Guinea pigs require a constant clean water supply. You can give them either a water bowl or a water bottle, largely depending on the health and habits of your guinea pig. In some cases a water bowl is required over the use of a water bottle.
A water bowl should always be used if:
– Your guinea pig doesn’t appear to enjoy using a water bottle
– Your guinea pig has broken their incisors (front teeth) and can’t work a water bottle spout
– Your guinea pig has arthritis; use a low rimmed bowl to stop them needing to step up
If you want to give your pigs a water bowl you need to give them a big, heavy ceramic bowl to stop them tipping it up when they put their paws on the rim (with the exception of arthritic guinea pigs that need a low rimmedceramic bowl). Water bowls need to be changed very frequently because some guinea pigs have a habit of using their bowls as a toilet and they often drop pieces of feed, bedding or hay in there too.
Vitamin C drops
Vitamin C has a very short shelf life and is almost worthless when added to a water bottle or bowl. Contrary to popular belief, you should never need to put Vitamin C supplements in the water unless instructed to do so by your vet. Your vet may give you Vitamin C drops for sick or convalescing guinea pigs to aid recovery.
If your guinea pigs are getting a good diet of hay and vegetables they should be getting all the Vitamin C they need. Please see the nutrition table above for a list of Vitamin C rich fruit, vegetables and herbs.
The following foods are unsuitable to feed to your guinea pigs, however some exceptions are noted.
- Beetroot Leaves
These are poisonous and can cause heart problems because of the high level of folic acid.
- Cat and Dog Foods
Meat based and intended for canines and felines only.
- Chillis, Garlic, Hot Peppers and Onions
These are far too strong to give to your guinea pig.
Quite simply not intended to be given to guinea pigs.
- Dairy Products (cheese, cream, etc)
Most dairy products are unsuitable for consumption by guinea pigs, however as guinea pigs are not born lactose intolerant there may be exceptions. These exceptions are bread soaked in milk which may be given to weaning pups and mothers (see The Guinea Piglopaedia book, page 159, section 4), and Actimel probiotic yoghurt for tummy upsets to be given during the course of antibiotics (however a probiotic powder, such as Biolapis or Avipro, should be sourced first).
- Human Beverages
All beverages intended for human consumption (e.g. fizzy drinks, fruit juice – except for pure cranberry juice that can be given as a diuretic, coffee, tea, milkshakes, etc) should never be given to guinea pigs.
- Human Junk Food
Burgers, hotdogs, chips/french fries, crisps/chips, sweets, etc are all completely unsuitable to feed to your guinea pig.
- Human Sandwich Spreads
Do not give jelly, jams, fruit preserves, Marmite, Vegemite, patés, honey (often found in some commercial treats), peanut butter, butter, margarine, etc.
- Iceberg Lettuce
This has no nutritional value and is high in water so may cause loose droppings and diarrhea.
- Meat or Fish
Guinea pigs are herbivores. They do not eat any types of meat or fish, or anything with meat or fish in it.
Poisonous. Don’t give any type of mushroom under any circumstances.
- Nuts and Seeds
High in fat, can get stuck in teeth and are a choking hazard. Seeds are often found in some commercial treats.
- Rabbit Feed
Never give dry rabbit mix to a guinea pig (with the exception of Chudleys Rabbit Royale). Rabbit feed is rumoured to contain rabbit antibiotics, consists of pellets formulated exclusively for a rabbit diet, and does not contain the essential Vitamin C that guinea pigs require. Give dry feed that is intended to be eaten by guinea pigs.
Poisonous. Don’t give any part of rhubarb under any circumstances.