Guinea Pigs

The 9 Best Pellet Foods for Your Guinea Pigs (2019)

best pellet food for guinea pigs

Guinea pigs certainly make great pets, as they’re not only adorable and friendly but they’re also easy to care for. For the most part, guinea pigs are adaptable animals, who don’t have any difficult-to-satisfy needs. However, there are a few important things that you’ll need to do as an owner to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy life – and this includes providing your pet with nutritious food.

We’ll try to help you select one of the best guinea pig foods below. We’ll talk about nine of the best products on the market, explain some of the most important things to consider when selecting a food, and answer some of the most common questions guinea pig owners have about feeding their pets.

Nutritious and Delicious Guinea Pig Pellets

Selecting the best guinea pig pellets for your pet can be a daunting endeavor, given the sheer number of products on the market. But don’t’ worry; we’re here to help!

Below, you will find nine of the best guinea pig foods available. Just be sure to compare each diet carefully, so you can select the best option for your specific pet.

1. Oxbow Essentials Adult Guinea Pig Food

Oxbow Essentials is a premium guinea pig food, designed to provide the type of nutrition adult guinea pigs need. Made from high-quality timothy hay meal, these pellets will not only give your pet the vitamins and minerals he needs, they’ll satisfy his palate too.

Unlike some other guinea pig foods, which have protein levels that are only suitable for young animals, Oxbow Essential’s pellets are ideally formulated for adult guinea pigs. In fact, they not only have the optimal protein content for your pet, but they also have reduced calcium levels, which will help prevent your pet from developing bladder stones. They also have an ideal calcium-to-phosphorous ratio, which will ensure your pet’s bones develop properly.

For all of these reasons and more, Oxbow Essentials are the preferred adult guinea pig food according to veterinarians.

Pros
  • Most guinea pigs appear to love the way the recipe tastes
  • Ideal protein and calcium levels for adult guinea pigs
  • Contains stabilized Vitamin C to help prevent scurvy
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • A very small percentage of guinea pigs appear to dislike the taste
  • Some owners complained of shipping or packaging problems

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2. Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Pellets

If you want the best possible food for your pet, and you don’t mind spending a little more money to do so, Small Pet Select Guinea Pig Pellets should be at the top of your list. These are not only some of the highest quality guinea pig pellets on the market, but they are also fortified with a precise blend of vitamins and minerals to keep your pet in tip-top shape.

These high-quality pellets are not only made in small batches in the USA, but they also contain no ingredients or packaging materials sourced from China. This gives many owners peace of mind, as they know their pet won’t be consuming any toxic or dangerous ingredients. Additionally, Small Pet Select backs this product with their money-back guarantee.

Pros
  • Several owners were very pleased with the product’s freshness
  • Most guinea pigs appear to love the taste
  • No Chinese ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • Proper calcium levels should help prevent bladder stones
Cons
  • More expensive than most other guinea pig foods
  • A small percentage of pets appeared to find the pellets completely unpalatable
  • May contain GMOs. GMOs aren’t dangerous, but some owners prefer to avoid them.

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3. Kaytee Timothy Complete Guinea Pig Food

If your guinea pig has trouble digesting other pellets, you may want to give Kaytee Complete Guinea Pig Food a try. These premium-quality pellets are fortified with beneficial bacteria that’ll colonize your guinea pig’s digestive tract. Called probiotics, these bacteria will help to promote proper digestion. Additionally, Kaytee Guinea Pig Food is also fortified with prebiotics — the food these bacteria need.

But Kaytee Guinea Pig Food isn’t just designed to promote smooth digestive function – it’s also designed to provide the exact combination of vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay healthy. In fact, this recipe was developed by an animal nutritionist to ensure it is as nutritious as possible.

Pros
  • High fiber content
  • Contains no loose seeds or sugary fruits
  • Contains stabilized Vitamin C to help prevent scurvy
  • Fortified with three different probiotic strains
Cons
  • Several owners complained of poor or damaged packaging
  • Some owners were disappointed that the product contained sugar
  • Some guinea pigs don’t like the taste

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4. Vitasmart Guinea Pig Food

Guinea pig food needn’t be a boring bag full of pellets – some, like Vitasmart Guinea Pig Food, also contain a variety of seeds and vegetable-based pieces. These types of tasty treats not only make the food look more appealing to your pet, but they’ll also help keep your guinea pig’s taste buds happy. After all, it doesn’t matter how nutritious a guinea pig food is if your pet won’t eat it!

But Vitasmart Guinea Pig Food isn’t just tasty; it is also nutritious. Its nutrients are highly bioavailable, which helps to ensure your pet’s body can actually use the vitamins and minerals present. It is also full of antioxidants, which may help support your guinea pig’s immune system, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which help to limit inflammation and foster a lustrous coat.

Pros
  • Fortified with five different probiotics to promote proper digestion
  • Contains naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids (DHA)
  • Formulated with Vitamins A, C, D and E
  • Tasty treats included to attract your guinea pig’s attention
Cons
  • Some guinea pigs appear to pick out and eat only their favorite bits
  • Some owners unhappy with the sugar content
  • Slightly more expensive than many other foods on the market

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5. Harringtons Optimum Guinea Pig Food

Many pet owners are reluctant to try foods made by new manufacturers. Instead, they prefer to purchase foods from companies that have a long and proven track record of producing high-quality foods. Owners with this mindset should certainly consider Harringtons Optimum Guinea Pig Food, as the company has been in business for more than 100 years.

But there’s more to like about Harrington’s Guinea Pig Food than the company’s long history. In fact, this is one of the most nutritious and high-quality guinea pig foods on the market. These pellets are not only made from premium-quality timothy hay, but they’re also fortified with vitamins and minerals, and formulated to provide exactly the type of nutrition your pet needs.

This is also a very palatable food, as it is made with grape and apple extracts. This will help ensure your pet finds the food tasty and doesn’t hesitate to chow down.

Pros
  • Made in the UK
  • Contains no artificial additives or preservatives
  • No added sugar
  • Full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • Optimum calcium-to-phosphorus ratio
Cons
  • Some owners complained that the pellets crumbled too easily
  • A few guinea pigs seemed put off by the small size of the pellets
  • Lucerne (alfalfa) content may provide more protein than adult guinea pigs need

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6. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Guinea Pig Food

If your guinea pig has grown bored with traditional pellet-style foods, you may want to consider a treat-filled food like Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Guinea Pig Food. This recipe contains pellets made from a combination of Timothy and alfalfa hay, as well as a variety of dried fruit, seeds and Brown’s specially formulated ZOO-Vital Biscuits, which help to support tooth and gum health.

But this food isn’t just a tasty recipe, it is also fortified with all of the vitamins and minerals owners want for their pets. It is rich in fiber, features added Vitamin C to help prevent scurvy, and it is packed with antioxidants to help support proper immune function. This food is also fortified with probiotics to help foster proper digestive function.

Pros
  • Contains a single probiotic strain
  • Fortified with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids
  • Contains added fruits and seeds that guinea pigs love
  • Company owned by six successive family generations
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Some of the ingredients are “globally sourced”
  • Contains artificial flavor
  • Some owners were disappointed that the food contained seeds that were still in the shell

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7. Supreme Pet Foods Selective Guinea Pig Food

If you are looking for one of the most nutritious guinea pig foods available, Supreme Pet Foods Selective deserves serious consideration. This food doesn’t contain many of the unnecessary bells and whistles that characterize other foods and instead is comprised of only those things your pet needs to remain healthy and live a long life.

This food is formulated to contain the optimal combination of vitamins and minerals your pet needs, and it is comprised of identical-looking pellets, to help prevent your pet from picking out only the tastiest bits. In fact, these pellets are flavored with naturally occurring ingredients, such as dandelion and fennel, to help ensure it tastes great and that your pet will enjoy it.

Additionally, Supreme Pet Foods pellets also contain omega-3 fatty acids to help promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Pros
  • Contains no artificial colors
  • Made without any added sugar
  • Fortified with Vitamins A, C and D
  • High fiber content
Cons
  • Primarily made from alfalfa meal, which means it may have too much protein for adult guinea pigs
  • Some owners were displeased with the inclusion of cane molasses
  • Some guinea pigs didn’t seem to like the taste

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8. Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Guinea Pig Food

Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Blend Guinea Pig Food is a great choice for owners who want an all-natural, healthy and nutritious food, which also contains a ton of added treats. In fact, the manufacturer describes the recipe as a “food and treat all-in-one.” This helps ensure that your pet will like the way the food tastes and the varied tastes and textures included will help prevent food boredom and provide some mental stimulation.

But Higgins Guinea Pig Food isn’t just tasty, it is also fortified with the vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay healthy. It also contains an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which should help promote skin and coat health.

Pros
  • Most guinea pigs seem to love the taste
  • Fortified with probiotics
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Some owners complained that the food was mostly pellets
  • Very little information provided by the manufacturer
  • Slightly expensive when compared to some other guinea pig foods

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9. Kaytee Fiesta Guinea Pig Food

Kaytee Fiesta Guinea Pig Food is a very popular option among cavy owners, as it is not only nutritious and tasty, but it is also priced very affordably. This food not only contains nutritious, alfalfa-based pellets, but it is also full of “extras” that’ll keep your pet’s taste buds happy. This includes things like corn, carrots, bananas and pumpkin seeds, as well as delicious oils, which also help promote coat and skin health.

Kaytee Fiesta Food is also fortified with all of the vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay healthy. It even comes with probiotics, which should help promote proper digestion and keep your guinea pig’s elimination habits regular. Finally, this food is naturally preserved and contains no artificial additives.

Pros
  • Contains a variety of shapes and textures
  • Rich in antioxidants to support immune function
  • Fortified with three separate probiotic strains, as well as prebiotics to support the beneficial bacteria
  • Affordable
  • Most guinea pigs seem to like the taste
Cons
  • May contain peanuts (important for owners with allergies)
  • Manufacturer doesn’t disclose the manufacturing location
  • Some owners complained that it was dusty
  • May have too much protein for adult guinea pigs
  • Some guinea pigs may pick out their favorite bits

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Feeding Your Guinea Pig Properly

Before you select a new food for your guinea pig, it is important to familiarize yourself with the characteristics that distinguish great recipes from sub-par alternatives. We’ll try to help you do so below, by explaining the proper way to feed your pet and some of the things to look for when selecting a food.

Pellets Aren’t Everything

Guinea pigs require a few different types of food to remain healthy and happy. The bulk of their diet should take the form of pellets, but it is also important to provide your pet with plenty of fresh timothy hay at all times. This will help ensure they obtain enough fiber, and it’ll also help promote natural foraging behaviors.

Additionally, it is wise to provide your guinea pig with fresh fruits and vegetables too. However, not all vegetables are safe for guinea pigs, and some are more nutritious than others are. So, be sure to check out our guides to the best fruits and vegetables for your pet.

Vitamin C Content is Crucial

Unlike some other pets, guinea pigs cannot manufacture Vitamin C internally. This means that they can develop harmful deficiencies if not provided with a food fortified with the vitamin. This can lead to scurvy, which is a very serious medical problem that can lead to death.

Accordingly, in addition to providing your pet with fresh vegetables that have an abundance of Vitamin C, you’ll want to select a food that is fortified with the vitamin too.

Look for Foods That Are Easy to Digest

Digestive problems can not only make your pet’s enclosure harder to clean and create odors, but they can also reduce your guinea pig’s quality of life. Accordingly, you’ll want to stick to pelleted foods that are easy for your pet to process and digest.

One of the most effective ways you can do so is by selecting a food that is high in fiber. As herbivores, guinea pigs have very high fiber requirements, so generally speaking, the more fiber a food has, the better. Additionally, try to select a food that is fortified with probiotics – beneficial bacteria that’ll live in your pet’s intestines and help promote proper digestion. If possible, you’ll want to select a food that also contains prebiotics, which serve as food sources for the bacteria.

The Best Foods Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Many of the best guinea pig foods are supplemented with ingredients (particularly oils) that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (also called DHA). These fatty acids help to provide a number of important health benefits. For example, omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation, and they also help to keep your pet’s skin healthy and coat shiny.

Switch Foods Gradually

Like many other pets, guinea pigs can suffer from diarrhea and other intestinal issues if their diet is switched abruptly. Accordingly, you’ll want to make any food changes gradually, over the course of a week or two.

For example, on the first day, you’d fill your pet’s bowl 90% of the way with his current food, and then use his new food to fill out the remaining 10% of his bowl. The next day, you’d use 75% or so of his old food, and 25% of his new food. Continue this pattern until you are filling his bowl entirely with his new food.

Best Guinea Pig Food Brands

Different brands and manufacturers emphasize different things in their foods, employ different pricing strategies and manufacture their products in different places. Accordingly, guinea pig owners should familiarize themselves with some of the basic characteristics of the major food brands, before choosing a new food.

We’ll discuss a few of the most notable brands and manufacturers below.

Oxbow Animal Health

Oxbow Animal Health is a pet-food manufacturer founded in 1980. They primarily produce pellets and other foods for guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, rats and other small pets. Most of their foods are priced pretty affordably, and they are typically formulated to be healthy without including a lot of “extras,” such as seeds and treats.

Oxbow guinea pig foods are manufactured in the USA.

Small Pet Select

Small Pet Select manufacturers a variety of foods, including options for guinea pigs and other small animals, as well as dogs and cats. The company was launched in 2012 when founder Laurie Gordon began struggling to get her pet guinea pig to eat. The company is still family-owned, and they make their foods in small batches, right in the USA.

Kaytee

Kaytee is a pet-food and pet-supply manufacturer that makes products for a variety of small animals and birds. Kaytee began manufacturing bird foods in the 1920s, but the company has been involved in the grain and feed business since shortly after the mid-19th century.

Kaytee is one of the leading pet food manufacturers in the world, and they produce most of their foods in Wisconsin, USA.

Harringtons

Harringtons manufacturers a variety of pet foods, ranging from small animal pellets to dog foods. The company embraces an “all-natural” ethos, and they go to great lengths to ensure their foods are only comprised of natural, healthy ingredients.

Harringtons first began operations at the end of the 19th century, but they only began making pet foods in the 1980s. Harringtons foods are typically positioned at the premium side of the price spectrum, and their foods are manufactured in the UK.

FAQs About Guinea Pig Food Pellets

Guinea pig owners have a lot of questions regarding their pet’s food. And while we certainly can’t answer them all, we’ll try to answer a few of the most common questions below.

Do guinea pigs need pellets every day?

Generally speaking, yes. Guinea pigs should be offered pellets and timothy hay on a daily basis. Make sure that you don’t just leave a bowl full of food in your pet’s enclosure all the time, as the food and bowl can become contaminated with urine, feces and bedding. Instead, feed your pet at about the same time each day, and remove the food dish a few hours later.

Then, make sure you wash the bowl with soap and warm water. Let it dry completely overnight, and then fill it with fresh pellets the next day.

Can guinea pigs just eat pellets?

No. Guinea pigs require timothy hay to remain healthy. You’ll want to make pellets and hay available every day and provide your pet with fresh vegetables several times per week.

How much should I feed my guinea pig?

Determining the number of pellets you should feed your guinea pig on a daily basis will require a bit of experimentation. All animals are individuals, who have slightly different metabolisms and caloric needs.

So, start by providing your guinea pig with more pellets than he can consume in a few hours. Over time, you’ll get a feel for the quantity he will eat on a daily basis, which you can use as your daily feeding quantity. However, you’ll still need to work closely with your vet to monitor your pet’s body weight. If your pet begins gaining or losing weight, you’ll likely need to adjust the amount of food you’re providing.

How do I get my guinea pig to eat pellets?

Sometimes, guinea pigs are reluctant to eat the pellets their owners provide. This can be quite frustrating, as they may do so for a variety of reasons, which can make it a difficult problem to solve.

The first thing you may want to try doing is to switch to a different type of pellets. Simply put, your guinea pig may simply find his current pellets unpalatable. This can even happen suddenly, even in guinea pigs who have previously enjoyed the same pellets for years.

Pellets containing dehydrated carrots, grapes, or other fruits and vegetables are often helpful for tempting picky guinea pigs. You may even want to try a pelleted food that contains treats (such as seeds or dried fruit).

If a new food doesn’t stimulate your pet to begin feeding again, you’ll want to visit your vet. Often, food refusal can signal the presence of an underlying health problem.

Can guinea pigs eat rabbit pellets?

In the broadest terms, guinea pigs and rabbits can survive on roughly similar foods. However, they each have unique nutritional requirements, so you should always feed your guinea pig that is specifically formulated to meet their needs.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t feed your guinea pig a bowl of rabbit pellets in a pinch. For example, your guinea pig is unlikely to get sick from eating rabbit pellets for a day or so, while you wait for your guinea pig food to arrive. But you should never do so for an extended period of time.

Additionally, because rabbits can produce their own Vitamin C, rabbit pellets are not fortified with this important nutrient.

Can guinea pigs eat dog food or cat food?

No. Dogs and cats both require large amounts of meat-based proteins in their diet, and your guinea pig’s digestive system has not evolved to be able to do the same thing. Even plant-based dog foods will have protein levels that exceed what is appropriate for guinea pigs.

Can guinea pigs eat hamster food?

Like rabbits, hamsters subsist on a relatively similar set of foods that guinea pigs do. However, also like rabbits, hamsters have different nutritional requirements than guinea pigs. Accordingly, you should avoid feeding your pet any pellets that are not specifically formulated for cavies.

Conclusion

Your guinea pig’s food is one of the most important factors that’ll influence his health and well-being, so it makes sense to take your time and pick the very best food you can. Just be sure to compare the nine foods discussed above carefully, so that you can make the best choice on behalf of your pet.

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Last update on 2019-11-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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