What’s the Best Guinea Pig Food? 5 High-Quality Pellet Brands

by Lindsay Pereira
Best guinea pig food

With so many guinea pig food options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which ones are best for your pets. Faced with a wall of what can seem like endless bags of pellets at the pet store, you may be tempted to select something that looks appealing to you! However, the appearance, and sometimes even the break-down of ingredients, can be misleading.

Whether you’re new to the guinea pig scene or are a responsible pet parent who’s questioning the content of food choices, this post will lead you in the right direction by highlighting healthy, nutritious guinea pig food for your besties. 

What do guinea pigs eat?

The guinea pig diet is comprised of several foods, all of which are vital to keep them strong, happy, and healthy. All cavies need access to the following for their diet:

  • Leafy greens and vegetables
  • Fruit (in small quantities)
  • Fresh hay (unlimited)
  • Water (unlimited)
  • Guinea pig specific pellets

I’ll go into a brief explanation about these must-haves for guinea diets, but for a more detailed description of what they need, check out our easy-to-follow feeding schedule.

Leafy greens and vegetables

Things to know before adopting guinea pigs

Leafy greens and lettuces are an integral part of a cavy’s diet, consisting of about 1-1.5 cups per day per pet. While most greens are suitable for guinea pigs, it is paramount to note iceberg lettuce is not, because of high nitrate levels. Some leafy favorites that are sure to please are:

  • Arugula
  • Romaine
  • Red or green curly lettuce
  • Spinach (limit due to oxalic acid, but very high in vitamin C)
  • Kale
  • Dandelion leaves

Vegetables offer cavies the many vitamins, nutrients, and minerals they require for optimal health. When it comes to veggies, think of serving a rainbow of colors. This will ensure they get a wide range of nutrition, as well as the much-needed Vitamin C they’re unable to generate themselves. According to our guinea’s vet, each pet needs up to 1 cup of mixed vegetables per day, some of those being veggies that provide vitamin C. Some nutritional favorites are:

  • Carrots
  • Celery (with strings removed to prevent choking)
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers (contain high amounts of vitamin C)
  • Tomatoes (omit leaves & stems as they are poisonous!)

On a very serious note, there are some vegetables that are toxic for guinea pigs, which include: 

  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Chili peppers

Here’s a very useful list of dangerous plants on the Happy Cavy website that’s worth printing out.

Fruit

Although cavies can eat several fruit choices, it is best to limit consumption to only a few times a week because of high sugar levels. Therefore, consider fruits as more of a treat, with a maximum of 3-4 servings per week.  

  • Apples (any color are high in vitamin C)
  • Bananas 
  • Grapes 
  • Berries (such as blueberries, Vitamin C-rich strawberries, or raspberries)
How to Make your Guinea Pigs Like You

Hay

Hay is an integral part of the cavy diet. Not only should it make up a large volume of their daily food intake, but it should also be readily accessible. Plus, since their teeth are continuously growing, hay provides the roughage they need to help wear them down, while also being an integral part of keeping their digestive system working smoothly. Some great options are:

  • Timothy hay (ideal for all pigs)
  • Meadow hay
  • Oat hay
  • Alfalfa hay (high in calcium, best for babies and nursing cavies, not to be used everyday)

Our senior guinea pig, Muffy, absolutely loves the Oxbow Animal Health Orchard Grass or their Botanical hay, which is often labelled as Meadow hay. They’re both a lovely blend of Timothy hay, other grasses, and even some wildflowers. 

Pellets

Something cavies can’t do without are food pellets that are specifically for their species. The suggested amount of pellets recommended by Muffy’s vet is 1/8 of a cup per day per pet, though the quantities on the package may say differently – which is ultra confusing! As well, since there are a huge number of manufacturers producing pellets, you may not know which brand to go with. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best pellets for your guineas:

  • Avoid pellets with many colorful pieces, fruit bits or seeds (as these are often high in fat)
  • Skip the super cheap brands – they’re generally full of filler and low on nutrients
  • Added Vitamin C is a plus, or boost it naturally with veggies and fruit
  • Choose a base hay that’s healthy (Timothy is safe but not Alfalfa)
  • No chemical preservatives or anything artificial
  • Never choose pellets that aren’t specifically for guinea pigs (No rabbit food, for instance)

Water

Cavies must always have unlimited access to fresh water. This may mean you’ll have to change their water at least once a day if you’re using a water bowl. A no-drip water dispenser may be handier, as the water always stays clean. However, you’ll need to clean it out regularly and add fresh water. 

The best guinea pig food brands you can buy

So let’s take a look at some of the best guinea pig foods you can buy right now.

1. Oxbow Essentials Guinea Pig Food

Oxbow Cavy Cuisine guinea pig food

Both young and adult guinea pigs benefit nutritionally from all-natural Oxbow Essentials Guinea Pig Food pellets. Here’s a brief run-down of the main advantages of choosing this Oxbow food:

  • Quality Timothy hay offers higher fiber content for optimal digestion.
  • Stabilized Vitamin C and antioxidants boosts your pet’s immune system to ensure excellent health.
  • Pellets are made in uniform sizes to prevent picky eaters from selective feeding. 
  • Peak health for your pet thanks to food that is fortified with minerals and vitamins. 
  • Recommended by pet nutritionists and veterinarians. 

2. Supreme Science Selective Guinea Pig Food

Science Selective cavy food

Here’s another great option made with natural ingredients and no artificial colors or added sugar. Supreme Science Selective Guinea Pig Food offers a long list of healthy benefits, including:

  • Linseed oil that gives your guineas omega-3 oils that help sustain healthy skin and coat, regulating shine, thickness, and even coat color – which is always the mark of a truly healthy cavy! 
  • Naturally delicious flavors without added molasses, syrups, fruit, or sugar.
  • Selective feeding won’t be an issue, as every mouthful is not only packed with balanced nutrition but also great taste. 
  • Essential Vitamin C in every morsel, for a meal that’s completely balanced. 
  • Optimal digestive functioning due to high fiber content, while fibers also keep teeth trim.

3. Burgess Excel Nuggets With Mint Guinea Pig Food

Burgess guinea pig pellets

Burgess Excel Nuggets With Mint Guinea Pig Food is muesli-free and truly one of a kind. Cavies love the added element of mint for a nutritious, tasty treat that promotes gut balance. Other advantages of these nuggets include:

  • 36% beneficial fiber, thus your cavies are sure to be regular. 
  • Uniform nugget shapes prevent selective feeding, so your piggies will get the nutrition they need from every bite.
  • Healthy coat, skin, and eyes with fortified vitamins and minerals.
  • Perfect levels of Vitamin C for a happy, healthy pet. 

4. Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Food Pellets

Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Food Pellets

Your pets will benefit in many ways with high-quality Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Food Pellets. Made with fresh, hand-picked ingredients, these pellets truly promise your cavies a natural, healthy diet. Check out some more ways your pets will thrive with this vet-approved food:

  • Pellets made with Timothy hay for a fully digestible meal.
  • Minerals and vitamins in every bite, thanks to fortified feed. 
  • Freshness guaranteed with batches that are small and milled by hand, assured by this family-owned American company. 
  • Not only are their pellets made by hand, but their ingredients are hand-selected too, ensuring truly high-quality food.
  • All-natural, ethically sourced products that are also 100% sustainable. 
  • Picked and handled with care by farmers for fresh delivery and approved by veterinarians.
  • And, as their label says, these pellets are made with love!

5. Mazuri Timothy-Based Guinea Pig Food

Mazuri cavy food brand

Mazuri offers a well-known, high-quality feed that is actually used by zoo professionals to feed their exotic cavies. The Mazuri Timothy-Based Guinea Pig Food, as the company insists, is committed to research-led feeding for animals, assuring your guineas get top-notch pellets. Here are a few impressive points about their Timothy-based food for guineas:

  • Pellets that are 100% nutritionally complete, with no added Vitamin C because it’s naturally incorporated. 
  • Food is created using Timothy-based hay, assuring excellent mineral balance with appropriate protein levels. 
  • High fiber content gets guineas chewing longer, which helps digestion and promotes dental health. 
  • Contains natural Vitamin E, flaxseed, and probiotics for optimal wellbeing. 

What do your guinea pigs like to eat?

Hey, you, fellow guinea adorer! We want to know what your fluffy ones like to eat. Let us know in the section below. 

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4 comments

Pam August 3, 2018 - 4:11 am

What is the best food for very young Guinea Pigs (under 2 months old)?

Reply
Monika August 3, 2018 - 6:16 am

Hi, some vets advise feeding young guinea pigs (under 4 months old) with alfalfa as young cavies require more protein and calcium which this type of hay contains. Although a lot of guinea pig parents feed their baby cavies timothy based pallets and the babies are doing great either way. You can offer them unlimited alfalfa or timothy pallets in addition to unlimited amounts of hay (you can combine alfalfa with timothy or meadow) and some veggies.

We have written more about feeding guinea pigs here if you want to take a look: https://www.animallama.com/guinea-pigs/guinea-pig-feeding-schedule/

If you’re wondering which specific brand is good for young guinea pigs, this one is very popular among guinea pig parents: https://amzn.to/2OIPlse

Reply
Troy December 30, 2018 - 3:37 am

What would be options for non Timothy Hay based pellets? My wife is allergic to Timothy.

Reply
Monika January 2, 2019 - 10:40 am

Hi, you can use any type of grass hay such as Oaten, Wheaten, Pasture, Paddock, Meadow or Ryegrass hays. But make sure to avoid legume hay such as Alfalfa and Clover hay – those have more calories and less fiber so they are not suitable as an everyday hay for guinea pigs. You can give legume hay to pregnant and lactating guinea pigs and young guinea pigs but adult guinea pigs shouldn’t eat it regularly.

Reply

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