Feeding your guinea pigs
We get treats of fresh vegetables every day (green peppers, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber etc.) and Timothy Hay based pellets. Most Importantly we eat lots of KMS Hayloft 2nd cut Timothy Hay. It is not just food, it helps keep our teeth healthy and it is lots of fun to run and jump into a big pile of hay. We also like to play hide and seek in it. Mom says the fibre is good for our tummys. We eat only KMS Timothy Choice pellets because they're the best :-) We also get, every day, half of a 100mg Vitamin C tablet (that's 50mg!) of Puritans Pride Acerola with Vitamin C. NOTE: Puritans Pride have drastically changed the formulation of their product and most guinea pigs will not now eat them, probably because they have put Sorbitol in them!! Ours can't even stand the smell. We have tried GNC and American Health products and they won't eat them either. We now use Wonder Laboratories (Qty 100 or 250) product and our guinea pigs like them, although a rabbit locally refused to eat those too. They call them 'Wafers', but they are very thick and need a pill cutter to prepare for use.
Our older friends, or if we are sick, eat Critical Care to get a real boost. Recently, on the advice of the Cambridge Cavy Trust, we have been using Critter Be Better from American Pet Diner. Oxbow products can often be bought from local feedstores..
What we CAN eat daily: Carrot, Cabbage, Celery, Apple, Grapes, Melon, Peach, Pineapple, Plums, Lettuce, Cucumber, Meadow Hay, any Guinea Pig pellets with NO Additives or colouring, Russell Rabbit Carrot and Leek (in UK), Pear, Banana, Orange, Radish, Broccoli, Cauliflower Leaf, Peas, Parsnips, Green/Red/Yellow Peppers, Tomatoes, Cherries, Grass, Com, Oats, Wheat. NOTE: when using grass, make sure no insecticide, herbicide or fertiliser has been sprayed on the grass!
Things you must NOT feed your guinea pig: Spinach, Chicory, Alfalfa Hay, Guinea Pig Mix with seeds or dried fruit, Basil, Swiss Chard, Water Cress, Sweet Clover Hay, Beetroot TOPS, RAW Potato, Rhubarb, Buttercups, Moss, Bindweed, Leaf or Flowers from Bulbs, Evergreens, Ragwort, Ferns. Anything spicy hot. This is not an exhaustive list. If in doubt, leave it out! Don't feed them nuts or seeds - these can cause dental and abcess problems (example - "wild" bird seed). If a pet store tries to sell you a salt (NaCl) block then tell them it most certainly is NOT required for guinea pigs. If you have one, or have been buying them, take them away from your guinea pig(s) NOW.
Water - Water and water "quality" are extremely important. High concentrations of minerals can cause kidney stones, most of which are calcium or phosphorus based. If your guinea pigs have a genetic history of stone formation (you have offspring from a previously affected pig), or if you are in doubt, it is best to use one gallon bottled water from stores such as Walmart/Neighborhood Market, Target, Publix, etc. Make sure that the jug/bottle says "Reverse Osmosis" on it and not "tap water", "drinking water", "distilled water" etc. Clean your guninea pig water bottles regularly, using careful rinsing after the cleaning. Don't use water from store-based RO machines (refillable jugs/bottles) - these can be poorly maintained and of little to no use. If you want RO water for you, your family and guinea pigs, you can install an under-the-sink unit. Low cost, but harder maintenance systems from GE can be bought for as low as $150 from Home Depot, etc. A simple low work-load one at $250 is made by Watts. It can make 50 gallons per day, with a waste ratio of 2:1. Most guinea pigs (obviously depending on size) should drink between 1.4 fl.oz. (40 ml) to 3.2 fl.oz. (90 ml) per day each. In the USA, further guidance can be found at the USGS Water Quality web pages. The most important image is:
UK water hardness map
Light green=soft; Middle green=medium; Dark green=hard