Try to feed your guinea pig a variety of fresh leafy green vegetables & herbs daily. You can find a list of safe items to feed your guinea pig above.
The fact that guinea pigs cannot produce Vitamin C themselves means that you have to find a dietary source of vitamin c for your pet. There are foods rich in Vitamin C, such as leafy green veggies and capsicums; they are a great source of protein and can be fed to your guinea pigs daily.
You can also feed your guinea pug fruits like carrots, kiwifruit, berries, and pineapple once or twice a week as they are also great as a source of Vitamin C and a tasty treat, but they have high sugar content.
Only feed grass, herbs, fruits, and vegetables that have not been sprayed by any pesticide because those chemicals could harm your guinea pigs. Never feed your guinea pig Lawnmower clippings as these can make your pig very sick and even cause gastrointestinal blockages.
Pellets with a minimum fiber content of 16% should be fed to the guinea pig in small quantities and should not become the main part of the diet. This is because pellets only contain a nutritional value of vitamin C when fresh, and within just a few months, they no longer contain Vitamin C.
Always remove Uneaten food from your guinea pig’s enclosure after a couple of hours to make sure that the leftover food doesn’t rot or become moldy, which could harm your guinea pig.
Introducing new food to your guinea pig should be done gradually so that your guinea pigs’ digestive system has enough time to adjust and do not become overwhelmed, which can lead to sickness.
You need to change your guinea pig’s diet; try Mixing the new food into the existing diet in small quantities, increasing it slowly in the span of two weeks.
Although vegetables and fruits are beneficial to a guinea pig’s health, not all can be said the same for. So before feeding your guinea pigs any item, make sure it is safe for your piggy. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t feed your guinea pig.
Make sure your guinea pig always has clean, fresh water at all times. You can make use of multiple water dispensers placed strategically around your pig’s enclosures. You can also fit a water bottle or a small water bowl inside as well.
Read Also: Do Guinea Pigs Squeak When Hungry?
Knowing if you can overfeed a guinea pig is an applauded step as it shows that you are willing to take good care of your pet.
Hopefully, you now have an answer to your question so you can know when your precious piggies are being overfed.