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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Guinea Pig Nutrition and Maintenance

Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus)

Experience Level: Beginner

Guinea Pig looking off to the side.

Nutrition and Maintenance

• Guinea Pigs are herbivores and the largest portion of their diet should be hay.

• Food (excluding hay) should always be placed in a bowl and not directly on the bedding to avoid ingestion of the bedding.

• Fresh fruits and vegetables should be removed after four hours to prevent spoilage.

• Water must be provided at all times.

• Food and water bowls/bottles should be cleaned once daily.


Dietary Options
  Examples Feeding Frequency
Hay Timothy hay or oat grass Hay should be the largest part of the diet and should always be available.
Prepared Diets* Commercially prepared pelleted diets Refresh food daily, keeping the bowl approximately ¾ full.
Vegetables Dark, leafy greens
(kale, collard, mustard, dandelion, escarole) and vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, squash, shredded carrots)
Every other day; should constitute 20% of diet. Offer only enough to be consumed in four hours.
Fruits Papaya, banana, melon Once weekly; should only
constitute 5% of diet. Offer only enough to be consumed in four hours.
Treats Raisins, seed and alfalfa hay Treats should be offered sparingly; once to twice weekly.
*Pelleted diets are commonly made from timothy hay or alfalfa
and are fortified with optimal levels of vitamins and minerals like
calcium and vitamin D3. Pelleted diets may also have additives
to support digestive health. Guinea Pig diets are supplemented
with additional vitamin C.


Safety and Cleanliness
Use caution when handling pets, as they may bite or scratch when stressed. Handle your pet gently by placing one hand under the shoulders with your thumb around the neck. Use your other hand to support under your pet’s back end, and hold firmly but not tightly. Never grab the fur or tail, the hair will pull out. Supervise children around pets. Pets may transmit disease to humans; be sure to wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning their home.