The guinea pig is one of the most popular pets around the world. People like to keep guinea pigs because they are relatively low maintenance, and they can easily live in their cage without requiring any oversight. However, you should know that guinea pigs need to be cared for.
First and foremost, you need to be very particular about what you feed your guinea pig. Many people are confused about what they can feed to their guinea pig, and if cantaloupe is a wise idea. Cantaloupe offers a lot of health benefits, so it’s definitely worth considering. But, can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe? Let’s find out.
What Should You Feed Your Guinea Pig?
First and foremost, you need to understand that guinea pigs must be given a balanced diet. Just because you love your guinea pig does not mean you can feed the animal anything you want. You can’t just put it on the dining table and let it find its way across the food, and you definitely can’t feed the animal the same things that you eat.
You need to know that guinea pigs are herbivores. Simply put, this means that these animals primarily thrive on vegetables and fruits. They don’t mind occasionally chewing on grass blades too. You should know that you can’t feed them any kind of dairy, eggs, insects, or other things.
Leafy vegetables and fresh hay are both very good and they make up the vast portion of the guinea pig’s diet. There are quite a few things that you need to take into account when it comes to selecting the right foods for your guinea pig. Let’s delve further and find out what the guinea pig needs.
When selecting foods for your pet, you need to keep the following things in mind:
They need vitamin C: unlike humans, guinea pigs are unable to produce vitamin C on their own. This makes them incredibly vulnerable to problems such as scurvy. When you are looking to buy pellets for your guinea pig, you need to make sure that they contain reasonable amounts of vitamin C. This is going to improve their overall strength and prevent major diseases.
Their teeth continue to grow: furthermore, you should know that these animals are constantly growing. You need to understand that their teeth are rapidly growing and they need something that they can chew on around the clock. That is why guinea pigs need hay on a regular basis. It’s incredibly important, because simply feeding hard pellets isn’t going to be enough.
One of the things you should know is that quickly transitioning the guinea pig’s diet isn’t a wise move. If you are going to transition the animal’s diet, you need to be as slow about it as possible. If you are slowly trying to turn the animal’s diet from a store-based one into something healthier, go slow with it.
You should slowly begin to introduce new foods into the animal’s diet and then reduce the proportion of the older foods so that the animal is able to adjust. There are going to be times when you will find your guinea pig eating its own poop. You should know that these animals tend to poop in two different ways.
One type is soft and also contains nutrition, so they tend to ingest it to get more nutrients. Even rabbits do the same thing. The other kind of poop is harder and is usually produced when the animal has digested its food twice. This is the poop that you end up cleaning from the animal’s cage.
What’s the Best Time to Feed the Animal?
Because these animals are herbivores, they are essentially grazers. As a result, you should know that the animal is going to continue munching on its vegetables and its hay throughout the course of the day. Essentially, if you are going to bring a guinea pig home, you also need to make arrangements to have fresh hay available throughout the course of the day.
The best way to handle this issue is to make sure that you dump out the water and the vegetables on a regular basis. You have to clean the bowls and then fill them up with fresh water and food on a regular basis. This is important because the animal should have fresh water at all times.
Buying Store-Bought Pellets
Most people don’t want to go through the trouble of buying fresh hay on a regular basis for their guinea pigs. As a result, they usually buy pellets from the store. If you are going to give your guinea pig these pellets bought from the store, you need to make sure that you buy ones that are specifically designed for the animal.
There are quite a few brands that are formulated specifically for guinea pigs, and they contain a mixture of different nutrients that the animal requires. Apart from that, you also need to consider buying the hay. Usually, when it comes to buying hay, getting a mixture of oat, orchard, and timothy is a great idea.
On top of that, you should also consider getting some alfalfa hay. It is generally acceptable but you have to be careful that you don’t feed your guinea pig too much of it. This contains too much calcium, so it’s best if you avoid giving it too much.
What About Cantaloupe?
As mentioned above, you can give cantaloupe to the guinea pig, but don’t consider it an ideal daily food for your pet. Cantaloupe contains a large amount of sugar, and this could cause obesity in the animal. Furthermore, you should know that cantaloupe does not contain decent amounts of fiber, which the animal needs.
More importantly, cantaloupe is considerably high in phosphorus, and can lead to kidney stones. When we talk about cantaloupe, you should know that there are three edible components: the flesh, rind, and seeds. The seeds are absolutely harmless and can be consumed by the guinea pigs without any problem. However, you should know that these seeds are tough, and may get wedged in the animal’s throat.
The fiber is found in the rind. Your guinea pig is likely to leave out these parts because they are not as easy to chew. You can give the cantaloupe flesh to the animal as an occasional treat, and it’s actually going to be able to digest it quite easily. You don’t have to worry about much feeding these things to your animal.
Guinea pigs are prone to obesity if they are not taken care of properly. You need to make sure that the animal gets an adequate amount of exercise. The best thing to do is place an exercise wheel in the animal’s cage, and you should also consider letting the guinea pig out of its cage from time to time. These are just a few things that you should know about caring for the guinea pig and preventing obesity.