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Nutrition Help me figure this out


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Nov 4, 2011
Ok, so the pet store, and the pellet manufacture (oxbow) recommend that the pigs be fed mostly hay, with 1/8 cup pellets daily, and only rarely veggies. I get this because the pet store and the pellet manufactures have their interests in mind and they don't sell fresh veggies. BUT, I called the vet to see what they recommend for my pig, and they are guinea pig specialist, and even they say fresh food is only ever a treat, and should not be part of their daily diet. WHAT?! They say she needs a vitamin c supplement (i was thinking of trying the oxbow ones cause they don't go in the water so I figure it can't hurt to give it to her especially while she is resisting fresh foods). They also seem to recommend sugary fruits like strawberries! I just don't get it, why does everyone seem to have these different opinions?
I don't know why all the different recommendations, but the food and vegetable charts here and at Guinea Lynx (which are the two best guinea pig websites, IMHO) are based on USDA content of nutrients in food, on research done on guinea pig nutrition, and on the recommendation of many good exotic vets. Guinea pigs in the wild would certainly have fed on fresh grasses and plants, and I see no reason not to give them veggies.

Most research that is done on guinea pig diets is done to determine the effects of either eliminating some vital element from the diet, or of adding something to it. The guinea pigs so treated are lab animals, and are often euthanized when the research is done, or are released to rescues if possible. No effort is made by those researchers to provide a complete diet, or to extend the life of the guinea pigs.

Additionally, many veterinary textbooks are outdated where the treatment of exotic pets is concerned, and normal veterinary education contains only a brief introduction to exotic pet, a classification that covers everything from wild animals to pocket pets.

There is some disagreement among some exotic vets about how much vitamin C a guinea pig needs -- some say they need supplements, others say that if they get an adequate diet of fresh vegetables, nothing extra is needed. The jury is apparently still out on that question.

There are plenty of people who have had pigs live long lives -- seven to nine years -- on diets of hay and vegetables with only limited pellets. I'm not sure vets pay much attention to how long pets live -- they're focused on fixing the immediate problem that brings the animal to the office.
I don't know what qualifies your vets as guinea pig specialists. They may have exotic vet certification, which requires significant education and internship beyond normal veterinary school, or they may have just labeled themselves that -- no laws regulate how a vet may describe the practice.

This is only the second case I've heard of where a vet recommended only hay and pellets and supplemental vitamin C, and in the other case, the pig had a long-term history of urinary tract stones. I'm not a vet, but I'm not sure I agree with your vet's recommendations, particularly not when they're recommending sugary fruits.

Yes, I have, and I will follow what I read here, but it just boggles my mind because I would assume that MOST piggy owners would follow the pet store recommendations, and maybe a vet. That would mean that most piggies out there are not getting the correct care or nutrition.
bpatters, I totally agree, and will be feeding veggies, its just that this vet is an exotic vet. He is my parrots vet, and he is the best I have found in my area. I am in a big city (outside of Toronto) and I drive over an hour for him. I just can't believe that even he would be giving these recommendations! Sigh!
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