I know it can be frustrating when you get a new guinea pig home, and they are not eating well. By now, you might have already understood that vegetables are an integral part of their diet, and your guinea pigs need it daily to remain healthy. But why is your guinea pig not eating their vegetables? And what should you do if your guinea pig won’t eat vegetables?
If you bought your guinea pig from a pet store or other unreliable sources, then there are high chances your guinea pig hasn’t even tasted any veggies yet. So, getting adjusted to a new food might need some patience at your end as well. Apart from that, Too much pellet based diet or some health issues like dental problems could be a culprit as well.
A guinea pig needs to eat at least 10% of their body weight in the form of veggies( approx a cup). These vegetables help provide essential vitamin c and other Vitamins that our guinea pigs cannot produce on their own.
I can totally understand how mind-boggling it could be when your guinea pigs don’t eat their veggies or have suddenly stopped eating.
But you should not worry at all, today in this guide I will help you tackle this problem with a practical approach which is recommended by most guinea pig experts(breeders & fellow keepers).
Just make sure you stay with us till the end, and I shall ensure all your troubles are gone when we conclude this guide.
Can guinea pigs go without vegetables?
Ideally, you never want to leave your guinea pigs without vegetables on any day. Vegetables are an integral part of your guinea pigs diet as it provides your guinea pigs with much-needed Vitamins and minerals.
However, if your guinea pigs don’t want to eat their veggies, and in such cases, you can supplement their diet with high-quality pellets for a short amount of time.
But in the long-term, you must ensure that your guinea pig’s diet gets enough share of veggies so that they can stay healthy and live a long and comfortable life.
Why won’t my guinea pig eat vegetables?
Understanding why your guinea pigs are not eating their veggies can help you find the possible solution to feed them.
There can be a lot of reason due to which your guinea pigs might not be eating their veggies. Today we will check out some of the most common reasons which our experts have sighted:
Check your guinea pig’s history
One of the most common mistakes that new guinea pig owners make is buying their first guinea pig from a pet store or other unreliable sources.
Now you might be wondering what is wrong with those places? The fact is these stores often feed only pellets and low-quality food items to the guinea pigs, which is the reason your guinea pigs are reluctant to eat those veggies when you first get them.
If possible, ask the people who were looking after your guinea pigs earlier about their diet so that you know what your guinea pigs are used to eat. This will ensure you have a starting point to go ahead with.
Let your guinea pigs settle down a little bit
When we get a new guinea pig home, they might need some time to adjust to the change in the environment.
While some guinea pigs get comfortable quite quickly, others take more time for the same. So, if you have just brought your guinea pig, then it is quite natural for them not to eat properly or avoid a certain kind of food.
Guinea pigs often get frightened easily, so it can also be one possible reason why your guinea pigs are not eating enough food.
Check out their diet proportion
Would you eat your favorite food when your stomach is full? No, right ost of us won’t eat it. The same might go for guinea pigs as well.
Check what are you feeding to your guinea pigs. A guinea pig’s diet must contain an unlimited amount of good quality hay, 1/8 cup of pellets, and fresh veggies daily.
If you are feeding more pellets and treats to your guinea pigs, then it is quite possible that they are already full, and they won’t eat the veggies you offer to them.
Most guinea pig owners make a mistake of feeding too many treats to their guinea pigs.
Just because your guinea pigs begs and wheek for the treat you shouldn’t be feeding it in excess quantity as it can disbalance their diet completely.
The veggie you are trying to feed is not the right one for them
Just like human beings, guinea pigs can be picky about what they eat. While some guinea pigs like having a particular type of veggie, the other might hate it completely.
There is a possibility that the kind of vegetables you are offering to your guinea pigs is not what they like to eat.
As you never know what type of diet was being provided to your guinea pigs before you got them, there is a possibility they eat only a particular kind of food.
I had seen a guinea pig eating only one specific brand of the pellet when I first got her. You might need to be patient enough for them to gradually switch over to the right kind of diet you want to offer to them.
They have some health issues
Health issues can be another significant cause behind your guinea pig, not eating their veggies or food.
One of the most common health issue which can hinder their diet is their overgrown molar teeth. It is quite tough even for an experienced owner to tell if their guinea pigs have an overgrown tooth.
Often the molar teeth overgrow and block the passage above their tongue, which can hinder the ability to chew and swallow the food in guinea pigs.
Smart tips to feed vegetables to your guinea pigs
By now, you must have already understood that there can be a lot of factors that can hinder the proper diet of your guinea pigs.
I know how much stress it can be if your guinea pigs don’t eat the veggies daily.
But you needn’t worry at all; Today, I am going to share a few tips up my sleeves, which can help you out in feeding veggies to your guinea pigs.
Have patience and introduce one veggie at a time
If you have got a new guinea pig and they are not eating fresh vegetables at all, then it can be a little stressful for you, but I would suggest you stay calm.
In fact, this can be happening due to either of these two reasons. The first one being your guinea pigs were never fed vegetables in the past, so it is completely new stuff for them, and the second one being they need some time to adjust in the new environment.
In either case, you need to be very patient. Don’t add further stress to your guinea pigs by offering a variety of new food.
In fact, the right choice would be to start with one or two vegetables, preferably lettuce and a carrot. Once your guinea pigs get accustomed to these, you can begin adding variety in their diet.
It is quite possible that your guinea pigs won’t eat the veggies for the first few days. You need to be patient and persistent and keep offering fresh vegetables daily so that they can get the hang of it.
Every guinea pig have their own taste and preference
As we had discussed earlier, it is quite possible that your guinea pig doesn’t like a particular type of veggies that you are offering.
You can try offering different vegetables every few weeks so that you can learn about what kind of veggies does your guinea pigs like.
There are over 60 different types of veggies that you can feed to your guinea pigs. You can try feeding different combinations and find what your guinea pigs like and what they don’t.
If they start eating a particular one, you can keep that in the diet and replace the other one to find out more. Over time your guinea pigs will start eating different types of veggies with no problem at all.
Get a knowledgeable company
Getting a good cage mate who loves too much on their veggies could be an excellent motivation for your new guinea pigs.
When your new guinea pigs watch other guinea pigs eating their vegetables, they feel more comfortable in munching those and in the process, will learn to eat the veggies.
If you don’t have a cage mate, then you can be one and try chewing few bits alongside their cage so that your guinea pigs give it a shot as well. It is just like a mother teaching their babies to try new food.
Start with a non-watery vegetable
If you are introducing vegetables for the first time in your guinea pig’s diet, then it would be a wise decision to start with some non-watery veggies.
Carrots, Lettuce, Bell peppers, etc. could be a great choice, to begin with. You can also serve coriander or Cilantro in a small quantity if they didn’t like anything else.
Once they get used to these veggies, then moving on to some watery vegetables like Zucchini, Cucumber, etc. will be a great move to make.
Please note: Not all guinea pigs will eat a variety of veggies. Some like to stick with a particular one. If you have once such a guinea pig, then changing their diet very slowly is the right choice to make. Introduce one new veggie at a time replacing some old ones, and over time, you can teach your guinea pigs to munch on all different types of vegetables.
Always ensure you feed them fresh veggies only
Whenever you are feeding vegetables to your guinea pigs, you need to ensure you feed only fresh veggies to them.
Guinea pigs can get sick if they are supplied with stale veggies. Even when you are trying to make your guinea pigs accustomed to vegetables, it is a wise move to offer veggies in small quantities 2-3 times a day.
Changing the veggies after every few hours will ensure that the veggies remain fresh and will also encourage your guinea pigs to nibble on them.
Visit a vet for a checkup
dental problems in guinea pigs can often hinder the diet of your guinea pigs. Visiting a vet would be great if you feel that your guinea pigs are not eating enough food.
Sometimes, getting their molar’s trimmed often does the trick, while other times, a minor surgery might be needed. In either case, getting advice from a professional expert can be life-saving for your guinea pigs.
Coming back to the question we started with, What do you do if your guinea pig won’t eat vegetables?
I would say the key takeaway is to have patience, be persistent, and serve fresh quality veggies daily. Over time your guinea pigs will learn too much on those.
However, make sure you don’t stress your guinea pigs out by serving a ton of veggies at once. Be slow and start by helping one vegetable at a time.
It may take a few months, but with the persistent effort, your guinea pigs will surely learn too much on those wonderful veggies.
Sources: Nutrient Requirements of the Guinea Pig, The effects of diet on guinea pigs, Guinea Pig Diet, Patterns of feeding in the Guinea pig.
Friday 21st of April 2023
Thank you for the informative information. I got two Guinea pigs two weeks ago who are two years old - they were rescue pigs. They love lettuce but won't eat fruits or vegetables. What I didn't know was how much money I would spend on their food and hay. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the cost of their food reasonable? I also have two cats which causes the cost of pet food to be somewhat high. Thank you.