Guinea pigs have a very specific digestive system: They always need something to eat, because their stomach and their intestine are not very muscular. Thus the digestion only works if new food pushes the digested food further. To fill this need a guinea pig requires tons of hay every day. For getting enough vitamins and minerals fresh food is required as well.
Guinea pigs love diversified food and there are many options for a balanced diet. Besides grass and herbs, various fruits and vegetables can be fed to them. Additionally branches are a good food source for guinea pigs, because they can wear down their teeth by chewing on the branches as well. The best branches for feeding guinea pigs are:
- Apple tree branches
- Hazel nut branches
- Elm branches
Most other branches should only be fed to them in small amounts, because they either contain a lot of natural oils or various acids and are not healthy in larger amounts.
Most sorts of dry food sold in pet shops are not healthy for guinea pigs, because they contain too much sugar and fat and thus only fatten the guinea pigs. Therefore dry food from the pet shop should only be bought in case the guinea pigs are ill and need to gain weight to survive. Natural food, especially fresh food, contains all the necessary ingredients, so that no further dietary supplements are required.
Even though guinea pigs obtain a lot of water through fresh food, an additional supply of water is always needed.