Maybe you have noticed your guinea pig munching on their food at all times. You must be wondering why is my guinea pig always hungry. Does your guinea pig has a problem with eating, suffering from malnutrition, or something else? Let’s find out!
Guinea pigs always appear hungry because they are. Guinea pigs are foragers by nature. They have the instinct to eat whenever they can. If they stop eating for a few hours, their gut system will slow down or even collapse, leading to severe health conditions. They will eat more than usual if they are shedding or nursing.
As a responsible owner, you must provide your guinea pigs with an unlimited amount of hay, a cup of veggies daily, and a small amount of treat occasionally.
Most guinea pigs eat more in the hours of twilight, as they are crepuscular in nature.
However, if your guinea pig appears hungry all the time, this can also indicate that they have health problems like diabetes or parasites.
It is crucial for an owner to understand their dietary need to ensure that their guinea pig gets a healthy balanced life. That will make sure that they do not overeat or starve for food.
My guinea pig eats all the time
Guinea pigs have a complicated digestive system that wants them to eat some food continuously because they are grazers.
Wild guinea pigs pass through grass, bushes, and clover, trying to chew everything they can find. They do this continuously until they hide away as they get scared of predators or their bellies are full.
In the wild, food can also be limited, thus guinea pigs have an instinct to eat enough whenever they can.
When they come across tasty and nutritious foods, then their tendency grows more dominant.
For example, vegetables or fruits are always loaded with minerals and vitamins. Guinea pigs can consume it as much as possible, as they are not sure when they can find more.
The same instinct drives the starving and hungry behavior of your guinea pigs.
How do you know when a guinea pig is hungry?
Guinea pigs are always hungry. Your guinea pigs will always crave for more food. Especially when it comes to tasty fruits and vegetables, they can’t stop wheeking.
You may think that your guinea pigs are greedy, and in a way, they are. So the question you need to ask yourself is, does your guinea pigs need more food?
Unfortunately, there is not an appropriate way to determine their hunger. You can take your guinea pig to the veterinary surgeon for the examination, but this can be unnecessary unless your guinea pig shows any signs of malnourishment. There is no favorable evidence of a guinea pig who is underfed.
Instead of this, you need to feed your guinea a balanced diet in the right quantities, which is a great approach. Your guinea pig will not be hungry if you deliver them nutritionally dense meals. But how much food is right for them?
How much to feed a guinea pig?
The food pyramid of guinea pigs contains 3 main types, which includes in this sequence:
- Hays and grass
You can give fruits as a treat to your guinea pig in tiny quantities.
But the question arises, what is the appropriate portion size for your guinea pig? How many times can you provide the food to your guinea pig?
|Type of food||How often to feed||Quantity to feed|
|Fresh Grass||Almost daily||1/2 Bowl|
|Vegetables||Daily||Mix Of 4-5 Veggies In A Bowl (125 Grams)|
|Pellets||Daily||¼ cup Daily|
|Fruits||1-2 times a week||1-2 tablespoon|
|Other treats||Once a week||1-2 tablespoon|
As compared to legume hay(Alfalfa), the grass has(Timothy) is suitable for your guinea pig as it contains much nutrition. The quantity of protein and calcium is high in legume hay.
However, it is essential not to add too much legume hay in guinea pig’s diet, as it can cause problems for them.
You can give the grass in an unlimited quantity, as it is best to stick with healthy grass hay. The best grass hays for your guinea pig include:
You can add 10% to 15% of vegetables in the diet of your guinea pig. Some of the vegetables are better as compared to others. There are more nutrients in the leafy greens.
Also, crunchy vegetables, like celery, can help your guinea pig to wear down their teeth.
It is best for the diet of guinea pigs if it contains fresh foods. However, the digestive system of guinea pigs should need to be prepared and adjusted slowly. A sudden change can be bad for their health
When you bring a new guinea pig home, you need to make sure that your guinea pig is consuming the grass hay for at least 2 weeks before slowly transitioning into fresh vegetables. The sudden change will not upset the gut, as it will help to enhance their stomach.
You need to add at least 75% of leafy greens in your guinea pig’s fresh food.
You can give one cup of leafy greens for every 2 pounds bodyweight of your guinea pig every day.
The good vegetables that you provide to your guinea pig include:
- Red Cabbage
- Romaine lettuce
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
You need to give the root vegetables in minimal quantities as compared to the leafy greens. Because root vegetables contain a high level of starch and sugar. The root vegetables include:
Root vegetables are not harmful. But, it contains a lot of fat. If you provide this in much quantity, then the diet of guinea pigs will be unbalanced.
However, there is no need to remove the root vegetables totally from the meals of your guinea pig, unless they are overweight.
You can add these veggies only in small quantities. You can provide one tablespoon per 2 pounds of body weight of the guinea pig.
Apart from vegetables, you can also provide herbs to your guinea pig. It is the best way to make their meals spicy. However, you need just to make sure that you deliver these herbs to them in a very slow manner. Some of the guinea pigs like the herbs because it has a strong taste, whereas other guinea pigs don’t like it. Good herbs include:
Veggies to avoid
You need to know that some of the vegetables are not suitable for our guinea pigs. These types of vegetables need to be provided as a treat to your guinea pig because it contains a high sugar level. These veggies include:
- Sweet potatoes
Apart from those, there are some fruits and veggies that you need to avoid altogether. For example, iceberg lettuce, onion, garlic, and avocados.
There are a few vegetables that are good for your guinea pig, whereas the other veggies are not safe. Whenever you provide new food to your guinea pig, you need to make sure that it is not harmful to their health.
You can add only 5% of pellets in the diet of your guinea pig. However, some of the owners like to provide only natural ingredients to their guinea pigs.
But still, if you add good quality pellets, then they are beneficial for your guinea pig as it supplements their diet well.
You can choose the right kind of pellet by looking at their nutritional benefit. Ideally, you need to look for 16% of protein and at least 20% of fiber.
Also, it is essential to avoid the food for guinea pigs that contain muesli. The mixture of nuts, cereal grains, and seeds are included in the muesli type of food.
As guinea pigs try to pick only those foods that they like, your guinea pig will likely eat the fillers more than the actual healthy part.
That is the reason for the unbalanced diet of a guinea pig if they eat muesli-type foods. A guinea pig can be overweight because of Muesli-type foods.
Instead of a mixture of different types of food, it is best to choose the brand with similar pellets.
Fruits contain a sufficient amount of minerals and vitamins. However, it also contains a high sugar level, which can make your guinea pig obese.
Thus, the owner needs to provide the fruits in minimal quantities.
You can give fruits as a treat only 2 times in a week, which is sufficient. Also, make sure you feed it in limited quantity only.
Dried fruits are three times sweeter than fresh fruits. Thus it is best to avoid them altogether. But if you want to you can include a tiny bit into their diet. For example, A small piece of raisin shall be good enough.
Also read: 70+ Fruits for your guinea pig(Learn which one is safe)
When do guinea pigs eat?
Mostly, guinea pigs eat throughout the day but they prefer to eat vegetables and snacks in the morning and evening. Wild guinea pigs are most active in the evening hours because it helps them to avoid predators.
Wild guinea pigs spend this time in the search for food or provisions. Domestic guinea pigs can also follow this pattern of feeding, but to a small extent.
Because domestic guinea pigs don’t have to search for food, your guinea pig will graze throughout the day.
However, the appetite of guinea pigs increases in the morning and evening as they feel safe during those hours.
Also, this prepares the body of guinea pigs for more activity, as it boosts the energy levels of guinea pigs with additional food.
How many times a day should I feed my guinea pigs?
You have to feed your guinea pig 2 times a day. Which includes a small snack of vegetable in the evening and the morning, daily. Your guinea pig becomes very hungry during those hours. So, it is best to serve them a good snack.
There is no need to worry if you get a little late on their food in the morning and evening. Your guinea pig will not be hungry if they have access to an endless amount of hay.
You need just to make sure that you fill up their supply of hay whenever you can. When you have some time, you can provide them with other foods for their balanced diet. You can give some pellets, some vegetables, and leafy greens.
The best time to feed your guinea pig is evening. However, your guinea pig will gladly change to the new schedule if you regularly feed your guinea pig at any other time daily.
Guinea pig suddenly eating a lot
Guinea pigs are always hungry. However, they need to eat in a uniform quantity every day. The diet of your guinea pig is going to remain constant day after day.
If your guinea pig’s appetite suddenly increases, you need to look out for their health. Your guinea pig becomes hungry become of these few reasons:
Maybe your guinea pigs are hungry because they are preparing for shedding, also known as molting.
Your guinea pig doesn’t need to have their thick coat when the winter season is over. They will start shedding their coat fur to a thinner layer to makes themselves comfortable in spring.
Also, guinea pigs start to shed in the fall, right before winter. They shed their fur two times per year. For a guinea pig, shedding takes a lot of energy and increases the level of their appetite.
You need to provide enough supply of food if your guinea pig is molting in chunks. Once the season of shedding is over, they will regain their energy and their appetite will go back to normal.
Have you ever discovered the appetite of your female guinea pig that increases in the springtime? The season of breeding can be affected by this.
Notably, the female guinea pig has to support their nutrients and energy in the anxiety of pregnancy.
However, this is not true for all guinea pigs. Generally, it affects only those guinea pigs that are carried outside regularly for play or housing. The sun, light, and other factors can trigger this.
Also, those guinea pigs who are neutered and spayed will not show any symptoms at that season, because they release a small number of hormones.
Diabetes can also be a common reason for the starving of guinea pigs. Luckily, it is an uncommon disease in guinea pigs.
An abnormality or impairment in the pancreas can be the cause of diabetes in guinea pigs. The pancreas is inefficient to produce as much insulin, which is vital to control the sugar in the blood.
Analyzing this disease can be tough because it is uncommon in guinea pigs. The symptoms of this disease can be different from one guinea to another. Also, the veterinary surgeon has to eliminate the most common disorders first.
But still, an increase in the appetite of a guinea pig can be a sign of diabetes. The weight loss of guinea pigs can follow that.
You need to change the diet of your guinea pig if you want to treat diabetes. Because overweight guinea pigs are always the sufferer of diabetes, you need to correct their eating habits.
There is a possibility for the recovery of a guinea pig with a strict diet plan. It is always better to prevent this disease instead of treatment. Guinea pigs need to have a balanced diet, which includes high fiber and low sugar food.
Parasites can be the cause of a sudden increase in the level of appetite in guinea pigs.
The intestinal parasites can suck the nutrients from the stomach of your guinea pig. Thus, you need to provide much food for your guinea pig to eat and earn the same nutrients.
Depending on the parasites, your guinea pigs will show different symptoms. However, parasitic infections can always be looked after by other symptoms. That commonly include:
- Skin irritations
- A shabby coat
- Loss in weight
If you assume that your guinea pig is infected, then there is no need to worry.
The veterinary surgeon delivers the treatments to eliminate the parasite from the body of your guinea pig.
Also, they can give some supplements to boost the immune system of your guinea pig. That will allow your guinea pig’s appetite to become healthy and help them recover from the disease.
What to do if your guinea pig is eating a lot?
If you provide an endless amount of hay, then also you will find your guinea pig hungry. Do you need to feed more to your guinea pig if they have increased appetite?
The quantity of food needs to be the same. You should not add more pellets, vegetables, or leafy greens. Because, if you try to do this, your guinea pig will completely ignore their hay, which will be terrible for their health.
Instead of this, you need to encourage your guinea pig to eat extra grass hay.
If your guinea pig is eating more hay then it should not be a problem, maybe you need to refill their supply more often.
But, it is far better for your guinea pig to eat hay instead of eating more vegetables or pellets. As those are not the staple part of their diet.
Guinea pig eating too much hay
Your guinea pig cannot overeat hay, even if they have unlimited access to the same.
Guinea pigs are grazers. In contrast to other animals, guinea pigs are more similar to horses and cows when it comes to the habits of eating.
Just like horses and cows, guinea pigs also need access to sufficient hay to munch on whenever they want.
Hay does not have to be high in nutrients. But it must be hygienic and rich in fiber.
Is my guinea pig eating too much
There is no sensible way to know that your guinea pig is overeating until your guinea pig shows any signs of health issues.
You need to make sure that you are not feeding excessive amounts of the same food to your guinea pig.
Generally, guinea pigs will realize that they are full or not. However, most of the guinea pigs have sweet-tooth.
The guinea pigs can eat high sugar veggies or fruits even if they are completely full.
Similarly, some of the guinea pigs are more liable to overeating as compared to others. It completely depends upon your guinea pig’s personality.
It would be best to provide an endless amount of hay while giving limited treats to your guinea pig. That will lessen the temptation of overeating.
Also, it will limit the number of health problems that they suffer. Above all, the hay rich in fiber can be less harmful in large amounts compared to fruits that are rich in sugar.
Is my guinea pig eating enough
Until overeating becomes an issue, it can be challenging to find it. But, there is a way to find that your guinea pig is eating enough.
You need to have a look at the fecal pellets of your guinea pig. It will help you to know that your guinea pig has a healthy diet or not. The best sample can have the characteristics, that is given below:
- Dark brown
- Slightly soft
- Consistently sized
Shapeless and watery stools can be a sign of digestive problems. If you see any signs of this, you need to check your guinea pig’s diet. It must not contain:
- Poor quality of hay
- High level of sugar
- High level of protein
- Less amount of fiber
- A lot of fresh vegetables
If you don’t notice any imbalance, you need to ask your veterinary surgeon for the solutions. That can involve changing the diet of guinea pigs or treatments for the illness.
It is completely normal for your guinea pigs to eat out all of the day. However, during the springtime or in hours of twilight, the appetite of guinea pigs can increase.
Generally, a guinea pig will not overeat if you provide them with a balanced diet regularly. If they do so, then there are some adjustments that you need to make to their meal supplies. That includes limiting the vegetables, fruits, or pellets that are given to them.
There is no need to worry if your guinea pig seems hungry every time. They can eat as much hay as they need. But never go excess on pellets and fresh food.
Also read: What to do if your guinea pig is not eating?
Sources: Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs, Vitamin C needs of our guinea-pig, Timothy hay, Nutrition in timothy hay.